Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live somewhere new? Somewhere different? Somewhere exotic?
We did and now Bali is that place for us. We are living in Bali! That still feels so weird to say.
We are not the typical young 20 something digital nomads living free and wild. We are middle aged and have a good sized family with kids ranging from 13 years to 6 years old. For this reason we get a lot of questions about why we live in Bali and what it’s like to live here.
We thought it would be fun to answer some of those most commonly asked questions. By the end of this post, we’re confident that this little peek into our Bali life will answer a lot of questions and help determine if Bali is that place for you. Let’s go!
Why are you living in Bali?
We first visited Bali in 2019 after we sold everything and set out on a full-time travel adventure around the world. Bali wasn’t originally on our radar but we fell fast in love with the island. After a couple more years of traveling we decided that we wanted to call Bali home.
There are so many reasons why we are choosing to live here-the community, culture, cost of living, adventure, weather and so much more! We have listed many of these reasons in detail on our post Living in Bali Pros and Cons.
Never in a million years did we think that we would ever live outside of the United States-nonetheless on a small island in southeast Asia. But, here we are and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Where did you live before Bali?
We were living in a small town located just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah in the USA. Prior to heading out on our full-time travel adventure we were deeply rooted in our American dream. Both of us had successful professional careers and owned our own home, cars, boat and other toys.
We were happy, but in our minds all of that “stuff” we had accumulated was sucking on our energy and therefore our life. We felt like we had sold ourselves and become a slave to what we worked so hard to build.
There has to be something more we thought. So we began the journey that lead us to where we are today.
Where in Bali do you live?
There are a few places that we felt we could live in Bali. Ultimately we decided to make our home in Canggu. There are many reasons why we felt that Canggu would be the best fit for us.
Canggu has a great expat community, lots of activities available for the kids, world class cuisine and of course the beach! So much to do here, in fact we listed the Best Things to do in Canggu.
It is also very easy to get by with only speaking English. Almost too easy, especially if you’re trying to learn the Bahasa Indonesian language.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
We have four kids! Coming from Utah, four kids is not really a large family. But in most parts of the world and especially in the full-time travel community we are on the larger end of the spectrum.
Our oldest, Jack is 14 years old. Colt is 12. Ririe, our only girl is 9 and our crazy Maverick is 7. Click here to learn a little more about our family.
Do your kids go to school?
We have put extensive research into the schooling options here in Bali. We will probably do a huge post on that topic in the future. But for now, we have decided to continue to homeschool. We really like the time and the curriculum flexibility that comes with homeschool.
We do miss some of the social aspects of in-person school but we make it a focus to create social experiences through activities or meeting up with other families.
What activities are available for kids?
Canggu has a strong expat community so there are a ton of activity opportunities for kids. We have Ririe in an amazing gymnastics class, hip hop class, and basketball. Jack just finished up rugby and is currently doing basketball. Colt has done surfing club, rock climbing and is also doing basketball. And Maverick did swimming and now is playing soccer.
We do most of the kids sports activities with Junior Sports Academy at Finn’s Recreation Club. They have so many quality kids activities available. The water park is really awesome too. Also, near the Finn’s Recreation Club there is a bowling alley, axe throwing and a trampoline park.
Both Sanur and Ubud also have a solid amount of kids and family activities to do as well.
What do you do for transportation?
We have tried everything from renting our own car, to hiring a driver, to using Grab Bikes and Grab Cars (like Uber) to get around.
The traffic can be quite atrocious at times and and the roads are incredibly narrow especially in Canggu. It is almost always much quicker to get around on motor bikes. We have a motor bike that we use to run around on but it can only fit 2 people safely.
Currently, when we need to take the whole family somewhere we are using the Grab car service. Just like Uber you just simply use their app to call a car when you need a ride.
Usually, the cars arrive within about 5 minutes. The only issue we have has is when we are visiting the less populated parts of the island. It can take a lot longer for a car to arrive and sometimes there just aren’t any cars available.
In this case, or for day trips we usually just hire a driver which is actually really inexpensive.
Do you own a home or rent?
Foreigners are not allowed to own land in Indonesia. The closest thing to ownership that foreigners are legally allowed is to contract long term leases (like 25-30 years) on the land and then either build a structure or buy one.
We are seriously considering going this route but right now we are on a 1 year lease on our villa in Canggu. One thing to note that is very different than in the US-you typically will need to pay for the entire lease term upfront.
How fast is the internet in Bali and is it reliable?
Location dependent, the internet in Bali is fast and reliable. I recently ran a speed test on my laptop that is connected to a wireless router and the download speed came in at 57 Mbps with upload speed of 52 Mbps. This is in Canggu which does have some of the better internet service on the island. I have heard that it is possible get speeds up to 100+ Mbps.
What about medical care in Bali?
If there is an achilles heel for living in Bali then the medical care may be it. That being said, we have had good care on the few occasions that we required care. I had a parasite back in 2019 and the local doctor was very knowledgable and facilitated the necessary tests to diagnose and treat me. I think the care is fine especially when it comes to things more common like Bali belly.
We are fortunate enough to have Mindy since she is a certified PA and can take care of the majority of our medical situations. We are a little uneasy about the emergency services though. One of the biggest problems that with the traffic being so bad, it is often quicker to take a taxi to the hospital than it is to wait for an ambulance.
On a positive note. We have priced out braces for our 13 year old and the cost is more than 50% less of the average cost in the US. Win!
Where do you buy your food in Bali?
There are several westernized supermarkets to choose from to purchase food. We typically go to Pepito’s, Frestive or our favorite Grand Lucky’s. A bit pricey but you can find just about anything or at least a version of what you are looking for at these stores.
We probably need to be more adventurous and start purchasing more food at the more cost effective local markets but until then Pepito’s here we come!
We do go out to eat way more often than we did in the US because the cost is much more affordable. Sometimes it is even cheaper to eat out at a restaurant than eat at home.
Is Bali safe?
Bali is safe. We don’t or see or hear about a lot of crime here in Bali. There is of course the occasional pick pocket or the drive by phone or purse snatching-which usually happens to the unsuspecting tourists at night. Fortunately, nothing has ever really happened to us (knock on wood.)
Probably the most dangerous activity in Bali is driving on the roads on motorbikes. We have witnessed and do hear about quite a few scooter crashes. Be careful and wear those helmets!
What language do they speak in Bali and do you speak it?
There are two main languages in Bali, Balinese and Bahasa Indonesian. Bahasa is the national language and is probably the most commonly spoke.
We all dabble casually to learn Bahasa but we really just rely on English to communicate in Bali. Which works just fine but we love the idea of learning the language.
What do you do for entertainment in Bali?
Bali offers so much to do. We love to get outside and explore all of the beautiful nature that the island offers. At the top of our list is exploring the best waterfalls in Bali, hanging out at the beautiful beaches, visiting the cultural sites, snorkeling in Amed, trekking through the lush jungles and traveling to the many islands like Komodo Island and Nusa Penida, that surround Bali.
Outside of the natural entertainment there are things like rock climbing gyms, movie theaters, shopping malls, board game cafe’s, bowling and even a wakeboard park!
What is the cost of living in Bali?
Bali is super affordable and can work for almost any budget.
We lived in Hawaii for awhile and we figured that for what it cost us to live in Hawaii for 1 year we could live in Bali for 3 years. Plus, the lifestyle in Bali would be elevated. For example living in a nicer home with a private pool and closer to the beach.
Check out this post where we broke down some of the living expenses in Bali.
How’s the weather in Bali?
The weather in Bali is either nice or really nice. The temperatures are usually low to mid 80’s year round.
Like all tropical climates there is a rainy season and a dry season. The rainy season runs from October to March. It does rain a bit more during the rainy season but typically it rains for a couple of hours and goes away not washing out the entire day.
Living in Bali in a Nutshell
Well that’s a glimpse into our life and a taste of what it’s like living in Bali. There are definitely Pros and Cons to living in Bali but overall we feel that the pluses far outweigh the negatives. Bali has given us a much more minimalistic lifestyle approach allowing us to shed the shackles that all of the extra “stuff” placed on upon us. We can now live life more intentionally and feeling free to pick up our pens again to write how our own story goes.