A simple Guide for Expats in Bali

Hidupid – Bali is home to approximately three million people. It is famous for its scenic beauty, dynamic culture and friendly people. Bali is surrounded by beautiful, sandy beaches, awesome landscape and cultural diversity. Bali is also known as the Morning of the World, Island of the Gods, Ultimate Island, and Last Paradise on Earth. Although housing and resort developments are seen ‘popping-up’ everywhere, this tropical island never stops amazing people to come over and over again.

First Impression

Typically, the beauty of nature is the one thing that makes newcomers fall in love with on this island. There is this sense of special magic that Bali offers which is hard to describe in words.

Local Language

Indonesian is used as an official language of the country which unifies the diverse people. However, the local Balinese also speak Balinese which is very different from Indonesian.

It is very wise and recommended for an expat to learn about the local language. Indonesians are very friendly and will gladly help foreigners speak their language. You need a little time to learn about simple words which are not that hard because Indonesia uses the same alphabet as English does. The best thing is, every written word is usually pronounced as it is spelled.

English           Bahasa Indonesian
Good morning                         Selamat pagi
Good afternoon                      Selamat sore
Good evening                           Selamat malam
May name is…                          Nama saya…
How are you?                           Bagaimana kabarmu?
Yes                                              Ya
No                                               Tidak
Where is the bathroom?         Dimana kamar kecil?
How much does it cost?          Berapa harganya?
Bus                                              Bis
Soccer                                         Sepak bola
Money                                         Duit
Thank you                                  Terima kasih
Excuse me                                  Permisi or maaf
Can you help me?                    Bisa bantu saya?
Please                                         Tolonglah
One                                              Satu
Two                                              Dua
Three                                          Tiga
Soccer                                         Sepak bola
Taxi                                             Taksi
Be careful                                   Hati-hati

How To Avoid Offending Residents:

  • Respect Gods.
  • Respect the elderly in the community.
  • Shaking hands when greeting and at departure is customary.
  • Try to remember someone’s name when being introduced.
  • Wait until you are offered before sampling food.
  • Feet are considered unclean and never point with them.
  • Remove your shoes before entering houses.
  • Pointing with your finger is considered rude.
  • Restrain yourself from eating or drinking in front of fasting Indonesian Muslims
  • Women are expected to be sensitive to the local culture and religions, therefore, wear clothing which keeps your body covered up.
  • Personal questions regarding salary, education or family life should be expected or politely sidestepped if you do not want to answer that.
  • While eating, you are expected to be quiet and concentrate on your food
  • Topics to avoid: human rights, politics, religion, military influence, corruption, personal success, sex/role of the sexes and criticism of Indonesia

Local Weather

Indonesia is located near the equator, which means this country has two seasons: hot and rainy. This type of weather makes this country very humid. In the hills and mountains, the temperature drops dramatically in the evenings and during the night it can be quite cold. You need time to adjust to the climate and drink plenty of water.


Balinese are mostly Hindus, but the number of Muslims is steadily increasing through immigration of people from Java, Lombok and other areas of Indonesia.