Comparing Bali and Mauritius. Where is the best place to go?

When it comes to choosing a perfect getaway, the lush, tropical paradises of Bali and Mauritius often top the list. Each island boasts its unique allure, promising an escape into worlds where natural beauty, cultural richness, and the warmth of local hospitality blend seamlessly. In this article, "Comparing Bali and Mauritius: Where is the Best Place to Go?", we delve into a comprehensive comparison of these two idyllic destinations from various angles crucial to tourists and expats alike.

From the mesmerizing beaches and vibrant underwater life to the intricacies of local cuisine and accommodation options, each aspect of Bali and Mauritius is explored in detail. We’ll navigate through the nuances of their natural landscapes, examining the beaches, flora, and fauna that make each island distinct. The intricate tapestry of their cultures will unfold as we consider the local attitudes, language, and lifestyle experiences offered to visitors and long-term dwellers.

Understanding the practicalities of travel, we compare the logistics of transportation, visa regulations, and the cost of living, providing a clear picture of what it means to spend time in each location. Whether you're a digital nomad seeking a scenic backdrop for your remote work, a tourist in search of an adventurous or relaxing holiday, or someone considering a more permanent move, this article aims to equip you with all the information you need.

Join us on this journey as we weigh the pros and cons, the enchantments, and the practicalities of both Bali and Mauritius. By the end, you'll have a clearer picture of which destination might be the best fit for your next holiday or perhaps even a longer adventure.

Nature 

Beaches and Coastal Areas

Bali is celebrated for its diverse range of beaches, from the bustling surf spots to serene, hidden coves. The black sand beaches near volcanic areas, like Lovina, and the picturesque white sands of Jimbaran Bay highlight this diversity. Nusa Dua is known for its crystal-clear waters and coral reefs, ideal for snorkeling.

Mauritius boasts some of the world's most stunning beaches, characterized by powdery white sands and turquoise waters. Grand Baie is a hub for water sports, while the tranquil Blue Bay offers a protected marine park. Belle Mare Plage is revered for its long stretches of pristine beach, perfect for sunrise walks.

Flora

Bali's lush landscapes are dotted with tropical rainforests, rice paddies, and diverse plant species. The island is home to exotic flowers like the Lotus, which holds significant cultural importance, and the towering Bamboo plants that create serene green spaces. Coffee plantations are also a significant part of Bali's flora.

Mauritius is rich in unique flora, with botanical gardens like Pamplemousses showcasing a variety of indigenous and exotic plants. The island's national flower, the Trochetia Boutoniana, is endemic. Additionally, Mauritius's forests are home to various species of ebony and the rare Tambalacoque or "dodo tree."

Fauna

Bali has a rich array of wildlife, ranging from the sacred and ubiquitous monkeys to the more elusive Bali Starling. The waters around Bali are home to dolphins, particularly in Lovina, and the Green Sea Turtles in Turtle Island. The Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard, can be found in nearby Komodo Island.

Mauritius, famous for its extinct Dodo bird, continues to protect various unique species. The island shelters the Mauritian Kestrel, the Echo Parakeet, and various species of fruit bats. The waters around Mauritius are rich with marine life, including dolphins and whales that can be spotted during boat tours.

Both Bali and Mauritius offer an enchanting array of natural wonders, each with its unique characteristics. Bali's volcanic landscapes and rich cultural ties to its flora and fauna contrast with Mauritius's unique biodiversity and efforts in conservation and preservation of endemic species. These aspects create a compelling and diverse natural experience for visitors and expats alike.

Civilization

Supermarkets, Shops, Markets, and Food Stalls

Bali offers a mix of traditional markets, local shops, and modern supermarkets. Ubud Market and Seminyak's flea markets are famous for their variety of goods, while supermarkets like Bintang and Pepito provide a wide range of local and international products. Street food stalls are ubiquitous, offering affordable and delicious local cuisine.

Mauritius blends traditional markets like the Central Market in Port Louis with modern shopping centers like Bagatelle Mall. Supermarkets such as Winners and Super U are well-stocked with a blend of local and imported goods. Street food stalls, particularly in coastal areas, offer a taste of Mauritian cuisine.

Food Products: Assortment and Prices

Bali:

Bread: $1 - $2, Meat (Chicken): $3 - $5 per kg, Vegetables: $0.50 - $2 per kg, Fruits: $1 - $3 per kg, Milk: $1 - $2 per liter, Beer: $1.50 - $3 per bottle.

Weekly Food Basket: Approximately $20 - $50 per person.

Mauritius:

Bread: $0.50 - $1, Meat (Chicken): $4 - $6 per kg, Vegetables: $1 - $3 per kg, Fruits: $2 - $4 per kg, Milk: $1.20 - $2.50 per liter, Beer: $2 - $4 per bottle.

Weekly Food Basket: Approximately $25 - $60 per person.

Cafes and Restaurants

Bali is known for its vibrant café culture and a wide range of restaurants. From beachside warungs to high-end eateries, the island caters to all tastes. An average meal in a local restaurant might cost $3 - $7, while finer dining averages at $15 - $30 per person.

Mauritius offers a diverse culinary scene, from street food vendors to upscale restaurants. The cuisine reflects the island's multicultural heritage. Expect to pay around $5 - $10 for a meal in a casual eatery and $20 - $50 in a high-end restaurant.

Convenience for Remote Work

Bali is a hotspot for digital nomads, thanks to its affordable living, scenic beauty, and robust infrastructure for remote work. Internet speeds are generally good, and coworking spaces like Hubud in Ubud and Dojo in Canggu are popular.

Mauritius has been growing as a destination for remote workers. The government even introduced a long-term visa for digital nomads. Internet connectivity is reliable, and coworking spaces are increasingly available, especially in urban areas.

Healthcare

Bali has a mix of public and private healthcare facilities. While public clinics offer basic services, most tourists prefer private hospitals like BIMC and Siloam for higher standards of care. Costs are generally affordable for tourists.

Mauritius boasts a well-developed healthcare system, with a range of public and private facilities. Private healthcare is recommended for tourists for its higher quality of service, though it's more expensive than Bali.

Safety, Rules, and Freedoms

Bali is generally safe for tourists, with low crime rates. However, visitors should be aware of minor scams and practice usual safety precautions. The island is known for its cultural and religious norms, which tourists are expected to respect.

Mauritius is also considered safe for tourists. The island has strict drug laws. Like Bali, respect for local customs and traditions is appreciated.

Interesting Facts

  • Bali: Ubud is often considered the cultural heart of Bali, attracting artists and creatives from around the world.
  • Mauritius: The island is a melting pot of cultures, reflected in its cuisine which blends Creole, French, Indian, and Chinese influences.

Both Bali and Mauritius offer unique experiences for tourists, from shopping and dining to healthcare and safety. The choice between the two might come down to specific preferences in lifestyle, cultural experiences, and the type of natural scenery one prefers.

People

Attitude Towards Tourists and Expats

Bali:

Tourists: Generally, Balinese people are known for their warmth and hospitality towards tourists. The island's economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and locals are often friendly and helpful.

Expats: Bali has a well-established expat community, and locals are typically welcoming. Expats often engage in local communities and cultural events, fostering a sense of mutual respect.

Mauritius:

Tourists: Mauritian people are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality. Tourists often find the locals to be very approachable and willing to help.

Expats: Mauritius is increasingly popular among expats, especially for its quality of life and multicultural environment. Expats usually find a welcoming atmosphere and can integrate relatively easily into the local community.

Languages of Communication

The primary language is Balinese and Indonesian. However, English is widely spoken in tourist areas, making communication easy for tourists and expats. Many locals, especially those working in tourism and hospitality, speak English.

The main languages are Mauritian Creole, French, and English. English is widely understood and spoken, particularly in business and tourism sectors, facilitating communication for tourists and expats. French and Creole are more commonly used in everyday conversations among locals.

Bureaucracy (Relevant Mainly for Expats)

Bali: 

Expats often face a fair amount of bureaucracy, particularly when it comes to setting up businesses, property ownership, and dealing with local government matters. The process can be complex and sometimes time-consuming, requiring patience and often the assistance of local experts.

Mauritius:

The Mauritian government has been working to streamline bureaucracy and make it easier for expats to live and work on the island. However, expats may still encounter bureaucratic challenges in areas like business registration, property transactions, and navigating local government procedures.

Key Differences

  • Tourist and Expat Integration: While both Bali and Mauritius are welcoming to tourists, the level of integration into local communities may differ for expats. In Bali, expats might find more opportunities to engage deeply with local culture, whereas in Mauritius, the multicultural environment could make it easier for expats to find familiar cultural touchpoints.
  • Language: The language landscape is different, with Bali having a stronger emphasis on Indonesian and Balinese, while Mauritius offers a blend of Creole, French, and English, potentially making it more accessible for English and French-speaking expats.
  • Bureaucracy: The bureaucratic experiences can vary, with Bali being more challenging due to its complex local regulations, while Mauritius is making efforts to simplify processes for expats.

Entertainment

Leisure and Activities

Bali is a haven for those seeking a blend of adventure, culture, and relaxation. It offers a range of activities like surfing at Echo Beach, diving in Tulamben, and hiking up Mount Batur for sunrise views. Yoga retreats, especially in Ubud, are world-renowned, while cultural experiences include visiting ancient temples like Tanah Lot and witnessing traditional Balinese dances. For relaxation, the island is dotted with spas offering traditional Balinese massages.

Mauritius is a paradise for beach and water sports enthusiasts. Activities include snorkeling and diving in Blue Bay Marine Park, kite surfing at Le Morne, and boat trips to Ile aux Cerfs. The island also offers unique experiences like walking with lions at Casela Nature Park and hiking in the Black River Gorges National Park. For those seeking relaxation, the beaches of Mauritius are perfect for sunbathing, and the island's luxury resorts provide world-class spa services.

Nightlife

Bali's nightlife is vibrant and diverse, particularly in areas like Seminyak, Kuta, and Canggu. It ranges from beach clubs like Potato Head and Ku De Ta to lively bars and nightclubs. The nightlife caters to all tastes, whether you're looking for a sophisticated evening or a night of dancing.

The nightlife in Mauritius is more laid-back compared to Bali. Grand Baie is the hotspot for nightlife, with a range of bars, clubs, and beachfront parties. The island's luxury resorts often host live music and cultural shows, providing a more relaxed and upscale night out.

Attractions

Bali:

  • Uluwatu Temple: Perched on a cliff edge, offering spectacular ocean views and traditional Kecak dance performances.
  • Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary: A unique forest reserve in Ubud, home to hundreds of monkeys and ancient temples.
  • Jatiluwih Rice Terraces: A UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing Bali's iconic landscape of stepped rice fields.
  • Besakih Temple: Known as the 'Mother Temple', it's the largest and holiest temple in Bali.
  • Waterbom Bali: Ranked as one of the top water parks in Asia, offering thrilling water rides and activities.

Mauritius:

  • Le Morne Brabant: A UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its dramatic cliff offering panoramic views.
  • Pamplemousses Botanical Garden: One of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, featuring giant water lilies and spice gardens.
  • Chamarel Coloured Earth: A natural phenomenon of sand dunes comprising seven different colored layers.
  • Ile aux Cerfs: A stunning island off the east coast, known for its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
  • Port Louis Central Market: A vibrant market in the capital, offering a taste of the local life, crafts, and cuisine.

Interesting Facts

  • Bali: Bali is known as the 'Island of the Gods' due to its numerous temples and strong spiritual heritage.
  • Mauritius: The island was once home to the dodo bird, and this extinct species is still a symbol of Mauritius's unique natural history.

In conclusion, both Bali and Mauritius offer a rich array of entertainment options, from outdoor adventures and cultural experiences to vibrant nightlife and stunning natural attractions. The choice between the two would depend on the type of activities and experiences a tourist is seeking.

Hotels and Rental Housing

Housing Market for Tourists

The accommodation options in Bali are incredibly diverse, catering to all budgets and preferences. From budget hostels and homestays to luxury resorts and private villas, Bali offers a wide range of stays. The island's popularity as a tourist destination means that there's a high supply of rental properties, which can vary greatly in price depending on the location and season.

Mauritius also offers a range of accommodation options, including beachfront resorts, boutique hotels, and self-catering apartments. The market is slightly more geared towards mid-range and luxury stays, reflecting the island's appeal as a premium holiday destination. Rental housing for longer stays is available, particularly in areas popular with tourists.

Hotels: Cheapest and Average Daily Prices

Bali:

  • Cheapest: Budget accommodations like hostels and guesthouses can start as low as $5 - $15 per night.
  • Average: For mid-range hotels, the average daily rate is around $30 - $100, depending on location and amenities.

Mauritius:

  • Cheapest: Budget hotels and guesthouses range from $20 - $50 per night.
  • Average: Mid-range hotels typically cost between $60 - $150 per night, with prices higher in luxury resorts.

Rental Housing: Cheapest and Average Monthly Prices

Bali: The cheapest monthly rentals for apartments can start from $150 - $300, while average prices for more upscale apartments or villas range from $500 - $2000, heavily influenced by location and quality.

Mauritius: For basic apartments, monthly rents start around $300 - $500. More luxurious apartments and villas can average from $800 - $3000 per month, varying widely based on location and facilities.

Interesting Facts

  • Bali: Bali's unique accommodation options include traditional Balinese houses, known as 'Bale Daja', which offer a culturally immersive experience.
  • Mauritius: Some of the luxury villas in Mauritius offer access to private beaches and often include services like personal chefs and butlers.

In summary, both Bali and Mauritius provide a wide range of accommodation options for tourists, from budget-friendly stays to luxury resorts. Bali tends to be more affordable, with a broader range of low-cost options, while Mauritius leans more towards mid-range and luxury accommodations, reflecting its status as a premium island destination. The choice between the two would depend on a tourist's budget and the type of experience they are seeking.

Transport

Public Transport

Public transport in Bali mainly consists of minibuses known as 'bemos', which operate on fixed routes. They are inexpensive but can be crowded and less comfortable. Bali also offers tourist shuttle buses like the Kura-Kura Bus, servicing major tourist areas. There's no extensive public rail or bus system.

Mauritius has a more structured public bus system, covering most of the island, including urban and rural areas. Buses are affordable and relatively frequent, offering a practical way to explore the island. There are also express buses that are air-conditioned and more comfortable.

Taxi

Taxis are readily available in Bali, especially in tourist areas. They are metered, and it's advisable to ensure the meter is used to avoid overcharging. Ride-hailing apps like Gojek and Grab are also popular and convenient.

Taxis are available across Mauritius and can be a convenient way to travel, especially for short distances. They are generally metered, but fares can also be negotiated for longer journeys. Ride-hailing services are not as prevalent as in Bali.

Car Rental

Bali:

  • Prices: Daily rates start around $20 - $30, with monthly rates averaging $450 - $600.
  • License Requirements: An international driving permit (IDP) along with your national driving license is required.

Mauritius:

  • Prices: Daily car rental rates are approximately $25 - $40, while monthly rentals average $500 - $700.
  • License Requirements: A valid driving license from your country, along with an IDP, is generally accepted.

Motorbike Rental

Bali:

  • Prices: Daily rental costs for a scooter or motorbike are about $5 - $10, with monthly rentals around $80 - $150.
  • License Requirements: A motorcycle license from your country and an IDP are required. However, this is not always strictly enforced.

Mauritius:

  • Prices: Daily rentals for motorbikes are roughly $15 - $25, with monthly rates around $150 - $300.
  • License Requirements: A valid motorcycle license and an IDP are necessary for renting motorbikes.

Transport options in both Bali and Mauritius cater to different needs and preferences. Bali offers more in terms of ride-hailing services and motorbike rentals, suitable for those comfortable with navigating on two wheels. Mauritius provides a more structured public bus service and a straightforward taxi system, which might be more appealing for those seeking familiar modes of transport. Car and motorbike rental requirements are similar in both destinations, with an emphasis on having an IDP for legal driving.

Visas

Visa On Arrival vs. Advance Visa

Bali (Indonesia):

Indonesia offers a Visa on Arrival (VoA) for citizens of certain countries, allowing a stay of up to 30 days. This visa can often be extended for another 30 days. The cost is approximately $35. Additionally, there are visas that need to be arranged in advance through an embassy for other nationalities or for longer stays.

Note: Visa policies can vary based on diplomatic relations and are subject to change.

Mauritius:

Mauritius provides a visa-free entry for citizens of many countries for stays up to 90 days in a year, which is quite generous. For longer stays or for those from countries not on the visa-exemption list, visas must be obtained in advance.

Note: As with Bali, these conditions can change, and it's crucial to check the latest information from official sources.

Long-term, Freelancer, and Digital Nomad Visas

Indonesia has been considering a specific digital nomad visa, but as of my last update, it had not been officially implemented. Other long-term visas, such as social, business, and retirement visas, are available, with varying durations and costs.

Mauritius has introduced a Premium Visa, valid for one year and renewable, aimed at encouraging digital nomads and long-term tourists. This visa allows individuals to stay in Mauritius while working remotely for companies outside Mauritius. There is no cost for the Premium Visa, but applicants must show proof of income or sufficient funds to sustain their stay.

Visa Extension or Renewal by Border Crossing

Bali (Indonesia):

Visa extension is possible for the Visa on Arrival, but it typically involves a bureaucratic process rather than a simple border crossing. Overstaying a visa in Indonesia can result in significant fines.

Mauritius:

For short-stay visas, tourists often can exit and re-enter to renew their stay, but this depends on the border control policies at the time. For long-term visas like the Premium Visa, extensions are handled through formal processes within the country.

Important Reminder

Visa regulations are subject to frequent changes, and the information provided here may become outdated. It is crucial for travelers to consult up-to-date resources and official government websites for the latest visa information before planning their trip.

Both Bali and Mauritius offer relatively tourist-friendly visa policies, with options for longer stays catering to digital nomads and expats. However, the specifics of these policies, including eligibility and requirements, can vary significantly, emphasizing the importance of checking current regulations.

Summary: Bali vs Mauritius

In the quest to determine the ultimate destination between Bali and Mauritius, our comprehensive comparison spans across various critical aspects, from natural wonders and entertainment options to practicalities like accommodation, transportation, and visa regulations.

For Tourists:

  • Affordability: Bali generally offers more budget-friendly options. Accommodation, food, and transportation are relatively cheaper, making it an ideal choice for cost-conscious travelers.
  • Comfort: Both islands excel in providing comfortable experiences, but Mauritius edges forward with its structured public transport and a range of mid-range to luxury accommodations.
  • Interestingness: Bali, with its rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, and diverse natural landscapes, offers a more varied and culturally immersive experience.

For Expats:

  • Affordability: Bali is more affordable in terms of living costs, including rental housing and everyday expenses, which is advantageous for long-term stays.
  • Comfort: Mauritius offers a higher ease of living, especially for those seeking a more structured environment. The healthcare system and general safety are slightly more favorable.
  • Interestingness: While Bali provides a culturally rich living experience, Mauritius offers a unique blend of cultures and a more relaxed lifestyle, which might appeal to those seeking a peaceful expat life.

On average, Bali emerges as a more suitable and exciting destination for tourists, primarily due to its affordability and cultural richness. For expats, the choice is more nuanced. Bali offers an affordable and culturally engaging environment, while Mauritius provides a higher level of comfort and a relaxed lifestyle, making it an attractive option for those seeking a tranquil expat experience.

We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences. Do you agree with our conclusions? Have you found other aspects of Bali or Mauritius that influence their appeal as tourist destinations or expat havens? Your insights are valuable in enriching this comparison and assisting future travelers and expats in making informed decisions.

17.11.2023
Author: Bali Top

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