The Bali Guide – Areas to Stay, Things to Do, Cost of Living as a Digital Nomad, Nightlife, Food, Cafes & More
BALI TRAVEL GUIDE
Welcome to the Bali travel Guide!
So I’ve been in Bali for a while now…. And, if you were to ask me,
“So Riley, what’s good with Bali?" (my friends are asking me this already)
What are the vibes? Cheap as Chiang Mai? Where’s the best area to stay? Coffeeshop scene? I answer all in this post!
First half of the Bali Guide video:
First of all some general info about Bali, what is Bali?
It’s an island part the country of Indonesia, but it kind of has it’s own history and culture because its a majority Hindu population, compared the the rest of Indonesia which is mostly Muslim.
The native language of Indonesia is Bahasa, and they even have their own Balinese dialect, but Everyone speaks English. Even more so than Thailand I’d say. It’s very universal - i haven’t interacted with anyone who hasn’t spoken English.
That being said - Bali is FAMOUS for it’s tourism. It’s one of the most visited islands in the world, and was named “Island of the Year by TripAdvisor last year”.
It brings over 4 million tourists a year, most being from Australia, because it’s so close to Australia - that’s why I call it “The Hawaii of Australia”…
… everyone in the States goes to Hawaii for their 2-week vaycay, and many Aussies to the same to Bali…
.. For size comparison, it’s about 3x the size of Maui and about half the size of the Big Island.
And like Hawaii, obviously most people are concentrated in the beach areas, but it also has inland life as well – so like any place, Bali is what you make it – there are more touristy areas, and less touristy areas - it’s what you make it.
2 of the most popular digital nomad areas are Canggu, which is on the beach, and Ubud which is about an hour to 1.5 hours inland depending on traffic. Which isn’t that far. And you can even drive to the north coast from Canggu in only 2-3 hours, so you can definitely do day trips anywhere around the island. On Motorbike, or Van.
I stayed in Changgu, so for this video it’ll be mainly focusing on Canggu and Ubud for 2 days. And also some general about what to expect in the MAIN Bali areas of Seminyak Beach and Kuta Beach – the main tourist areas, which are great.
So! When you first get into Bali Airport:
You will be greeted by tons of taxi drivers. As always, First get your SIM card. And get money - at the ATM or exchange.
Many villas, hotels, resorts will pick you up at the airport (usually for fair a fee). Or just take one of the taxis. Use Grab, Uber, or GoJek to compare fares to your place and use that to get a fair price.
*ProTip - the guys who brought my bags to the van were asking for a tip - as I didn’t know the bill value right away, they each insisted on 100k ($7) so thats what they got - each of the three guys lol. Tip them $1 which is 20k, each. That’s a good tip for 5 mins of work.
BTW GoJek is the biggest app in Indonesia - you may wanna download it before coming - it’s like the Indonesian Uber, UberEats, and more in one app. Order taxis, motorbike taxis, food, groceries, and even massage, yes massage.
Getting around in Bali - most go by motorbike. Or you can hail taxis or motorbike taxis from GoJek because they’re local cabs. Uber and Grab are frowned upon because they’re not local.
Which Area to Stay?
Okay so first of all - which area to stay?
Here’s the breakdown of the main areas of Bali.
We have Canggu, Seminyak Beach, Kuta Beach – in order of addending touristy-ness. What’s the difference and what’s the best?
In a nutshell, Canggu is the more quiet, chilled hip area. Seminyak is in the middle, still very hip with cool beach clubs – and Kuta is closer to ‘Cabo’ area - or the heart of tourist area, including the strip with the main biggest nightclub SkyGarden, which i’ll get into later.
All 3 are good options, depending what you’re looking for. And it’s only 45-mins to an hour depending on traffic from the heart of Kuta up to Canggu.
So first of all, Canggu. If you are a digital nomad, you may have heard of Canggu. It’s where the main coworking space is, Dojo, where all the organic cafes are (although there everywhere), and where lots of surfers are (although again they’re everywhere).
Very chilled (as is any beach town), and just packed with hip organic cafes, guesthouses – but of course with tons of local food options as well.
CoWorking Spaces / CAFES / COFFEESHOPS in Canggu - Click for full Digital Nomad Guide
- Full Guide with Air Conditioned Cafes in Canggu list
- It's more of an Organic Cafe scene than a coffee shop scene
- There are 2 Starbucks
Now in Canggu area there are TONS of villa options, as all over Bali.
And of course there’s a wide range of price options for entire villa homes villa homes -
If you look on Airbnb, [Airbnb Screenshare] tons of entire homes for $100 a night … all the way up to huge epic Villa Mansions for $300, $400, $500, $600 a night… But if you get a 4 bedroom huge crib and split that 4 ways, or even 8 ways, boom thats $50 a person or $100 a night a couple.
Or for a monthly thing, i know some ecommerce guys did this - if you wanna get a huge crib for a month with 4 guys, you can pay $400each or $1600 month total for an average villa
– or if ur all crushing it, throw down $1000 each and rent a huge dope ass mansion for $4000 a month in Canggu. That’s Canggu livin for ya!
The first villa we stayed at was Tamantis Villas - cool cuz it’s an open air setup which I kinda like – there’s not one main building – Main Kitchen and Living Room area area Open air – with the
This was kind of an open style, with a pool in the middle with 3 bedrooms surrounding, and big open air kitchen living room, huge TV, and even a pool table. This is for $350 a night. – 3 bedrooms 4 beds, up to 6 people so divide that by 6 people for $60/night or 4 ppl for like $90 a night.
Comes with full staff always available etc. They’ll cook breakfast for you, actually any meal if you let them know – even order food for you - anything. Super helpful. The rooms were super nice, even with outdoor bathroom and shower which was cool. Oh and only 2 mins walk from the beach. Good location kind of halfway from Canggu to Seminyak.
Basically, this was the first place we stayed in Bali, and it was amazing! I recommend it
Another villa we stayed at in Canggu was PaddyView villa - this was $250 a night – about 15 mins in from the beach and Dojo coworking space. Big kitchen living room where you can hookup youtube, pool, 2 bedrooms 3 beds upstairs, plus auxiliary room by the pool where I literally jumped FROM my bed into the pool each morning – which is something you can’t say every day! 😜 And of course, an amazing 360 view of the greenest rice paddies you have seen! Amazingly quiet area - was peaceful to spend silent day aka Balinese New Year there.
So the next day we got a Surf lesson in Kuta beach, which is one of the most popular things to do. We went to MySurf school and got a 2 hour lesson from Jacky. We all got up and it was great. He helped us out there in the water, gives you that extra push and everything. Plus you can chill there afterwards for drinks as it’s also a bar.
After your surf lesson if you are feeling some crazy night life – SkyGarden is the super club. Like multiple clubs stacked on top of each other, 4 Floors, 8 DJ’s – open late. You can even go before 9pm theres an all you can eat and drink buffet - but get there before 7 or the lines for the unlimited drinks are 30 mins.
Ok the next day we checked into Dasa Villa, which is at the heart of Seminyak area – on a side street right next to the W Hotel so you know its a great location. At 4 bedrooms and pool, huge kitchen living room and huge TV, it was $270 a night.
Includes free breakfast each day - and staff of 1 there from 7-5pm. Super clean place, Best part being the location though - close to the cool beach clubs and all the happenings of Seminyak. Tons of nice restaurants of course.
Later that day we checked our Dojo Coworking space, the main one in the area.
GYMS IN CANGGU
- Crossfit Wanderlust
- Biggest one I've seen ever
- Crossfit S20
- Crossfit Wanderlust
- Nirvana Strength
- Gymnastics, strength & flexibility classes
- Bali MMA
- Muaythai & BJJ classes, it's next to Wanderlust
- Canggu Nest
- Cross Training / HIIT Classes, new boutique gym, nice equipment, 2 kick bags, barbells, couple boxing classes a week, open gym hours
- Cheap, local, but mostly expats, smaller, free weights & machines, 1 punching bag, no powerlifting
- Canggu Studio
- Muay Thai, Boxing, Pilates, Yoga classes
Must eat Food
Indonesian Food / Warungs
- Warung Varuna
- Give Cafe Warung
- Cabe Cabean (Seminyak)
- Warung Heboh
- Warung Jawa Banyuwangi Echo
Western Food / Organic Cafes
- Some of my top faves that comes to mind are..
- Crate Cafe
- Motion Cafe
- Cafe Vida
- Alter Ego
- Peloton Supershop
- There are too many to name. See the Cafes in Canggu guide.
Street Food in Canggy
- Grilled Sate - at the intersection next to Deus
Best Luxury 5-Star Resort Experience:
- Hanging Gardens of Bali - starting at $600 a night - 5 Star
Hubud Coworking Space
- 30hr/mo for $60
- 100hr/mo for $195/mo
- $275 for Unlimited
- Community based - tons of events - just as much about networking and social life, as it is about productivity
- Rainy season & Low Season
- Busy Season
Things to do
- Bali has it all
- scuba diving, horseback riding, cooking classes, waterfall jungle treks, ATV riding, dirt biking, Bungee Jump, Coffee tasting, city tours, food tours’ etc.
- Surf lessons
- Gili Islands
- mushroom shakes beach party
- Nusa Penida - closest Bali auxiliary island
- trekking and crazy views for pics at Kelingking Beach
- Drive to Sanur beach for ferry - on Google Maps
- go early
- Balinese New Year
- Was the week of March 16th 2018
COST OF LIVING: My Life Example
Overall, I wouldn't want to live in Canggu for less than $2,000 a month, because I like to eat all the bomb western food and experience the nightlife. For the past few months I've been spending around $2,500-$3,000. You can see my daily life on Instagram. Below is a ballpark estimate of what I spend.
$900/mo: Food, coffee & drink: $30 a day (2 western 1 local)
- Western Food 2 meals a day w/ coffee or smoothie or green juice : $7-10 x 2 = $20
- 1 Local meal per day: $3
- 1 Coffee: $3
- / $26, rounded up to $30 per day.
$75/mo: Motorbike + 2 fills
$600/mo: Avg Rent: Solid room in good location Canggu
$120/mo: Coworking space part-time 100hr membership.
at Dojo and/or Tropical Nomads. You can do 50hrs each, which is what I’ll do next month.
- Example: 4 hrs a day 5 days a week for a month.
- or $80 for 50 hrs
- or $50 for 25 hrs
$400: A healthy Nightlife (1-2 nights a week)
- at popular bars & clubs, a beer is 50k, cocktail 100k, Like at La Favela, Mexicola, La Brisa, The Lawn, places like this. 5-10 drinks can be $30-$70. Let’s just say in the middle, you spend $50 for a night out. You do this 2 nights a week for $100 a week.
$120/mo: Crossfit unlimited, or $17 for a drop-in
- Bali MMA unlimited: $240, or $125 for a 10 pack or $18 for a drop-in
- Cheaper option: Victory Gym, $2/day or ~$30/mo.
/ ~ $2300 so far
$200: Random & regular life stuff: touristy stuff, shopping, taxis, laundry, massages, desserts, snacks, toiletries,
/ $2500 Average Monthly Living
+/- $500 or so based on your room, gym, coworking, nightlife, if you
You don't need to do anything beforehand to go to bali, other than show a return ticket. If you don't have one, you can check out onward.flights. For most countries, its free 30 days on arrival.
IF you want to stay for 31 to 60 days, go to the Visa On Arrival counter in the airport BEFORE entering immigration. At the VOA counter you simply pay 500k IDR ($35) for the actual visa sticker. They take any currency equivalent in cash, and give you rupiah change - but there is an ATM behind it if you need - see the sign.
THEN ,once inside, you can extend that visa sticker 60 days at the immigration office. It's as simple as arriving at the office, taking a queue number, filling out a form, and waiting in line. OR you can pay to have an agent do it for you, by taking your passport to one of the many 'Travel Agent' or 'Visa Extension Agent' offices that you see around.
After 60 days, you must fly to another country and come back if you wish to extend.
That's the current situation! As of early 2019. Pls update us in the comments if things change.