I’m on my way leaving this beautiful island. In fact several bunch of my friends also doing the same at the same time. And after talking to them (Indonesian and foreigner) and taking lesson from my own experience at least i could give some advises whoever that want to try to live here. Be careful, living in Bali could be quite an addiction.
Rent an empty room instead of fully furnished room
Well if you don’t have anyone you know in the island it is okay for the first month to rent fully furnished room but after the first month: move out!
Depending which part of Bali that you want to inhabit. In downtown Denpasar close to Seminyak, A good FULLY furnished room (with refrigerator, air-con, desk, drawer for clothes) will cost you around 1,7 – 2-5 million Rupiah (around $160-$240) per month. And empty room with the possibility of larger space will cost you around 800.000 Rupiah (around $80) per month. Buying all those stuff (aircon, refrigerator, desk and stool, drawer, etc) will cost you around the same for a year. It means if you are planning to live for two year, the cost of buying those things will be offsetted from the saving you incured.
What if i plan just to live for a year?
Don’t worry. Buy it! Believe me it is worth it. At the end of your stint all of those stuffs still can fetch at least half of the original buying price (that is a bargain for the buyer). And you will get a ”refund” of 5-7 million Rupiah. Compare that if you are living in a fully furnished and didn’t get any of your money back.
If you just planning living on basic furnished room (just a bed and a clothes drawer) , now that is different story. A friend if mine did that but just because she lives in Ubud where air con is not necessary and her workplace is as comfy as you can get
Diving, hiking, 5 star hotel food, clubbing, cheap ticket to eastern part of Indonesia and Australia, the chick vintage furniture, ethnic accessories the list goes on… the temptation to spend big on the island is ubiquitous. You can find endless excuse to spend a lot. But please do remember, that Bali it is still Indonesia.
Indonesia 2012 per-capita income is around $3.500, compare it to our neighbor Australia that boast around $67.000, Singapore $52.000, United States $51.000, and UK $39.000. You will see Bali as cheap international melting pot (just like Pattaya in Thailand) but there are places in Bali that charge big dollars but they make it feels like that its cheap.
If you are a foreigner living in Bali please think of us Indonesian that live in Bali. You might think that the price in here is cheap, you started to buy whatever they ask you to pay because for you think it is still cheap. When the product seller or service provider raise their price because they think they can sell top dollars, you can just go back to your country while we are stuck to unreasonable high price.
Get a motorbike
Bali public transportation is notorious for all the wrong reasons. if you can ride and have the license, go get a motorbike. Buy one if you have to. New one will cost you around 14 million Rupiah, of course assuming that you own KIPEM for Indonesian or KITAS (Alien Card) for foreigner. Owning you own motorbike will get you far. Want to go to the next island while you have break on holiday? just grind your engine.
Shy away from your own lot.
The merits doing this? A lot. Bali is a melting pot ranging from new-age people in Ubud to party-goers at Legian. Different nationalities, different tribes, different point-of-view. To meet new people translate into meeting new perspective. It will broaden your horizon.
Don’t take too much alcohol
The reason is: it lower your standard and lead to bad decision especially on friday night :p . Nah i’m joking. I just looking something to write here. My main point actualy just no 1 and 2 but you read this anyway.
If you find this is too short to be categorized as an advice, well just remember this: i have lived here and probably you are not :p
Kidding, i hope this is useful!