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.
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.
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.
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