Digital Nomad Guide: Bali, Indonesia

November 20, 2018

Montreal State - Bali

It’s time for my forth digital nomad guide! If you missed the previous one, click here to read about Vancouver.

bali, indonesia

Period: February 2nd to February 25th, 2018
Community: Hacker Paradise in Ubud
Goals: Focus on my meditation practice and rest

Since visiting Tokyo back in 2010, I have been dreaming to make it back to Asia. There’s something special about this part of the world that truly resonates with me. After seeing so many beautiful photos of Bali on Instagram, I decided to make it my longest stop during my winter getaway.

traveling to and around bali

Montreal State - Traveling to Bali

Going to Asia can be quite an adventure so I tried to break it up to get some rest. I booked a multi-city flight ticket from Montreal to Bali with a short layover in Vancouver and a full night stay in Hong Kong. It cost me about $682 and I didn’t bother using any points for it. The hotel in Hong Kong cost me $83 and I probably payed $20-30 of bus & taxis to get around.

When I arrived in Bali, I picked a hotel that offered free shuttle back & forth and also hopped on a free shuttle to Ubud for my main stay. After that, I started using Uber & GO-JEK to get around the island up until my departure, with the most expensive ride being maximum $10. GO-JEK was my all time favourite! For about $1-2, I could get anywhere with the help of a scooter driver. Taking all the shortcuts made each journey quite fun. 🛵

I also rented my own scooter in Canggu for about $10 for 24 hours after taking a quick course from a guy I found on Facebook. I had a blast driving it across the rice fields and getting to multiple beach areas. Crossing busy intersections was quite something though!


Montreal State - Staying in Kuta, Bali

I spent the first two nights in Kuta minutes away from the Denpasar airport at The Vira Bali Boutique Hotel. I loved taking this small vacation before moving on to my main destination. It was the perfect location to get through my jet lag while getting accustomed to Indonesia. I paid a little less than $160 for a huge room with balcony, pool, daily breakfast & afternoon tea. From there, it was super easy to visit popular areas like Seminyak for a cheap cab ride.

Montreal State - Staying in Ubud

After a dreamy weekend, I moved on to Ubud. I stayed at Kertiyasa Bungalow in a huge room almost bigger than my condo. I’m not sure what the price was as it was included in a package with Hacker Paradise, the digital nomad community I was joining in Ubud. I payed $1000 which included the shuttle from Denpasar airport, the room, a 24/7 coworking space access, a sim card and weekly lunch. For Bali, it’s a bit overpriced but since it’s being charged to my company, it was fine.

I would 100% go back to Kertiyasa for its amazing location. It was a beautiful & short walk away from so many places I loved and visited daily. Plus, the most daring monkeys from Monkey Forest would come all the way to us. 🐒

Montreal State - Staying in Canggu

After Ubud, I spent a final eight days in Canggu. The area is pretty popular with plenty of surfers & hipsters all around. After chatting with a few people already staying near Echo Beach, I chose Surf Motel. It cost me about $30 a night for a modern room with daily free water bottles. I bumped into the awesome owner a few times on the rooftop and he treated me with free smoothies in the morning.

After talking with people who stayed in Bali for months, it became clear that you can find a nice hotel room and stay there for as low as $600 per month. It’s all about dealing a fair price in person once you find an area that works for you.

wifi & sim cards

As mentioned earlier, I received a sim card as part of my Hacker Paradise package. In general, the cards are super cheap ($5-10) & easy to find.

Wifi is also quite easy to find everywhere which makes Bali one of the best locations for digital nomads.

coworking spaces

In Ubud, I worked from Outpost as part of my HP package. The coworking space was always busy and offered plenty of activities, on top of its pool access nearby. I liked stopping by for a little bit of work, especially since I could get a fresh coconut delivered to my seat.

In Canggu, I often met up with friends working from Dojo Bali. The place looked more exciting than Outpost to me but I hardly had any work by then that it didn’t make sense to pay for access.

eating in & out

Montreal State - Eating in Bali

Forget about cooking while staying in Bali unless you’ve rented a villa to yourself. I ate out 99% of the time, just like everyone else around me. If there’s one place where that’s okay and actual healthy, it’s in Bali.

Food is incredibly cheap all around the island and to say that it’s fresh is an understatement. There’s no prep done other than in big restaurants but I loved it that way. Everyday, I would bring a book to a small warung of my choice and listen to the cook cut & prepare the ingredients of my most likely vegan meal. I would enjoy every bite of it and make sure to let them know how good it was before going on with my day.

I found that my intermittent fasting lifestyle was perfect for this daily meal out.

staying active

Montreal State - Working out in Bali

Forget about regular gyms in Bali. It became a running gag after visiting hotels & asking if they had a gym to get answered yoga?

While I was in Ubud, I used my jump rope for quick workouts in the morning. I also took long walks & hikes across the town almost everyday. There was a pretty popular studio named Yoga Barn nearby but I felt zero inspired to practice yoga. I did visit it a few times to try different practices of meditation & sound healing and that, was amazing.

Once I moved to Canggu, I suddenly gave in to yoga. I tried Hatha, which I kind of hated and then discovered Yin. After that, I was sold and went for 3 more sessions at the beautiful studio The Practice. Echo Beach is also awesome for new surfers so don’t miss out on a lesson! It kicked my butt but I loved it.

anything else?

If you have a lot of work to get done while visiting, try to find a place that offers both coliving & coworking near Ubud. Chances are, it will include shuttles & a sim card to keep things really simple for you on top of meeting a bunch of nomads.

If you have more free time on your hands like I did, take the time to get around & stay in multiple towns. There are so many things to do all around Bali! I liked taking time to meditate on my own for a few weeks in Ubud & then getting extra social [tipsy] with new people in Canggu.

Bali is my number one location for long term remote working. I plan on staying there for a minimum of two months each time I visit, and part of that visit will be during rain season for its calm vibe.


Feel free to ask me anything about my stay in Bali below!

Written by Sofia Shendi who lives and works in Montreal, as the CTO of Tastet. Join me on Twitter

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