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Travelling family from Switzerland living in Ubud and now Seminyak

Meet: Dawan, David and 5 year old Mirabelle

Originally from: Dawan is originally from Thailand but grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. David is from Lausanne, Switzerland and Mirabelle was born in Switzerland.

Arrived in Bali: September 2019

Home in Bail is: Seminyak currently for the last 4 months but prior to that Ubud for 9 months

What made you move to Bali? 

We were traveling non-stop since July 2018 and after finishing our Western Australian road trip of five months, living and sleeping in a 4WD, we decided to take a break and pamper ourselves with massages and good food in Bali! 

We also noticed that Mirabelle who didn’t speak English, was absorbing the English language easily and so quickly we decided to enrol her in an English speaking school we found one in Ubud that was good choice for her.

How long do you plan to stay? 

At first it was for 8 months, from October 2019 to May 2020. But then Covid happened and we had to choose between flying to Thailand or stay put in Indonesia. We decided to stay and it was the best decision ever! So happily stuck here! 

Where is home in Bali and why have you decided to live there? 

For 9 months it was Ubud but now Seminyak. We love Ubud and sometimes we really miss it! You don’t need to live far away from the Ubud center to have an endless landscape of rice fields and lush green jungle! Ubud also has so many wonderful waterfalls to visit! So much greenery! 

However, it is also awesome to be living by the sea! Having a walk or go surfing in the morning and then come back for a drink at sunset. It is also a lot of fun watching people gathering by the beach enjoying the last ray of sun, boys playing football, families playing in the water, dogs running around etc.

I find there is so much more activities for kids around this area. If you can try living in both places, do it! 

Was it difficult to find a villa? 

In Ubud no but we had a hard time finding one villa around this area in Seminyak. We had a specific budget and wish list and within that budget the villas were often dirty, old fashioned and mouldy. If we wanted something a little more modern and new we had to pay double our budget. We lived in a villa for a month where mushrooms as big as my fist were growing out of the bathroom ceilings! Luckily after 2 months of searching we found a clean and new villa within our budget. Not a dream villa but for this price we are really happy! 

Financially, how do you live in Bali?

My husband David works part time online for a Swiss based company. He is an engineer in solar energy. 

What was a typical Bali day for you and your family before COVID? 

Mirabelle goes to school from 9 am – 3 pm. While at school David and I do some sport. We also read a lot and we often have lunch dates together somewhere new. The time passes by so fast and before we know it we have to pick up Mirabelle from school and bring her to different activities like tennis, gymnastics, climbing etc. Sometimes we have dinner outside or we have a home cooked dinner.

How has COVID affected you and how is Bali currently living with it?

 As we have no attachment to a specific location, COVID hasn’t really affected us much other than we were supposed to try living on an island in Thailand for a couple of month, but we are not really sad about it as we are happily “stuck” here.

Living in Bali during COVID feels like living in a bubble protected against the virus. While we have had to wear masks and stay home, we never felt like a prisoner in our own home because despite the enforcement we are still able to go out for a bite, go out for a walk, go to the beach and even party if you would like that. Important of all, there are still a lot of things happening here for the kids. 

What have you decided to do for education in Bali? 

Mirabelle will turn 6 this year and so far we don’t really worry about her education. There are so many good schools for younger kids in Bali! However I have heard from many families that they left Bali because after their kids pass a certain age there is less good choice of schools for older kids.

How was it being part of an expat community? 

It has been good and we have met a bunch of good people from all over the world, but at the same time we also miss having more contact with locals. Perhaps this is also our fault but in Bali we tend to go to places where there are mostly only expats and tourists. 

I think the locals would think twice before going to have a fruit juice for 50K plus 21% tax when they can have it in a warung for 10K. This is why we love going to the beach so much, that’s one of the few places in Bali where we can see so many locals enjoying and having fun, us blending in with them. 

What is the best kept secret/hidden gem in Bali you’ve discovered? 

All the waterfalls! We have been to 29 waterfalls so far and I know there are so many more. Unfortunately nobody has been able to tell us how many waterfalls there are in Bali. We are also amazed at all these cosy and beautiful hotels, restaurants and pools! 

What have you struggled with the most in Bali? 

The language! We are ashamed telling to people that we have been living here for over a year and we can’t even use some simple phrases in Bahasa. We have tried to learn a few phrases but they don’t stick in our head.

What advice do you have for other families making the move to Bali? 

Just go for it but don’t pay for any villa in advance because many houses here have a lot of mould. You can’t smell and see them on photos! Perhaps there is construction going on next to your villa that the owner didn’t tell you about etc…

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Although Bali is a great place to live please travel outside the island! Indonesia is a wonderful country with so many amazing islands! 

Thank you so much Dawan for sharing your Bali life with the Our Year in Bali community! To follow Dawan and her travelling family visit: and Instagram.

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