Unfortunately, there really isn’t one simple answer to this question. Of course the most popular method of shipping goods overseas would be to pack all of your stuff into a container and send it by boat. If you choose to use this method then your goods will not be able to be shipped directly to Bali, as even though Bali is a popular tourist destination it is still not equipped to be able to handle that level of import and customs. Your container will arrive (slowly) to the city of Surabaya, which is located in the eastern section of Java, the large island located to the west of Bali.
Now most people will assume that since their good are already in the country of Indonesia that the hard part is almost over, but reality, the struggle is just beginning. Indonesia has a notoriously corrupt government and this goes especially for anything having to with importing goods and dealing with customs. Horror stories can be heard from many people who have spent thousands of dollars trying to ship their valuables in for their new life in Indonesia only to be faced with numerous problems.
One of the main problems is that customs and import laws in Indonesia are constantly changing and the process of getting your stuff to the port in Surabaya can take so long in itself that the laws often change within that time (or are said to have been changed). Many people have tried to ship containers over, only to be met with problem after problem until they have just given up and decided to ship their container back to their home country.
Unfortunately there is no right or wrong way of getting all of this done and there is no way of knowing if things will go smoothly or not. There are agents to smooth over many of these problems but some people have reported experiencing problems with customs that even the agents couldn’t get past.
Do you really need to bring everything over?
Things are not all bad though, because you may find it completely unnecessary to bring all of your furniture and personal effects to Bali in the first place.
Many houses and villas for rent in Bali will come completely furnished for you already which would mean all of that furniture that you brought from home would just be taking up extra space. Also if the place you are interested in renting does not come furnished, it is quite cheap to furnish an entire house with locally made Balinese style furniture.
Of course it may not have some of the memories of your furniture from back home, most agree that living in a Balinese style house complete with Balinese style furniture really helps to make their stay here all the more authentic.
In actuality, it would generally be much cheaper to furnish your entire house with new furniture than it would be to ship all of your old furniture over.
Plus if your lifestyle leads you elsewhere and you eventually decide to leave Bali you can sell your furniture and get a large chucnk of that money back, and not have to worry about dealing with the hassle of shipping all your furniture back home, where it may not arrive for many months.
Continue on to What to Bring With You to Bali