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Whether you’re planning to stay for a few months, a few years, or indefinitely, there are so many great areas to reside in.

The first thing you need to realise about Bali is that it’s larger than you think, and it takes several hours to get from one coast to the other. Bali’s physical geography is characterised by a volcanic mountain chain dividing it from east to west and deep river gorges running from north to south.

The island’s regions offer diverse experiences, with the most developed area being South Bali, stretching from Ubud to the Bukit Peninsula; this includes the regions of Badung, Giyanar, and Denpasar.

What is great about Bali is there is something for everyone. Each area is very different and unique. To help you figure out which part of Bali is best for you, here is a quick overview detailing a few of the most popular areas expats enjoy.

Wherever you decide to live, the expat community is strong, and you’ll find foreigners of all ages and walks of life. It is also easy to meet people in Bali.

Don’t forget that even though Google Maps shows areas that seem relatively close or not that far in kilometers, it definitely takes a lot longer in travel time, especially by car as opposed to a motorbike or scooter.

Apart from general Bali traffic, access might be deceiving as there are rice fields and small lanes that stop you from entering and cutting across roads, as well as many other factors such as the weather.

It is important to keep in mind that there are certain challenges that come with living in a developing country, such as occasional power outages, traffic, infrastructure and communication barriers.

If you want to understand the area better and what it has to offer, including the positives and negatives, the cost of living, the best schools, and facilities for a family, have a read about how our services can help.

Badung

Canggu

Canggu and its surrounding areas attract a younger, trendier crowd, including entrepreneurs, digital nomads, families, and couples. While beach-side Canggu was once a small fishing village, it now encompasses several villages, such as Berawa, Batu Bolong, and Babakan.

As Canggu becomes more crowded and expensive, expats are exploring nearby quieter areas like Pererenan, Tumbak Bayuh, Seseh Beach, Cemagi and Nyanyi beach, which offer more tranquil settings.

Apart from being beachside, the region with a great buzz, boasts amazing cafes, restaurants, yoga studios, gyms, clubs, coworking spaces, supermarkets, 24/7 medical clinics, international schools and child care, nurseries and so much more.

Read about those expats living in this area.

Umalas, Kerobokan, Seminyak

About 15 minutes from the heart of Canggu is a lovely quiet neighbourhood called the Umalas. Strategically located inland between Petitinget, Seminyak  and Canggu, the overall area known as Kerobokan, includes Umalas village  (Umalas 1 & 2) and Banjar Semer. It is centrally located and because it is inland and away from the beach, it is not a popular tourist area, however there are still some Airbnb’s and holiday rentals.

Umalas also has wonderful cafes, restaurants, yoga studios, gyms, supermarkets, medical clinics, international schools and child care, nurseries and much more.

Kerobokan seamlessly integrates with the well-known Seminyak area, offering a mix of experiences. Close to Seminyak, some parts of Kerobokan share similarities, while others maintain a local atmosphere and retain lush rice paddies. It’s a favoured location for long-term Bali expats who wish to be near top restaurants and beaches without the hustle and bustle of larger crowds.

Some expats may also find living in the popular tourist zones of Seminyak, Petitenget, and Legian appealing, as they offer quieter alternatives amidst busy Canggu and beyond.

Read about those expats living in this area.

Bukit Peninsula

The most southerly point and picturesque area of Bali is the Bukit with its stunning landscapes, incredible beaches and beautiful water, attracting some serious surfers.

A smaller expat community in the Bukit Peninsula comprises of Ungasan and Pecatu (the centre of Uluwatu), Pandawa, Kampial, Jimbaran, Bingin, and Uluwatu. This area also has some amazing cafes, restaurants, yoga studios, gyms, supermarkets, local markets, coworking spaces, medical clinics, preschools, child care, nurseries and much more.

This region is much drier than the rest of the island and is an upmarket destination on the island.

Read about those expats living in this area.

Gianyar

Ubud, acclaimed as the heart and soul of Bali, offers a unique and spiritually rich environment.  Surrounded by nature, including rice fields, rivers, and jungle, Ubud serves as the island’s cultural and artistic center. With a slower pace, a thriving healthy food scene, and a diverse expat community, Ubud appeals to retirees, singles, couples, and families.

Ubud can be very hilly compared to flat Sanur and Canggu. The area is divided into North and South Ubud, attracting nature lovers, yogis, and art enthusiasts. Note this region is far from beaches so not recommended for regular surfers.

Popular neighbourhoods include Desa Kumbuh, Pengosekan, Silakarang, Penestanan, and Nyuh Kuning. Rental prices have increased in recent years, and less traffic is usually found south of the Ubud center, making areas like MAS and Nyuh Kuning attractive choices for expats.

This area also has amazing cafes, restaurants, yoga studios, gyms, supermarkets, local markets, coworking spaces, clubs, medical clinics, great nature-based international schools and child care, nurseries and much more.

Read about those expats living in this area.

Denpasar

Situated on the south-eastern tip of Bali, Sanur is about a 30-minute drive away from the airport.

It offers a quieter, laid-back beach town experience compared to the trendier Canggu. It’s a popular choice for Australian and European retirees, along with a growing mix of expats and families from around the world.

While it’s not as trendy as Canggu, Sanur has a welcoming, local vibe, a good food scene, and a focus on bicycle riding. The town is well-organised, with less traffic than the likes of Canggu, allowing for easy bicycle rides or to scooter.

Sanur is divided into two main areas, beachside or on the western side of the main road, known as the bypass.

Sanur also boasts cafes, yoga studios, gyms, supermarkets, and is close to hospitals. Its calm, reef-protected beach is ideal for swimming with kids, and from Sanur Harbour, you can easily explore nearby islands Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.

Apart from Sanur being super friendly and safe, you can ride a bike, jog or push a pram along the white-sandy beach with a 7km dedicated wide pathway. Along the beach, it is a fun place to grab either a western, or traditional bite to eat or even fresh fish just caught. 

In 2024, a new shopping center, Icon Bali Mall, is expected to enhance the town’s amenities as well as a new international hospital.

Read about those expats living in this area.

Bali offers a wealth of opportunities for expats seeking a new home, whether for a short stay or a long-term commitment. The island’s diverse geography and culture provide unique experiences across various regions.

South Bali, spanning from Ubud to the Bukit Peninsula, is a favoured destination for expats, with strong expat communities and amenities. There are also expats living in quieter parts of Bali such as Candidasa, in East Bali.

Each area in Bali has its distinct charm, catering to different lifestyles and preferences. From the beachside to the jungle, there are so many great things to do and we have got you covered with our comprehensive information.

We understand everyone has different needs and expectations, so we are here to help you make that decision on where to live a whole lot easier.

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