Updated 7 months ago

Sandwiched between the islands of Java and Lombok, Bali may be the most popular place in the Indonesian archipelago for leisure activities, but it is also a fantastic place to work. Read this article to find out more.

Although Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, the majority of the Balinese people actually practice Hinduism, which makes it quite distinctive from the rest of the nation. Furthermore, Balinese Hinduism has a higher than the average number of gods, which means that more than 20,000 shrines (pura) can be found on the island, resulting in it being known as the Island of the Gods.

And while it is indeed an island, Bali is also a province that includes three smaller islands that are just off the main island’s south-east coastline. These are located in what is referred to as the Coral Triangle, as there are around 600 species of coral in the waters. More than 2,000 species of fish, as well as turtles and dolphins, call the area their home, and the marine biodiversity has resulted in it being nicknamed the ‘Amazon of the Seas’.

Bali really does seem to have it all. It is one of the few places in the world where active volcanoes, black volcanic sand beaches, iconic mountain rice terraces (these were developed in the 9th century as part of a self-sustaining irrigation system), and hillside temples (there are estimated to be 10,000 temples in Bali) join forces with designer shops, luxurious resorts, watersports, and fantastic restaurants serving sumptuous local and western cuisine.

This island idyll may often be known as a surfer's paradise or a party animal's wildest dream, but it has so much more to it. You can also find child-friendly hideaways in Sanur, enjoy the height of opulence in Kerobokan, or retreat to the spiritual and cultural heart of Ubud.

So whatever your inclination — be it sybaritic, athletic, holistic, hedonistic, or family-focused — you can be sure to find something that suits your needs.

Labour market

This multi-faceted island offers many opportunities for those who wish to make the transition from tourist to expat.

About 80% of Bali’s economy depends on tourism, and Bali certainly wouldn’t be what it is today without its holidaymakers. It has one of the highest densities of spas in the world (around 1,200), and work in the tourism industry — from managerial level positions in hotels to executive chefs — is, therefore, one of the easiest types of employment for foreign professionals to find.

Alternatively, working as a teacher is a noble way of earning a living in Bali. This doesn't mean taking jobs away from local teachers, but rather sharing knowledge and skills to work together so that students can practice pronunciation and fluency with an English native speaker. Teachers are welcome at kindergartens, high schools, and universities, and the salaries can vary depending on qualifications and the institution. For example, an international school will pay more than a foreign language centre.

Bali is arguably one of the best destinations to practice yoga, scuba diving, and surfing, and the opportunities for instructors in these disciplines are abundant. Ubud, as the capital of spiritual well-being in Bali, is a great place to salute the sun with like-minded practitioners, while it's best to head to the wild beaches of Nusa Lembongan if you wish to worship the waves with surf aficionados.

If you are a model, photographer, musician, or dancer, then opportunities are also plentiful, as many events, festivals, and films are held and recorded regularly in Bali, and they usually require a variety of artistic talent. Live entertainment options also abound in Bali, which means that DJs and musicians are also in high demand.

Although it comes with some bureaucratic hurdles, there are opportunities to start your own business in Bali as well — from opening up the next popular dining spot to starting your own import and export company or building your own consultancy. Just be prepared to invest plenty of time and money for potentially unforeseen aspects.

Find a job in Bali

Bali is a relatively small destination, so a few contacts and a little proactivity go a long way.

Get active by signing up to a leading jobs database, such as JobsDB or Or start researching and joining the many communities or forums that are specific to your field on social networking websites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Furthermore, contact the organisers of festivals and events and start making contacts in your desired industry. For example, if you are a yogi, then check out the Bali Spirit Festival and either attend the event and network, or email the organisers to see how you could be part of the yoga scene in the future.

As well as submitting your resume directly to companies, or uploading it to job websites, it's also worth browsing through the local newspapers such as The Bali Times for employment opportunities.

Many international hotel chains tend to hire staff internally, so the smoothest way to find a job in Bali would be to request a transfer if this is an option for you.

If you're a teacher, then contact the international schools in Bali. And if you wish to teach English as a foreign language, sign up to teaching forums, such as Dave's ESL Cafe, or apply to a language school, such as English First.

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