Life for foreigners in Bali. Bali Indonesia 19.

What is life like for foreigners in Bali?

Often people ask what is life like in Bali. The quick answer is.

It’s the same as anywhere else 

The longer more in-depth answer is a touch more convoluted. Most people who live and work in Bali are owners of properties, businesses, and digital nomads. 

As I said life is pretty normal, as normal as people running businesses in other parts of the world.  

What sets Bali and Indonesia apart is how businesses operate. Sure labour is less expensive. This allows owners to step back, with the qualified people in place, they may be able to enjoy more of the lifestyle Bali has to offer.

There is a catch. 

What I have learned by being involved in a few Indonesian businesses is that there are or there should be many checks in place. 

Checks and balances here mean lots and lots of backups. For example, in North America, we may give a salesperson a credit card for gas. Here it is a reimbursement, no one will give money upfront. 

You pay, take a picture of the receipt with your phone, pictures of the car or scooter, and track your expenses. 

Those pictures and receipts would be then submitted to the appropriate person for approval. 

This constant check and double-check drives me crazy. The way people have been tricked to beat the system is a workload of checking in itself.

The quotations.

One funny story is that of a quotation process by most bigger companies. We needed three quotes for every job that we were undertaking. 

Yet many people will dodge the system by having friends quote high and low and in the end, only one company is real. They all have the correct quotes and phone numbers to call for verification. 

Cheating on the thickness of asphalt is nothing new. This scandal happened in Canada and is run by a mafia of sorts in many parts of the world. Here it happens on a larger scale.

The kickbacks.

This is where Indonesia is different. Nearly everyone gets a tip along the way. From renting a property to selling a scooter. Everyone jumps in to find a buyer and hope for a small percentage if they sell. This makes for interesting conversations when a car or villa is sold. Everyone from the security guard to the maid will claim they helped. In many ways they did, the security opened the gate for the buyers of the car. The maid cleaned, may have served coffee for the guests and cleaned up after them. 

The funny part is, that people will expect money from the owners as well as say the driver who brought the original client. These little titbits’ of information are things one needs to know to navigate the Indonesian kickbacks. Give a little, receive a lot.  

To answer the original question, what it is like to live in Indonesia?

Pack your patience, be nice, be kind and help where you can within reason. The small kind gestures will come back to you down the road. It is fun, entertaining, and at times a bit trying. In the end, you will have the time of your life and you will be glad you tried something new. 

Life in Bali, living in Bali Indonesia, life, Careers, Bali life.

#bali #indonesia #balilife


Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, and businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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