While Bali has been a hotspot on the tourist map for decades, it’s still managed to retain much of its distinctive culture and traditions. The Balinese form of Hinduism is unique to this treasure of an island in that it was created blending animism, Buddhism, and ancestral worship, with an Indian form of Hinduism. Every day you will see the local women traditionally dressed in beautiful lace tops and long skirts, walking to the temple with baskets of handmade offerings (canang sari) on their heads. Once there, they perform their daily rituals.
There is a mysticism in Bali that is unlike most other islands in Southeast Asia. Karma rules their daily lives, so there is a constant need to lead a balanced life and be a respectful person. There is a Zen-like air that seems to permeate the atmosphere. Maybe it’s the wafting scent of incense that fills your senses as you walk through the streets, the women sprinkling holy water at the shrines, or the gamelan music playing at every household and temple that contributes to this heady sense of being in a trance. Whatever it is, it's beautiful.
Living in Bali can afford you a lifestyle that you might never have at home, and at a fraction of the cost. Dreaming of a two-bedroom villa with a pool? Well, in Bali it can be a reality from as little as $700 a month.
Many of the expat areas have all of the same modern amenities as you’d find at home…so moving here won’t cause too much shock to your system. A full-time cleaning woman, whose services include grocery shopping, will cost $140 a month…not bad for such a luxury. That still leaves plenty of cash for all of the spa indulgences that abound on the island; or a road trip to the black sand beaches of Amed; or even a few adventures farther afield. Overall, a great lifestyle can be had in most places for $1,900 a month.
Another benefit of living in Bali is that it’s a small enough island to explore, but big enough that there’s real diversity, which keeps day-to-day life interesting. One day you could be gliding a bicycle down an active volcano and end up in the heart of lush emerald rice paddies, the next you could be scuba diving a shipwreck or chasing the elusive—but enormous—mola-mola fish, which can weigh as much as 2,205lb. How about learning to meditate in Ubud or taking a surf lesson in Kuta or Uluwatu? The possibilities are endless.
Bali’s central location in Indonesia also makes it an easy hopping off point for travel. Take a 90-minute flight to the volcanic island of Flores and then catch a boat to the islands of Komodo and Rinca to see the magnificent Komodo Dragons. Another 90-minute flight will bring you to Java to visit the awe-inspiring temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. The Ngurah Rai International Airport services 57 cities with direct flights; so besides the other 6,000-plus inhabited islands to discover within Indonesia, destinations like Japan, Australia, China, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines are easy to explore.