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Bali’s Business World

If your heart is set on working in a country that promises a vacation feeling, you’ll feel right at home in Bali. However, working in Bali nevertheless requires some thorough preparation. InterNations provides a brief introduction, including job hunting and business culture.
Indonesian rupiah are a colorful currency!

Be Sure to Be Prepared for the Local Business Etiquette

When you do business in Bali, be it for a special meeting or the daily grind, it is important that you are aware of how significant social stature is in Indonesia. In addition, Bali follows the Hindu and Muslim calendars; therefore it is of utmost importance that you remember the central holidays and festivals and do not arrange business meetings on these dates.

The following are some pointers about business etiquette in Bali:

  • Wearing appropriate business attire is a sign of respect. This goes for men and women alike. You may want to consider wearing a pant suit made out of light material, which will also make the heat more bearable.
  • A right-handed shake is considered the proper way of greeting both men and women in Bali. Additionally, the Balinese prefer a light-handed shake to a firm one.
  • Address your business partners by their title only and avoid using first names until your contacts offer you the opportunity to call them by their given names.
  • Handing out business cards when first meeting the other person as well as requesting theirs is considered a sign of interest. Please have these printed in English and Bahasa.
  • Be aware that it is not customary for Indonesians to talk “straight” (too much directness is often considered rude). In other words, it is wise to rephrase their sentences in order to ensure that you understood correctly and avoid any misunderstandings during business meetings.

Why You Need an NPWP in Bali

As of 1984, all those working in Indonesia are required to obtain a tax number, called an NPWP. The NPWP is an important number to get, as it may be necessary when applying for an Indonesian driver’s license or opening a bank account, among other things. Contacting the regional tax office in Denpasar is a good way to get your NPWP, to be informed about which tax form you are required to fill out, as well as how much you are required to pay. Bali’s resident tax payers are subject to taxes based on international income, while non-residents are only liable to pay based on Indonesia-wide income.

If you are working in Bali on an expat assignment, you do not usually need to worry about taking care of your taxes. Your employer will usually do this for you, either by including tax in your gross salary beforehand, or calculating your net pay and then adding this to your personal income tax. However, if you’d like to get a second opinion, you can also consult an international tax accountant. He or she will also be able to advise you on bilateral tax agreements and how they help foreign residents to avoid double taxation. Indonesia has a double taxation treaty with more than 57 other countries, among them Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


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."

Global Expat Guide