If you are aged 55 or over, it is possible to retire in Indonesia, a vast archipelago comprising of over 16,000 islands, of which Bali is the most famous. The bureaucracy involved in getting a retirement visa for Indonesia is challenging but not insurmountable - at least not with a good immigration agency to assist you. The cost of the visa is not cheap but, for many retirees, this is more than offset by a much lower cost of living. So where are the best places to retire in Indonesia? Here are my top six:
1. Bali. The resort island of Bali continues to be the main attraction for retirees, who are quickly won over by its unique and hospitable culture, magnificent sandy beaches and lush countryside. But Bali is not as cheap as it once was - sometimes it’s even darn expensive (especially if you want a nice villa) - and besides, an island overrun with foreign tourists is not every retiree’s cup of tea anyway. In practical terms, though, Bali is still a great place to retire and you are less likely to feel isolated since many others have retired here as well. As you’d expect, the island has plenty of immigration agencies to help you with the visa.
2. Jogyakarta. The cradle of Javanese culture, this ancient “city” in central Java is an important tourist destination but not over exploited like Bali. It’s also ideal for budget-minded retirees as the cost of living can be very low. Beach lovers should stay away however: the nearest beach (and not a very good one at that) is around an hour’s drive away by car! As an administrative town, getting a retirement visa arranged here should be relatively easy.
3. Jakarta. If you still have a bit of zest left in you, then why not have some fun in your twilight years and retire in the chaotic metropolis of Jakarta? Go out with a BANG and not a whimper. The downsides are the horrendous pollution, traffic, relatively high living costs (esp. housing), noise and other urban problems. Being in the nation’s capital this is not a difficult place to get your visa sorted.
4. Bogor. Up in the hills a couple of hours south of Jakarta is Bogor. Less attractive than it once was (too much traffic), but the cool climate is refreshing and may appeal to retirees who cannot stand the heat of Jakarta or Bali. Bogor is noted for its very high rainfall, making it particularly suitable for British retirees!
5. Bandung. Bustling city but with a cool climate and many old Dutch buildings. Has a charm of its own but the traffic can be horrendous.
6. Lombok. Or another unspoilt island like it. Much cheaper than Bali, but the isolation has its problems: you may become the target of unscrupulous locals looking for financial contributions and living conditions can be “basic”. Getting your visa arranged may also be arduous. Health care is also minimal: get seriously sick here and that could well be it. But hell, if you’re gonna go, what better a place than an isolated tropical paradise?!!!