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Is Bali Living Up To The Expectations Of Digital Nomads’ Dreams?

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For nearly a decade Bali has been one of the world’s leading destinations for digital nomads.

With good WiFi, affordable accommodation, and flexible visa options, the Island of the Gods has served tens of thousands of digital nomads very well indeed.

But some are starting to feel that post-Covid, the vibe is starting to change. 

Woman working on laptop in  Bali

The rise of the digital nomad has been a rapid one, offering people the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere in the world, set their own schedules, and live out their dreams. The lifestyle has been irresistible to many people.

Especially during the pandemic, when remote working became the norm, even more people were able to establish a way of working online that enabled them to be anywhere in the world. 

@mozzarellapapi Would you be a digital nomad? 👀 #digitalnomad #balilife #sgtiktok ♬ original sound – Eddie – Edo

Bali has been undergoing a serious tourism development boom. Whether in Canggu or in Uluwatu, around the rice paddies of Ubud, or even on the outlying island of Nusa Penida, tourism infrastructure has been cropping up all over the place.

With local leaders, communities, and even long-term expats on the island raising concerns about over-tourism, and as tensions have even risen on the island following a sharp increase in the number of foreigners behaving badly earlier in the year, has the vibe started to change for digital nomads in Bali?

@charlie__chang Being a digital nomad at 22 is crazy 🤯 #digitalnomad #remotework #bali ♬ original sound – Charlie Chang

It only takes a cursory glance at the Instagram stories of Bali community accounts to see that opinions are divided as to whether Bali is a digital nomad heaven or hell right now.

Some agree that digital nomads on the island, who are residing in the province, however temporarily, have no right to complain or moan about traffic queues, rising accommodation rates, construction, or even trash fires.

Others feel that their vested interest in the island as their new home means that they can voice their concerns about the lay of the land. 

A series of interviews conducted by The West Australian found just a mixed bag of responses from digital nomads who were asked about whether their experience of life on the island lined up to their dream.

Dan Wisely, originally from Cape Town, told reporters about how he felt when he first arrived in Bali. 

Worsely shared, “I remember coming here the first time and feeling super inspired. All my friends here were doing something really cool with their lives.”

He added,”There were artists and musicians and writers; everyone was making it work on the island by doing something creative. I think people come here and something awakens in them.”

He noted that he felt “validated” and that being free from the pressure of the 9-5 means that he could really embrace his creativity.

However, he was open about how lonely island life can feel and how difficult it can be to find the right crowd amongst the digital nomad and expat community. 


For others, freedom has been something that has become a double-edged sword. Infrastructure in Bali’s biggest tourist resorts is catered towards tourism, a free, fun, and let loose kind of atmosphere structured towards people who have put their responsibilities on hold for a week or two.

But as a digital nomad, the responsibilities still follow along when the formal office is left behind. 

This has led to a whole swathe of people in the expat community who are, as described, living the Peter Pan lifestyle. Toby Strauss, another digital nomad based in Bali, shared his feelings with reporters. 


Strauss said, “Eighty to ninety percent of people come here with the sole intent of seeking out maximum pleasure. Surfing, eating good food, staying in nice places, partying, meeting people. It’s why there are all these clubs and bars and restaurants all popping up”.

He continued, “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great life here. But being here long term, that pursuit of pleasure can become an addiction in a way. It’s never quite enough.”

For those with an ear on the ground, it does feel like the vibe in Bali is changing for digital nomads.

As the first and even second wave of digital nomads are seeing for themselves the impacts of tourism development on the island, some are starting to get itchy feet and are looking for the next best digital nomad hotspot for them. 


But as Bali continues increasing flight availability and opening up more visa options for high-earning remote workers and investors, a new wave of digital nomads won’t be far behind.

And these newbies in town will too surely feel the creative juices start to flow and tap into all the incredible opportunities the island has to offer.

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Friday 10th of November 2023

Some move on elsewhere. Some choose to go elsewhere. So what? There'll still be DNs that will come here. Besides, tourism excluding them is growing and they're a minor percentage.


Sunday 12th of November 2023

@Shorty, true dat


Wednesday 8th of November 2023

From my experience - which has been traveling to & living/ working temporarily in bali from Jimboran for the past 18 months - its still has lots to recommend it. Over tourism is perhaps a problem ; the island is claimed to have in excess of 5000 hotels ??? As is foreign tourists behaving (e.g arrogant ly & aggressively on the roads )

But overall , id still rate it as up there as an exotic place providing that mix of quality ligestyle & work opportunity

Ed williams

Sunday 5th of November 2023

It's only a matter of time before the world caves in and you realize you cannot take and take and take without giving back to the community.

Redmond Deter

Sunday 5th of November 2023

No mention of paying taxes.


Sunday 12th of November 2023

@Alex, there are very few approved visa agents by the local government. Who said you need to fly every 60 days abroad, you can renew locally it if you have first applied a B211A single entry category from abroad. You can renew it while in Indonesia, with an approved visa agent that can stay legally up to a total of 180 days. Do your research !!!

Thailand is still better controlled. BULL Sheet. Then stay in Thailand where easy lose women would make old frogs feel better. Sigh.


Wednesday 8th of November 2023


Many years ago, young people from other countries were not allowed to work here in any way. They were very strict about it. A work permit was even incredibly difficult to keep alive even with a reputable local company behind you.

These days where I stay in Bali, it has become a Slavic refugee camp. Full of low class, tattooed, long haired, barefoot, disrespectful morons who have no problem filling their bags at the local shops and kind of forgetting to pay. Or maybe doing some yoga and having a giant smoothie and leaving without paying. Very common. I have a young Bali friend whose job it was at the Yoga Barn was to chase after people who haven't paid.

I'm going to guess that 30% of them have expired Visas. Belarus will not renew a passport from overseas now. Ukraine is calling out the young men who ran away and demanding they return.

It is a privilege to stay in a tropical place that is so cheap. Even with the costs of your visa, you know it is cheaper than where you came from.

Please go to Thailand. I would if I was doing the DM thing. Cheaper all around. Better medical, cleaner and better food.


Wednesday 8th of November 2023

@Alex, yes ive personally found the visa thing there pretty limited & restricted ; ie 30 tourist & extension visas as u say From my limited experience trying to gain an extened stay in bali - there was not many options at all


Tuesday 7th of November 2023

@Redmond Deter, or being massively overcharged by corrupt "Visa Agents". Or having to fly to Singapore every 60 days, to arrange your own visa at an inflated price, while paying ridiculous flight and accommodation expenses in Singapore. Things are better in Thailand where its all better controlled. But the fact is that the majority of "digital nomads" talk crap about their earnings. They always have done.


Sunday 5th of November 2023

Quote "For those with an ear on the ground, it does feel like the vibe in Bali is changing for digital nomads."

In my area the "vibe" started fine but is increasingly dominated by uncollected trash, noisy motorbikes, burning trash, uncontrolled rice field developments, rowdy locals. I know it is "my fault" and "this is Bali", but maybe the authorities can wake up and look at the monster they are creating.