Live cheaper in Bali – guide to a better lifestyle

 In Travel
There is no question that you can live cheaper in Bali.  This guide to a better lifestyle will enrich you in the choices you may have to live a better life.  By making better choices in the way you live.  In the seven years that I lived Bali, I have met hundreds of students, surfers, business entrepreneurs, single mothers, and retirees.  They never came to Bali to stay.  They came to Bali on holiday mostly and decided to stay there forever.  Why is this?  The reason is that each and every one of them made a decision to take hold of their life, and live a better lifestyle.  You can live cheaper in Bali.  It is an incredibly charmed and beautiful Island. You can find your inner peace in Bali.

The Choice to Live Cheaper in Bali

If I had to ask you a simple question how would you rather live? Would you rather earn $500,000 working 10-12 hours a day from Monday to Saturday? Would you rather live dreaming of a holiday break in Bali or anywhere else for that matter?  Or would you rather work five hours a week and earn $24,000 and at the same time free up your time to live your dream?
How would you feel if I told you that you can live on as little as $6000 a year in Bali? How about having the best meals and quality of life, plus the time to pursue your favorite pastimes.  Are you thinking of massage on the beach?  Yoga in the middle of the jungle? Surfing 3-meter waves?   Cycling through rice fields? Tracking Mount Agung?  Photographing beautiful Hindu ceremonies?
Here is A Guide on How You can live Cheaper in Bali and enjoy a Great Lifestyle
You can live cheaper in bali and enjoy your dream life
Bali is one of the Top Surf Areas in the World. Renting Boards is as cheap as $3 a day

#1  Accommodation – It is Much Cheaper to Live in Bali than in Big Cities Anywhere in the World

If you are a surfing junkie, you should look at combined accommodation around Canggu area.  There are plenty of hostels that are geared especially for surf-worshipers around the area.  A room in a hostel with breakfast could cost no more than $100 a month.
Alternatively, you can look for a “koskosan”   A “Kos” or rental rooms vary in prices depending on the quality of the place.  Typically a common “kos” will be a bedroom with a small bathroom and a kitchenette.  This could cost from as little as $50 per month.  If you do not want to do cramped style, then you could be searching for more up-market “kos” which will be larger and in an attractive block.  They could even be air-conditioned.  Prepare to pay around $150 a month for this kind of luxury.
Long-term leases on small villas with a pool could be negotiated from $500 a month or less.  Yearly rentals in Bali usually require a full year upfront payment.  This is not so for “kos” rental. It is quite common for people to rent villas and then offer a shared tenancy with like minded people.
 Yoga and meditation are cheaper in bali
Meditation and Yoga are part of the Balinese Culture. There are Yoga Centres Everywhere especially in the UBUD area

#2 Food – You Can Get Quality Food at Ridiculous Prices in Bali

You can definitely get quality food at ridiculous prices.  This is a daily expense that can make it possible to live cheaper in Bali.  The local “Warungs” or home run restaurants offer a “buffet-style” selection of warm and cold foods that are not just appetizing but also fresh.  You have to know that no one really cooks in Bali.  The locals will usually have a rice steamer at home and that is the maximum amount of cooking that will happen.  All the food is purchased from the local warungs.

Since the average salary for a local is around $200 a month, food has to be cheap.  Typically lunch in a warung will consist of a bowl of white or yellow rice.  You can then select from chicken, meat or fish. The meats are in B.B.Q style or in succulent sauces.  Next, you can select from mouth-watering vegetables, all flavored with tasty “sambal” or sauce.  The meal is not complete without “krupuk”.  Krupuk or Kripik is a variety of crackers similar to what the Chinese use as “prawn crackers”. The Balinese, however, have unlimited imagination with their crackers.  You can find them with peanuts and herbs.  The fish variety and the meat variety. All Krupuk is deep fried.  Hugely unhealthy, fattening, and utterly delicious.

When it comes to picking up the bill you are faced with a calculator and a cursory look at what you have piled on your plate.  Expect a bill of anywhere between $1 – $3 depending on the quality of your pick!  And you also get a free bottle of water to wash down your food with.

it is cheaper to eat in bali

Typical Warung lunch with Grilled Chicken, Rice and Krupuk

Other Restaurants and Alcohol – Must Knows About How to Live Cheaper in Bali

Fancier restaurants are still cheap in Bali.  However, despite the fact that Bali is predominantly Hindu, it is still Indonesian.  Indonesia has the largest Moslem community in the world. Therefore, although alcohol is profuse and easily available in Bali, it is highly taxed. Expect to pay $50 for a cheap bottle of wine. And $8-10 of a shot of anything stronger.  Bintang, a nice lager remains quite cheap at $2 a can. Beer is locally produced and therefore cheaper.
My favorite local Warung is “Ombak Cafe” which literally means Coffee By the Waves.  It is on Pererenan beach – facing the water.  It certainly makes a brighter choice to live cheaper in Bali!

#3 Visas to Live and Work in Bali

Let me be absolutely clear.  Although plenty of young people arrive in Bali and stay in the hope of making extra money, it is not easy to get an official working license in Bali.  Moonlighters are frowned upon.  If you are caught working without the necessary permits, you risk deportation.

In order to get a work permit, you need to get a “sponsor”.  This can either be a local, or anyone else who has a licensed business and applies for a “kitas” on your behalf.  It is not a simple procedure.

Here is a list of Different Types of Visas which will allow you to Stay but Not Work formally in Bali

a. Business Visa

You are however allowed to work as an agent sourcing goods from Bali for export under a business visa.  This is rather loose in interpretation.  However, it does not mean that you can have an office in Bali.  A business Visa is valid for two months only and is not renewable unless you leave the country and enter with a new visa. Many people end up earning money in Bali by selling the vast variety of handcrafts, or clothing that is produced on the Island, back in their home ground.  Export from Bali is easy and efficient, and there are plenty of offices that can help you with the paperwork.  Making money from exporting local fare is totally legitimate.  It is a great way to earn money and live cheaper in Bali. live cheaper in bali

Bali Handcrafts are sold worldwide.  The refined craftsmanship and superior artisan work makes Bali Handcrafts very much sought after

b. Social Visa

A social visa is great.  It allows you to stay for up to six months without needing renewal.  However, if you leave the country for any reason during the six-month term, your visa is automatically null.  You can apply for a social visa at the Indonesian Embassy in your country.

c. Retirement Visa

Indonesia looks kindly on retirement.  You can ask for a retirement visa if you have gone over the 55-year threshold.  A retirement visa is for a year and is renewable.

d. Tourist Visa

Tourist Visas are for 30 days.  Note that it is not a month but 30 days.  Any day extra on your 30-day visa is around $10 fine per day.  The 30 day Visa is renewable once at the Immigration Office in Denpasar or by the Airport for another 30 days.

For more information about Visas in Bali visit

#4 Transport in Bali

Bali’s favorite mode of transport is by motorbike.  You can expect to pay around $30-$50 a month to rent a bike.  Renting a car could cost as much as $300 a month thereby making it not quite cost effective.

Public transport is almost inexistent and there are only a few buses from Kuta to the more remote parts of the Island.

Taxis are relatively cheap if you are a tourist at around $10 per trip of 40-50 minutes. However, this is not an option if you are looking at living cheaper in Bali.

A word of warning.  Driving is frenetic at best.  It might take you some time to get your head around the lawless driving in Bali. I recommend you read my post “Driving in Bali” to get a better picture.

#5 Quality of Life is Cheaper in Bali

Earlier in this post, I described a brief list of beautiful things that you can do in Bali.  What I failed to mention is one very important thing.  The Weather.  The temperature in Bali is mostly very kind.  The Island is tropical and therefore has a fairly constant 27-degree temperature.  The best season is “winter” which is from June to September. The humidity is much lower then, and it is the equivalent of breezy June months in the Mediterranean.  Months to avoid are January – March because this is the rainy season and very hot and humid.  There is no monsoon season in Bali.  But the rainy season can pour buckets!

Other than that, there is the world to enjoy in Bali.  Certainly making a choice to live off a pension in Bali will make your money stretch way longer.  It is given, that many Australians retire in Bali because it is much cheaper to live in Bali than to live in Australia. Therefore, living off an Australian pension is equal to living like a king or queen by any standard. The same is applicable to most developed countries.

As such making a choice to live in a country where your little money can go a long way does not mean that you have to downscale your lifestyle.  In fact, it can only get better.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Aimar

    Muchas gracias (thanks a lot) for this info! It is amazing how you have summarized all the information about Bali for all those who have never been. Behind my point of view, I think everyone who wants to travel to Bali or other places that Mariella publishes, should read her posts because Mariela speaks from her personal experience. Thanks again for share this info.

    Keep it up!

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