Much has changed in Bali over the last 10 years. The development of hotels, swanky new restaurants and with social media at an all-time high, there’s no need to retire and live off the grid.
An expat is simply someone who chooses to make a life in a place other than where they were born. The life you make is purely your choice and, without doubt, life in Bali can be anything you want it to be. Choose to live a quiet life in the northern town of Lovina or choose the southern areas, where expat groups mingle and socialise on a daily basis.
My husband Rob and I find a balanced mix works well for us, we socialise when we feel like it and other times enjoy a quiet day/night in, cook at home and watch the latest Netflix release.
Life in Bali offers a rare blend of traditional, cultural Balinese and Western options. The dining scene is surprising, the tropical scenery of beaches and jungles is inviting and the friendly locals all welcome you to their island. Expats from all over the world call Bali home and it can be as easy as striking up a conversation in a café to meet people and discover things to do.
So, what do we do to keep busy here in Bali?
Bali as an island is relatively small, but there is still so much to see. There’s nothing better than impulsively packing the car and driving north. An hour away from Sanur, where we live, is Candidasa, a small fishing village and also the where the boat harbour Padangbai is located.
We’ve travelled by boat to Gili Trawangan and explored the Lombok islands. Drive further north to Tembok, where you’ll find oceanside resorts for around $100 a night. Head back south through the centre of Bali, past the lakes in Bedugul and the rice terraces of Tegallalang and the jungles of Ubud.
Whether it’s a day trip or a few days away from home, there is always something new to explore.
Here in Bali, new release movies are often available on DVD quickly but we still get to enjoy the big screen. A Gold Class cinema ticket is only $10 and food and drinks are cheap. Laze back in the plush recliner chairs, you even get a soft blanket!
The longer we live here, the more locals we befriend. Attending a wedding ceremony was a recent highlight for us. To be accepted into the community and able to be a guest at what is such a special time. A Balinese wedding ceremony is very different to what we’re accustomed to. Lots of colour and noise, with guests coming and going for up to three days at times. Food is plentiful and it’s a great opportunity to enjoy truly local food.
There are book clubs, sewing clubs and Mahjong clubs. Then there are groups who meet just to chat and meet new people. You’ll find them all quite easily, by using social media or chatting to other expats. We’ve found other expats always friendly and eager to share their knowledge and have made many new friends.
Recently, we celebrated Melbourne Cup in Bali style. By the beach, a tapas lunch, some cold drinks, maybe a few too many… With the time difference, the race was over by midday, but it’s just another reason to mingle with friends and have a good time. The best part is not having to worry about waking early the next day for work!