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Stephen: Life in Bali

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Bali makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Bali, etc.

I am an English teacher from Swansea, UK and before coming to Bali I had lived in Spain and Italy for a total of 3 years. I came to Bali in September 2009 as I was offered a job here and had always wanted to visit so it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started my blog back in June 2010 for a couple of reasons. The first was because a friend at work had started one as a kind of travel and photo diary for his friends and family back home and I thought it seemed like a good thing to write. Another thing that made me want to write was that in Bali, it is very easy to pay too much for things and be tricked by street hawkers and so on – as I had learnt about how to avoid so many of these scams and other problems tourists might encounter, I thought I should put it down in writing so people can see it for themselves before coming as there is a dearth of good quality information about Bali on the internet.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Tell us about the ways your new life in Bali differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

The main things I find are that the traffic and the heat affect your schedule – the traffic is so bad that some days you just don’t want to go certain places because you know you will get stuck. Also, combined with the traffic problems is the heat – if you go out from 11am-4pm it can be intensely hot and really uncomfortable (especially if you’re stuck in traffic!). You have to think about these things when you plan your day and it can be quite annoying to be honest!

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Bali? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

I was as prepared as I could be but there’s so much that you just have to learn the hard way (even after reading my blog!) Maybe it would have been better to arrive at the start of the dry season as it helps to acclimatize; I came at the start of the wet season and found it very difficult for the first few months.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Nope. Too many to write down!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Bali?

  • Check property prices of the exact places in Bali you want to live in – the nicest areas are an awful lot more expensive than most other places, and you don’t want to live in Denpasar!
  • If you have kids, have a look at the prices of schools – international schools are very expensive and state schools are cheap but terrible quality (I know, I’ve worked in them!)
  • Find out all the information about visas as these are a real hassle – they can cost a lot of money and the rules are very strict so look into this carefully.

How is the expat community in Bali? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

I don’t mix with them much as I’m not here for that. A lot of expats here come to retire so there’s not much in common but there are lots of young people passing through all the time.

How would you summarize your expat life in Bali in a single, catchy sentence?

Fun but not without its frustrations ;-)

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."

Global Expat Guide