First of all, this post inspired by Sharon, feel free to check her post about How I Lived and Worked in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a Month. So Sharon, excuse me for ‘copying’ your outline. 🙂
Let’s start shall we?
Living in Bali (and also working from Bali) never really crossed my mind. A friend of mine once said that working in Bali wasn’t very fun because you always have the holiday mood when living on the island. So when you are working everything seems running slowly.
So yes, if you have been following my updates, since December 2015 I officially left Yogyakarta (for good? I don’t know… I might come back to Yogyakarta again one day), and moved to Bali. I stayed in Ubud for my first month in Bali. I am now staying in Canggu (maybe there will be a How I Lived and Worked in Canggu, Bali for a Month article in the future).
Ubud is definitely one of my favorite areas in Bali. The climate is cooler than the South of Bali and you get the village kind of feeling. Though in Ubud you also find traffic around the city center and a lot of cute cafes around.
I am a full-time blogger and I am earning money doing freelance writing (mostly about travel), travel consultancy and travel arrangements. All of the work that I do now is basically sourced from my almost-3-years-old blog. I’ve been trying to be able to earn money online so I can be based anywhere I want. It has not been easy and it is still a learning process for me. Sometimes I can hit my own targets (on how much money I want to earn in a month), and other times I miss it.
As a freelancer, I am trying my best to set my own working hours, which start from 9 am and last till 4 pm (taking 1-2 hours break in between). Though I don’t always commit to it I do try my best. Yes, discipline is a hard thing, but hey, that is the perk of being a freelancer right? You can work anytime you wanted to. And yes, sometimes I do get those urgent requests too.
I can work from anywhere basically, but a proper Internet connection is one of the most important things for me to get my work done. My favorite ‘working stations’ are cafes around the city center and also the villa (where I stayed for a month in Ubud). There are plenty of nice cafes around Ubud that are perfect for working. I love not so busy cafes with a proper Internet connection and good coffee and cakes (or good food).
I rented a villa for a month through Airbnb and it cost around $900. I stayed with two other people so it made accommodation cost per person around $300 per month. Actually, with the villa, it was possible to accommodate up to 4 people. That would have certainly made the rental costs even cheaper.
The villa was located in Bentuyung village, 10-15 minutes drive to Ubud centre. I loved the villa for its location. Everyday, I open the front door of the villa and was greeted by the green rice fields, coconut trees, with squirrels jumping around them, and the volcano (though I am not sure if it was mount Batur or mount Agung). The terrace was a perfect spot to do Yoga in the morning.
The center of Ubud can be quite expensive for accommodation, so the outskirts were perfect for me. Try to find a bit outside of the city center like in Suweta Street, Sri Wedari Street (where Seniman coffee is located), Tirta Tawar, Pengosekan, or even up in Penestanan or Kedewatan area.
If you are interested in living and working from Ubud, here are some good resources for finding an accommodation:
- Facebook Group: Ubud House Shares, Monthly Rentals and Sitting
and there is also another Facebook group: Ubud Community – here you can find info about general things around Ubud. For example like places to eat, etc.
- Airbnb – Not an Airbnb member yet? Get a $25 credit by using this link.
- At Bintang Supermarket and Bali Buda (healthy grocery store and restaurant) announcement board
Bali has not yet solved its public transportation problems. The best way to explore the island is by motorbike. If you can’t drive a motorbike maybe you can rent a bicycle. It might be a bit complicated if you can’t ride either.
A motorbike rental is USD 6-7 per day, but if you rent it for one month, it is as cheap as USD 43-50. The motorbike rental comes with 2 helmets. Unfortunately, raincoats are not included (worry not, raincoat costs USD 3-5 at the supermarket). When I rented a motorbike the guy only asks for my copy of ID card. I think it is mainly because he knew the guy who owned the villa I rented.
You can find monthly motorbike rental quite easily around the city center and also through the Facebook community above. Normally the rental company will ask (and keep) your original ID / passport as a warranty. However, I think you should avoid to give it. Alternatively, you can pay an agreed deposit if you don’t want to hand your passport over. Some are ok with a copy of your passport.
You should have an international driving license to drive in Indonesia. I never experienced a police check in Ubud, but they do have several random checkpoints outside Ubud, for example: from Ubud going towards Batur. The main way police catch tourists is a result of the one-way system around Ubud. A lot of tourists simply don’t realize they are going the wrong way though there are several big no entry signs. So be careful of the one-way roads, because you’ll always find a police officer waiting for you at the end.
FOOD (Eating Out)
Ubud is heaven for vegetarians and vegans. If you are a carnivore, don’t worry there are plenty of choices for you as well. Restaurants around Ubud central (Hanoman, Monkey Forest, and Raya Ubud street) are priced moderate to expensive. A meal can cost around USD 6-12 and drinks start from USD 3.
If you are looking for a cheaper choice, try to go to Gootama/Gautama Street. There are several nice restaurants with cheap – moderate priced food (USD 2.5 – 5 per meal).
Here is my personal choice of favorite places to eat:
- Warung Made Becik (moderate): Jl. Tirta Tawar No. 6
- Melting Wok (moderate): Jl. Gootama No. 13
- Hujan Locale (moderate-expensive): Jl. Sri Wedari No. 5
- Warung Bahagia (cheap): Jl. Raya Pengosekan (after gas station if you are from Ubud city center) – Nasi Campur only
- Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku (cheap): Jalan Raya Kedewatan No.18 – Nasi Campur only
- Sari Organik (moderate): Jl. Subak Sok Wayah, Tjampuhan
- Warung Pulau Kelapa (moderate): Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Lungsiakan
- Puteri Minang (cheap): Jl. Raya Ubud No. 77
There are several other expenses such as laundry (It is Rp 10,000 per kg, they will try to charge you Rp 18,000 per kg at first, equal with USD 0.7–1.3), toiletries, a tiny bit of shopping, gasoline (roughly full tank for my motorbike is around Rp 25,000, equal with USD 1.8), electricity (already included in most villa rentals), massage/pedicure or any body treatment, entrance fees to several tourist areas and some other more. All of these things will cost you around $60 a month.
Btw, my favourite great-service-with-an-inexpensive-price spa in Ubud is Rembulan Spa. The address is: Jl. Hanoman no. 1, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia (phone: +62 361 976694).
So my total costs for a month living in Ubud was roughly USD 557 for one person. It is USD 300 for accommodation, USD 22 for motorbike rental (USD 43 for 2 people), USD 175 for food, and USD 60 for miscellaneous expenses.
I limited myself to only going to a café and eating out once per day. I might have ate out twice a day on the weekend 🙂 The total cost of living in Ubud can be a lot cheaper if you find accommodation USD 250-400 for two people (and it is possible) and reduce the amount of eating out/café visit.
*Rate: 1 USD = Rp 14,000
MY DAILY ROUTINES
I usually worked from the villa in the morning and then went out after lunch to a cafe (for a coffee or with a cake) to work. Then get a nice dinner before heading back home. Alternatively, I would go out around 8:30 am to a cafe and work from there until lunch time and then head back home to get lunch and continue to work at the villa. I only rarely stayed all day in the villa.
There are several cafes that I like to work from in Ubud:
– Dumara café – Jl. Raya Pengosekan
– Clear café – Jl. Campuhan
– Kue – Jl. Raya Ubud
– Kahiyang Coffee – Jl. Sri Wedari No 6
– Coffee and … – Jl. Monkey Forest
Other places for a great coffee include Seniman Coffee, Anomali Coffee, Vespa Café, Freak Coffee – though these four places get quite busy.
Is Ubud a Great Place for Digital Nomads?
Ubud is certainly a great place for digital nomads, freelancers, entrepreneurs and people working online. There is even the Hubud (Hub in Ubud), the first co-working space in Bali. Even before co-working spaces became popular in Jakarta, Hubud was already there. You get me, right?
Internet connection in Ubud is mostly ok and at several cafes it is fast enough. Though it might be a bit slow if you need to upload large files like video.
Ubud is a great place for a work-life balance. There are plenty of choices of restaurants that serve healthy food, healthy drinks, raw food, etc. On top of that, in almost every corner of the town you’ll find a Yoga studio. You also see people cycling, there are art galleries, dancing classes and many other interesting things. There are so many interesting places which are only 30-45 minutes drive from Ubud.
Ok, the very last thing. It is not about Ubud.
One thing that I love about being a blogger is the community. We keep being inspired by other bloggers and who knows we become an inspiration for other bloggers, right? Thanks Sharon for giving the idea to write this piece.
So what do you think? Fancy living and working from Ubud? 🙂
If you are interested in booking accommodation for your holiday in Indonesia I recommend Airbnb. Book through this link to receive a $25 discount on your first booking. For hotel bookings I recommend Agoda for its low price and discounts.