If you follow Bali related news as I do, you will notice there is an overwhelming amount of negative press about Bali and the whole of Indonesia: corruption, crime, weird new laws, natural disasters and foreigners winding up in all sorts of trouble. It is not surprising that some people will wonder why would anyone ever want to live in Bali?
I have lived overseas for most of my life, ever since I graduated from university. Most people when they move to a new country study the history, culture, politics and language of the country. While we will make friends with local people of the country we move to, we also seek out people from our own country. I think this is fairly natural and also helps to ease the move to a new culture.
In my experience when expats get together the subject which dominates the conversation is funnily enough the country they are living in, and perhaps it is just human nature but the conversation tends to focus on the negative aspects – not always, but most of the time. So when I lived in Japan, we would talk about the long working hours of Japanese, endless meetings and ridiculously expensive property rentals for shoe box sized apartments. In China it was the spitting, pollution and internet censorship. In Indonesia expats often talk about corruption, traffic problems and visa troubles.
As the popularity of forums and social networks have grown, we have taken many of these conversations online . While I do agree Bali is facing many problems, particularly with the environment and basic infrastructure, it is easy to get a very negative impression of Bali if you spend too much time on these sites. Bali is not alone from disgruntled expats who have nothing better to do than spreading negative information about their adopted country.
When people talk about problems in Bali, often they are referring to most built up areas of Kuta/Seminyak/Canggu and to a degree Ubud. Just look at a map of Bali and you will see that these places only make up a small part of the island. I live in the north and there are very few problems with crime, traffic and the cost of living is much lower.
Everyone has their own reasons for living in Bali. I think you could summarize them as: people, culture, food, natural beauty of the island, climate and lower cost of living (at least cheaper than most western countries). Balinese culture is certainly unique and one of the few places you can see people following their traditional beliefs.
It makes me laugh i when people say they have had it with Bali and moving to the Philippines or Thailand. Both of course are wonderful countries, but suffer from similar problems to Indonesia.
If you are thinking of moving to Bali, try not to be put off from the endless chatter on Facebook and come and experience it for yourself.