8 Best Places to Live in Bali

by Flora
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Considering moving to Bali? I’ve traversed this magical island, experiencing its diverse locales firsthand. From lively towns to peaceful retreats, I’ll guide you through the best places to live in Bali, offering insider tips and vital information. Let’s explore the wonders of Bali living together!

Imagine this: you wake up to the gentle sound of waves, spend your day exploring mystical temples, and cap it off by watching a fiery Bali sunset. Sound like paradise? Well, that’s because it is! I’ve journeyed through Bali, and let me tell you, it’s every bit a dreamland for adventurers, culture enthusiasts, digital nomads, and entrepreneurs alike.

In this guide, I’m taking you beyond the postcard-perfect spots to the real heart of the island. We’ll uncover Bali’s best places to call home, dive into the local way of life, find hidden treasures, and yes, figure out how to live the dream without emptying our bank accounts. With its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, and shimmering beaches, Bali stands out as one of the most beautiful places in Indonesia

If you’re toying with the idea of moving to Bali, I’ve got insider tips and secrets to share! We’re about to embark on a thrilling exploration of the best places to live in Bali. Ready to uncover your perfect corner in paradise? Let’s dive right in!

The best places to live in Bali right now
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Best Places to Live in Bali

Bali is a mosaic of unique spots, each perfect for different lifestyles. It’s among the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia. From beach bliss to cultural hubs, let’s quickly explore what each standout area has to offer.

  • Best beaches: If your perfect day starts and ends on the beach, Sanur is your go-to with its golden sands and calm waves.
  • Best for digital nomads: For a blend of work and play, Canggu offers the ideal balance with its dynamic co-working spaces and laid-back beach bars.
  • Rich in culture: Head to Ubud, known for its traditional crafts and dance.
  • Peace and quiet: For those seeking tranquility and breathtaking underwater beauty, Amed is the perfect escape.
  • Young and social: If trendy cafes, high-energy clubs, and chic boutiques sound like your scene, Seminyak is where you should be.
  • Dramatic landscapes: For stunning cliffs and some of the world’s best surf spots, Uluwatu has it all.
  • Beachside elegance: Nusa Dua boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Bali, paired with elegant resorts and top-notch dining.
  • Laid-back charm: If you’re in search of gentle seas and the chance to spot friendly dolphins, the relaxed atmosphere of Lovina is calling your name.

Each of these locations encapsulates a unique aspect of Bali’s diverse allure. Identifying what resonates with your lifestyle preferences will guide you to your ideal Balinese home.

1. Sanur

First up on our list of the best places to live in Bali is Sanur, an area that perfectly balances modernity and tradition. This seaside town is tranquility embodied, its laid-back beaches and Balinese houses brimming with tales from its days as a sleepy fishing village. You can feel the charm of Sanur, from its tree-lined paths to the warmth of sunlit sands.

Sanur is a delight for the senses. Take a leisurely bike ride along the beachfront promenade and marvel at the colorful traditional boats lining the shore. As dawn breaks, the beach takes on a new persona — peaceful, with locals and expats enjoying the calm waters, and traditional markets setting up for the day. The area’s cafes and restaurants buzz with a vibrant mix of faces; families, travelers, and groups of friends sharing hearty meals and stories from around the globe.

Opting for Sanur means selecting serenity, camaraderie, and ease.
Opting for Sanur means selecting serenity, camaraderie, and ease.

Other factors to consider living in Sanur

What makes Sanur stand out as one of the best areas to live in Bali is its blend of leisure and convenience. The residential options here cater to diverse preferences. You’ll find charming local houses tucked away in quiet alleys to luxurious modern villas with ocean views.

Living in Sanur means immersing yourself in a balanced lifestyle. It’s a place where every convenience is within arm’s reach — quality healthcare, international schools, and a range of dining and shopping venues. Yet, amidst these comforts, Sanur maintains its cultural charm. This is evident in the frequent temple ceremonies and traditional music echoing down the streets.

Choosing Sanur is choosing calm, community, and convenience. It’s about moving to Bali and becoming part of a vibrant neighborhood. I can’t forget my visit to Sanur in March 2023. The quiet, the friendly locals, and the relaxed lifestyle showed me why it’s one of the best places to live in Bali.

2. Ubud

Ubud is a remarkable exception in Bali’s typical landscape. Situated amidst lush rainforests and rice paddies, Ubud feels worlds apart from the coastal crowd and heat. Known as the “Cultural Heart of Bali,” it’s a breath of fresh spiritual and artistic air. The slightly cooler climate is a welcome change, and for someone like me who flourishes in fresher temperatures and verdant surroundings, it was love at first sight.

The town’s natural charm is an immense attraction. Encircled by serene forests, gentle hills, and peaceful rivers, Ubud is the best place in Bali for tranquility and rejuvenation. It’s a significant detour from the typical urban rush. The range of outdoor activities is extensive, from relaxed walks through rice fields to the thrill of white-water rafting down the Ayung River.

For serenity and rejuvenation, Ubud is the premier choice in Bali.
For serenity and rejuvenation, Ubud is the premier choice in Bali.

Ubud is also a top pick for digital nomads in Bali. The town welcomes remote workers with its many cafes, fast internet, and quiet corners for focusing on work. Co-working spaces like Hubud and Outpost aren’t just about getting work done. They’re places to meet people, learn new things, and feel part of a community. Life in Ubud means work-life balance, with plenty of yoga, healthy food, and art classes to keep you inspired.

And don’t worry, Ubud isn’t cut off from the world. It’s easier to get around than you might think. Good roads and shuttles make trips to places like Denpasar and Seminyak simple. Need to travel further? The Ngurah Rai International Airport is only an hour away, your gateway to Asia’s best destinations.

3. Canggu

No list of the best places to live in Bali would be complete without mentioning Canggu. This coastal village is rapidly becoming the go-to spot for digital nomads, surf enthusiasts, and those looking for a blend of traditional Balinese culture with modern comforts.

For digital nomads, Canggu is pure bliss. Reliable internet, co-working spaces like Dojo and Tropical Nomad, and a backdrop of lush landscapes and beach views make every workday feel inspired. There’s a world of leisure here, too. Surfing at Echo Beach, sunset drinks at beach bars, and yoga sessions overlooking the ocean are just a few ways to relax post-work.

With its vibrant cultural energy, Canggu is undoubtedly celebrated as one of Bali's most thrilling places to reside.
With its vibrant cultural energy, Canggu is undoubtedly celebrated as one of Bali’s most thrilling places to reside.

Canggu’s vibrant cafes, bustling local markets, and eclectic nightlife make it a hotspot for young professionals and creatives. What’s even better? Living here won’t break the bank. You can savor gourmet meals, rent a beautiful villa, and indulge in weekly massages without feeling the pinch.

But let’s talk real for a second. With all its buzz, Canggu also has its share of chaos. The traffic can test your patience, especially during peak hours. The streets are often crowded, and the constant hum of activities means it’s never really quiet. It’s a bustling area, so expect a level of noise that comes with a place brimming with life and movement. However, if you’re like me and thrive on excitement, these are just small trade-offs for living in an area that’s as alive at dawn as it is at midnight.

With its perfect mix of natural allure, a supportive environment for remote work, and a pulsating cultural vibe, it’s clear why Canggu is hailed as one of the most exciting places to live in Bali.

4. Uluwatu

When friends ask me for the ultimate relaxation destination in Bali, Uluwatu is always a top recommendation. This hidden gem boasts some of the most unspoiled beaches and clearest waters in Bali. It’s one of the best places for young people to live in Bali, particularly if you’re chasing a serene island atmosphere complemented by awe-inspiring sunsets.

Now, let’s explore why Uluwatu is a magnet for the youthful and bold. Apart from its untouched beauty, this spot keeps up with the best of them. We’re talking reliable, fast Wi-Fi and excellent co-working spaces, which makes it an ideal haven for remote workers and digital nomads. Imagine this: you’re wrapping up work in the morning, catching epic waves in the afternoon, and as evening falls, you’re savoring fresh seafood within earshot of the waves. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

Uluwatu, with its natural allure, contemporary amenities, and relaxed atmosphere, is my unequivocal favorite spot in Bali.
Uluwatu, with its natural allure, contemporary amenities, and relaxed atmosphere, is my unequivocal favorite spot in Bali.

Naturally, life on this part of the island has its unique rhythm. The coastal climate means the weather might surprise you. Expect glorious sunshine to be followed by brief, refreshing rain. But that’s all part of Uluwatu’s allure. While residing in this paradise might come with a slightly steeper price due to its popularity, the blend of work and fun, surrounded by stunning nature, is well worth the expense.

Choosing Uluwatu is choosing a life where work feels like play. It’s one of the best areas to live in Bali for people like me who love the idea of the world being their office, but also want to enjoy beach life. Uluwatu, with its natural beauty, modern perks, and chill vibe, is my top spot in Bali, hands down.

5. Nusa Dua

Next up on our list of Bali’s best places to live is Nusa Dua, a zone of elegance and tranquility. This area draws not only tourists but also residents who appreciate a life of luxury and calm. In Nusa Dua, typical days might involve morning strolls on immaculate beaches, afternoons on world-class golf courses, and evenings at upscale dining spots — a standard here.

Living in Nusa Dua means embracing an environment where quality meets comfort. Homes here are sanctuaries, offering luxury in a community that’s a mix of friendly expats and locals.

Residing in Nusa Dua involves embracing elevated expenses in return for unmatched luxury and convenience.
Residing in Nusa Dua involves embracing elevated expenses in return for unmatched luxury and convenience.

However, this upscale lifestyle comes with a price tag to match. The cost of living here is higher compared to other Balinese locales, reflecting the premium amenities and services available. From accommodation to dining to leisure activities, residents need to budget for the area’s exclusivity and opulence.

Despite the costs, the allure of Nusa Dua is its strategic location, offering quick access to Bali’s diverse experiences. Whether you’re seeking Ubud’s cultural richness, Seminyak’s dynamic nightlife, or Uluwatu’s surfing spots, all are conveniently nearby. Essentially, you have the best of Bali at your fingertips.

Dining in Nusa Dua is an experience, with venues like The Mulia known for their gourmet offerings. The area maintains its charm after dark, with nightlife options spanning from quiet beachfront cocktails to high-energy dance venues.

Living in Nusa Dua means accepting the higher costs in exchange for unparalleled luxury and convenience. It’s a trade-off that many find worthwhile, especially when some of Bali’s best places are just a short drive away. The beauty and elegance here are compelling, which makes it a top spot for those who seek a lavish lifestyle surrounded by Bali’s natural wonders.

6. Amed

Continuing our journey through the best places in Bali to live, we arrive at Amed. Amed, a string of seaside villages, draws divers with its colorful marine life and locals who maintain the old ways of Bali, seen in daily activities and fishermen heading out at dawn.

Life in Amed offers more than picturesque vistas. More people are choosing Amed for its calm, a welcome change from the high-speed rush of today’s world. With its evolving amenities, Amed provides a tranquil backdrop for remote work. Picture yourself enjoying fresh fish at a small beachside restaurant, then working peacefully to the rhythm of the waves. It’s this mix of simple living and modern needs that makes people want to call Amed home.

When pondering Bali residency, Amed is a must-consider option.
When pondering Bali residency, Amed is a must-consider option.

More unique features of living in Amed

The community atmosphere in Amed is both warm and welcoming. It’s a place where you quickly recognize familiar faces, and a sense of community is effortlessly nurtured. The locals are exceptionally hospitable, and with an increasing expat presence, there’s a fusion of cultural understanding and shared narratives. Additionally, the cost of living is still affordable, ensuring a relaxed lifestyle amidst Bali’s captivating beauty.

Making Amed your Balinese home means you’re adopting a lifestyle where daily relaxation and cultural experiences are the norm. It’s among the best places to live in Bali for those in pursuit of a calmer life, yet with access to modern conveniences. In Amed, surrounded by gentle waves and congenial residents, you discover a place that’s not merely a dwelling but a home with soul.

Thinking about where to live in Bali? You’ve got to consider Amed. It’s peaceful, yet modern, the locals make you feel like family, and there’s always something new to explore. It’s one of my favorite spots in Bali, and I just can’t recommend it enough.

7. Lovina

Thinking about living in Bali? Don’t miss out on considering Lovina. This peaceful coastal gem stands out with its quiet beaches and calm seas, nestled amidst Bali’s green landscape. From my first trip, it wasn’t just the scenery that captivated me, but also Lovina’s deep sense of calm and rich cultural vibe.

Lovina is all about community. The locals are genuinely warm, always greeting you with a smile and ready to help. It’s a unique mix here, with young innovators, creatives, and digital nomads drawn to the area’s tranquil yet energizing atmosphere. Whether you’re taking a walk along the gentle shores or enjoying your morning brew facing the sea, peace is a given.

Dreaming of Bali living? Lovina invites you to a culturally vibrant, gastronomically delightful life with a warm community embrace.
Dreaming of Bali living? Lovina invites you to a culturally vibrant, gastronomically delightful life with a warm community embrace.

Other reasons why Lovina is a top place to live in Bali

What’s great is that living here is affordable. You get a lot for your money, especially when it comes to the quality of life. There’s a good range of economical housing, and the markets are full of fresh, reasonably priced food. For those working online, Lovina is up to speed, with good co-working spots and solid internet.

But life in Lovina isn’t without its trade-offs. Its location is quite remote, far from the busy hubs like Canggu, which means fewer tourists and a lot more peace and quiet. This distance might be a challenge if you’re after a bustling social scene, but it’s perfect if you’re looking to escape the rush and have a space to breathe and relax.

For anyone dreaming of moving to Bali, Lovina is your gateway to a life filled with cultural depth, delicious cuisine, and a community that embraces you. It’s a compelling choice for those seeking quiet areas to live in Bali, especially digital nomads who desire a mix of cultural immersion, modern work facilities, and closeness to the soothing offerings of nature.

8. Seminyak

Next up, we’re exploring Seminyak, known for its vibrant atmosphere and stylish appeal. It’s often highlighted as one of the best places for young people to live in Bali, thanks to its bustling nightlife, trendy cafes, and dynamic crowd. The streets buzz with an energetic rhythm that’s contagious. Whether you’re a digital nomad, entrepreneur, or artist, you’ll find inspiration and excitement in every corner here.

However, with such vibrancy comes the inevitable hustle and bustle. Seminyak is famous, sometimes infamously so, for its traffic jams, crowded streets, and constant noise. This can be a significant shift if you’re coming from a quieter town or city. It’s a place that’s always on the move, which is fantastic for social butterflies, but maybe a bit overwhelming for those seeking a tranquil Bali experience.

Seminyak could be the ideal destination for your stay in Bali.
Seminyak could be the ideal destination for your stay in Bali.

Yet, despite these challenges, many find the lively environment worth it. After all, where to move to in Bali if not a place where the action is? Seminyak offers a unique blend of beach life and city amenities — you’re never far from a stunning sunset or a new networking opportunity. Plus, with its array of co-working spaces, staying productive is never an issue, even amidst the most hectic days.

Seminyak’s strategic location is a significant plus. Its proximity to the airport makes it highly convenient for frequent travelers. Additionally, its central location means other notable areas of Bali, like Canggu and Kuta, are just a short drive away.

So, if you’re the type who thrives in a lively, ever-changing environment and doesn’t mind a bit of chaos, Seminyak might just be the perfect spot for you in Bali. It’s a world where relaxation meets excitement, tradition meets innovation, and every day is a new adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Places to Live in Bali

Do you have further queries about where to live in Bali? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Bali’s best cities and areas.

Where do most foreigners live in Bali?

Foreigners often choose places in Bali that have beautiful nature, fun culture, and modern comforts. Many like Ubud for its quiet and artsy vibe. Canggu and Seminyak are favorites for younger people because of the cool beaches, cafes, and nightlife. Nusa Dua or Uluwatu are top picks for a fancy lifestyle with great beaches.

Can you live off $1,000 a month in Bali?

Living off $1,000 a month in Bali is feasible, though your lifestyle will need to be relatively modest. This budget should cover basic expenses such as local-style accommodation, food from local markets or warungs (small family-owned businesses), and limited local travel. However, for more comfort and leisure, including frequent dining at international restaurants, extensive travel, or renting in high-end neighborhoods, a higher budget would be necessary. If you’re seeking the cheapest places to go in Southeast Asia, Bali is a top choice. It’s a place that captures your heart without draining your wallet.

What are the disadvantages of living in Bali?

While Bali is often seen as a paradise for tourists and expats, living there comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some disadvantages of living in Bali:

  • Infrastructure Issues: Bali’s infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with its rapid growth in tourism. This can lead to frequent power outages, internet connectivity issues, and poorly maintained roads.
  • Traffic: Especially in areas like Seminyak, Kuta, and Denpasar, traffic can be chaotic. The narrow roads, combined with a high number of motorbikes and cars, can lead to frequent traffic jams.
  • Environmental Concerns: Bali has faced challenges with waste management. The rapid growth in tourism has led to increased waste, and not all of it is managed properly. This has resulted in issues like the “garbage emergency” on Bali’s beaches in recent years.
  • Rising Costs: While Bali is still more affordable than many Western countries, the cost of living has been rising, especially in expat-heavy areas. This includes rent, food, and other essentials.
  • Visa Regulations: Indonesia has strict visa regulations. Most expats live in Bali on tourist visas, which require them to leave the country every 60 days. While there are other visa options, they come with their own set of challenges and requirements.
  • Healthcare: While there are clinics and hospitals in Bali, they may not be up to Western standards. For serious medical issues, many expats choose to travel to Singapore or Australia.
  • Humidity and Heat: Bali has a tropical climate, which means it’s hot and humid year-round. This can be a challenge for those not used to such conditions.
Bali is a unique world, catering to a wide range of interests and preferences.
Bali is a unique world, catering to a wide range of interests and preferences.

What is the safest part of Bali to live in?

Safety can feel different for everyone, but places like Ubud and Sanur are known for being calm and having friendly locals. No matter where you live, it’s good to get to know other expats and locals to help keep your area safe.

Is healthcare easily accessible in Bali?

You can find good healthcare in big areas of Bali. There are big hospitals in places like Denpasar, Ubud, and Kuta that speak English and offer different services. For larger health problems, people often go to Singapore or Australia. Having good health insurance is very important to help pay for any care you might need.

Do digital nomads in Bali need to pay taxes?

Yes, digital nomads have to follow Bali’s tax rules. If you live in Bali for more than half the year, you have to pay taxes on money you make in and out of Indonesia. But tax rules can be tricky, so it’s best to talk to a tax person who knows about Bali’s laws.

What are the positives of living in Bali?

Living in Bali offers numerous advantages, and many expats and digital nomads are drawn to the island for various reasons. Here are some of the positives of living in Bali:

  • Natural Beauty: Bali boasts stunning landscapes, from pristine beaches to lush rice terraces and majestic volcanoes. The island’s scenic beauty is undoubtedly one of its biggest draws.
  • Affordable Cost of Living: While prices have risen over the years, Bali still offers a relatively low cost of living compared to many Western countries. This includes affordable housing, food, and transportation.
  • Vibrant Expat Community: Bali has a thriving expat and digital nomad community, especially in areas like Ubud and Canggu. This provides opportunities for networking, socializing, and collaboration.
  • Diverse Food Scene: From traditional Balinese dishes to international cuisine, Bali offers a wide variety of dining options. The island has seen a surge in health-conscious eateries, vegan restaurants, and cafes.
  • Wellness and Health: Bali is a hub for wellness activities. From yoga retreats to meditation workshops and holistic healing centers, there are numerous options for those seeking physical and mental well-being.
  • Flexible Accommodation Options: Whether you’re looking for a beachfront villa, a cozy homestay, or a modern apartment, Bali offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences.
  • Adventure and Activities: Beyond the beaches, Bali offers a plethora of activities, from trekking up Mount Batur to diving in the crystal-clear waters of Nusa Penida.
  • Climate: Bali has a tropical climate, which means warm weather year-round. While it does have a rainy season, there are plenty of sunny days to enjoy.
  • Accessibility: Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport connects the island to many major cities around the world, making it relatively easy for friends and family to visit or for expats to travel.

Recap: Bali’s Best Places to Live

Bali is a world of its own, offering something special for everyone. Ubud is perfect for those who love culture and wellness, while Uluwatu’s beaches are a haven for surfers. Canggu and Seminyak are full of life, great for people who love a fast-paced environment, though they’re quite busy and noisy at times.

If peace and quiet are what you’re after, Sanur, Amed, and Lovina are ideal. They’re calm and perfect for a laid-back lifestyle. For a touch of luxury, Nusa Dua and Uluwatu have it all, with stunning views to match.

Moving to Bali means embracing a whole new way of life. It’s not just about finding a place to stay; it’s about finding a place where you feel you truly belong. Each area has its unique vibe, so consider what’s important to you in a home. Whether it’s the buzz of the city, the quiet of a small village, or the rhythm of the ocean waves, Bali has a spot that’s just right for you. Here, you’re sure to find a place that captures your heart and feels just like home.

The best places to live in Bali for all types of travelers
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