Retiring In Bali: Everything You Need To Know To Live The Dream

Ganesha Hindu deity with marigold garland in local Bali blessing
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Retiring in Bali sounds like a dream, right? Spending your golden years in paradise, soaking up the sun and enjoying island life. Well, let us let you in on a little secret – retiring in Bali is a piece of cake!

With the right planning and preparation, you can stay in Bali forever (as long as you’re eligible!) and turn that pension-funded dream into a reality. Island time, the change of pace that Bali is known and loved for, is perfect for retirement. Wake up to no alarm and enjoy a fresh tropical breakfast, all before taking a peaceful walk along the golden shore with palm trees and crystal clear waters in the background.

Sounds like a dream!

From the cost of living to safety while living in Bali, here is all the information you need to get one step closer to your Bali retirement reality. Not forgetting all the details when it comes to the retirement visa! Keep reading to find out more and start planning your life in Bali, Indonesia.

Retiring in Bali: The Pros and Cons

Traditional Balinese pergola on the shoreline with Mt Agung in the background
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The hardest decisions in life can be helped by using pro and con lists. So why not bring that to the question of retiring in Bali?

Pro’s:

  • Cheap cost of living
  • Tropical island life
  • A slower pace of life, AKA Bali Time

Con’s:

  • Unreliable medical system
  • High humidity and temperatures year-round
  • Bali Time

Bali Cost Of Living

Palm trees overlooking a green valley  in Bali
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It’s no secret that Bali is a cheap place to live. The cost of living on this Indonesian island is insanely low in comparison to Western cultures. There are annual retirement visa costs, more on this later. But what about everything else?

Foreigners cannot buy land or property in Bali. A long-term lease is a common situation to get around this block. You can find many properties for a 30-year lease, or possibly even longer, and payment is typically asked for upfront. You’ll be able to renovate or extend any buildings, with the landlord’s permission, to create your dream retirement space. Prices for a long-term lease vary depending on the size of the property and the location on the island.

Monthly rental is always an option as well, but this will end up costing you more in the long run. Allowing a budget of $500-800 USD per month for your accommodation will get you a comfortable one-bedroom studio or bungalow with an ensuite, maybe a small kitchenette and private outdoor space.

Food costs in Bali are inexpensive. Eating out at local warungs is the cheapest way to live, with many meals costing less than $1 per person. Restaurants are slightly more money with the average meal costing $4-10 USD. Supermarkets are more expensive. So if you want to cook yourself, make sure you head to the local markets to stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish.

Living In Bali: Safety

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Bali is a peaceful island. Most of the locals are Hindu and practice their religion daily; other religions do live in harmony across the island. The way of life is extremely friendly and welcoming of foreigners.

Due to the high tourist numbers, and dependency on Westerners within the economy, Bali is safe for tourists, families, and older people for retirement.

That being said, you should always be smart in what you do and keep in mind the things to avoid in Bali. If you want to live peacefully in Bali with no troubles, you must be respectful of the locals and the culture at all times. Always dress appropriately if visiting temples and avoid sunbathing in front of ceremonies.

Avoid displaying your wealth or luxurious belongings as this may make you a target for a robbery. If you are concerned at all about safety, you can hire personal security for your villa. Employing local staff will help your position within the community.

Can you move to Bali permanently?

Back view of stylish girl in white sleepwear standing at the edge of swimming pool on villa with amazing view across Bali
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There is a huge amount of expats calling Bali home, living the dream lifestyle with the beach on their doorstep. However, to live in Bali long-term requires the correct visa. There are many types of visas for Indonesia:

  • Free visa (limited to 30 days)
  • Visa on Arrival (VOA – extended in-country once to allow 60 days stay)
  • Social Visa (for tourist use only, multiple extensions in-country to allow 180 days stay)
  • KITAS (for work use, either 6 months or 1 year, and can be extended in-country three times)
  • Retirement visa (specific requirements, can be extended in-country to allow 5 years stay)

Retirement Visa KITAS Requirements

The retirement visa for Indonesia has specific requirements for eligibility. This visa cannot be used to work in Indonesia in any capacity. It is given to senior foreign tourists aged 55 years or over who wish to stay in Indonesia for an extended period of time.

Retirement visas allow you to re-enter the country multiple times, open an Indonesian bank account, and obtain an Indonesian driver’s license. This visa is valid for 1-year and can then be extended 4 more times within the country, allowing the retiree to stay a total of 5-years before being required to leave the country for a new visa.

The price of a retirement visa is $150 USD plus a fee for the visa approval telex. However, most people choose to use visa agents to assist in the smooth process of obtaining the visa. The price for this varies between $375 and $530 (each year as you apply for extensions).

Required documents for the Indonesian retirement visa include:

  1. Guarantee letter from the Guarantor which is a Tourism Bureau;
  2. Photocopy of National Passport which is original and still valid for at least 18 (eighteen) months;
  3. Company business license and tourist travel agency taxpayer identification number;
  4. Curriculum vitae, employment history and education of the Foreigner concerned;
  5. Evidence from a pension fund institution or bank from the country of origin or in Indonesia that proves the availability of funds of at least US$1500 (one thousand five hundred US dollars per month to meet the necessities of life while in Indonesia;
  6. Health insurance, death, and legal liability to third parties in the civil sector either in the country of origin or in Indonesia;
  7. The statement will employ at least 2 (two) Indonesian citizens;
  8. Proof of staying in accommodation facilities available in Indonesia based on the purchase of accommodation facilities of at least US$35,000 (thirty five thousand US dollars) or rent per month at least;
  • US$500 (five hundred American dollars) for the Special Capital Region of Jakarta, Bandung and Bali;
  • US$300 (three hundred US dollars) for other areas on the islands of Java, Batam, and Medan; or
  • US$200 (two hundred American dollars) other than the area as referred to in number 1 and number 2.

Visa Agents

Most people aiming to obtain a retirement visa choose to enter the country on a tourist visa (either the free 30-day or VOA 60-day) and seek the help of a trustworthy agent in Bali.

Here are some recommendations of visa agents on the island that have helped thousands of expats. Reach out today and begin your journey of retiring in Bali:

Best Places to Retire in Bali

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Choosing where to retire in Bali is an important decision to make. There are several popular hotspots across the island, however, not all will be desirable for the older person.

Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu are filled with surfers, backpackers, and Aussies on vacation. Sure, there are some corners of these hubs that you may fall in love with! But chances are, these hip and trendy places probably have a crowd that is a bit too young.

Both Sanur and Ubud are common choices among the retired community. These two destinations offer an inclusive and welcoming community vibe with a slightly older crowd of expats. Traffic, while still Bali traffic, is not too bad. And there is plenty of access to stores, spas, gyms, restaurants, and more. The decision to make here is, do you want to live close to the beach or within the green interior?

Another option to consider is Lovina. Located in the north of the island, this is a very quiet corner tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Bali life. There is a luxurious retirement village available for monthly rental which includes fantastic facilities and delicious meals. Worth consideration when retiring in Bali!

Retiring In Bali: FAQ’s

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Is it cheap to retire in Bali?

Bali is a cheap and affordable place to spend your retirement years! With low living costs, retirees can stretch their pension funds out and live like royalty, if desired. You should budget around $500-800 a month for accommodation, and then another $300-400 for food and general living expenses.

One of the more expensive aspects of living out your days in Bali is ensuring your visa is correct and valid. The retirement visa costs $150 USD (plus a telex fee). However, most people opt to use a visa agent to avoid any hassle and this can cost up to $530 USD each year.

Is Bali safe for retirement?

The Island of the Gods is considered a safe place for retirement. Ensure you are fully protected with medical insurance and life insurance. The health care system in Bali is one of the main concerns for most travelers, especially retirees.

Can you move to Bali permanently?

Visitors can stay in Bali for an extended period of time on a retirement visa. To be eligible, applicants must be over 55 years of age, have a pension income of at least $1500 USD per month, and cannot work in Indonesia or remotely for another company. Applicants must also employ two locals to work for them, either as maids, drivers, or a similar type of role.

The retirement visa is valid for one year and can be extended four times, meaning you can stay for up to five years on the same visa. After this time, you can reapply for a new visa and must leave the country in order to obtain it.

What is the best place to retire in Bali?

Sanur and Ubud are two of the most popular places for the retired expat community. Both have a fabulous community vibe, embrace the slower pace of island life, and are well connected to stores and services. When retiring in Bali, do your research and find the best place that suits what you want.

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Hi! I'm Abigail, a surfer, traveller, and nature lover. I'm from the UK but have been able to call Bali home for several years. I've backpacked across Australia on a shoestring budget, explored European coastlines, and taken in the sights across the pond and down into South America. My travel wishlist keeps growing the more I explore our perfect planet!