Bali, Indonesia, is one of the most popular havens for tourists in the world. Is it any surprise, then, that it’s also highly popular as a retirement destination for expats? The culture is slow-paced, which can be something for you to get used to, since that isn’t traditionally the culture of the Western world. Some who move to the area love and adapt to this new style, while others find it more difficult. If you are someone who can embrace the slower lifestyle that accompanies beach living in Bali, then you’ll be ready to open up to the new experiences that retiring in Bali would offer as well.
The culture is unique and still very prevalent despite the increasing number of westerners making Bali their home. You’ll find that the Balinese people take part in ceremonies quite often, and that they participate in religious traditions, like making offerings for peace and to ward off evil. The culture is based on the good of the community, which always comes first, and the people are warm and welcoming. If you’re looking for a new life in an exotic new place, Bali could very well fit the bill.
Visa-free access is granted to those traveling from over 140 countries to Indonesia, and the United States, Canada, and the UK are all on that list. This covers your first 30 days in the country, as long as your passport is valid for at least six months from the day you arrive. If you want to extend your stay to 60 days, you can apply for a visa on arrival to extend your stay for another 30 days for only $35 USD. These are good options for when you want to show up and test the waters and get a feel for whether you’d enjoy life in Bali.
Most expats retiring in Bali are there on the Sosial Budaya Visa (Social Culture Visa). This visa is valid for 60 days and can be extended up to four times at 30 days each. This visa requires that you have a local sponsor with a valid Bali ID. If you don’t have a sponsor, then you should apply for the 60-day tourist visa and then change it over to the Sosial Budaya Visa once you find a sponsor in Bali. If you want to work, you’ll have to get a business visa, since under the Sosial Budaya Visa work is strictly prohibited.
You can obtain a KITAS, which is like a permanent residency card, by being employed by an Indonesian company or by marrying a native Indonesian citizen. The KITAS will allow you to own vehicles in your name, take advantage of the lower prices in the dual pricing areas, and more. In the end, it will be most helpful to attain the help of an agent to walk you through visa processes and help with paperwork. Otherwise you could spend days filling it all out and trying to manage everything. This is especially true since the Indonesian government doesn’t put much information online about immigration policies, and the rules are ever-changing.
Retiring in Bali – Lifestyle and Cost of Living
Retiring in Bali is known to come with its perks. The climate is tropical, which means there is a rainy season as well as a sunny season. The sunny season is from April to October, and that’s when most of the tourists come to visit. During this time, it is sunny and breezy, and sometimes you may even want to wear a sweater. During the rain season, temperatures can reach 90 degrees with high humidity and either a cooling rain or an evening thunderstorm each day.
Expect a laid-back lifestyle with black sand beaches and dolphin sightings. Life moves more slowly and the culture is rich, even though you’ll be surrounded by English speakers and many other expats. For the lifestyle you can have in Bali, the cost of living is a fraction of what it would likely be back home. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center, for example, would only cost about $230 USD, while a three-bedroom in the city center would cost under $500 USD. Outside of the city, the prices range from $172 to $325, respectively. When you attain your residency, Indonesia requires that you employ a local Indonesian for housekeeping and such for about $138/month. This person would cook, clean, change linens, visit the supermarket for you, etc. Not a bad deal!