Bali at a Glance
Moving to Bali
When you arrive in Bali, you will probably expect to find lush palm trees, endless sandy beaches and a vacation feeling year-round. Although reality may come pretty close to this picture, depending on your reason for moving to Bali, you should prepare yourself to enter a culture which may differ significantly from your own.
With its natural beauty and rich cultural history, Bali is indeed a favorite vacation spot; therefore, you should be prepared to be treated as a tourist after first arriving in Bali. However, if you want to truly submerge yourself in Balinese life and take full advantage of your time in Bali, you will quickly note that simply by being curious and open, you will see the local culture unfold itself in front of your eyes.
Your Arrival in Bali
Bali’s international airport, Ngurah Rai International Airport, is easily accessible from most cities. It is located in Tuban, not far from the island’s southernmost tourist attraction points, and 13 kilometers south of Bali’s capital, Denpasar.
It is recommended to pack light when moving to Bali, as customs rules on what you are permitted to bring into the country are strict. Shipping a container can be quite expensive as well: the daily rates are very high, and you may be required to leave your container in the harbor for several days or even weeks while awaiting customs clearance.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that the humid climate in Bali may not necessarily be ideal for some furniture. It’s probably a good idea to either sell most of your furniture or put it in storage before your move to Bali, to avoid any unpleasant surprises either at customs or during the rainy season. Rest assured that moving to Bali does not mean dropping off the face of the earth. There are many furniture stores where you can easily and inexpensively furnish your new home.
Accommodation in Bali
Before you move to Bali, it is a good idea to get some sort of feeling for what to expect in terms of housing and residential areas. You will discover that most Balinese live in bungalows with large shaded terraces to escape the high daytime temperatures.
Expats who are looking for something more conventional can rest assured that there are plenty of expat housing complexes which come with caretakers for the grounds. If you move to Bali and plan on living in such accommodation catering to foreign residents, be aware that you will be paying more than what you may expect from the standard of living.
Expat Destinations in Bali
Denpasar is the capital of Bali with roughly 790,000 inhabitants (official census figures from 2010). Unfortunately, over recent years, large quantities of residential and commercial building sites have sprouted up across the city, drastically reducing the amount of green space for its residents. In addition, if you are familiar with Bali’s unique architectural style, you will notice that Denpasar has become a smaller version of Jakarta, with close to no buildings in the original Balinese design.
Singaraja is Bali’s former capital city and borders Bali’s National Park on the western side of the island. As it has only 81,000 inhabitants, expats moving to Bali will be met with less congestion and fewer crowds. Singaraja features a large amount of preserved colonial buildings, which both visitors and expats may find of interest.