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Best Places to Live in Bali for Digital Nomads (2023)

Best Places to Live in Bali for Digital Nomads (2023)

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This guest post was written by Victoria, a digital nomad living in Bali for eight months and counting.

Bali is probably the most popular digital nomad destination on the planet.

Every remote worker should come here at least once. 

The island is ginormous and has tons to offer, which makes it tricky to choose the best places to live in Bali for digital nomads. 

I’ve been living in Bali on and off for the past several years and plan to stay long-term. Having tried a variety of neighborhoods and areas on the island, I’ll help you find the perfect spot based on what you’re looking for. 

Let’s dive in.

Living in Bali pros and cons

Before we get into the best areas to stay in Bali, let’s make sure you’re aware of all the pros and cons of living in Bali.

Awesome things about Bali

Bali has a lot to offer for digital nomads, and most people fall in love with it instantly. 

The island has a unique culture that sets it apart from the rest of Indonesia, and locals are known for their friendliness and hospitality. 

Bali is also a safe destination where you can walk home alone at night or leave your laptop in a cafe for a few minutes without having to worry too much. 

Of course, there is petty theft like anywhere in the world, but cases are few and far between. 

Then there is the natural beauty of Bali, including incredible beaches, impressive waterfalls, lush rice fields, and world-class dive sites. 

You’ll find beauty at every corner — especially the northern parts of the island, which are still largely untouched and perfect for exploring.

Finally, Bali is a digital nomad hotspot. It has everything a remote worker might need, from high-speed internet, loads of cafes, modern coworking spaces, digital nomad communities and events, and plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded people. 

The possibilities are endless.

Beach in Southern Bali.

Problems with living in Bali

No place is perfect, and there are definitely issues with living in Bali. 

The good news is, most issues tend to arise after you’ve spent quite some time on the island. Shorter trips of only a few months shouldn’t be impacted too much. 

Firstly, Indonesia isn’t a fantastic country for long-term visas. They’re expensive and involve strict regulations for working locally. You have to be careful to only do remote work during your time in Bali. 

Bali is also becoming more expensive as tourism increases. 

It was once easy to find reasonably priced accommodation and meals, but now prices are now skyrocketing in some parts of the island, especially in popular areas like Canggu and Seminyak. 

This drives the cost of living up, making Bali less affordable than you might think.

Finally, the infrastructure of Bali is struggling to catch up to its growing population, so traffic can be extreme. It can take hours to cover just a few dozen kilometers by car, which makes getting around a real hassle. 

Plan plenty of time to get to places and be patient when driving in Bali.

Best places to live in Bali for digital nomads

First, we’ll give an overview of the best places to live in Bali to familiarize you with the lay of the land.

Then, we’ll help you decide which is right for you based on what you’re looking for.

Canggu

Canggu is located in southern Bali, between Seminyak and Pererenan, close to the western coast. 

Once a little surf town, Canggu is not an off-the-beaten-track backpacker spot anymore. 

Today, it’s the main digital nomad hub in Bali, although it still kept a lot of its laid-back vibe. Traffic is busy, and so is the nightlife, but you’ll still find plenty of quiet spots and world-class eateries here.

Tanah Lot temple is located north of Canggu and is one of the main attractions in the area. There’s also the beach — the main one being Batu Bolong — where you can surf or watch the sunset.

✅ Pros of living in Canggu as a digital nomad: You’ll find a fantastic community here and plenty of workspaces to choose from.

Cons of living in Canggu as a digital nomad: Prices are rapidly increasing in Canggu, and the traffic can be a challenge. For a more detailed review of the area, including cost of living figures, check out this Canggu digital nomad guide

Ubud

Ubud sits north of Canggu, more towards the center of the island. Away from the coast, it’s surrounded by lush rice fields and jungle.

Ubud is known for its yoga and healing community, art, and culture. The vibe here is quieter, although the center of town can be touristy and is rapidly growing. 

There is a stable community of digital nomads, but nightlife tends to be a lot quieter.

Head to Tegallalang Rice terraces for fantastic views or Tegenungan Waterfall to go for a swim. There’s also the famous Monkey Forest, where you can see hundreds of monkeys in their natural habitats. 

Pros of living in Ubud as a digital nomad: Ubud is generally more affordable than the southern beach towns. It’s also easier to enjoy nature here, and you’ll get lots of good restaurants to try.

❌ Cons of living in Ubud as a digital nomad: Ubud isn’t the best for nightlife, and traffic is getting progressively worse in the area.

Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud

Uluwatu

Uluwatu is located on the southern tip of Bali, sometimes called the Bukit peninsula. This is a surfer hotspot and is known for its world-class beaches. 

Even if you don’t plan on living here long term, you need to come to Uluwatu for a day trip at least once.

Uluwatu has a chill, beachy vibe with a lot more nature and space than busy neighborhoods like Kerobokan or even Canggu. 

There is a fantastic selection of upscale beach clubs, but you’ll also find plenty of more affordable restaurants or cafes for working.

The best thing about Uluwatu is the beaches, with Melasti Beach, Suluban Beach, and Pandawa Beach being some of the most beautiful ones. 

There’s also Uluwatu Temple, where you can see the traditional Kecak Fire Dance every night or the impressive Garuda statue.

✅ Pros of living in Uluwatu as a digital nomad: Uluwatu has no major traffic problems and some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Bali. 

❌ Cons of living in Uluwatu as a digital nomad: The area is far from other popular spots like Canggu and Ubud, so it takes a while to get anywhere. 

Suluban Beach In Uluwatu

Kerobokan

Kerobokan is located close to Seminyak and Kuta in southern Bali and stretches inland, merging with Denpasar. 

This area may not be the most beautiful part of Bali, but it’s affordable and conveniently located. Since traffic can be extremely busy on the island, you’ll appreciate being located close to Canggu, Seminyak, and even the airport, yet still far enough away to avoid the busy roads. 

Many locals live here, but the community of nomads is growing as prices elsewhere rise.

Kerobokan itself doesn’t have too many attractions, but you won’t be far away from Kuta’s Beachwalk and, of course, Seminyak’s beautiful beaches.

✅ Pros of living in Kerobokan as a digital nomad: Kerobokan is very affordable, and you’ll have a good selection of shops and local restaurants.

❌ Cons of living in Kerobokan as a digital nomad: The community in Kerobokan is still small, and the selection of coworking-friendly cafes is still limited.

Pererenan

Bali rice fields

Pererenan is located slightly north of Canggu and is becoming the new hotspot for digital nomads living in Bali. 

This new and upcoming neighborhood is often described as what Canggu once used to be. You’ll get to enjoy plenty of rice fields, popular new restaurants, and it’s just a short drive to Canggu.

Pererenan Beach is a popular surf hotspot and the reason many surfers choose to live here. Make sure to watch the sunset with a cold drink and go for dinner at a nearby restaurant afterward.

✅ Pros of living in Pererenan as a digital nomad: Pererenan is a lot quieter than Canggu, but it’s convenient location makes it easy to reach wherever you need to go. 

❌ Cons of living in Pererenan as a digital nomad: Prices in Pererenan are rising steadily, and it may be difficult to find a good accommodation deal.

Sanur

Sanur is located east of Canggu and Pererenan, on the eastern coast of Bali. This is where many boats to islands like Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan depart, but there’s more to Sanur than just its harbor.

Sanur is quiet and most suitable for couples or families with children. This area is a favorite among older tourists, and you won’t find too many backpackers or younger travelers here. 

Sanur has some beautiful beaches, though, and a good selection of restaurants, although there is very little nightlife.

Make sure to visit the abandoned theme park located close to Sanur and go on a day trip to Nusa Penida, a beautiful island located off the shore of Bali.

✅ Pros of living in Sanur as a digital nomad: Sanur is generally an affordable place to live, and the beaches are calm and clean. The digital nomad community is small but tightly knit, and you’ll find mostly residents who live in Bali long term.

❌ Cons of living in Sanur as a digital nomad: Sanur is somewhat cut off from other digital nomad areas in Bali like Canggu or Uluwatu. It’s very quiet, so there isn’t a lot going on.

Abandoned rooftop with ocean view

Where to stay for the best Bali digital nomad community

Canggu has by far the best digital nomad community in Bali. If spending time with like-minded people is a priority for you, this should be your first choice. 

Places like Uluwatu or Ubud also have a lot of remote workers but not nearly as many as Canggu.

Keep in mind that Canggu, Pererenan, and Berawa can be difficult to distinguish and are often all considered Canggu. Staying in any of these three places gives you access to a fantastic digital nomad community.

Luxury accommodation in Ubud

Where to stay in Bali for digital nomads who need to focus

If you want to get work done without distractions, Canggu is not the best choice. 

Instead, head to Uluwatu or even northern Bali (while keeping in mind that the wifi may not be the best). 

Here you’ll find plenty of time to be productive without anyone bothering you. 

Where to stay in Bali for nightlife

Kuta is considered the nightlife hotspot in Bali, but the large clubs here attract mostly tourists and not too many digital nomads. Canggu’s nightlife is far more laid back and more popular among remote workers. 

Nearby Seminyak is also a good choice, although it can be expensive. 

Finally, Uluwatu has some popular beach clubs that regularly host international DJs for events, but apart from the expensive ocean-front locations, there isn’t much going on.

Best places in Bali for solo travelers

Solo travelers will enjoy a variety of different areas in Bali, but most tend to head to Canggu first. This is where you find the best selection of hostels and digital nomad events. 

Uluwatu and Ubud are also great options, but Sanur and Kerobokan can be a challenge when traveling solo since the local communities are much smaller.

Best places in Bali with no tourists

The north of Bali is ideal for those seeking a quiet getaway away from the busy streets of the south. 

Head to Amed, Sidemen, or even Lovina for beautiful places without the crowds. 

There is also West Bali National Park which is even more quiet and untouched.

Dolphins in Lovina

Best areas to stay in Bali if moving to Bali with family

Sanur is often the place of choice for families living in Bali. The area is quiet and safe, with calm beaches perfect for swimming with small children. 

However, those willing to spend a bit more will also enjoy Canggu, which has a few international schools and plenty of opportunities to get to know other expat families.

How to find digital nomad accommodation in Bali

Long-term accommodation in Bali is best found on arrival since prices on Airbnb or other platforms can be extremely high. 

Book a room in a guesthouse or hotel for a few nights, and join Facebook groups for housing which are a great tool for finding good deals. 

Another strategy is to check Google Maps for villas or guest houses which often include a phone number you can call for prices. These direct deals will almost always be a better deal than booking with an online platform. 

If you’re not willing to put that much time and effort into the search, you can’t go wrong with one of Bali’s many coliving spaces. 

For even more tips on finding cool places to stay as a digital nomad, check out this video:

Is it safe to live in Bali?

Bali is a safe place.

Apart from some minor instances of theft, there are no real issues for digital nomads. 

Occasionally, there are break-ins or stories of helmets or bikes being stolen. But if you use common sense, there’s no need to worry about safety. 

Keep your belongings close and follow the tips in this video, and you’ll be absolutely fine. 

That said, I highly recommend getting travel insurance for Bali. While healthcare is cheaper than in the US, you still don’t want to be paying out of pocket if you get in an accident or need surgery for some reason. And when you can get coverage for as little as $45.08 per month, there’s no excuse. 

If you’re new to the world of travel insurance, I recommend checking out this guide on the best insurance options for nomads

How to live in Bali permanently

The first thing you need to do if you want to live in Bali permanently is to get a KITAS visa, which is valid for two years and costs around $1,500 per person. 

Most long-term accommodation options like villas ask for upfront rent payments for anywhere between two to ten years. This requires a big chunk of change and makes things difficult for many nomads looking to set down roots. 

Consider staying in a guesthouse for a while before you find the perfect rental. You may even decide to build something yourself!

Volcano in Bali

Insider tips for living and working in Bali

Before moving to Bali, here are some quick tips you’ll want to know:

  • Buy a high-quality helmet if you’re planning on riding a scooter. Accidents are common, and most helmets provided by rental companies are bad quality and won’t protect you.
  • Eat local food, which can be as cheap as $1 per meal. Western options are far more expensive in Bali.
  • Don’t forget to explore the nearby islands of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, the Gili Islands, or even Lombok. The beaches here are usually more beautiful, and prices can be lower.
  • Bring cosmetics and toiletries from home. These are usually very expensive in Bali, especially if you’re looking for something specific.
  • Avoid ordering things online from abroad. You’ll have to pay high taxes when the package enters Indonesia.

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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