For a retiree, Indonesia seems to have it all and more. Not only is the cost of living less, you can enjoy every type of experience and environment imaginable, from the sprawling urban landscape of the capital city of Jakarta to the white sand beaches of Bali to jungles teeming with exotic flora and fauna.
And talk about pampering: Retiree visas require expatriates to hire domestic help, which is plentiful and inexpensive compared to cooks and housekeepers in the U.S. Welcome to “Downton Abbey” (Indonesian style).
Here, we take a look at several areas worth exploring if you’re thinking about retiring amid the islands that make up Indonesia.
Jakarta: A Capital Idea
Jakarta can be an excellent place for an expat to live. Situated on the coast of Java, it is the gateway to the rest of Indonesia. Getting to the other islands is a breeze from this metropolis, the nation’s capital and its economic and cultural center.
As such, it is a busy, bustling, noisy city with lots of restaurants, nightlife, museums and shopping. Even cosmopolitan types should be forewarned, though, that life in Indonesian cities is different from being in Europe and the U.S. For starters, the air is often more polluted, and the standards of sanitation can catch westerners off guard.
Housing in the city center is the most expensive, naturally, but living on the suburban outskirts affords residents the benefits of city life while making life more affordable.
Many people like a more rustic life when they retire, so they might prefer one of the smaller cities on the popular island of Bali. If you want to live on the coast in the south, you will be paying a premium. But there are also great locations inland that might be your perfect retirement town.
Sanur: A Seaside Situation. If you want to be on the ocean, don’t mind more tourist hustle and bustle and want to only have a 20-minute or so drive from an international airport, Sanur might be the venue for you. This seaside town in the south of Bali is more quiet than most. It is more expensive than the cities and towns further inland, but still affordable compared to beachfront living in most western countries.
Ubud: As Seen on the Big Screen. The success of “Eat, Pray, Love” has set the popularity of picturesque Ubud soaring. The result: Expats can easily find foreigners with whom to mingle. Located amid rice paddies and ravines, Ubud offers a slower pace of life than life on the south side of the island (but still has contemporary conveniences, such as good, stable internet). Indonesian arts and culture are alive and well in this charming city. And if you love yoga, there is reputedly a yoga studio on almost every corner.
Other Options. Towns on Bali’s northern and eastern regions tend to have fewer modern amenities, but that’s the way of life that residents and expats who choose these locations cherish.
For a truly cultural experience with less tourist traffic than Bali, some expat experts suggest checking out the volcanic island of Lombok. It’s near enough to Bali to provide easy access, but is a world away in terms of culture and bustle. Lonely Planet describes the surf as “epic,” the white sand beaches as “splendid,” and notes that the volcano has hot springs and a crater lake.
The Bottom Line
Whether traveling to the country or residing there, Indonesia-bound U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which provides security updates and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact in case of an emergency.
FOI can assist you in obtaining an Indonesian retirement visa . If you are interested, please complete the form below.