With a comfortable tropical climate and some of the world’s greatest natural variety, Indonesia is a hotspot for retirees from around the world, and for good reason. This tropical island country has the world’s largest assortment of different islands and places to see, many of which are uninhabited and completely unspoiled by humanity.
Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous countries, and by far the most populous country in Southeast Asia. A regional power due to its large population and rapidly growing industrial might, this vibrant country attracts millions of visitors every year. From the sun soaked beaches of Bali all the way to the crowded streets of Jakarta, Indonesia is teeming with opportunities and excitement.
The vast majority of retiree immigrants to Indonesia come to the country for its warm weather – a staple of tropical life. Indonesia sits slightly south of the equator, and as such, is home to a typical tropical climate. Rainfall is heavy during one part of the year, and sunshine and immense heat is the norm during the other months.
This comfortable climate has made Indonesia a hotspot for retirees, particularly those leaving their colder countries for Indonesian shores. Islands such as Bali – one of the world’s most popular spots for vacationers – are home to thousands of retirees, many of whom were drawn to the island for its great combination of sunshine and comfortable heat and its incredibly low cost of living.
Most retirees in Indonesia choose from one of two destinations. The first, Jakarta, is the nation’s capital and largest city – a booming industrial and commercial hotspot that’s home to almost all of Indonesia’s large businesses and foreign corporations. With both skyscrapers and tin houses, it’s a city of contrasts, but one that’s teeming with opportunities for fun, excitement, and adventure.
Accommodation in Jakarta ranges from inexpensive – particularly in older apartments and ‘mansion’ buildings – to decidedly pricey. A small one-bedroom apartment in a desirable neighborhood rarely costs more than $500USD per month, while larger apartments further outside the city and slightly further away from transportation services can cost significantly less, all the while providing more.
Retirees seeking many of the services that they’re accustomed to in large Western cities – banking, modern communications, and a large variety of restaurants and entertainment options – will enjoy Jakarta a great deal. However, those looking for a relaxed, slower paced tropical life may be better off looking at one of Indonesia’s islands or a coastal beach city.
Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourism spot – a beautiful island that, despite some large condos and garish hotels – is still a desirable natural paradise. The island is Indonesia’s most popular spot for retirees and is home to a more liberal culture than many of the country’s other areas, largely due to the huge influx of foreign residents and the desire to encourage tourism on the island.
Retirees seeking a more Westernized taste of Indonesia will appreciate what Bali has to offer – the beautiful beaches are often serviced by vendors offering local foods, while international restaurants wait further up the beach. Thanks to the large amount of foreign tourists that visit every year, Bali is by far Indonesia’s most ‘international’ and cosmopolitan island.
Banking and finance in Indonesia is modern and fairly easy to manage, with retirees able to manage their finances from almost anywhere in the country, provided their bank offers international service. Most expatriates choose to base their finances outside of Indonesia, despite living in the country, and use multinational banks such as HSBC or United Overseas Bank for their accounts.
A popular trend amongst some retirees – particularly those with a large amount of assets – is to base their financial operations in nearby Singapore. Many of Singapore’s largest banks have branches in Indonesia, particularly in major centers such as Jakarta. This allows retirees to manage their money without having to deal with Indonesian banks, or the country’s difficult tax code.
Indonesia offers a retirement visa for select individuals wishing to retire in the country. Applicants must be aged 55 years or more, have access to over $1,500USD per month for managing their life, and have some form of medical insurance. Other requirements vary by region, but areas including Bali and Jakarta also require proof of residence in the form of an apartment rental contract.
Unfortunately, the retirement visa service only offers a maximum of five years spent within the country, after which another visa – possibly another class of visa – must be applied for. Based on your qualifications, you may be able to apply for naturalization while living in Indonesia after a one-year stay in the country.
Indonesia is a muslim country, and despite its ‘moderate’ status, Islam is an important part of daily life for much of the nation. While religious freedom is tolerated and those from non-Islamic faiths are free to practice, the vast majority of Indonesians follow Islam relatively closely and allow it to have a fairly major say in their day to day lives.
As such, censorship can occasionally occur, with events and certain television shows often banned from television or censored heavily. More liberal parts of the country, such as Bali, have a relaxed religious atmosphere. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Indonesia is a muslim country, and as such, local religious customs and ideas of decency should be respected and not ignored.
Internet access and cellular service can vary in quality dramatically based on the area of the country that you’re staying in. Popular areas like Jakarta and Bali are covered by cell providers and are good for those needing to communicate with other countries on a frequent basis. Much of the countryside lacks stable phone service, and calls are dropped or unanswerable on a fairly frequent basis.
Jakarta is home to Indonesia’s fastest internet connections – mostly broadband connections that are comparable to a moderate Western internet service. Bali also offers stable internet, although during heavy rain and extreme weather it’s common for the connection to disappear. Despite this, most of the country is suitable for those that need stable online access in their home or apartment.
Thanks to its huge variety of different destinations, its interesting culture, and its sheer size, there’s no wonder why Indonesia is turning into one of Asia’s best retirement destinations. With year-round warmth and some of the world’s most inspiring and gracious natural beauty, this island archipelago will no doubt continue to attract retirees seeking sun, relaxation, and a beautiful place to live.