Would you retire in Bali?

retire in bali

It’s no secret that I love Bali, so I often muse what it would be like to retire in Bali one day.

Of course it’s one of Australia’s most popular and inexpensive tropical holiday destinations; from Perth we can be at Denpassar airport in less time than it takes to fly to any other major city in Australia, while from Darwin it’s only a two-hour flight.

Not withstanding that, I’ve heard that people of many other nationalities choose to live and retire in Bali and there’s a big expat community.

Now the rumble in the jungle is that with a record number of Aussies reaching the age of retirement, Bali is becoming an alternative for people wanting quality of life on their pension without the expense of Australia. Yes, retirement villages are also being built.

Bring on the Lotus Eating I say.


7 reasons to Retire in Bali

So why would you want to retire to this tropical isle?

For me 7 things spring to mind immediately.
1. The scenery is gorgeous at every turn.
2. There are lots of Things to do in Bali.
3. It’s not an expensive place to live.
4. You could live ‘beautifully’.
5. Fresh food is abundant
6. You can fly to Australia reasonably quickly if (as Aussie citizens) you need specialised medical treatment not available in Bali.
7. Lots of other destinations in Asia are on your doorstep for interesting getaways.

The scenery

Well, think lush vegetation, fabulous beaches, gorgeous sunsets, and rolling hills patterned with rice paddies for a start, then you might consider the coral reefs, snorkelling opportunities (we are still adventurous, aren’t we?), botanical gardens, fresh tropical fruits, hiking, cycling and bird-watching.

Things to do in Bali

In you’re (err)  spare time, you could walk on long beaches, learn more about the 20,000 temples on the island,  visit art galleries and pick up beautiful woodcarvings and handcrafts for your house. In the evening go to sleep with the tinkling sounds of percussion orchestra music known as gamelan wafting in from a nearby event.
Fancy fishing, boating, surfing, diving, cycling or hiking? Well you can do all that too.
If you’d like to find out more about things to do in Bali, here’s one of the most popular posts on my travel blog ZigaZag: 29 Awesome things to see and do in Bali

The Weather in Bali

  • OK so you have to like humid, because in the wet season it can be a right pea-souper.
  • The rainy monsoon season is from December to March and the dry season is form May to September.
  • The temperature is around 20 to 33 degress Celsius (68 to 93 Fahrenheit) all year-round.
  • From June to September the humidity is lower, and the evenings can be cool.


Bali fast facts

  1. The population is around 4.2 million
  2. Bali is an island and part of the Republic of Indonesia
  3. Flying time to Jakarta (Indonesia) is about 1.5 hours, to Singapore 2.5 hours and Perth (Australia)  3.5 hours, to Hong Kong about 4.5 hours, and to Sydney/Melbourne about 5.5 to 6 hours.
  4. Expect lush tropical forests, rice terraces, crater lakes, fertile vegetable and fruit gardens, fast flowing rivers and deep ravines.
  5. Beaches on the south of the island have white sand, while those in the north and east have gray or black volcanic sand.
  6. The majority of Balinese are Hindus.

retire-in-bali-jo-castroBali is steeped in culture

Arguably one of the most beautiful islands in the world Bali is steeped in a complex culture, and although it might in comparison be poor when judged by Western terms, it’s rich in art, spirituality and mythology.

Why is Bali so alluring?

Everything in Bali feels voluptuous; bigger and brighter.

I think that Bali induces superlatives – it’s been called the split gate to heaven, paradise, and garden of Eden.

People are friendly.


Be pampered in a Balinese Spa

When I retire I’d like to have lots of spa treatments please!

Spa treatments in Bali are less expensive than in Australia and you get the right Royal treatment. The Maya Ubud resort for example has thatched treatment pavilions dramatically cantilevered over the rapids of the Petanu River which carves its way through the secluded valley below. A canopied bathtub filled with bucketfuls of frangipani, the sweet smell of rose, orange or lime bath crystals, a healthy snack, fresh lemon juice, and the rushing sound of the river make for an experience which can best be described as heavenly.


Take a walk or bike ride through rice paddies

Rice is a symbol of Balinese life. It’s been cultivated in Bali for over a millennium. Ancient terraces are bordered by irrigation channels and flanked by swaying palms. On a hot dry winter’s day, along the roadside you may see rice being dried and de-husked.


Have a cocktail or two

There are so many places to enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets. The young and fashionistas are likely to head to Potato Head in Seminyak, while the oldies amongst us may just wander to a quiet bar with a splendid sunset view.


Tiptoe amongst the Temples

On every corner in Bali there seems to be a temple or a shrine. Always the design is ornate. If there is a celebration or a ceremony there will be sunflower yellow or ivory white parasols, and colourful bunting.


Try different food and tropical fruits

Mmm, we like to eat Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng (special, spicey fried rice or noodles) or Gado Gado (steamed vegetables with peanut sauce) but here you can see Tuti Satay Chicken with an array of tasty accoutrements.


If you’d like more information about Bali, perhaps you’d like to read :

Why take holidays in Bali when you live in Western Australia

Bali – Heaven or Hell, The Split Gate to Heaven

How to Create A Balinese Garden in your Back Yard and

How to create a Balinese Garden without going to Bali

but if you’re thinking of retiring in Bali, please do your homework because Bali, like anywhere else has negative aspects which you need to consider.

Just wondering Lifestylers … where do you think you’ll retire one day – home or away?


  1. [email protected] says:

    Hi Jo
    I will definitely visit when I move back to Oz. I was exploring living there a few years ago and won’t go there with my dog as they aren’t treated well as all in Bali.

    Ubud appeals to me on many levels and I could run Life Dreaming Voyages which would be fab.

    When I was researching it seemed that you couldn’t get permanent residency and had to keep getting visas removed and buying property has to be through a local.

    Lovely post as usual and great pics.

    Have a lovely week Jo


    • Thanks Liz. Yes, I’ve heard that dogs are treated badly. If I had one, I’d keep it under lock and key. Yes, Life Dreaming Voyages in Ubud would be FAB! There’s lots to consider – residency is a big one, and yes I believe you can’t purchase property outright – I’ve heard you can lease, or buy through a local, as you said.

  2. Like you and many other Australians, I adore Bali and have friends that spend months over there every year. Although it has all the great stuff like a low cost of living, tasty cuisine, beautiful beaches and countryside and you can get a massage for under $10 AUD, I still couldn’t live there. Their roads and traffic are a nightmare, too much humidity for my liking, their sanitation almost non-existent (eg: you can’t drink their water), a corrupt police force and to be honest, their beaches aren’t a patch on some of the beaches in Australia. But I guess the main reason I wouldn’t live there is that I would miss my family too much!

    • Yes, Kathy, I hear the negatives. And being away from family is something I totally get. Now that we are in Australia (after 11 countries and counting) the last thing I would want to do is leave my kids for any length of time. I miss my Mum and sister in England so much too 🙁 but I can’t change that. Bali doesn’t feel soooo far away from Perth though, but like you said, it requires a different mind-set to live in a developing country. Thanks for your thoughtful comment 🙂

  3. I would love to be brave enough to live in Bali for an extended period of time – maybe even retirement. Which area of Bali would you consider retiring to? I’m partial to Ubud but there’s a lot of Bali I haven’t yet seen.

    • There’s lots we haven’t seen Pam. I think Ubud would be lovely – plus there’s a big expat community there which would make settling in easier I reckon.

  4. Rae Hilhorst says:

    Beautiful post and photos. i couldn’t live in the humidity though xxx Ps: great shot of you snorkelling x

  5. I’ve read so much about Bali and your post makes me want to visit sooner rather later as it sounds like an exotic destination located between heaven and paradise. And to answer your question, it sounds like an excellent place to check out as a retirement location for when we pack away our traveling shoes!

    • Hi Anita, yes that’s a great description – it is exotic, somewhere between heaven and paradise. Of course, like everywhere there are downsides, but yep, check it out for when you hang your shoes up one day 😉

  6. I’ve never been to Bali and as much as I love a winter getaway for warm temperatures I couldn’t fathom living in Bali – but then it feels very far away. The questions start at this time of life don’t they – on what the next few decades might look like. Canadians often head to Mexico or the southern US but not so sure about either of those options.

  7. You had me with the fresh food and warm temperatures. Hadn’t considered Bali but will look more into it now.

  8. If Bali was close by I would go regularly, but it is quite a haul and expense…better to enjoy it through your eyes for now Jo.

    • Hello Noel, yes it would be such a long haul for you and very expensive to get to. We are lucky that it’s only a hop skip and a jump away from WA. Thanks for popping by today 🙂

  9. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Bali, and I do enjoy the island. However, I wouldn’t live there full-time. I can’t put my finger on why. I just prefer to keep it as a vacation destination.

  10. I live in California and so does my family – I could not retire that far away, but I understand why Australians would think about it! I recently wrote a post of my Top Ten Destinations for 2015 and beyond – Bali was on the list! I hope to go!

  11. I like Bali but I wouldn’t want to retire there. But I’m American and it would be too far from my friends and family. I have enough trouble getting friends to come see me in Florida since I moved from Boston! And medical care would be a concern because of the distance. I like some of the aesthetics, all of the food, the spas and the beaches. I didn’t like the hectic nature of Ubud so much though. I’m still mulling an ideal retirement place but you make a lot of good points about Bali!

  12. Great photos! Bali looks gorgeous! I love the idea of being able to ride a bicycle through those verdant green fields. Although it does sound humid at times, the temperature itself doesn’t seem that high compared to the south of Mexico where 36C can be the norm.

  13. I’ve never been to Bali, but this post certainly makes me want to visit. I wouldn’t want to relocate there – too far from my Canadian home. However, my husband and I do look for ways to spend large parts of the cold Canadian winter somewhere warmer. The past 2 winters (and the current one), it’s been Arizona. We’re likely to go further afield next winter – possibly to your part of the world.

  14. Living in the tropics can be great. We spent eight years on St. Croix and loved it. As US citizens it had no issues with property or visas, so that was not a problem, but we have looked at other places and those can be deal breakers.

  15. You make a good case for either just visiting or actually retiring in Bali. Right now, since I’ve never been, I’d love to just visit.

  16. Irene S. Levine says:

    I’ve never been to Bali and it seems so far away from my life.
    I’d have to get used to the idea of such an exotic retirement locale. 🙂

  17. I wouldn’t retire in Bali, but I sure would like to visit. Anyone thinking of a trip to Bali should bookmark this article; excellent and useful information!

  18. For people who want to find a retirement village in Bali, here is a good option currently selling units. They are 90% completed so that you can pick your finishing touches, and then they will build it for you. Check out the link below for more information.


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