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Bali vs Thailand as a Digital Nomad: Which is Best For You

Balis vs Thailand guide

If you’re a digital nomad who’s never been to Bali or Thailand and hoping to learn which one is best for you, you’re in the right place. Having been a digital nomad in both Bali and Thailand, I loved both destinations and think they’re each ideal for working remotely and travelling.

In this article, we’ll discuss Bali vs Thailand for digital nomads, including visa options, cost of living, safety, scenery and activities, and how to get around. Both locations are similar in many ways but have unique qualities that make each special.

We’ll also answer common questions and share an overview of each destination to help you choose which is right for you.

Read more: How to Become a Digital Nomad (in 10 Steps)

Visas for Indonesia and Thailand

There are various types of visas for Bali and Thailand, making it easy to stay for at least two months in either location and other options for longer stays.

Bali Visa

kuta bali

If you’re going to Bali to travel as a digital nomad, you can get a 60-day visa on arrival.

Indonesia also has a Remote Worker Visa (E33G) that allows many digital nomads working remotely to stay in Bali for up to one year. The E33G Remote Worker Visa is fora person who works in a foreign country and conducts their assignments in Indonesia” and requires an online application before arrival.

Thailand Visa


You can visit visa-free if you’re going to Thailand for 30 days or less from one of these 64 countries. Once you’re in Thailand, you can extend your visa for up to a total stay of 90 days.

If you want to stay longer, you can get a Long-Term Resident Visa and live in Thailand for up to five years, with the option to extend for an additional five years. 

Cost of Living

Bali and Thailand are two of the cheapest places for digital nomads, especially considering the lifestyle. You can comfortably live in either place for $1,500 per month. If you’re on more of a budget, Thailand is your best option and can be incredibly affordable.

Bali Cost of Living

Although Bali is one of Indonesia’s most expensive places and generally costs more than Thailand, it’s affordable compared to many other digital nomad destinations. When I was in Bali a few years ago, I found it easy to splurge as there were many nice spas and more expensive delicious restaurants compared to other places in Southeast Asia.

Here’s an overview of average costs in Bali:

  • Meals: $2.54 to $11.10 per meal
  • Beer: $3.17 to $3.80 per drink
  • Coffee: $2.43 per drink
  • Rent for a one-bedroom: $399 to $663 (depending on area) per month
  • Basic utilities: $51.55 per month

Thailand Cost of Living

When I lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a few years ago, my monthly expenses were usually around $1,000. This included living in a comfortable studio apartment, dining out for one or two meals daily, and two or three activities per week. I usually ate local food, which was delicious and less than a few dollars per meal.

Here’s an overview of average costs in Thailand:

  • Meals: $2.81 to $11.93 per meal
  • Beer: $1.97 to $3.37 per drink
  • Coffee: $1.91 per drink
  • Rent for a one-bedroom: $243 to $484 (depending on city) per month
  • Basic utilities: $69.68 per month

Read more: How to Live Cheaply as a Digital Nomad (10 Must-Know Tips)


Bali and Thailand are both generally safe locations. As with any place, it’s best to be aware of your surroundings and be with others you know if you’re out after dark. 

Thailand is known to be the most welcoming of LGBTQ+ and more diverse with people of colour. That said, Bali is also generally welcoming of all people.

Scenery and Activities

Bali and Thailand’s scenery and activities are similar. Both locations are gorgeous, with mountains, beaches, jungles, and temples.

solis portable wifi

Bali Scenery and Activities

Bali is known for its laid-back beach lifestyle. That said, there are many things to see and do in Bali. Bali is mountainous and has jungles and many beaches to explore.

Popular Bali activities include:

  • Surfing
  • Watching the sunset at the beach
  • Visiting temples
  • Exploring rice paddies and popular sites like Mount Batur and Monkey Forest
  • Going to cafes
  • Taking yoga classes (especially in Ubud)
  • Getting massages

Thailand Scenery and Activities

Thailand’s scenery and activities vary, depending on the cities you visit. No matter where you go, it’s easy to find fun things to do, including visiting the many unique Buddhist temples and getting massages.

The most popular places in Thailand for digital nomads include:

  • Bangkok: the capital and most bustling city, with nightlife and tons of shopping and dining
  • Chiang Mai: a lively digital nomad city with cafes, temples, markets, and nearby hiking
  • Krabi: a beautiful province filled with beaches and jungles
  • Koh Lanta: a laid-back island with many beaches and jungles
  • Phuket: a touristy island with many beaches and a fun party scene

Getting Around

It’s easy to get around Bali and Thailand. Both places have affordable rideshare services, including Grab car or motorbike taxi service and Gojek for motorbike taxis. You can also rent a motorbike if you’re staying long-term and feel comfortable driving on your own.

While Bali has a bus service, most foreigners don’t use it. Bangkok is the only place in Thailand where digital nomads usually use public transportation. That said, you can use Thailand’s bus service to get to and from nearby cities on a budget.

How to Choose the Best Location for You

To decide which location is best for you, let’s look at a Bali vs. Thailand for digital nomads comparison chart:

VisasA 60-day visa on arrival. One-year Remote Worker Visa (E33G)A 30-day visa-free option (can be extended twice)Five-year Long-Term Resident Visa (can be extended +5 years)
Cost of LivingCan comfortably live on $1,500/monthlyCan comfortably live on $1,000/monthly
SafetyGenerally safe and welcoming to all peopleSafe and welcoming to all people
Scenery and ActivitiesBeaches and mountainsSurfing, hiking, exploring nature, getting massages, and doing yogaBeaches, jungles, and mountainsDepends on the city but includes visiting temples, going hiking, exploring beaches, and getting massages
Getting AroundRideshare services: Grab and GojekRideshare services: Grab and GojekPublic transport in Bangkok

Tips for First-Time Nomads

first time in bali and thailand

If it’s your first time going to Bali or Thailand as a digital nomad, here are a few tips helpful for both locations:

  • Decide the experience you’re looking for: Consider what you’re looking for in terms of costs, activities, and length of stay to help you decide where to go.
  • Do your research: Take time to research the location you choose to determine what visa you need, the best area to stay, etc.
  • Find accommodation: We recommend booking a short-term stay before arrival, then choosing a longer-term rental after you’re there. Depending on your budget, you can stay in a hotel, hostel, or coliving space for your short-term stay. There are also many Airbnbs in Bali and Thailand ideal for short and long-term stays. 
  • Join Facebook groups: Get tips and meet people in the place you choose by joining Facebook groups like Bali Digital Nomads and Digital Nomads Thailand.


To help you choose the right place for you, let’s look at answers to common questions about Bali vs. Thailand for digital nomads.

Is Bali a good place to be a digital nomad?

Bali is an excellent place to be a digital nomad. There’s a large digital nomad community, many places to work, fun activities, and an affordable cost of living.

Is Thailand good for digital nomads?

Thailand is ideal for digital nomads. There are many unique cities to choose from, a low cost of living, and many opportunities for networking and making friends.

Is it better to live in Thailand or Bali?

Thailand and Bali are both great places to live. While they have a lot in common, there are a few unique differences. Thailand is best if you’re looking for a larger destination that’s easy to travel around and has many activities and sites to explore. Bali is best if you’re looking for a more condensed location with beautiful scenery, a laid-back vibe, and a focus on wellness.

Bali vs. Thailand for Digital Nomads: Conclusion

We hope this article helped you choose the best digital nomad destination for you. If it’s your first time visiting Bali or Thailand, you can’t go wrong with either option. They’re both stunning places, with fun things to do and welcoming locals and other travellers.

To learn more about digital nomad destinations, you might be interested in reading these articles:

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