Our emigration: how the Russian woman lives in Bali
Russian woman Irina Krokhaleva moved to Bali in 2012 year. She told about the peculiarities of life in Indonesia, the weather, mentality, difficulties, prices and much more in her blog for Journal tinkoff.
Frankly speaking: if it were not for surfing, I would hardly want to live here. But in Bali there are many expats with different hobbies: there are party-goers, athletes, “enlightened”, families with children and just those who do not like winter. And for all these groups there is an infrastructure and a lot of entertainment.
You get aesthetic pleasure from Bali views every day. Over the years, they do not bother: the nature here is incredibly beautiful.
The drawbacks are mainly connected with the mentality of people: Indonesians in general and Balinese in particular are people relaxed on the verge of total laziness. However, they are very greedy and often unprincipled. Corruption and bureaucracy reign in government bodies, and prejudice towards whites is white.
How is the island
For the average tourist or expat, Bali is divided into several major areas.
Kuta and Seminyak are the most touristy, with densely built hotels and villas, shops, bars and restaurants. There are crowded beaches, shopping centers, night clubs, cinemas and water parks.
Chunggu is the most fashionable district among expats; I and most of my friends live here. In short, Chunggu is rice fields, stylish cafes, custom bikes and surfing. In general, hipster area.
The appendix in the very south of the island is Bukit. On Bukita cool waves for surfing, clean beaches, high cliffs with breathtaking views of the ocean. If you compare Bukit with Seminyak or Canggu, it's like a village and a city. On Bukita live those who are more important to surfing the rest of the infrastructure for life.
For a simple swim in Bali beaches are few, they are concentrated in Nusa Dua. The coast there is built up with all-inclusive hotels.
In the center of the island is Ubud. Far from the ocean, but a lot of rice fields and jungle. In Ubud, those who enjoy yoga, meditation and creativity mostly live and relax.
In the northeast of the island, in the Amed and Chandidas areas, there are no waves, but there are good conditions for diving and snorkeling, very calm and quiet, there are few people. It’s boring to live there for a long time, but from time to time it’s cool to rest for a couple of days.
From the point of view of the local population, there are two major cities in Bali - Denpasar and Singaraja - and evenly distributed throughout the rest of the village. Local people live everywhere, just closer to the center of the island, the building density is less because of the rice fields or the jungle. They work in tourism, grow rice, breed chickens and pigs. A lot of people are employed in small productions: in garment factories and in jewelry shops, wood carving is developed.
Manual labor in Indonesia is inexpensive, and many expats use it, arranging the export of furniture, clothing, jewelry and interior items. Other expats open a business here, and not necessarily aimed at tourists. In addition to bars, hotels and beach clubs, foreigners discovered here, for example, karting in the center of Denpasar and a nail salon focused on Asian tastes in nail design.
Bali is an international resort where people from all over the world come, but most of all there are tourists from Australia. For Australians, Bali is the closest resort, as for Russians is Turkey or Egypt. There are a lot of Russians in Bali too - both tourists and expats, so some Indonesians even learn Russian. Find a guide with knowledge of the Russian language here is very simple.
Tourist visa for a month for citizens of Russia is given free of charge at the airport. For $ 30 at the airport, you can buy a visa for 30 days, which can then be extended for another 30. Then you will need to fly out of the country, but you can return at least on the same day - and again get a tourist visa. Such trips are called “visa-wounds”. The cheapest way to fly a visa to neighboring Malaysia is, on average, a trip takes $ 150 — 200.
I have not heard about the cases of refusal of entry due to the fact that there are too many visas in a passport, but sometimes they ask to show a return ticket from Indonesia, although its authenticity is not checked.
Flying back and forth every two months is expensive, annoying, and the pages in the passport quickly run out. If you don’t work or work remotely, like me, the best option for a long-term stay in Indonesia is a social visa. It is so called because it assumes that its owner has local friends here, and he is studying culture and society. A social visa is issued at the Indonesian Embassy in any other country. From Bali, the most convenient way is to fly to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. You will need a copy of the ID card of the Indonesian guarantor and a sponsor letter from him, that is, a paper with his and your data. It is assumed that the guarantor is solely responsible for you, and if you break the law or get into trouble, then they will also ask him.
Social visa costs $ 50 and is valid for 60 days. Then it can be extended four times, each time for another 30 days. Each renewal costs $ 30. It turns out that you can live on Bali for half a year on such a visa, and the registration will cost $ 170.
To extend a tourist or social visa, you need to come to the immigration office three times: first you need to submit your passport, then pay for and be fingerprinted - and finally take your passport. If you have a social visa, you must apply for renewal together with the guarantor.
Search for a surety and fuss with extensions can be avoided if you use the services of a visa agency. Documents for the embassy are 250 000 Indonesian Rupees ($ 19). Each extension will cost 700 000 Rs. ($ 53). The initial payment of $ 50 for 60 days of a visa is paid on its own when it is issued at the Embassy of Indonesia, the process takes two days, so tickets to another country, hotel and food are added to the amount.
Also in Indonesia, you can be on an annual visa KITAS, but it does not give everyone. Kitas can be obtained if you go to university to study, get a job, get married, or marry an Indonesian. The whale itself costs $ 700 per year, but in order to work, you also need a resolution that costs about $ 1300 per year. Therefore, it is difficult for foreigners to find official work in Bali: they are simply unprofitable to arrange. If you are married to a citizen of Indonesia, you can work for him without additional permits - this is considered help to the family. But to get a job that is not related to your spouse, you need to get permission and pay the fees in full.
There is still a whale for retirees. Those who are 55 years old can apply for it by providing insurance, a one-year land or house lease agreement, a letter from a local guarantor and a bank statement confirming the availability of regular cash receipts to the account. How much money comes - it does not matter, the main thing is to show that transactions are regular.
Kitas is extended in Indonesia, and in order to leave the country, permission must be made. Having lived 5 for the years in Kitas, you can get KITAP - this is the same visa, but not for a year, but for 5 years. It should be in terms of the same amount, you just have to pay the entire amount at once. So, if a foreigner has been married to an Indonesian citizen 5 for years and wants to issue a whale, he needs to pay 36 million rupees ($ 2700).
300 000 rupees ($ 23) per day - penalty for late visa.
Since 2012, every six months, I am issuing a social visa. Usually in Malaysia, made out a couple of times in Russia. In Moscow, the set of necessary documents is more, we still have to provide a rental agreement or a hotel reservation, as well as an account statement with at least $ 1500.
By law, foreigners cannot buy land or property in Indonesia. You can negotiate with the local and enter into a contract in which a foreigner allegedly gives him money, the land and real estate are made out for him, and then he writes a contract that he pays his property as an untimely use as payment of debt. In this case, you pay money, but in fact do not own anything. This probably makes it possible to negotiate a lower price, but the risks are unreasonably high - it is much better to conclude a lease agreement, say, for 50 or 100 years.
There are a lot of options for renting: from a room in a guest house to a luxurious villa with palm trees and a swimming pool. The only question is the price. The cheapest options start at 2 million rupees ($ 150) per month - this will be a room with a bed, bedside table, fan and shower. There is no top bar.
When you rent a house for a year, you must enter into an agreement in which the area of responsibility is spelled out. Because of the high humidity of the house, leaks, sometimes something falls off, pumps, air conditioners and water heaters break down, the owner has to repair all this at his own expense. I pay monthly, there is no contract, but every time the hostess writes me a payment receipt. If something breaks, I write to her in WhatsApp, she sends workers, and they all repair.
I rent a house for 5,5 million rupees per month ($ 413) in the region of Changgu. I go to the beach 15 for a minute on a moped, there is a supermarket, fruit tents, and a gas station nearby.
Renting a house for a long time is more profitable than a month. My house could be rented for a year for 60 million rupees ($ 4500), but you have to pay the full amount at once.
You can search for accommodation at AirBN, on the local site olx.co.id or in groups on facebook. Even in Bali there are boards with announcements in tourist places or signs For rent / Di kontrakan at the gates of houses in the villages. If you are already in Bali, you can just drive through the area of interest and search or ask around local people.
In some houses there are water meters, but more often it is simply pumped from a free source. That is, you do not pay for the water itself, but the electricity is consumed. Electricity is prepaid, it is necessary to deposit money into the account in advance. This can be done in any store. You pay 100 000 rupees ($ 7,5), they give you a check with 20 numbers, enter them into the meter, and the balance is replenished with 65 kW. Per month on electricity, I spend about 400 000 rupees ($ 30). Gas for stove and water heater buy in cylinders. 95 000 Rs ($ 7) costs a large gas cylinder that will last for three weeks. Garbage collection costs 50 000 rupees ($ 4) per month.
You can clean the house yourself, but you can find a housekeeper. I have a housekeeper - she comes twice a week, copes with 2 hours and gets 500 000 rupees ($ 38) per month.
In each area there is a local government - banjar. It includes all the adult men of the village. They are responsible for security, help resolve conflicts. Monthly banjaru need to pay a village fee. This is 50 000 rupees ($ 4) from a regular house or 100 000 rupees ($ 8) from a villa with a pool. This amount can be included in the contract, and then the landlord will pay - as agreed.
Indonesia's currency is rupee, in January 2018, $ 1 is worth 13 441 rupee. The biggest denomination in Indonesia is 100 000 Rs. In the shops and cafes they accept cards, but it is better to pay in cash, and to withdraw money from ATMs at the bank’s office, since skimming machines are very common in Bali.
You can exchange rubles for rupees directly, but it is very unprofitable. In this exchange, the exchange rate is almost doubled from the official one, so it’s better to bring dollars or a dollar card with you.
Local and expat salaries differ greatly. Indonesians from service personnel, gardeners, housekeepers and waiters receive 2-4 million rupees per month ($ 150-300). Middle managers earn 5-10 million rupees ($ 375-750).
For officially employed foreigners, there is a minimum wage of 20 million rupees ($ 1500). However, in fact, the employer often agrees with the employee for a smaller amount. As for Bali, the richest local people here are not those who work, but those who have property for rent.
Working illegally in Indonesia is dangerous. The expatriates with their Western mentality mostly work better than local people and get high salaries. Usually foreigners work as managers, managers, surf instructors, photographers, videographers, DJs. In the eyes of Indonesians, visitors just get more, and this causes discontent. Therefore, Indonesians can report to the immigration police on the expatriates allegedly working without the whale.
Immigration police sometimes organize raids on organizations owned by foreigners. Check for visas and work permits. Therefore, expats working in the field of tourism illegally are very at risk: they face a prison or deportation with a ban on entry.
For employed citizens and foreigners, the company pays taxes, making up monthly tax returns. Salaries up to 3,5 million rupees ($ 263) are not taxable. There are many gray schemes. You can, for example, part of the salary of an employee to write off for rental housing, since only what a person receives is taxed.
If an expat opens his own business in Bali, he is obliged to hire a lawyer or sign an agreement with a consulting company that collects and prepares documents. As a result, he will be billed, which includes taxes, government fees and agent commissions.
In Indonesia, there are taxes on property: land, real estate. In theory, every Indonesian must file a declaration and pay for himself, but in fact few do. Since 2016, the tax police have been conducting an amnesty to remove malicious defaulters from the shadow. There was a period when it was possible to reset the tax debt for 1% of the amount, then for 3%, now you can do it for 5%. After that, mass inspections and penalties under 200% are planned.
Taxes in Indonesia affect pricing. Here, for example, there is a luxury tax that is imposed on certain categories of goods that do not necessarily belong to the expensive segment. Wetsuits in Indonesia are one and a half to two times more expensive than in Russia or Europe, just because of this tax. When you order something from foreign online stores and the amount of your order is more than 500 000 rupees ($ 38), you also have to pay tax. Its size will depend on the category of goods. Sometimes you have to pay even before 30% of the value of the item
Once I ordered clothes from Asosa for $ 90, but at the post office I had to pay 350 000 more rupees ($ 26).
State tax, an analogue of our VAT, is 10%. There is also a 5% service tax. In cafes and restaurants, prices are often written without taxes, with the result that the bill is 15% more than you expect.
Officially, foreign nationals can open a deposit at a local bank only if they have a whale visa or a whale. It is rumored that if there are certain connections in some banks, it is possible to agree with the manager, and he will approve the application without the necessary documents. It is illegal, therefore no guarantees.
Friends who have local bank accounts say that the service is good, Internet banking is convenient and works smoothly. I use Russian cards.
There are many banks in Bali, and the local people actively use them. Judging by the billboards offering any goods on credit, the service is in demand. Mostly on credit take cars, scooters and equipment.
Personal transport in Bali is absolutely necessary. There is no public at all, and walking is impossible. Over the past year, sidewalks have been laid in tourist areas, but since the traffic is very dense, there are a lot of cars and scooters, often the drivers of scooters just drive along the sidewalks.
In addition, Bali is very hot and humid, and the distances are large. It is more convenient to drive.
Renting a simple scooter honda or suzuki costs 600 000 rupees ($ 45) per month. You can rent a car from 3 million rupees ($ 225) per month. You will not be asked for any documents, rights or collateral - they work on your word of honor. You can also ride without a license, and if the police stop, then 200 000 rupees ($ 15) will solve any problem.
Petrol costs 7450 rupees ($ 0,56) per liter. You can park anywhere, if you do not block the road: on the beaches and parking lots in tourist places it costs 2000 rupees (0,15) from a bike and 5000 rupees ($ 0,38) from a car.
The roads to Bali are good, but there are a lot of bikes and cars. At peak hours, from 8 to 10 in the morning and from 16 to 19 in the evening, the main streets are almost completely, traffic jams 9 — 10 points.
Bali has a taxi and Uber, but using them every day is much more expensive than renting your own means of transportation. With “Uber,” the situation is generally tense: local taxi drivers are boycotting him and may use brute force to the driver. Therefore, home calls, especially night calls, are often not accepted or canceled.
But there is a very convenient application "Go-Jack" - there, instead of a taxi, you can order a scooter. You can call the driver to take you somewhere, or pick up the parcel and deliver it to the right address, or even purchase from the list in a store or restaurant and bring everything to your home. Services cost 10-30 thousand rupees ($ 0,75 - $ 2,25), depending on the distance of the trip. I most often order food delivery from a fish restaurant in another area through Go-Jack. It costs me 12 rupees ($ 000) and saves about an hour.
There are two types of hospitals in Bali: for tourists and for local ones. At first, clean and tidy, but expensive. Secondly, it looks scary, but it is generally treated the same way, but it is cheaper.
I will give an example from life. My friend sprained his finger, there was no insurance. First, we arrived at a decent Bali Med hospital. They took a picture, it turned out that there is no fracture and surgery is not needed, you just need to pull and insert the joint into place. We were billed 5 million rupees ($ 375). In two more hospitals, Prima Medica and Kasih Ibu, the same thing. As a result, we went to the Sanglah emergency room, where we anesthetized a finger, inserted it and took another picture, and we paid 180 000 rupees ($ 13,5) for this.
I always take out travel insurance, because in case of a serious injury, such as a fracture, an operation is prescribed to screw in the pins. Even in the cheapest clinic, it will be worth from 40 million rupees ($ 3000).
All diseases of a cold and inflammatory nature are treated in the same way: antibiotics, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed - these are three pillars of Indonesian medicine. Generally, with qualified professionals here tight.
My friend had gynecological inflammation. She was wrongly diagnosed. Saved her only that she urgently gathered and flew away to be treated in Russia.
Bali has a very high crime rate. Europeans are constantly being robbed here: they climb into the houses, tear down bags, pull out phones. In this case, the police are not trying to look for robbers. It is easier for them to pull time, and there the tourists will fly away.
If you are not a tourist and you live in Bali for a long time, the chances that the police will help, more. But you still need a connection.
Once, two laptops were stolen from my house. I speak Indonesian well, the police understood me perfectly, but refused to accept the application without a certified translator. His services cost me 1,5 million rupees ($ 113). The next day I saw that they were trying to log in to my account. I even found the ip address and the provider, came to the police with these data, but I was told: "Sorry, we do not have a technical specialist now, relax and go home." That was the end of it.
My friend, however, once managed to return the stolen equipment. But this happened only because he had connections with the local government - the main banjar of the whole district, whose leader was able to put pressure on the police.
The police found another laptop friend, but did not return it, but offered to buy it: either he pays and takes it, or they leave the laptop as physical evidence. The computer was old and not very necessary, so after long altercations, he simply copied all the necessary information to the hard drive and left it to the police.
Food and Food
There are Bali can be expensive and cheap - depending on your budget. There are many small tents on the streets, where for 15 000 rupees ($ 1,13) you can eat a large portion of fried rice, vegetables or chicken. The traditional meatball soup is called baxo and also costs around 10 000 Rs (0,75). But this is all very low quality food.
In cafes and restaurants, the average bill for a dish and a drink is 100 000 rupees ($ 7,5) for one.
Fruits and vegetables are better to buy in the markets and in tents, and meat and chicken - in stores, it is safer. There is one big fish market in Bali, the freshest and cheapest seafood is there, but I have 40 minutes to go before it, so I buy fish in the supermarket.
There are many imported goods in Bali, but prices are often unreasonably high, especially for cheeses and nuts. Alcohol is also expensive due to high excise taxes. From 2015, the tax on strong alcohol is 150% of the price per liter. In the store a bottle of whiskey Jameson costs 745 000 rupees ($ 56). Prices are rising rapidly. Four years ago, the milk was worth 9000 Rs ($ 0,68), today - 29 000 ($ 2,18).
In a supermarket, prices for basic products are as follows:
- long loaf - 25 000 rupees ($ 1,88)
- liter of milk - 29 000 rupees ($ 2,18)
- 1 kg of potatoes - 20 000 Rs ($ 1,5);
- ten eggs - 30 000 Rs ($ 2,25);
- 1 kg of sugar - 12 500 rupees ($ 0,9);
- a pack of butter - 40 000 Rs ($ 3);
- 1 kg of chicken thighs - 56 000 Rs ($ 4,2);
- 1 kg of tuna fillet - 165 000 Rs ($ 12,4);
- 1 kg salmon filet - Rs 300 000 ($ 22,5).
There are a lot of vegetarians in Bali. I do not attribute myself to them, but it’s so hot here that I really don’t want to eat meat. Healthy and eco-friendly food at the peak of fashion for several years, and it is well earned. On the one hand, it’s ridiculous when the eco store sells for 100 000 rupees ($ 7,5) a reusable glass drink tube that says it charges the liquid with positive energy. On the other hand, it is good if the plastic on the island becomes smaller.
Leisure and entertainment
All Bali is a huge entertainment center. There are natural attractions, such as the volcano, and even temples, zoos, spas, shops, clubs, surf schools, safari parks - you can list them endlessly.
If I want to relax, I go to some beautiful place with an overnight stay. The price of the issue is just renting, you can usually meet in 200 000 rupees ($ 15) per person. I usually drive to the beach in the north of the island, to rice fields in Ubud, or to the botanical garden in the foothills of Kintamani volcano.
I go to the gym, which costs 150 000 rupees ($ 11,25) per month. This is a small room at the hotel. There is a large sports complex nearby. Finns Recreation Club with a pool, sauna and group classes, the subscription costs 800 000 Rs ($ 60) per month. One yoga class in the studio is an average of 100 000 rupees ($ 7,5), a manicure - 160 000 rupees ($ 12), a movie ticket - 50 000 rupees ($ 3,75).
There are two seasons in Bali: wet and dry. From December to March it rains almost every day, sometimes lingering, sometimes short and powerful, with showers. At this time, the river washes all the garbage into the ocean, and its tides bring it to shore, so the west coast is dirty, it is unpleasant to swim.
During the rest of the year, precipitation is rare. But there is still no dry air here - almost always wet. The most difficult time is the off-season period: April-March and November. At this time in the afternoon it is very hot and stuffy, but there is no rain yet.
The most pleasant weather in Bali usually happens in July and August. Air temperature + 28 ° C and sunny.
In the evenings in Bali is fresh, and when you ride on a scooter, it can even be cool. I have already adapted to the climate so much that I wear light sweaters and jeans, although tourists cannot understand me.
All employees of the tourism sector speak English tolerably well, albeit in a simplified version.
Everybody speaks Indonesian, although it became the official language of Indonesia only in 1954. Each island also has its own historical dialect. There are few rules in the language, and they are simple. The vocabulary in 100 is enough words to solve any household problem.
Arriving in Bali, I first learned the numbers to bargain in the market. Gradually, I remembered the names of the products, translating them into a Google Translator. She also translated words from billboards and signs, asked friends who in Bali long ago how to say this or that phrase in Indonesian. I learned a lot of Indonesian words from a Balinese who worked at my surf school. In general, learned in everyday situations.
I cannot talk about politics or literature, but at the household level I can easily explain everything I need.
Despite all the difficulties and drawbacks listed above, I live in Bali much more pleasantly than in Russia. I earn less here, but I also spend much less time on work, and more on living.
Here, as in the village: everyone knows everyone, fresh air, no tall buildings and a constant urban race, the rhythm of life is slow. On the other hand, there is any entertainment here, as in a megacity. From here it is easy and inexpensive to travel around Asia. Tickets to Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Thailand or the Philippines cost around $ 300 round trip.
In conclusion, I want to tell two illustrative stories about the Indonesian mentality.
The first story. For the event it is necessary to print banners on flags, time is running out. Find a printing company dialogue:
- Orders are many, we will do it in 7 days.
- For a long time. Let's pay twice as much, and you will do it for 5?
- Let us pay twice as much, and we will definitely do it for 7?
The second story. Five friends-surfers stayed on the coast in a small guest house. Breakfast is prepared by the owner himself, you have to pay for it separately. Four friends woke up, ordered an omelet and had breakfast. The fifth overslept and came when everyone was finishing up. He goes to the kitchen to ask for another omelet, and the owner looks at him and says: Already closed, because I'm tired (“Already closed, I'm tired.”)
Local way is very specific, it does not alter. If you accept and accept it, it becomes really good in Bali.
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