When anyone mentions Bali, everyone’s immediate thoughts are of exotic holidays, delicious food and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. However, Bali is also home to a thriving expat community made up of many young professionals, online entrepreneurs and digital nomads. So despite Bali’s wonderful reputation as a holiday destination, what is attracting expats from all over the world to this small Indonesian island?
Reasons people immigrate to Bali
The spirit of authenticity
Bali is a very spiritual country where many religions are tolerated and consist of Christian, Muslim and Buddhist minorities. The predominant religion is Hinduism. Balinese Hinduism, called Agama Hindu Dharma, originated from Java and is a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism.
The slow, simple pace of life in Bali is very different to the fast pace of life found in Singapore and other Eastern countries. The Balinese believe that everything has a soul, even a river or a tree and life is revered. Not surprisingly, Bali is home to many expats who embrace holistic health therapies, who come to Bali to train and often end up settling here.
High- speed Internet
Bali’s steadily improving infrastructure is proving very attractive to expat entrepreneurs. High speed Internet has reached every corner coffee shop and co-working and co-living spaces are encouraging entrepreneurs to redefine their business approach. Not surprisingly Bali is attracting a more digitally connected expat following made up of mostly freelancers and entrepreneurs working online. For entrepreneurs who have limited funds, Bali’s low cost of living and healthy lifestyle is very welcome as they can devote most of their resources to starting their businesses.
A mixed vibe
Bali caters for everyone – unless you are highly stressed and crave long working hours where you burn the candle at both ends. Before arriving in Bali it’s important to identify what your ‘area’ will be. Bali has three main places where expats settle – Canggu/Seminyak, Ubud and the South Peninsular known as the Bukit.
Ubud is home to spiritual communities, yogis, holistic health practitioners and artists. The area of Canggu/Seminyak is where the business and network-orientated expats reside. But the divide is not complete as independent workers and co-working spaces can also be found in Ubud.
Bali is the ideal country for expats in search of inspiration or reconnection with themselves. However it’s important to know that while starting a new business in Bali is a great option due to low operational costs, the cost of opening and registering a business in Bali is high. Many expats who move to Bali have unrealistic expectations about the ‘freedom’ of Bali – don’t presume because the lifestyle is laidback that you won’t have to follow procedures or pay taxes.
You will also need a work permit to get paid legally. A KITAS is similar to a permanent residence card and allows you to legally live and work in Bali. Despite the structure and the fees, Bali is a land of opportunities – just do your research and arrive with realistic expectations.
If you are living and working in Bali or are thinking of doing so in 2018, contact us for expert, personalised advice concerning financial emigration, competitive foreign exchange rates and other financial aspects relating to living abroad.