Bali, Indonesia

It’s paradise, it’s cheap, and the WiFi isn’t bad either. Why Bali is the perfect destination for digital English teaching nomads…

Bali has it all- beautiful weather, perfect beaches, access to modern conveniences, and all at a cost of living that makes paradise accessible for someone working as a digital nomad. With this in mind, we decided to make Bali the first featured destination. 

Check out our upcoming blog post on Living and Teaching in Bali, or check the info below for a quick run-down.

Legal mumbo jumbo- We are not legal or immigration experts. We advise that you always check with an immigration expert and/or local authorities before traveling to/working in another country.

Location: Southeast Asia 

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah ($1 = approx 14,000 IDR)

Time Zone: GMT +8 (This is the same time as Beijing standard time.)

Population: 4.2 Million

Internet Speed: Internet can be spotty if you are staying hotels or guesthouses. Indy Home offers great at home packages ranging from $25-85/month for fiber optic service. Speeds range from 10-50 Mbps download / 3-30 Mbps upload. Tethering your phone is also an option with local SIM cards providing speeds of approx 6 down / 2 up. 

Visa: A working visa called a KITAS is required to live and work legally in Indonesia. It can only be obtained with a local company to sponsor you. Other visa options include:

  • Free visa on arrival: Free entry to Indonesia which is valid for 30 days and non-renewable. Work is not permitted.
  • Visa on arrival: This visa costs $35USD at the port of entry and is good for 30 days. It can be renewed at a local immigration office for an additional 30 days for an additional charge of approximately $30. Work is not permitted.
  • Social Visa: This allows the visa holder to stay in Indonesia for a period of 6 months. It must be obtained at an Indonesian consulate or embassy prior to entering Indonesia, and requires a sponsor letter from an Indonesian citizen. If you do not have someone to sponsor you, many agencies provide this service for a fee. It is good for an initial period of 60 days and can be extended up to 4 times (30 days each) for a total of 180 days. The fee for each extension is approximately $30. Work is not permitted.
  • Business Visa: There are single entry business visas (good for 30 days) and multiple entry business visas (good for one year). The multiple entry business visa allows the visa holder to stay for up to one year, provided they leave Indonesia every 60 days. It is quite expensive and complex to obtain this visa (approximately $1,000) and still does not allow the visa holder to work. You are allowed to sign contracts, conduct trainings, attend workshops, and promote your business, but you are not permitted to earn money or employ anyone else. 
  • Investment Visa: Foreigners are allowed to start a company in Indonesia with a minimum capitalization of approximately 2.5 billion IDR (approx $180,000). This is to protect local businesses. The capital requirements put this out of reach for many digital nomads.

Cost of Living: $1,000 per month should cover you for a comfortable, yet somewhat humble lifestyle. Bali has it all! So, if you want to go clubbing and drink $10 cocktails, you better rethink your budget. Otherwise, a great life that includes eating out and living simply can be obtained on a budget of $1,000 per month (approx 14 million IDR). 


A beautiful, modern country with old-world charm. 

Beautiful landscapes, pristine beaches, old castles, modern capital city with a bohemian feel, cool country towns with lots of history and culture.

Location: Western Europe 

Currency: Euro (1 Euro = approx $1.13 USD)

Time Zone: GMT (Portugal observes daylight savings time. Your 6 pm BJT classes start at 11 am in the summer and 10 am in the winter.)

Population: 10.3 Million

Internet Speed: There are a variety of high-speed internet providers who offer fiber optic service, including NOS, MEO, and Vodafone. Speeds vary depending on where you are and the plan you select. You can get 30 Mbps download for approximately 30 Euro per month. This is usually part of a package that includes your phone and your cable TV. Speeds up to 75 Mbps are possible on pricier plans. 


Visa: If you are American, you can travel to Portugal without a visa (for the time being) and stay for a period of 90 days within a 180-day period. This applies to all countries in the Schengen Zone. After you’ve been in Portugal for 90 days, you can’t do a visa run to Spain. You need to leave the EU and stay outside of the Schengen Zone for another 90 days. You can apply for a 6-month visa at the Portuguese consulate in your country. You simply need to show proof of funds. If you want to stay in Portugal more permanently, there are some great options. ​

If you’re rich and want to invest a half a million Euro in a house in Portugal, you can apply for a Golden Visa. If you’re like the rest of us, you will probably be applying for a D-7 visa. The D-7 visa allows you to live and work in Portugal. You are allowed to travel abroad while on this visa, but must remain in Portugal more than half the year. The visa is valid for one year and then renewable twice for a period of two additional years each (for a total of five years). After five years, you can apply for permanent residency. After living as a permanent resident for one year, you can apply for citizenship.

You will need an address in Portugal, be able to show proof of funds, and an ability to support yourself while in Portugal. This can include money you earn as a digital nomad ESL teacher. I have spoken to different lawyers and agents in Portugal and heard different figures as far as the amount of money you need to have. I have heard figures as high as 50,000 Euro and as low as a few months of living expenses. My understanding is that if you are totally broke and apply for a visa, you are likely to be rejected (even if you can show that you earn a decent wage as a digital nomad). The consulate will ask for your most recent three months of bank statements. Talk to Paula at Timely Solutions in Lisbon. I am using her for my visa process and found her to be very honest and helpful.

Health Care: Health care in Portugal is on-par with what you would expect in Western Europe. State of the art medical facilities with English speaking doctors are available in Lisbon. Smaller towns have adequate medical facilities and most doctors speak English. Portugal has a universal health care system. If you secure permanent residency, you are entitled to national health coverage. Having said that, private insurance is excellent and incredibly affordable. A healthy 40-year old should be able to secure a private policy with reasonable coverage for less than 50 Euro a month. More comprehensive plans are available at a higher rate. I have chosen a plan that offers coverage for pre-existing conditions and no co-pays at participating hospitals. It also offers 100,000 Euro in coverage. My premium at age 41 is 1452 Euro per year. You need a Portuguese tax number to get Portuguese insurance. If you do not have one, check out World Nomads travel insurance

Cost of Living: If you want to live in Western Europe, you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper spot than Portugal.

Renting a home is super cheap- 400 Euro or less in small towns, but be prepared to pay a bit more in Lisbon.

Purchasing a home is also possible and incredibly cheap. Foreigners need 25% down, but rates are incredibly low and small flats in the country side can be had for a bargain (less than 50,000 Euro). I recently purchased a beautiful home on the beach for 130,000 Euro. I pay homeowner’s insurance (including flood insurance) of 122 Euro per year. Property taxes run me approximately 300 Euro per year.

Utilities are incredibly cheap. Water should cost you around 20 Euro a month, while electricity and gas should run you somewhere around 30-40 Euro combined.