Ghost Palace Hotel, Bali, Indonesia

Living in Bali… Past My Prime?

I have been living in Bali for two weeks now. I am slowly seeing the island and learning about the culture. All while teaching english. It has been interesting.

Ghost Palace Hotel

I went on a little excursion last week with some Tribe members. We stopped at the Ghost Palace Hotel. Originally known as PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort.

I am not sure if it is really haunted, but it does have an interesting story. The hotel was almost finished when the owner went to jail and the project stopped. It never opened.

The hotel is open to the public. You just have to pay the “security guard” at the fence a few dollars. It is massive. I only had time to explore the lobby area. I plan to go back. But not at night or by myself.

Court Yard Ghost Palace Hotel
Court Yard Ghost Palace Hotel

In America, a place like this would be boarded up with “no trespassing” signs everywhere. Or it would be a “historic museum” with a $10 donation to see three rooms. Just look. Don’t touch.

I fell in a hole 

That is the story. I went to the corner store for some candy and was running from tree to tree so I wouldn’t get hit by a scooter.

I took a step backwards and fell in a water canal that runs down the side of the road. Thankfully there was no water in it. I ended up with a few scrapes and bruises but my pride was hurt the most. A little girl watched the whole thing.

Past my prime?

I was in class with a twelve year old Chinese girl. I was asking about her family. She was very good at english and we could carry on a simple conversation.

She asked me if I had any children. I said, “No.”
Then she asked if I had a husband. I said, “No.” Looking at me with confusion, she asked, “How old are you?.” “I am 34.”

Well at this point she was about to fall off her chair. “No, no, no,” shaking her head, “You should have a husband and children.”  

Imagine how you feel when your mom questions you at Thanksgiving. Trust me, a twelve year old girl… ten times worse.

Pahk the Cah

VIPKID is going well. Even though I do not have a thick accent anymore, I can not deny the facts. I will always eat Fluffernutters, it’s a bureau not a dresser and I will never say my R’s right. 

Guess what my lesson was covering… the “ar” sound. I might have skipped over some stuff and pretended the connection was bad.

So don’t worry.. the kids in China will speak Boston. It’s called well rounded. 

The Squat Toilet

And I present to you a squat toilet

Squat Toilet
Squat Toilet

I discussed this in my last blog. I was shocked the hostels have had western toilets.

Normally, places in Asia have a squat toilet. This photo is of a bathroom at a house I was visiting.

If you ever come across this yourself. It is okay. Be confident and act like you know what to do. If you really don’t, then you can learn here.

Travel Tip

Shoe Rack in Bali
No shoes past this point.

Shoes are a big no no. Homes, restaurants, stores, hotel rooms, etc. It is really nice to walk around bare foot. Although, I have had a few moments where I felt like I forgot something.


What I wish I knew my first week with VIPKID.

My first week with VIPKID was a little rough. I was getting home from my winter nursing assignment. I was freaking out about not getting bookings. I was reading that it took some people months. I didn’t have months.

My first week, I tried to cram so much stuff in. I had never taught ESL before. And I quickly realized it was going to be a lot more complicated than I thought.

I tried to get every certification. I opened every slot. Never unpacked. I Sat on my bed, checking my phone every hour. When I did sleep, I was waking up every hour to check my slots. I was about to lose it. 

Practice makes progress not perfect. VIPKID Quote

One morning, after my 3rd workshop of the day, I finally just closed my computer and told myself that I could not work on VIPKID for the rest of the day. I closed my open bookings. And I went for a run. Ok… maybe a walk. I ended up getting two bookings that day, and I felt like all the information I had gathered the previous days finally sunk in.

I actually got a booking on my 2nd day. But when I read the other teachers’ notes, the student seemed like a “problem child.” Great. This booking wasn’t until the next week; therefore, I had a week to fester in my anxiety.

My advice for your first week VIPKID:

1. Take workshops.

I got hired and then didn’t take it any further until I got back to Vegas after my winter nursing assignment… When I sat down at my computer, I realized I had no idea where to start. I learned so much in the workshops. And there are workshops for every topic.

2. Do not take too many workshops.

DON’T sign up for five workshops a day. By the time I was on my 3rd workshop, I couldn’t focus, and I felt like I wasn’t learning anything even though I’m sure it was very informative.

3. Take the workshop “Marketing Yourself.”

It talks about how to tweak your profile and what Chinese Parents look for. 

4. Don’t make yourself crazy. 

5. It’s not as bad as you think.

I was losing sleep for no reason. I know I am not the best teacher, but I realized the 25 minutes go by quickly. It is a lot easier to talk to a real child instead of a wall or some guy pretending to be a five-year-old.

6. Preparation will get easier. 

I am super organized and need to be prepared. I made a binder and organized it by level. It made me feel better, but even after my second class, I realized you wouldn’t have to prepare as much as you may feel like you do. Yes, in my first class, I made notes and practiced. It took me all day. Because of all my preparation for my first class, my second class only took me about thirty minutes of preparation. It helped that it was the same student and the same unit, but I understand what teachers say.

I hope this decreases the anxiety you have when you first start with VIPKID. Just remember, it will get easier. If you are not a teacher yet and are interested in becoming one, you can learn more here. And please use my referral link to apply.

Travel with VIPKID
Tanah Lot Temple

Can you afford to live in Bali? I think so…

Is Indonesia expensive? Isn’t Bali even more expensive? Can you afford to live there full time? What is the cost of living? Why Bali?

Wait. Let me stop right here. WHY BALI? If you could work from anywhere in the world, why wouldn’t you want to work in Bali?

View at Tribe Theory Bali
Tribe Theory Bali

Can you afford to live in Bali? Yes. Well I think so. I hope so. I’m going to find out. How much does it really cost to live full-time in Indonesia?

I have a lot of questions. And I don’t have a lot of answers… yet. I told people I wanted a break from nursing and was moving to Bali for the Summer. I knew it was going to be a pay cut from nursing but really, How much does your sanity cost?

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”

George Lorimer

The plan… my plan… is to work teaching English online with VIPKID while traveling around Indonesia.

I am keeping track of all my expenses every day from accommodations to insurance. I don’t want to bore you with all that. However, if you want all the nitty gritty just keep scrolling past the credits. How did I do week one?

  • Accommodations: $126.00 I have a private room in a co-working hostel. Great Wifi and great people.
  • Travel/Transportation: $111.41 This includes transportation to the airport in Las Vegas AND MY FLIGHT to Bali. Not so bad then.
  • Food/Drink: $93.74 I need to cut my food bill down. More buying my own groceries and not eating at the hostel everyday.
Vegan Pasta Meal at Tribe Theory
Amazing Vegan Pasta (I don’t know what makes it vegan, but I don’t care, it’s good)
  • Bank Fees: $31.98 I know why most people don’t think it is cheap to travel. It’s the damn bank fees.
  • Groceries: $36.60
  • Miscellaneous: $47.76 (Visa, Gym, etc)
  • Travel Insurance: $11.88 Travel Insurance. I use SafetyWing. I have never used them before so I can’t give an opinion.

TOTAL: $459.37

Now I know that seems like a lot. It does to me too. The thing to remember is the total includes my flight, airport transportation, my visa and simcard. And this was over nine days. So it’s really only $51/day. Next week will be better. Either way, it is only 23 hours of work with VIPKID.

Now all the details…

Saturday June 22 — Total: $166.29

1. Accommodations — $14.00
I am staying in a private room at Tribe Theory.
2. Travel/Transportation — $101.71
The airplane ticket to Bali was $12.00 (Yes, $12.00). When I booked my flight I picked a window seat but realized later I wanted an aisle seat. There were not any free aisle seats left so I had to buy a seat for $50.00. Total fail on my part. My Uber ride to the airport in Vegas was $22.01. The car from the airport in Bali to my hostel was $17.70.
3. Food and Drink — $2.21
I ate and drank for free all day at two different airports using my lounge access. Unlimited food and cocktails. You don’t have to ask me twice. And I had one celebratory beer at my hostel that cost $2.21.
4. Bank Fees — $11.37
Bank fees are going to kill me. All of the ATMs I have found only let you take out 2,500,000 IDR. Most 100’s I will ever hold in my hand. It’s really only $177.38. Help!
5. Miscellaneous — $37.00
My VOA (visa on arrival). You can get into Indonesia for 30 days free, but if you want to extend another 30 days, you need to pay up front.

First Beer in Bali, Indonesia
My first official beer in Bali!

Sunday June 23 — $26.81

1. Accommodations — $14.00 Private Room Tribe Theory
2. Travel $0.00 I didn’t go any where because I was exhausted from travel and slept most the day.
3. Food/Drink $12.81 I ate all my meals at my hostel. I ate two full meals that were each $5.30. I also had a watermelon smoothie for $2.21.

Monday June 24 — $70.72

1. Accommodations — $14.00 Still at Tribe Theory
2. Travel — $1.35 My GOJEK scooter was $0.78 one way to the beach and $0.57 back. (Yes, cents)
3. Food/Drink — $18.37
I had a coffee by the beach for $3.47. Then enjoyed the views at a restuarant on the water. The total at the restaurant was $10.65 (I was treating my self). Dinner at the hostel was $4.25.
4. Bank Fees — $10.31
Again, Really?! Bank of America is charging me $5 of that. FYI The ATMS’s around Bali have a cheaper fee then at the airport. I remember when I was in Thailand, I spent as much in bank fees as I spent on food and drinks.
5. Groceries — $26.69
I spent $26.69 on groceries. I got scammed. My plan is to eat my own food for breakfast (except my latte) to save money, so it should even out.
6. Miscellaneous- $0.00 I did a free fitness class.

Tuesday June 25 — $31.43

1. Accommodations — $14.00
Tribe Theory
2. Travel — $3.75
I took an actual GO-CAR to visit the Tanah Temple. I split it with my friend so one way was $3.75.
3. Food/Drink — $13.54
I had breakfast and coffee at the hostel for $6.73 and dinner for $4.60. Oh, and almost forgot my beer for $2.21.
4. Miscellaneous — $0.14
We tipped the Sadhu after receiving our blessing.

Wednesday June 26 — Total: $31.70

1. Accommodations — $14.00
2. Travel — $0.00
I didn’t go anywhere. Just relaxed.
3. Food/Drink — $17.70
I made my own breakfast but I did buy an iced latte for $1.77. I went out to dinner at an awesome restaurant on the water. I picked my own fish and then they cooked it right in front of me. $8.14 for a fancy meal and beer. So good. I ate lunch at my hostel for $7.79.

Thursday June 27 — $36.16

1. Accommodations — $14.00
2. Travel — $2.69
I needed to get a SImcard so I had backup internet for teaching. You can buy them anywhere but they don’t always work. I went into Denpasar so my GOJEK was a little pricey at $2.69.
3. Food/Drink — $10.62
I made my own breakfast, but I bought my latte for $1.77. I ate lunch and dinner at the hostel. The food is so good and they have large portions but are a little expensive (for Bali standards). I need to venture out.
4. Miscellaneous — $8.85
I bought a simcard so I will have backup internet to teach with.

Friday June 28 — $32.23

1. Accommodations — $14.00
2. Travel — $1.91
Went to the beach.
3. Food/Drink — $6.02
My morning latte and one meal. I made my own breakfast.
4. Bank Fees — I Can’t even look… $10.30
You may be wondering why I have had to go to the ATM three times. My debit card had a bunch of charges on it that were not mine. It didn’t happen in Bali. It started before I left. Anyway, I needed to pull out cash to survive until my new card finds me in Bali. I don’t have high hopes.

Saturday June 29 — $24.70

1. Accommodations — $14.00
Same for another week.
2. Travel — $0.00
I worked on my computer and walked to the store.
3. Food/Drink — $10.70
I had my breakfast latte and my own breakfast. For lunch I walked down the street and found Chicken Satay for $2.21. I stopped at a little stand on the side of the road for desert. Two homemade deserts for $0.21. After dinner, I went to the corner store and got three types of wafers bars for $0.85.

Latte on the menu at Tribal Theory Bali Indonesia
My morning crack.

Sunday June 30 — $27.45

1. Accommodations — $14.00
I haven’t moved anywhere.
2. Travel/Transportation — $0.00
I hitched a ride to the gym with a guy at the hostel.
3. Food/Drink — $1.77
My regular morning latte. I know I should probably just make my own coffee to save money, but it’s like going to Starbucks. Should you spend $6.00 on a grande soy extra hot (I don’t understand extra hot, it’s hot and it has to cool down before you can drink it anyway) sugar free mocha and don’t forget the whipped cream? No, but we do and it starts our day on a good note.
4. Groceries — $9.91
We stopped at a fruit stand and Pepito’s (frown face) on the way home.
5. Miscellaneous — $1.77
I went to gym.

Until next week…

Disclaimer: The math is true to the best of my knowledge. I’m sure someone out there will find a mistake… because thats what people do on the internet.