For those who have read some of my blogs about Bali already know that this island and I have not always been best friends. My first time on the Holy Island it rained a lot, yes I chose to come in the rainy season, I got really sick and I stayed in an overpriced hotel in the middle of an overcrowded area in Seminyak. But times have changed…
Inspiring place to be
One of the reasons I love Bali nowadays is that there is a really inspiring vibe and it is a magnet for amazing people. This island became one of the biggest hotspots for digital nomads. These people are huge fans of traveling, love the nature, the laid back life and all have a story to tell. They are not the expats that live here for many years, they are the people that come here for a couple months a time and roam around the world the rest of the year, like full time travel bloggers do.
Gloria from The Blog Abroad
A really long time ago I already connected with Gloria through social media, but unfortunately we never met. She sent me a message asking for tips about Sydney as she had a stopover in the city I lived in for a couple months (read here about my Australian Dream | Living In Sydney). I advised her what to do in Sydney and asked her where she was heading after. Bali, she replied! What? :)
A couple days later I drove more than 1 hour on a scooter to find this inspiring girl in the middle of nowhere. She stayed North of Ubud, exactly where I advice people to go who travel to Ubud. It was like online, vibes were amazing, and we couldn’t stop chatting and laughing. If you have seen us Snapchatting together or our Facebook Live video, you understand what I am talking about. The last weeks we met up several times in Canggu as she stays on Bali for a little while to host a blogging retreat for aspiring digital nomads. Check out her very successful blog The Blog Abroad!
You can find all info about the hippest place in my Canggu Bali Travel Guide.
Tiring place to be
On the other side Bali can be a pain in the ass to live if you have to get things done. Two examples are getting a sim card in Bali and extending your visa. With money everything will get fixed for you no problem, but I did not win the jackpot neither does my blog make enough money that I can just waste it! ;)
Sim card Bali
My data ran out, or actually did not but just stopped working, so I wanted to get a new sim card and that is like a jungle here in Bali. There are many operators, but you have no clue which provider has good coverage, so basically you have to trust the guy in one of the many little shops that sells sim cards. They tell you a lot and there English is not always that good, so there starts the hesitation. There are no set prices and every little shop has different prices for the same packages plus I need a 4G internet package and these guys are giving you advice not even having a smartphone themselves! ;)
Anyway I drove around found a couple of these little shops and prices ranged so much that it drove me nuts. I decided to buy 12GB 4G data for $12, obviously cheap compared to Western countries, but what if the next day you see the same $12 package in another place and they give you 24GB? I felt ripped off, damn it! Hate that feeling… but at least I was connected again! For people traveling to Bali on the cheap I would definitely recommend you to buy a sim card and don't waste money on roaming costs.
Visa extension in Bali
If you think the sim card business is shady then lets now talk about extending your visa. Visas in general are always a bit of a hassle, but Bali takes the cake! When you arrive at the airport you pay $40 just to even be able to extend your 30 days free visa. In the last week of your visa you have to go to Immigration (wait in line for hours) hand in the paper work and your passport and come back another day to take a photo and leave your fingerprint. That is right, not the SAME day! But this does not mean you get your passport back the second time you come to the Immigration Office, that only happens a couple days later when they tell you to come pick up your passport. This process cost you another $25 plus you lose at least 3 times half a day!
I didn’t want to go through this so I decided to find a visa agent. It took me a lot of phone calls, but I found someone to pick up my passport. He said he would send a friend and that guy suddenly shows up demanding $12 extra for the pick up, plus another $8 because he was more expensive than his friend. Mate, you just wasted your time, I am NOT gonna pay you a single dollar extra, neither am I going to give you my passport, ciao! Half a day later I finally found someone I trusted, as you have to give these agents your passport pay half of the $45 fee and they will take your passport for the next 10-14 days. I still did not get my passport back, but I hope he will call me soon so I can go to the Immigration office for my fingerprint and photo (scheduled appointment, no waiting lines he promised) and then at some point he will give me my passport plus extended visa back after I pay him another $25. Let’s wait and see… :)
But anyway Bali is a great island and if you are planning to come to this island then definitely read the next blogs:
Thanks for keeping up with Traveltomtom!
Read about last weeks adventures with magic mushrooms in Gili Trawangan and climbing a mountain in Lombok. Next week some really exciting news...