Bali Expat Chronicles

Bali Expat Chronicles #3: The Best Parts of Living in Bali

Since in my last Bali Expat Chronicle I shared the “hardest part” about being an expat, it’s only fair that I follow up with some of the BEST things about living on this paradise island! 

Despite all the frustrations and challenges of living in a foreign, developing country, the good definitely outweighs the bad and I am fortunate to be able to make Bali my home. 

Here are some of the things I love about living in Bali ♥

  1. The cost of living
    Compared to what I was paying for my shoebox apartment in NYC, I get so much more space here in Bali, for a fraction of the price.

    For the amount of money I was paying in NYC for my apartment, I can live like a queen here, with a private pool, cleaning service, a garden, and probably my personal chef! (but I don’t….)

  2. Endless possibilities of things to do – if you have seen any of my Bali travel guides, you may have noticed that there are pristine beaches, vast rice terraces, enchanting waterfalls, and world-class scuba diving that are all available in a day trip on the island.  And there are so many other attractions and activities like shopping, surfing, temple hopping, river rafting, volcano trekking, spiritual retreats, etc.

    Bali is a nature lover’s dream and offers just about everything you can think of.  

  3. Fresh fruits!  I must admit, I was not much of a fruits fan (other than blueberries) before traveling to SE Asia.  But out here, I was introduced to so many fruits that I had never even tried in the US, like passionfruit, dragon fruit, snakeskin fruit, mangosteen, and rambutan.  And they are SO GOOD!

    Sure, there are some fruits that are harder to get my hands on here like berries, peaches, and nectarines – but access to fresh and cheap fruits in the markets in Bali makes up for it! 

Mo eating fruit at the market in Ubud Bali Indonesia

4. No more harassment – perhaps some women can relate to this, but when I was living in NYC, I was constantly harassed by men everywhere I went. 

It didn’t matter what I was wearing – business suit or weekend sweats – men would whistle, make crude remarks, undress me with their eyes, or sometimes outright grab me.  

On two separate occasions, I have even caught men masturbating while watching me (in public!).  Talk about traumatic!

Since being in SE Asia, I never had men make any unwanted sexual advances or indecent gestures towards me, ever. 

Different women inevitably report different experiences of their travels – I have read reports of female travelers being assaulted by Balinese men – but I have never experienced this myself. 

The only “uncomfortable” situation I’ve experienced was men expressing interest in why I travel solo, why I don’t have a partner, why I am not married, or why I do not want children.  But I think these questions stemmed from genuine curiosity, without ulterior motives.

5.  The local people by far are my favorite part of living in Bali.  The people in Bali (and throughout Indonesia) are some of the warmest, kindest, and welcoming people I have met throughout my travels. 

Don’t get me wrong, the locals I met all over SE Asia were friendly and welcoming – but there is something special about the Indonesians – their genuine smiles and heartfelt gestures are truly one of a kind. 

In 2014, I landed my first job as a scuba instructor in Bali. I needed to find a home, so I drove around looking for homestays in a beach town called Sanur. 

I stopped my motorbike to ask locals on the side of the streets for any leads they may have in the neighborhood, and I met so many kind people who stopped what they were doing to make phone calls or go as far as drive me to their neighbors/friends. 

I couldn’t believe the lengths these people went to help me, a perfect stranger who randomly stopped them in the street! 

And that is just one example – I love the people of Indonesia, which is one of the reasons why I have made this special place my home for so long. 

exploring Nusa Lembongan in Bali Indonesia with Putu on motorbike

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