During the two years Rob and I have lived in Bali, my camera has never been so busy. Expat life here has definitely been an eye-opener; the delightful people, the breathtaking scenery, the vibrant ceremonies… Every day there are so many photo worthy moments. Here are just a few of my favourites.
Our life in the seaside town of Sanur is much simpler than our previous one on the Gold Coast—and a lot more affordable too. You can dine out in local warungs for just a few dollars, indulge in a relaxing foot massage for $5, utilities are low and home help will run you about $25 a week for a maid or $20 a week for garden and pool maintenance.
Our villa isn’t big, but we love it. We enjoy home-cooked meals on the barbecue and night swims in the pool. We were lucky enough to score this villa newly built and it has two-bedrooms, an enclosed kitchen, dining and lounge room and a lovely pool area.
Our villa is situated away from Sanur’s tourist strip in a local neighbourhood. At the end of our lane are watermelon farms and rice paddies. We rent it at a cost of $13,000 a year (rents here are typically paid annually—this works out at $1,083 a month) and it’s partly-furnished. You can see my smiling Chillidog (above, on the right) here as he photo-bombed this picture. He’s a rescue dog who found his way to us when he was only five weeks old and is now a very spoilt Bali dog and part of our family.
Traditions and Culture
By far the most amazing thing about moving to Bali has been the way the locals have accepted us into their community. Having holidayed in Bali over the years we’d made some friends but now we feel like we’re much more a part of their lives. We’ve even had the honour of attending wedding ceremonies for newfound friends.
A Balinese wedding can generally continue for up to three days, with friends and family coming and going the whole time. They’re bright, noisy affairs—and a whole lot of fun too.
Out and About
There are over 17,000 islands in the Indonesian archipelago—many of them uninhabited—and we have plenty of them on our wish list, including Flores, Java and Lombok. We’ve managed to see much of Bali so far, doing many a road trip around the island’s coast and also across the mountainous centre.
A recent trip to the nearby Gili Islands—a two-hour, fast boat ride away—has been a definite highlight. We took boat trips out on shimmering clear waters, swam with sea turtles and marvelled at underwater sculptures of human figures designed to become a coral reef over time.
The Gili islands remain motor-vehicle free, with the only means of transport being horse and carriage or bicycle—just recently electric bikes have been introduced too. The islands (there’s three of them: Gili Air, Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno) are small so it’s easy and safe to walk anywhere you need to go and the many beach bars provide perfect rest-stops to rehydrate and take in the glorious views.
Sunrises and Sunsets
Living in Sanur, close to the beach, means I have the opportunity to see the most amazing sunrises. Early morning just as dawn begins is my favourite part of the day. When the streets are still quiet and the walk to the beach still cool. At about 6.30 a.m., the sun begins its ascent and the colours are just amazing; oranges and reds over the blue of the ocean. I have so many sunrise photos, it was hard to choose just one…
An added bonus for us, in under 30 minutes we can drive from our home in Sanur to our favourite bar in Seminyak, La Plancha, to watch an amazing sunset. Sitting on colourful beanbags with our feet in the sand, it’s the perfect place to unwind with a cocktail as the sun goes down…