Being a Digital Nomad in Bali

The geoarbitrage exploration continues as I recently went for a workcation to Bali and I must say, it was quite an experience. I chose Bali for several reasons: it’s renowned for its beauty, it’s a low cost destination perfect for geoarbitrage, and in recent years, it has become a hub for digital nomads.

I had tried going to Bali three times before, and each time, something came up. The first time, I was planning to go with my ex, but we broke up before the trip. The second time, there was an active volcano that was acting up, and the last time I tried to go, it was during the COVID pandemic, and I lost my air tickets.

However, the fourth time was a charm, and I was finally glad to be in Bali. My recent full-time job allowed me to work from anywhere every now and then, so why not make use of it?

Cost of living

Food is very affordable in Bali, with local food going for just a couple of dollars, and you can even get it delivered to your doorstep for a price that wouldn’t even pay for the delivery fee in Singapore. I had many meals delivered to me at around S$3 to S$6 inclusive of the delivery fee.

Cafe food is about S$5 to S$10 for mains, and even nicer restaurants were about half the price of what you might expect in Singapore. I met up with a friend at KONG BALI and we each had a main, a cocktail, and even a sharing platter for just S$80.

I’m not a foodie, but the many different eateries and restaurants in Bali are an attraction on their own. In fact, there were so many highly-rated places that I skipped anything below 4.5 stars on Google Maps. If you are someone who’s into food, you should definitely consider Bali as a place to stay in for a bit.

Services are also very low cost here, with massages going for S$7 to S$12 per hour, and a bike ride would take you to most places for S$1 to S$2. Taxi rides are about thrice the cost of bike rides, and from my experience Gojek was almost always significantly cheaper than Grab.

Accommodation, work spaces, and connectivity

I stayed in a budget hotel, which cost me about S$70 per night, and later moved to a villa with a private pool for about S$95 per night. I had no complaints about the places I stayed in; they were all pretty comfortable in their own ways. WiFi was lightning fast in the hotel I stayed in, so remote working wasn’t an issue.

Unfortunately, the villa had pretty slow WiFi. It was passable for work calls, but anything that required more downloading or uploading sucked, so I had to use Google Maps to look for cafes with good WiFi. This worked out pretty well as I also got to cafe hop a bit and visited quite a few nice cafes with cheap food and drinks as well as fast WiFi.

Being a place for digital nomads, working at cafes is a mundane, everyday sight. Some, like Machinery Canggu, even markets itself as a co-working cafe. I enjoyed the different settings I’ve set up shop at with my trusty MacBook, and coffees and drinks were usually around S$2 to S$3 each.

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On the go, I used Airalo, an app that lets you buy eSIMs for countries you want to visit at pretty cheap prices. They sponsored me with a 3GB plan for my Bali trip, and I found it convenient and easy to set up. I didn’t have to buy SIM cards at the places I visited, and could access the internet the moment the plane landed. As a bonus, there’s no more fumbling with the SIM ejector tool, and I got to keep my own physical SIM card in my phone for calls.

Speed were great too, and I could even access sites like Reddit, which are blocked in Indonesia. Do use this link and enter code SETH3394 so you can get US$3 off your first purchase!

The vibes

I settled into a comfortable routine of clearing work during the day, usually at my accommodation. I tend to get lunches delivered, and being able to get most things on Gojek or Grab for $3 to $10 delivered in under 30 minutes is crazily convenient. During my stay at the villa, I would go for the occasional dip in the pool.

After work was done, I would have several options to spend my evening. Sunsets by Balinese beaches are beautiful and breezy, and the long walks never got old. Bali is also bustling even at night, with nightclubs, bars, and restaurants every corner.

Dinner was always a highlight each day, and I looked forward to visiting yet another highly reviewed eatery. Daily massages were also a possible thing given how affordable they were, and the masseuses were mostly skilful and friendly.

Speaking of which, the hospitality I received in Bali was great. The people felt friendly and genuinely so, and it never felt like they were just being cordial for the sake of being polite. They were curious where I came from and how I found the place, and it was nice to feel generally welcomed as a foreigner which isn’t always the case in some other countries.

In all, the pace of life is very comfortable and I really liked it a lot. Coming back for another few weeks is definitely high on my list of travel plans.

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Cost

I tend to be a frugal person, but aside from accommodation, I didn’t quite watch my pursestrings that much and had nice dinners, cocktails, and massages frequently.

ItemCost
Flights
Singapore Air
11,900 miles + S$80
Hotel (6 nights)
Frii Echo Beach Canggu
S$420
Villa (5 nights)
Bhavana Private Villas Seminyak
S$485
Expenses
Lots of nice dinners, cocktails, and massages
S$475

Conclusion

There were a few things that weren’t didn’t go so well this trip; Bali Belly – a known issue where travellers get nausea, the runs, and other gastrointestinal issues – struck me on my 4th day in Bali. It wasn’t too bad and I spent the day resting in bed, but it did make me less adventurous when it came to food for the rest of the trip.

Water hygiene is also an issue with many online advising not to even use the tap water for toothbrushing. It became an annoyance after a while, although some people claim this isn’t really a needed precaution.

Nonetheless, these issues were trivial and I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the time I spent in Bali, and I feel like I could go another couple of weeks easily. The place’s natural beauty, digital nomad-friendly environment and affordable cost of living make it a top choice for a workcation. Whether you are a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote employee, Bali offers an escape from the everyday grind. Definitely try it out at least a couple of weeks to work, play, and explore in one of the nicer destinations in the world.

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