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Indonesia Fast Facts

People celebrating a buddhist ceremony on a rock hill in Indonesia

Population: 270,203,917
Capital City: Jakarta
Climate: Wet Season and Dry Season

Wooden boats rowing away from an Indonesian beach

Language: Indonesian
International Dialing Code: +62
President: Joko Widodo

Indonesia: A World-Renowned Beach Destination With A Unique Ancient Culture

In Indonesia, we recommend you consider the small tropical island of Bali as a place to call home. Bali, dubbed the “Enchanted Land,” packs in everything you’d expect of paradise, from coral reefs to the jungle-clad slopes of mighty mountains complete with tribes of naughty monkeys.

Indonesia is a poor country, and Bali—although better off than most of Indonesia—is no exception. Although most roads on the island are paved, they tend to be busy and poorly maintained outside of tourist areas. Power outages are common, while air conditioning is not. Bali is making progress on its infrastructure, but in the meantime we recommend other locales if reliable internet is a necessity.

One of the most popular areas that foreigners choose to live in is Sanur, which is on the west coast of southern Bali. Quiet and low-key, it’s attractive to older expats and others who choose not to live near the nightlife of other areas. Rents around Sanur tend to be quite reasonable.

Temple in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia
Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

The resort town of Kuta is famous for its wide, sandy beaches and raucous nightlife. Nearby Legian, Sanur, and Seminyak also boast fine beaches and attract many foreign retirees from all over the world. Most of Bali’s population lives in this general region.

More isolated but still very accessible is laid-back Lovina. Located on a lovely stretch of black-sand beach on the north side of the island, about 100,000 people live in this general vicinity, which actually consists of several small villages strung out along the coast. Dense jungles, remote waterfalls, and a large resident dolphin population draw thousands of visitors to this area every year.

Unfortunately, foreigners are not permitted to buy property in Bali. It is possible to buy a place with a long-term lease, but even this can be fraught with difficulties and red tape. Unlike some other foreign countries, such as Thailand, it is even difficult to buy a condominium in Bali. Some legal loopholes do exist that may make it possible for foreigners to own land, such as buying it in the name of a corporation or having it put into the name of an Indonesian citizen. However, we do not recommend property ownership in Indonesia at this time.

Weather In Indonesia

The climate in Indonesia is predominantly tropical with a dry season from June to October and a rainy season between November to March. Monsoon season is in the months of January and February. The temperature in Indonesia does not vary much but higher elevations do have a cooler temperature.

Cost Of Living In Indonesia

Here, amid the most gracious and hospitable of people, you can live for as little as US$1,500 a month.

Healthcare in Indonesia

The BIMC hospitals Group is an organization providing international class medical care throughout Bali. They have a hospital in Kuta, which is just a 20-minute drive. If you prefer to stay in Sanur, the RS Bali Mandara Hospital is open 24 hours a day and provides good service. There are also plenty of clinics that can provide you with prescriptions and other essentials.

Getting to Indonesia

To get to Indonesia, it is best to arrive from India by air. There are two major airports, the Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta or Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar. You can book your tickets with layovers from major cities in India, such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Amritsar, Chennai, and Cochin, all of which offer you nonstop flights to your destination.

Most people entering and leaving Bali do so by air at Ngurah Rai International (DPS), which is also known as Denpasar International Airport. The airport is located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Sanur between the towns of Kuta and Jimbaran.

Ngurah Rai International Airport processes over 11 million passengers a year. Customs and security are quite rigorous. Most major airlines fly to Bali. At least one layover will be required, whether you are departing from North America or from Europe. If you fly from Los Angeles, plan to spend at least 27 hours in transit. From Europe, the trip takes approximately 17 hours.

Best Places To Live In Indonesia

– Uluwatu, Bali

Uluwatu, Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple at sunset
Alamy/Michele Falzone

English is widely spoken. You will have no problem getting by with English alone. However, it is a remote place, so it’s always helpful to learn the local language.

Bali is a safe place to live. Even in the tourist heavy areas, petty crimes like bag snatching are lower than you would find elsewhere. Home break-ins are rare, additionally there are many gated communities that benefit from 24-hour security.

Uluwatu is behind other areas in Bali when it comes to development. A real estate investment here comes with upside potential. If you are buying to rent then make sure you buy close to the beach. Tourists come to Bali to surf and enjoy the beach life, so if you are not close to the shore, you’re not going to be able to rent your property consistently.

Bali is one of the world’s greatest surf destinations and Uluwatu is the best place to go. There are places to rent boards if you don’t want to bring your own. Beware though, this is not a place for beginners. Many who visit here choose to relax in a restaurant or beach bar and watch the experts. Uluwatu also has a famous Hindu temple that dates back to the 11thcentury.

– Sanur, Bali

Sanur Beach at sunrise, Bali, Indonesia
Alamy/Jan Wlodarczyk

Sanur has a sizeable expat population, but you will also be able to converse with most of the locals in English. If you decide to learn some of the local language you can do so at the Cinta Bahasa School in Sanur. Click here for more information.

Ask expats about life in Sanur and you will probably hear words like tranquil and peaceful. Crime is very low here and there is a heavy police presence, even at night. If retiring somewhere safe is a high priority, then you should consider Sanur.

There is a strong real estate market in Sanur, both for rentals and sales. Sanur is one of the go-to places for luxury homesin Bali. The central location makes it particularly appealing for tourists looking to travel around the island.

The Sanur Night Market is a great place to get some local street food. It’s open between 4pm and 10pm every day and every thing is very reasonably priced. There are so many dishes that you will need to make multiple trips if you want to sample everything!

– Padang, West Sumatra

Tourists relax at the Padang Beach

There are not as many English speakers in Padang as elsewhere in Indonesia. However, most people know a few phrases and are usually keen to use them. Although there is not a language school to learn Balinese in Pedang, expat groups should know where you can find private tuition.

Like most parts of Indonesia, the main safety hazard is the roads. Take great care crossing the road. If you are thinking of getting a moped or motorbike to travel around, always wear a helmet and exercise extreme caution. Padang is tourist and expat friendly and generally a safe place to spend time. Like cities anywhere, there are some bad areas to avoid. Do your research and take the usual precautions.

Health care here is good for minor ailments. Padang doesn’t have the same standard of hospital care as some other places in Indonesia. The best hospital is the Rumah Sakit Umum. They have a number of specialists, and lots of English-speaking staff. The Semen Padang Hospital and the Yos Sudarso Hospital are the other hospitals in the city.

The real estate market in Pedang is not great for overseas investors. There are some Australian real estate agencies who can help you buy property. You can also find English-speaking property managers who can help you rent your house to visitors.

Padang is sometimes known as the city of a thousand waterfalls. During the rainy season the surrounding hills are covered in plumes of water. You cannot see these waterfalls any other time of year. Padang has won numerous awards for being the greenest city in Indonesia. Padang is definitely one of the best places to retire in Indonesia.

– Seminyak, Bali

Seminyak Beach in Bali, Indonesia
Alamy/Horizon Images/Motion

Seminyak is popular with Australian tourists and many of the locals speak English with an Australian accent. There are enough expats and tourists here that you won’t have to travel far before you hear someone speaking English. The local language is Bahasa Indonesian. If you want to learn, you can take a private or group class at the Bali Language School.

Saminyak is generally very safe. Aside from the usual problems of pickpockets there are few dangers to beware of. Perhaps stay away from the main tourist bars at night as these can get rowdy. Counterfeit alcohol has become a growing concern in recent years. Avoid drinking in places where the prices are ridiculously cheap and don’t let your credit card out of sight. Card cloning happens here in some places.

Saminyak doesn’t have any hospitals, but it does have plentyof 24-hour medical clinics. The nearest hospitals are in Kuta which is only a 15-minute drive away. The BIMC hospitals in Kuta are among the best in Bali. Make sure you have medical insurance. You will need private insurance to get treatment here.

Seminyak is a popular place to buy real estate and the rental market is strong. However, there is limited liquidity meaning that any purchase here should be part of a long-term plan. You will have no trouble finding English-speaking estate agents. Raja Villa is a reputable agent with lots of properties in Seminyak.

Seminyak is one of the less crowded beach locations in Bali and many people come here to relax and soak in the tropical sun at the beach. Keeping with the relaxing theme, Seminyak is a great place to pamper yourself since some of Bali’s top spas are located here.

Fun Facts

a pink hibiscus flower

Indonesia is one of the top five most biodiverse countries in the world even though it only occupies 1.3% of the earth’s land mass. Indonesia has more than 2,500 distinct flowering plants and a long list of endemic animals, including the komodo dragon.

a green frog

Speaking of animals… Indonesia exports several thousand tons of frog legs to France every year.

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