I came to Bali 5 times last year (2018) and absolutely fell in love with it – the lifestyle, the nature, the vibes. At the end of 2018, I decided I’d quit my job and move there. It’s now been one month since arriving and this has been my experience so far…
Everyone told me to do a 60 days visa, where you need to pay for a Visa On Arrival when you get to the airport. I took everyone’s word for it, and didn’t bother doing my own research. This is where I went wrong. I just assumed that Singapore would be a country that was included in this list. I learned the hard way that it is not. I had planned on staying in Bali for 60 days until a visa run back to Singapore, but I was told when I arrived that I couldn’t do this. Out of the list of 60+ countries that can do this, Singapore is not included. When I talked to Immigration, I found out that the only way to get more than 30 days is to apply for a visa beforehand at the embassy in Singapore. Because of this, I had no choice but to leave the country after 30 days.
Lesson: do ample research. Take others’ suggestions into consideration, but always still do your own research. CLICK HERE for all things Indonesia visas and read it thoroughly.
I underestimated the time it would take to find a place to stay. My friends had suggested that I book a place for a few nights when I arrived, and just look at different places in person. I ended up staying in 5 places in the first week, as I didn’t realise that, one, it would be so difficult to find a place that I liked within my budget and preferred area, and two, a lot of places didn’t have any vacancies. Canggu has become so popular recently, especially in the last year. They’re saying that it’s the new Kuta.
With moving around so much, it was so difficult to feel settled in. I found a place to stay for 3 weeks, but even then, they had me moving rooms every week or so, so I was living out of a suitcase. It was hard to get into the groove of things and to fall into a nice routine.
Lesson: remember that things always take longer than you expect, and plan for worst case scenario. Be flexible and stay open-minded.
I am super good at making friends wherever I go, so that hasn’t been an issue for me at all. CLICK HERE if you need tips on how to make friends. So, I was meeting new friends all the time, but I didn’t find friends who I could call up whenever I wanted to hang out or go for meals, or people who I could see every day. I’m an extrovert, so I love being around others and I feed off other people’s energies, but of course, new friendships won’t have that level of trust and connection right away.
Lesson: be prepared to be alone and get comfortable with being alone. Learn how to enjoy your own company.
I get harassed by locals every single day. Walking past construction sites are the worst. The cat-calling is annoying AF, but it can/does get worse with following and assault. I had a guy follow me (CLICK HERE for that story) and that was in broad daylight. I personally feel unsafe walking around alone at nighttime, and this is the first city that I’ve lived in where I’ve felt that way. I’ve heard tons of horror stories from women getting groped and/or robbed when driving their scooters at night. While tons of Balinese are absolutely lovely and a lot of the harassment comes from construction workers who are from other parts of Indonesia, you just need to be careful and alert.
Lesson: be aware of your surroundings at all times. Carry around pepper spray if you’d like some peace of mind. When walking home at nighttime, either carry a flashlight or turn on your phone’s flashlight, and walk towards the traffic, not with it. When walking home at night, I’ll call a friend to keep me company (using my earphones but with one in and one out so I can still use my phone’s flashlight and hear my surroundings at the same time).
I had heard from friends and online community groups to be careful withdrawing money from ATM’s because there are tons of cases of skimmers and people capturing your credit card info, creating duplicate credit cards, and stealing your money. I didn’t use any ATM’s at all. However, I was using open wifi connections for everything. I had heard in the past to be careful with open wifi networks because they’re really easy to hack, and I’ve been warned to never access my bank accounts or give out any personal information over these networks. I just kind of forgot and figured that nothing bad would happen to me. Well, I needed to book my flight tickets to Perth for my visa run that I wasn’t planning on, and I used my debit credit card over an open network at a cafe. A week later, when I checked my bank statements, I noticed charges for over $3000 that I didn’t make!! Thankfully, I called my bank and got everything sorted and my money was returned.
Lesson: be wary of open wifi networks, and always regularly check your bank statements!