Lets be honest, I’d heard Bali was awesome. It’s not listed in the top 10 places to live, so I had to add it to the list and then compare it to the others. It turns out, five years ago, it would make every list. However, people read those lists, and the cost of living went up. Not too much, but enough for it to no longer be the very cheapest. I had something going for me though that wasn’t mentioned, new relaxed visa requirements that took effect in September, and a VERY VERY strong dollar against the IDR. When this was factored in, it put Bali square in the middle of the pack for savings. Now it was time to look at quality of life.
I am going to be traveling alone, but I make friends quickly, so if I don’t speak the language, a strong expat community is a MUST. Bali is only three hours from Australia and has an expat community going back 20 years. Cambodia and Vietnam really lack this infrastructure. That left Thailand and Bali. My friend Max, who lives in Bangkok discouraged me from making that decision, and Bali was left. It also has a relatively large gay community and a few gay clubs and watering holes.
Now there was one last thing to do to seal the deal. Facebook Graph Search. “Friends of My Friends who Live in Bali, Indonesia” was a winner. From there I started hitting up all my friends for introductions. It was time to get the real scoop from people on the ground. How much did things REALLY cost, right now, what was life like, what should I watch out for?