We stayed in Ubud for 30 days as a digital nomad and it was an interesting experience. If you are the kind of person that wants to take in the warmth and sunshine, while living in a tranquil place surrounded by numerous rice fields; then living as a digital nomad in Ubud is probably the lifestyle for you.
In this post, I will give you some insights into the digital nomad lifestyle that can help you decide whether or not you should base yourself in Ubud as a digital nomad.
I financed this stay by getting freelance writing gigs. I share how I did it exactly in my digital nomad ebook.
How is the Wi-Fi connection in Ubud?
It varies from place to place, but you want to find a location that has good connectivity and that provides a fast internet connection. Most places will offer internet connectivity of 2-10 mbps. This is ok for doing basic things like browsing web pages and sending emails, but you will have trouble watching videos and doing Skype calls. It’s not the connection that I would recommend for digital nomads.
The bare minimum that I would go for is 20 mbps, although 30-50 mbps is preferred. The only place that I went to in Ubud that had this internet connection speed was ‘Ubud Fitness Centre’. I am sure there are other places like co-working spaces that provide quick internet speeds, but this one was the best one that I experienced while I was in Ubud and it makes a tremendous difference to your productivity.
It is cheap to have a fun and productive lifestyle in Ubud as a digital nomad?
The average salary of a person in Ubud is $180 USD per month. So the cost of living is very low compared to western countries. For digital nomads, they can take advantage of the low living cost to enjoy a lifestyle where they can eat out, drink and have errands such as clothes washing done by locals. This will free up your time to focus on being productive on your digital nomad venture, while still being able to enjoy the fun things in life.
What can you expect with the daily cost of living?
- Local meals can cost approximately $2 USD or less a meal. Assuming that you will eat at least 3 times a day, you will spend about $6 USD a day on food.
- Accommodation starts from $5 USD a day for hostels and around $20 USD a day for private accommodation. If you are planning to stay in Bali for more than 30 days, then I’d recommend taking advantage of long-stay deals that can save you up to 30%. You can click here to search on AirBnb.You can also see a list of cheap accommodations from Agoda here. Or you can search for accommodation using the box below.
- Washing is charged per item, so the final figure will depend on how many items you decide to wash. You can budget for $10 USD/ week or less for washing.
- Transportation depends on where you live and if you will rent a bicycle, scooter or motor vehicle.
A more thorough list can be seen on Never Ending Voyage’s article ‘Cost of living in Ubud, Bali.’
Is it better to work from home, in a co-working space or in a cafe?
I think this will be down to your personal preference, but I personally preferred to work in a quiet space within the home. For me, working in a cafe or an open coworking space exposed me to more distractions. I’d recommend learning what your ideal space is and then organising your lifestyle around it so you can be as productive as possible.
Is there a big digital nomad community in Ubud?
It isn’t as big as say the community in Chiang Mai, but there are several nomads that are based their working on their ventures and enjoying the Balinese lifestyle. You will typically come across them in the local cafes, bars and gym in central Ubud.
How is it like getting around in Ubud?
If you are based in central Ubud, you can easily get around by walking or cycling, although the most common method is hiring a scooter. The prices for renting a scooter daily, weekly or monthly varies among the local shop merchants. But filling up a tank of petrol will never cost more than $5 USD. There isn’t any formal taxi or Uber service, although you can hire private transfers.
It isn’t recommended to travel in a car due to the high amount of traffic on the roads. If you choose to travel by car, expect to arrive at your final destination in twice the time.
Safety questions about Ubud.
Will your belongings be safe in Ubud?
The area that we stayed in was about a 30-minute drive from central Ubud on the scooter. Because we were so secluded, it felt quite safe for us to stay there and we didn’t have any issues when we left our things in the villa that we were staying in. You should always err on the side of caution, but when it came to the safety and security of our belongings, it was quite good during our stay.
You do have to be more aware when you are driving as a foreigner in Ubud. The street lighting doesn’t illuminate as well as in most western countries and it can be difficult to navigate in the dark. Beware of random potholes in the road.
Secondly, there are reports about police corruption. Even though we never experienced this, it isn’t uncommon for foreigners to be stopped on their scooter and then be asked to provide a bribe to the officer. Do your best to abide by the local rules.
Is it easy to get an Indonesian visa to stay in Ubud?
It depends on your country of residence, but there are a few options that I have listed below for getting a visa that will allow you to stay in the country.
Visa on arrival (30 Days – Non-extendable)
This visa is free, but cannot be extended beyond your 30-day stay. You should have an exit ticket that proves your onward travel.
Visa on arrival (30 days – Extendable by 30 days)
This visa costs $35 USD initially and can be extended for an additional 60 days, thus allowing you to stay in Indonesia for up to 2 months. You can arrive without an exit ticket (although airlines prefer that you have proof of your onward travel). You will receive the visa and you will need to extend it before the end of your 30-day visa. You have two options.
Do the visa extension yourself. (Slightly cheaper, but much more inconvenient)
You can go to the immigration office to get your visa extended. The closest office to Ubud is Denpasar, which is about a 40-minute journey depending on traffic. You can save the address and location using the Google Map provided below.
DI PANJAITAN KOMP MANDALA RENON DENPASAR 80235
Telepon: (0361) 227828, 231149
Fax: (0361) 244340
You will also need to go to the office 3 times.
2. Extend your visa by using a visa agent.
We used Komang is a visa agent that operates out of Bali Buddha in Ubud. She has several recommendations and endorsements online. She is easy to trust, professional and has your best interests at heart.
Her fee is 600,000 IDR, however she will take care of the paperwork and the processing of your visa. She will advise you to go down to the immigration office in Denpasar where they will take your photo and fingerprint for the visa extension. (You should expect to wait a few hours at the immigration office for this to be processed)
After this is complete, she will advise you when you can pick up your passport from her. She also takes payment after the visa is processed.
The biggest benefit to using a visa agent is less hassle and fewer trips into Denpasar to get the visa process. I’d recommend going down this route and spending the extra money rather than trying to process the visa yourself.
I read a few horror stories about people that enlisted the services of dodgy visa agents, so I recommend using Komang’s trusted services.
Get a 60-day visa before entering Indonesia.
I actually recommend people to get the visa this way to avoid any hassle while you are in Indonesia.
If you aren’t in your home country, you can also get a 60-day visa in one of the neighbouring countries like Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand.
Apply for a Social-Cultural visa.
I was fortunate to meet a couple who had stayed in Indonesia on and off for 4 years with a social-cultural visa. Initially, you can get up to 60 days stay for free. Afterwards, the visa can be extended monthly for up to 6 months.
This visa can be used for participating in sports and cultural activities or visiting friends or family. You cannot be employed or partake in employment while in Indonesia. In order to receive this visa, you need to be sponsored by an Indonesian citizen.
To successfully get this visa, your Indonesian sponsor must supply a sponsorship letter, a photocopy of the sponsor’s identity card, a copy of the sponsor’s family register and a copy of the sponsor’s bank account statements.
The applicant will need to provide 2 passport photos and a copy of their passport.
Other things to be aware of before applying for a visa.
The validity of your passport must have a minimum of 6 months from the entry date into Indonesia.
The first day that you arrive in Indonesia counts as a day and you must leave by the last day of your visa (either the 30th or 60th day, depending on the type of visa you have.) If you overstay your visa, you will incur a fine which is calculated at a daily rate. An excess of 60 days stay could also result in a hefty fine or a jail sentence.
Can you get by just by using English in Ubud?
Balinese and Indonesian are the main languages on the island, but English is widely spoken in Ubud, which makes it convenient for getting around and getting things done.
Before you go, make sure that you take out a travel insurance policy that will completely cover you.
If you have a return ticket to your home country, then you should be able to get a travel insurance policy that will cover you. However, if you purchase a one-way ticket, most insurers will refuse to give you a policy.
World Nomads is the best insurer for providing a global insurance policy for digital nomads. You still need to read the fine print and check to see what will and won’t be covered, but I’ve found it to be the best solution for digital nomads. You can use the quote box below to generate a travel insurance quote.
Getting flights to Bali.
I use Skyscanner to book one-way flights. I tend to find that it is the best option, although there are other deals from other flight partners such as Virgin Australia and Air Asia that come through from time to time. I would personally recommend using Skyscanner as a starting point to compare flight options and then expand your search from there.
So now that you’ve reached the end of the post, do you think Ubud is the place for you? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!
*Note – This post contains affiliate links. The experiences and recommendations are my own.