The Practicalities of Moving to Bali: A Primer for Life in the Tropics

The Practicalities of Moving to Bali: A Primer for Life in the Tropics


The tropics. Paradise. Exotic. Asian women. Surfer boys. Love in the tropics. Retiring in Asia. Mai Tais. Bali. What great images! These words are some of the top search terms that people have used on the way to accessing my writings, websites, blogs, magazine articles and podcasts about life in Indonesia, Bali, Sumbawa, and Papua. Over the past 19 years of writing about life in Bali, I’ve received thousands of emails asking me about the practicalities of moving here. Some of the letters have been quite specific like, “Can I bring my dogs to Bali?” Some have been general like, “I’d like to move to Bali, please tell me how to go about it.” Some have been vague like, “What’s paradise like? I’m moving there.”

I’ve tried to answer all of these questions and queries, but just as I answer one group of letters another group arrives with pretty much the same questions. It’s this situation that’s led me to write this eBook about life in Bali. 

Why write an eBook about this?

There is an incredible amount of information floating around both in print and on the Internet about living in Indonesia, but it’s generally fragmented, and a lot of it is out of date. A popular website about living in Indonesia has information from 2004. Things change quickly in Indonesia these days, and if you’re planning on moving to Bali, it’s best to have the most recent information available. I’ve chosen the ebook format, because it allows me to collect everything in one place, and to publish it while the information is still fresh.

Try using a paperback guidebook. They have a lot of uses: they contain a lot of information about culture and background and prices for hotels and transport and food; they give you medical information and photos; you can carry them in your backpack. But, the main problem with the traditional travel guidebook is that they age quickly, and the information is written for tourists, not for potential residents.

I’ve had a home in Bali since 1989 and have lived on several other islands in addition to Bali. During this time, I’ve built five houses, had four children, and taught in three schools around the country. The information in this book is based on my experiences over almost two decades of living and working in Indonesia. In 128 pages, I cover the basics of what life is like in Bali on a daily basis – health, communication, finances, culture, visa regulations, the legalties of purchasing property, education, shopping, love and marriage, and much more. You will find:

  • Chapter 1: Moving to Asia: Why Leave Home?
  • Chapter 2: Living in Bali: The Practicalities
  • Chapter 3: Romance in the Tropics
  • Chapter 4: Children and Schools
  • Chapter 5: Housing: Buy, build or rent?
  • Chapter 6: Property Issues
  • Chapter 7: Visas
  • Chapter 8: Bali: The Regions
  • Chapter 9: Balinese Culture
  • Chapter 10: Employment
  • Chapter 11: Bali Resources

I’m continually amazed by the number of people that show up in Bali and expect to live a life of ease in paradise all based on one or two tourist trips. Daily life in Bali is far different from the tourist experience: a lot better in many ways, but also hectic and trying in others. If you are planning on moving to Bali, or thinking about moving to Bali, you can download this book for free and find out what’s in store.

A recommendation from a reader:

“Bruce Pohlman’s e-book has already been a godsend to my wife Elsha and me. He writes in an inviting and colorful way. He covers the GENERAL: culture shock, the wonders and risks of  living overseas, to the SPECIFIC – costs of living, housing, medical issues, visas, employment. He even includes much PERSONAL info: what expats are like, why he left a job in San Francisco and ended up in Bali, personal and family relationships. And much more; anything you might want to know is in his e-book, with links to helpful websites throughout. We’ve used it to guide us countless times; it’s like having a trusted uncle who’s an expert. This book should become a classic about Bali.”

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