What They Don’t Tell You About LIVING in Bali, Indonesia Pt. 1

This is a hard article to write. If you plan to live on Bali, over six months, then you deserve to know the bad as well as the good.

If you’re looking for an article with chicks on swings above a ricefield or a swanky pool villa, this ain’t it.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Bali. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have visited as many times as I did. The first time, I went to Bali was back in 2005 for a two week vacation. Years later, I decided to live there on four separate occasions.

You’ll have the time of your life if you’re only staying up to six months. There are lots of people to be met. Lots of beautiful motorbike drives (wear your damn helmet). Lovely locals. Delicious food.

Lots of Canggu fuckboys to cry over.

No. This is not based off of living in only Canggu or Ubud. I’ve lived in these areas, but also Petulu, Denpasar, Uluwatu, Balangan & Seseh.

I’ve sung the praises of this island on lots of occasions and this is my first criticism for ANYONE considering moving to Bali. This is being written because of all the YouTube videos I see which don’t give an accurrate depiction of what it’s like living there. They are for tourists.

Here it goes…


Traffic’s a bitch on Bali UNTIL you get out of the south or Ubud. Not even normal traffic. Just bumper to bumper traffic sometimes due to some SUPER SLOW ASS MOVING WHITE VAN (Why is it always a white van?) or because of rush hour which seems to last the whole damn day. Also, the exhaust from the traffic mixed with hot weather made me feel dizzy at times.

During the worst of the pandemic, traffic didn’t exist. Yeah…that didn’t last long. Since Bali re-opened for vaccinated longstayers, the traffic started again. I was very sad to leave, but the traffic is something I won’t miss.

2. Holes in your laundry. Ladies…those cute little lace panties you bought in case you meet that sexy fuckboy surfer in Canggu or Uluwatu (you will meet him), will be destroyed at all Bali laundries.

All of them.

I can say this with absolute confidence.

Get ready for that “homeless panty chic” only Bali laundries can offer you.

I’ll try to say this in my best Chitown voice, “They will fuck up yo shit.”

I mean hot damn….I bought the CUTEST undies and rompers only to get them back with little holes. This is because the laundries wash everyone’s clothes together.

They will safety pin your clothes together.

This causes holes.

If you want to avoid this (hahahahahahaha); I highly suggest giving them enough clothes to fill one laundry machine. Or look for recommendations in one of the many Bali Facebook groups for laundrettes THAT DON’T PUT FUCKING HOLES IN YOUR CLOTHES.

3. Emotionally fucked up people seeking Eat, Pray, Love.

I’ll come underfire for this one, but I had to search…and I mean search….for a person who wasn’t bat-shit crazy. Of course, this doesn’t apply to my lovely local friends. This is for the foreigners.

I met an awesome New Yorker, Russian IG model (she is actually really cool, not an annoying influencer) and a German film producer. However, they left the island (my next point), but we still keep in contact.

This is really mainly for the women. The island is small and people talk. I’ve always been a straight shooter. I don’t like flakiness. If I get one whiff you’re a flakey mf, I’m out the door. If I don’t like you, I don’t like you. Deal with it and move on.

If you move here, remember some people seem to still think it’s high school. They complain about trivial things like their private pool water turning green or their Balinese cleaner taking too much time off to go to ceremonies (UGH…It’s Bali. They have ceremonies). They’ve got a lot of time on their hands and love to gossip. I had nothing in common with them and was lucky that I found three people (over two years) with whom I could have actual conversations.

Another example of bat-shit crazy. Met a divorced woman from Texas who lived in Ubud. As a second meeting, I invited her out for coffee. She responded over a month later and said she needed to take time off to align her energy. She attended a yoni celebration and rediscovered her power as a woman (Orgy?). Therefore coffee seemed an imposition to the energy she was developing. Y’all, I’m not even making this up. WTF? IT’S FUCKING COFFEE!!!!! Jesus Christ! Someone put this bitch back on the special bus back to Texas. I ain’t got time for this mess.

Another one…A valium junkie from Canggu who’s well-known and loved to criticize me for eating chicken. Bitch..YOU’RE ON DRUGS EVERYDAY! I can’t order ayam bakar without offending you??? Is this the real life?

She seemed a little off, but I’m a bit stupid about these things and try not to judge someone too harshly the first time…even if they’re snorting lines up their nose in one of Morabito’s bathroom stalls. We all have our vices. Mine include fuckboy surfers and mezcal. Still, I had to let her go politely. If you can take valium and prohiper, I can eat chicken. Nuff said.

4. Transient people.

Bali’s an island. A holiday island. If you’re here for a few weeks or months then you’ll have the time of your life! You’ll meet sooooo many people. If you want to be here longer, it’s hard to form lasting friendships on the island. I found the locals were a bit hesitant because they don’t know how long you’re staying. Plus, the pandemic put everyone on edge. Or I got “tourist talk.” The real Bali expats were the same way and they’re a tightknit group for this reason.

People come and go from this island. It’s something you’ll have to accept. You’ll go to a lot of goodbye get-togethers. It started to make me feel lonely and after my German friend left, I stuck to my sweet Putu and didn’t bother trying to get to know anyone else.

If you’re traveling solo (getting that B211 visssssaaaaaa), make sure you’re okay with this. Try to join some clubs.

5. You will have trouble using your foreign atm card. You go to an ATM. You put in your debit card.

You wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Then you see this…

The “time out” error

You start to panic. There’s some problem, island wide, with foreign debit cards. You’ll have to try at least 2-5 times until your card will work. Be aware of your surroundings and get money from ATMs, attached to banks, during the day for your safety.

What’s your opinion? Are you/were you a Bali expat?

What challenges are you facing in your current adopted country? Please share, like, and comment!

Stay tuned!

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