Are you contemplating living in Bali Bali and wonder exactly what it takes to make the move? In this guide you will be able to read all about getting set up in Bali, the cost of living, and some practical tips you might find useful for your stay in Canggu and in Bali in general.
Living in Bali
1. Visa for Indonesia
As Swedish/Slovenian citizens we have the right of a free 30-day visa for Indonesia. However, since we planned on staying in Bali for 2 months, we decided to get a Visa on Arrival (VOA), which then allows us to stay in the country for up to 2 months. The catch here is that you will need to begin the process already at the arrivals at the airport. You will not be able to start this process once you leave the security check at the airport.
When arriving at Denpasar, just visit the VOA desk and pay the fee of around $35, get the paper (on the image with the passports) and continue going through the security.
You will then either pay an agent to continue the process of acquiring the visa for you, or go to the Immigration Office Class 1 in Denpasar yourself. We recommend paying a fee to an agent since they will do all the work for you and you only need to go to Denpasar once (instead of 3 times) to get your photo and fingerprints taken.
We paid 700k IDR for our agent and were overall happy with the service. Here is their website in case you want to use the same place. We do hear most of them are similarly good though, so it is up to you who you decide to pay. They generally arrange everything via messages through WhatsApp.
2. Renting a villa on a budget
No matter if you wish to rent a place to live or to have a cheap place as your base in Canggu, while you visit other destinations, you will be able to get relatively cheap accommodation in Canggu. Canggu is not as touristy as Seminyak, Kuta and the likes; so rent for foreigners is still affordable.
The trick is to not book via hotel websites or Airbnb. The true ‘local westerner’ prices will be on Facebook pages (links below), where they advertise daily, weekly, as well as monthly and yearly places. We found our villa via Facebook and even though we wouldn’t recommend you to stay in the same place (horrible owners), we have seen a number of great places up there, below and above our budget. We paid 7mio IDR (roughly $500) for a month for quite a basic en-suite room, all bills incl., with internet and cleaning. The villa had a shared kitchen and pool as well. A thing to keep in mind is asking who the neighbors are. If it’s all locals – expect lots of rooster crows and dogs barking. We also had a rice field behind the house so other animals came to visit too.
Canggu Community Housing FB Group:
Canggu Nomad Girls FB Group:
Useful tip: ask about construction around the place you plan on renting, the WiFi quality, and the possible odors in the room or bathroom. We had problems with all three in almost every accommodation we rented. Wished we knew it in advance!
Traffic in Bali can get quite busy at times and the best way to get around the island is on a motorbike. If you don’t feel comfortable driving one, then you can still rent a car, but be prepared to be stuck in traffic a lot.
What to keep in mind when renting a motorbike? Make sure to rent in a place with insurance and helmets. We wanted a motorbike with 125cc (to not get stuck on steeper hills) and once we got one we took it for a test drive. We looked over the blinkers, lights, papers, and the likes. Once we checked everything and filmed the scooter (just in case of damages) we signed the papers and rented it for a month. We paid 800k IDR at Wan Wik Rentals.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving around yourself then there is another option for you. Apps Gojek and Grab are similar to Uber and are very popular transport options in Bali. We only ever used Gojek since it always had cheaper prices than Grab and tested Go Ride (when a motorbike comes to get you), Go Car (a car for up to 6 people), and Go Food (ordering food through the app).
In a lot of places in Canggu the local taxi drivers are very angry if they see tourists get into a Gojek, so you might want to be fast in getting in and out of the car. The only location that was impossible to get a ride from was around La Brisa. Otherwise, we used Gojek to get around whenever we needed to go to longer distances (to Sanur, Ubud, etc.). The motorbike was cheap and convenient, worked well. Food delivery was quite slow in Canggu but very fast and great in Seminyak (where Gojek is allowed everywhere).
We never had any problems connecting to the internet in Canggu. When looking for a villa or room to stay in, make sure you read the reviews on how the internet coverage is. Several people have complained about not having decent internet at the above Facebook groups, so it does happen! If you rely heavily on the internet for your work, then I’d recommend buying a SIM card for your phone and then share the internet with yourself through it. We bought ours from Telkomsel at Denpasar airport. It does cost more money, but that way we could have them register the SIM card on the spot and we could order a Gojek straight from the airport (and save at least 100k IDR!). The SIM we opted for was the $10 USD for 12GB data /month. So, yeah, the internet is pretty cheap in Bali!
5. Coworking Spaces
Another thing we read up on a lot before moving to Canggu Bali is co-working spaces. They are praised online, but we just couldn’t justify spending $400 per month for both of us to have unlimited internet in a place with no AC, and no real desks or chairs. It might be a good place to meet people, but socializing doesn’t have to cost that much. As our villa had decent internet, we just worked from there and socialized outside our working hours. We only checked out Dojo, but we know of Tropical Nomad and Outpost as well. I believe all have similar prices.
6. Gym Membership
Just like anywhere in the world, gyms differ in quality, ambiance, and equipment. We decided to only keep an eye on the cost and opted for a very cheap, basic option. If this is up to your alley on your plans to move to Canggu Bali, then check out Victory Fitness. We got a 1-month membership at Victory Fitness, which cost us only 150k IDR ($10). The gym had a few outdated machines, limited weights, no AC, and was very crowded if you arrived after 9 am. We aimed to always go at opening times so we beat the crowds. It worked for us for a month, but we would consider other options if we stayed in Canggu longer.
7. Grocery Shopping
As we lived close to a Pepito Market, we generally always bought what we needed there. We mostly got milk ($1.50), eggs ($1.60 for 10), water ($0.50 for 1.5L), cereal ($3), and juice ($2.70 for 1L) from Pepito and fruits from a guy by the road. We realized on the first day that breakfast is cheaper at home, while other meals (pasta, chicken, rice, etc) are cheaper or the same price when eating out. So the food is quite pricey in the supermarkets and with all the great restaurants Canggu has to offer, you might want to eat lunch/dinner out anyway! If you like fruit, then make sure to load up on that though. Bali has so many unique treats and everything so delicious!
One thing we all must do is laundry. So if you’re moving to Canggu Bali, this is the only place to go to! We did our laundry at Speed Laundry on Jl. Pantai Berawa and paid 10,000 IDR (0,70$) for 1kg of washed, ironed, and folded clothes. They never made any mistakes and I would definitely recommend them if you are moving to Canggu Bali.
Extra tip on clothing: if you need a tailor in Canggu, Putri Kamil does magic. He made me a dress for 200,000IDR ($14) and I provided the fabric which I got at Busana Indah for 140,000IDR ($10 for 3.5m fabric). He also did an alteration on another dress (made it smaller) for 50,000IDR ($3,50). Would highly recommend. Contact him in advance though, he is busy with a lot of clients 🙂
9. The best restaurants in Canggu
You will realize quite fast that Canggu has a lot to offer in terms of restaurants, bars and cafes. It would be a near impossibility for me to review all of them, but I can at least write which places we kept coming back to and which places we would not visit again. You can also read THIS ARTICLE which tells you all about my ultimate Canggu favorites!
1. The Loft – everything we tried was amazing
2. Crate Cafe – smoothie bowls, falafel
3. Fabrica – the best pizza we ever had
4. El Crudo – great juices and burritos
5. Strawberry Fields – burgers
6. Copenhagen – coffee and cinnabuns
WE WOULDN’T RETURN:
1. The Lawn – the food was the worst we had in Bali
2. Cafe Organic – coffee is awful, food looks good and tastes bad
3. Nalu Bowls – overpriced and not as great as other places
10. Shopping in Canggu
We really enjoyed going to Love Anchor market in Canggu and it was the only place where we left some money. However, you will see plenty of shops in Canggu, but I believe Seminyak had a lot more to offer in terms of clothing/accessories and Ubud in terms of souvenirs. The prices in the Ubud Art Market are also lower since they don’t have as high rent costs.
11. Sunset Culture
An extra thing that makes Canggu, Canggu is sunsets. It really is one of the main reasons for people to be moving to Canggu, Bali. People flock to the beach here, get a fresh coconut/Bintang and just watch the sun go down. No matter what the weather looked like earlier in the day, it would always clear up in time for sunset. Our favorite ‘sunset vibe’ is at La Brisa, but it looks great from just about anywhere.