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Expat Info Bali: Health, Education & More

For many expats, embracing the Balinese lifestyle means exchanging their life in a crowded city with cool winters for a tropical island where the sun always shines. InterNations helps you figure out what you need to know about living in Bali, from local culture to health tips and transportation.
If you play by the local rules, life is very safe in Bali.

Staying Safe and Healthy in Bali

First and foremost, it is important to mention that Bali is a fairly safe location. In the past, terrorist organizations sometimes targeted hotels, resorts, and other venues frequented by foreigners, but there have been no major incidents in Bali since 2005. Petty theft is the most common sort of crime, but most expats in Bali have never experienced any sort of issues with the local population. Be aware, however, that regardless of your nationality, you will be subject to Indonesian law if you are accused of a crime while residing in Bali. It is very important to never leave your bags and suitcases unattended, since drug dealers may try to smuggle narcotics into the luggage of unaware travelers.

You should also keep in mind that Bali is located in a region with volcanic activity as well as a subtropical climate, meaning average temperatures are 30°C and up. Register with your embassy or consulate-general in Bali, just in case of emergency, and take good care of yourself during the hot hours of the day.

Although there are no direct health hazards, certain vaccinations are recommended if you plan on living in Bali for a longer period of time. In addition to standard immunizations (DPT, MMR), these include hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, Japanese encephalitis, and rabies. Contact your general practitioner at home for information regarding how far in advance you need these done.

Most medication can be purchased over the counter in Bali without a doctor’s prescription. Pharmacies in Indonesia are called apotiks. If you are required to take certain medications while living abroad, be sure to see your doctor before you leave your native country to get the medical name for the drug you need, as it may be sold under a different brand name in Indonesia!

No Shortage of International Schools in Bali

Due to the language barrier and the sometimes lower standards of local education in Indonesia, most expats in Bali prefer to send their children to private international schools. The demand for international schools in Bali has grown in recent years, partly due to an increase in expats as well as wealthier Balinese wanting their children to get an international education.

Most of the international schools in Bali use English as a medium of instruction, so your child should ideally have at least some basic English skills. If you prefer an alternative holistic type of education, Bali also has international schools and preschools based on the Montessori and Waldorf teaching methods.

The Most Distinguished International Schools in Bali

Traditional Bemo or Comfortable Bus?

Getting around Bali can sometimes be seen as a little adventure. Although private car ownership has increased somewhat in the past decade, it is more common to use public transportation, especially considering that many of the roads are unfinished.

Public transportation in Bali is composed of various smaller motor vehicles called bemo, a kind of minivan or minibus that can sit a very cramped 12 people. Bemos are not only relatively inexpensive and efficient, but they are also a great way to get in touch with the local population.

If you are planning on going longer distances, it is wise to take a regular, larger bus, a special shuttle for tourists (e.g. by Perama Tour), or a car. When you drive, please be aware that not all roads are paved, that there are lots of motorcycle drivers, that road safety awareness tends to be low, and that some places are simply not accessible with any kind of vehicle. Whatever you do, please remember that the time it takes to get from A to B may be significantly higher than in your country of origin.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Ben F. Bagley

"The mututal support between InterNations members is really impressive. Glad to be part of it!"

Veronica Stinson

"Coming from Montreal/Canada, I was searching for a French-speaking housekeeper. Advice from other Bali expats helped me to find the right person."

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