6 Jobs for Foreigners in Bali

Tips for Living and Working in Bali

Bali is one of the world’s dream holiday destinations, and it’s safe to say that many visitors who have come, seen and experienced the island on their holiday eventually want to stay longer or call it home – a one or two week-long vacation may simply not be enough. Many have moved on from being a ‘tourist’ to an ‘expat’, turning their favourite holiday island into a home and workplace.

However, disembarking on your journey of a lifetime may have its obstacles and challenges, ranging from culture shock, getting the proper papers rightly sorted (obtaining work permits and visa extensions can be a hassle). Some people make the dream move and it’s all they could ever dream of, while others find the inherent differences just too much to deal with full time. Still, if you’re considering to live and work in Bali or just interested in the opportunities, read on.

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Work in a Hotel

Bali’s hotel industry thrives and there are many managerial level positions in hotels commonly filled by foreigners, from general managers, restaurant managers to executive chefs. International chain hotels, however, usually hire and transfer internally. After tenures in hotels, experienced chefs also usually move onto new endeavours as restaurateurs, opening up and running the next big dining hotspot on the island. To be hired at a non-based restaurant, however, you’d have to be really accomplished to be called for work. Other hotel positions include guest relations staff for specific international markets, often held by native speakers with good hospitality backgrounds.

The Good:
Personal development and career building.

The Not So Good:
Long hours and similar pressures you’ll find in hotels anywhere in the world.

Further info:
Check out http://id.jobsdb.com/id - a leading online jobs database


Foreign Language Teacher

Sharing your knowledge and skills with locals can be noble, and you can also earn well while doing it. It’s not to take jobs away from local teachers, but rather work alongside them to help locals achieve a native speaker-level of English in fluency and pronunciation. Guest foreign language teachers are welcome at kindergartens, high schools and universities, and the pay can be diverse depending on your own educational credentials. Besides adding up to your own CV and opening more opportunities for you elsewhere in Indonesia and globally, it also offers valuable cultural insights through your close interaction with locals – being a teacher easily gets you more friends.

The Good:
Local Balinese students are very social and inquisitive about foreign cultures, making for pleasant transfer of knowledge.

The Not So Good:
Teaching requires an energetic persona. Little space for career development.

Further info:
Check out www.englishfirst.com/ESL-Jobs/teaching-english-in-bali - a leading English course in Bali.


Dive Instructor

Dive Instructor

So you’ve got your certification from PADI or SSI instructor courses, and you’d love to pass on the fun and passion of exploring underwater wonders to new divers. There are many choices of 5-star certified dive shops now available around the island, scoring a position as dive instructor can be a great opportunity to go on an ‘endless holiday’. Divemaster is the first rung for anyone who wants to earn a living through scuba diving. Internships can last 2 months, and can be done at any dive centre in the world. Diving is a great way to relocate to the tropics, enjoy your passion and make a living (but don’t expect to get rich)!

The Good:
Endless holiday!

The Not So Good:
Modest and seasonal pay.

Further info:
For further information, check out the PADI homepage: http://www.padi.com/scuba


Yoga Instructor

Yoga Instructor

Bali is perhaps one of the world’s best places to practice yoga and wellbeing, with almost every resort and yoga centre on the island featuring visiting ‘guest yoga instructors’ regularly. You could be one yourself. Yoga studios in Bali offer different kinds of yoga, welcoming practitioners of all levels and disciplines. One of the best parts about it is the opportunity to exchange knowledge with like-minded yogis from all over the world. Ubud, the capital for all things ‘spiritual’ and ‘healthy living’ in Bali, is where you can start. There’s even a festival held annually just for it.

The Good:
Bali, particularly Ubud, has a thriving yoga scene.

The Not So Good:
You’d need to have good credentials. Tight supply and demand.

Further info:
Check out http://www.balispirit.com/yoga - the organiser of the Bali Spirit Festival.



Are you a model, photographer, musician, DJ, or dancer? Then opportunities are plentiful in Bali, as events and festivals are held regularly and usually require your service, as do hotels and businesses. The island was even a shooting location for a Hollywood movie, which required many extras of different backgrounds, locals and foreigners, to add to the variety of a scene, such as in the Ubud market scene of Eat, Pray, Love. DJs, as well as jazz singers and musicians are on constant demand, with hip bars and nightclubs featuring live entertainment regularly. It is important to realise that production companies will usually employ you on a short term contract, meaning you will typically spend most of your time without a work permit. Some people accept this precarious way of life as a concession in order to fulfil their dreams; others find the lack of reliable money and uncertain visa arrangements unsettling.

The Good:
Getting paid doing what you like and exclusive access to clubs and parties

Not So Good:
Seasonal and not always covered by a work permit

Further info:
Get active by looking up the many modelling communities, DJ forums or specific gig venues on Facebook.


Start your own business

Start your own business

From becoming a restaurateur and opening up the next hip dining spot in Bali, to starting your sourcing or import and export company or building your own IT consultant firm, there are many opportunities to start your own business in Bali. Be warned though: starting a business in Indonesia, especially as a foreigner, is not without its bureaucratic hurdles, and not many make it successfully. Those that do, however, stand by the fact that you need to invest plenty of your time and money into unforeseen aspects, from social and cultural, business rivalry, to ‘extra fees’ and such. Easier ways to start your own thing without much to start off with, is by blogging or travel writing, starting a YouTube channel and consider affiliate marketing or drop shipping if you’re into online marketing of Balinese handicrafts, for example.

The Good:
Be your own boss.

The Not So Good:
Potential for untold losses.

Further info:
Statistics on the ease of doing business and measuring business regulations in Indonesia, by The World Bank – http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/indonesia/

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