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Where to settle down on Bali

Where to settle down on Bali

Old May 12th 2017, 3:16 am
  #16  
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Thanks for the info mrandmrsh. Will look into it. Flying to KL in a couple of hours and 5 days later we'll be in Sanur! We didn't enjoy the food at the "Little Bird" but have always had great meals at both Beach Breeze and Coconut Tree. Mouth is watering just thinking about it :-)
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Old May 12th 2017, 4:28 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Fenella...you might want to look at Emerald villas near to Aleesha villas but much closer to the Hyatt beach and Jl Tamblingan...just a short walk.
A Canuck friend has 2 villas there which he rents privately without the commission that most other renters have to pay the management. They are both 2 bed/2 bath and have private pools. One is a 2 level while the other is a bigger single level. I believe he rents them also as 1 bed/1bath and closes off the 2nd bedroom.
If interested I could PM his email and whatsapp.
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Old May 12th 2017, 5:44 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

That would be great Davita. We've initially booked into Taksu Hotel for 3 nights so could walk round and take a look. Thanks!
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Old May 12th 2017, 9:43 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Originally Posted by Davita View Post
you might want to look at Emerald villas near to Aleesha villas but much closer to the Hyatt beach and Jl Tamblingan...just a short walk.
We went past Emerald villas several times on the bike. We both thought it looked like a nice place.....and in a really good location
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Old May 14th 2017, 9:24 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Thanks Davita and mrandmrsh, we will certainly take a look. Only 3 days to go! :-)
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Old Aug 3rd 2018, 11:31 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Quick question..... I am over 55 but my wife is younger so how does this work with a retirement visa there?
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Old Aug 3rd 2018, 11:51 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Originally Posted by davelucky8 View Post
Quick question..... I am over 55 but my wife is younger so how does this work with a retirement visa there?
Hi Davelucky8 and welcome to the forum....

It isn't a problem. My wife was under 55 when I first applied.
A retirement visa needs a registered agent to make the application and they will guide you thru' the process. Your wife will initially be a spouse dependent and will become a retiree when reaching the age.
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Old Aug 3rd 2018, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Thanks Davita...... good news.
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 11:06 am
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

An old thread - from 2017. I'm always curious to learn how these things have turned out - did the OP eventually make it to Bali?

Not forgetting the old saying about curiosity and cats... I'm keen to revive the Indonesian thread in this forum, and this seemed a likely one to be brought back to new life.

Picking a place to live in Bali is, as we found, a very personal thing - but then isn't moving to a new place always like that? Location will depend on many factors, who you are, what you do, how you want to live, what you enjoy doing, and importantly, whether or not you will settle in the new home for your entire period in Bali or travel either around Indonesia or elsewhere in Asia. If, ands and buts. Each experience is different.

Where foreigners live in Bali offers, on the surface of things, almost unlimited choice, but like all things in life, it depends. Those with cars who want solitude and peaceful surrounds can opt for life next to a ricefield or with a beach close by, but at a cost. Older types will have different equirements and proximity to basic services is more important, especially so when neither drive. We didn't want to invest in a car or a motorcycle and getting around by taxis is too expensive for us (Uber, Grab and other discounted car services can bring this cost down, but it still costs). Being an urban type, and regularly on my own as my partner works on projects out of Indonesia and often spends time in Singapore and Malaysia, I was also keen to be close to urban services. All of which Sanur offered, so Sanur it was.

From personal and friends' experience in Bali - before we made the move in mid-2019 after a long stay in Bandung (West Java) and a short but less than sweet brief time in Surabaya (East Java), we considered Kerobokan, Seminyak, one or two of the better suburbs of Denpasar, Ubud, Lovina Beach and Singaraja. In June last year we did a two-week intensive tour with a leased car and driver of all these places, often along the way to get the 'feel' of the area we were in and also checking for what available modern services were to be found.

Very quickly, almost all of which we found didn't really suit for one reason or another - mostly a lack of good rffordable rental properties, local services (neither of us drives, so being close to a shopping mall and a supermarket is a must), neighbors, quality of life to be enjoyed in any location, security, and of course costs. Bali isn't cheap, so careful financial planning and budgeting is a must.

Of the places we saw, the first three and Ubud were appealing from an expat viewpoint but after consideration these were taken off our list to the high cost of rentals and other services. Traveling from anywhere close to Denpasar and Ubud to other central areas of Bali was too difficult or too slow, and Ubud whie catering to anything a visiting tourist would need for a brief stay didn't really provide much for long-term residents without their own transport. As well Ubud was too tourist-crowded for us to be comfortable living there.

Further north, after an overnight stay and two days on the ground we realised we absolutely loathed Lovina Beach, not so much so for its location or geography but for the people, who I quickly decided were among the most annoying Balinese we had encountered, evern worse than the money-mad sellers of Penolokan, which is truly saying something. Singaraja we found much nicer and while it was developing quickly into the latest tourist mecca, it retains much old-fashioned charm and the city layout is pleasant and quite walkable for me, as I enjoy taking long strolls with my Nikon kit and a notebook to photograph and record what I see from day to day.

Sanur (where we were staying) drew us back time and again and afer a week we knew it was the most appealing place of all for us. as in the Kuta-Legian-Seminyak-Kerobokan 'strip', rentals tend to be on the expensive side, but the area is well serviced and the locals are laid back compared to the Kuteans (or Kutans if you prefer), Legianese and Seminyakyakers.

By sheer good luck an affordable small house came our way and was offered at a reasonable rent, for a year. On a small and quiet street on the Denpasar side of the bypass road, but again, an easy walk to Sanur for shopping, food and other essentials (Bintang etc etc). After negotiating the contract and some conditions (who was to maintain the garden, who paid for the basic services, and so forth) we took it.

We've been here for almost half a year and we still find Sanur satisfies everything we need and want. An evening walk to one of the main street cafes is an easy stroll, as is the local supermarket, Hardy's, which has a small but divine bakery and even a Periplus bookshop with a good range of titles and even occasional discount sales. Denpasar is a bit further away but not too expensive a trip by taxi. Now and then an outing further afield takes us to Seminyak to dine at Warung Made, not quite what it was in its glory days but still good for an enjoyable evening. Or when I absolutel must have an escape from too much beach life, the still charming Galleria Shopping Complex in Kuta is good for browsing in fun shops and a coffee and cake at Tout Les Jours. So we definitely do not go without in our life of exile...

Security in Bali can be a concern. Our neighborhood is middle class and our neighbors are mostly civil servants, mid-level militry and business people with their families. Dogs and cats everywhere and people are friendly and take an interest in everyone and everything, at times too much so!! Nobody can call on us without a neighbor noticing and inevitably calling on us later to politely enquire who, what, where, when and why. There is local security and cold-calling sales people are actively discouraging from knocking on doors during the day. At night it can be somewhat like a cemetery as the locals tend to go to bed early. Except on Hindu feast days when colorful bedlam rules and everyone gets involved and takes part (and of course contributes).

The lack of privacy is probably what took longest for me a die-hard Westerner, to adjust to and in time, come to appreciate. Everyone knows your business, sometimes even before you do. On the other hand parcels from the supemarket or other shops get left on the doorstep and the people next door keep an eagle eye on them until we return home. Everyone knows our cats by name and we are often offered (and politely decline) young kittens to adopt as everyone has cats and cats are prolific breeders (I do wonder where the kittens we turn down end up, but it's best to not ask any such questions for fear of being given distressing answers). Every second house seems to have a dog but these are well cared for.

Sadly there is a possibility we may have to leave in midyear as I've been told our landlady has a reputation for upping the rent by crazy amounts for the second year - the house was vacant for 10 months before we moved in due to her silly demands which we were able to negotiate down to a price I felt was reasonable and she didn't want to pass up, so it was win-win for both parties. A Plan B is in the offing which may take us out of Bali and back to Java if negotiations fail. I would be sad to leave, but life in Indonesia can be like that, unpredictable at times but always new adventure to be had and enjoy and make the best opportunity of. Life in Bali is like that. Every day offers entirely new experiences.

I think enough for this time. Brevity is not in my vocabulary!!

Others may care to comment on where they are living and what conditions they are enjoying (or not). We had friends in Legian and Kerobokan who've left Bali now and one set of local (Sanurans, Sanurians, Sanuranese or Sanurese, whichever fits) expat friends have moved to, of all places, Ubud. We have an invitation to visit and I'm madly curious about their new life there... Here in Bali, one never knows if or when...
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Old Jan 5th 2020, 10:44 pm
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

Interesting to read your opinion on Lovina. It's a place we've considered checking out, just because it seems quieter than the more popular places.. Would be nice to hear from others who are living there.

Looks like you've got a lot of expat experience JDW. Please continue to share :-)
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Old Jan 8th 2020, 12:27 pm
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Default Re: Where to settle down on Bali

We have lived in Bandung, Surabaya and now Bali. So yes, some experience of Indonesia. good and bad. Mostly good, I must say. Indonesians have their own problems and the culture can be a hindrance, but mostly they are nice people and a majority of them value harmony and good relations between all people. In Bali (unlike Surabaya, where I at times felt isolated at the lack of locals unable or perhaps unwilling, to speak any English at all) and, surprisingly, even Bandung) most speak enough English to communicate well.

In some ways, it isn't an easy country to live in. The long-term visa system seems idiotic to me, but as many say, it exists to bring in foreign revenue and is definitely PAYG every step of the way. There is the ever-obstinate government bureaucracy, the never-ending rules and regulations (many seeming to have been created on the spot to suit the occasion), and of course the never-ending whiff of corruption which permeates everything to do with business and government. As an expat, some of the latter can be avoided, but the White Envelope Policy is thriving in almost every Immigration office I've ever been to, and at some point in one's dealings with the officials some sort of demand will be made for 'squeeze' to facilitate the progression of one's application or a 'problem' will invariably surface.

To be fair, dealing with bureaucrats is now much easier than it was a decade ago. For largely cultural reasons change is slow in Indonesia but it does happen. SBY during his second Presidential term managed to somehow impact on the corruption culture. A fair few corrupt immi officials were quietly removed (most set up online as immigration agents) and for a time the more obvious ploys of the Give! Give! game went underground. They are still there, but less overt. So yes, things have improved.

On the positive side, many Indonesians are happy to help, many know short-cuts to save time if not money to do necessary things, and day-to-day costs for most things (overlooking imported items and alcohol) are still reasonable. It's much less a traditional peasant/working class culture now (one in five Indonesians are middle class, according to a recent media article I read) and the Third World Country label I used to heard so much in the '90s and early '00s is fast disappearing. People have more money and are enjoying life more. All of which are good.

Golly gee, that's long preamble, isn't it?

Fenella, our dislike of Lovina has mostly to do with the locals, who can be annoyingly money-grabby as many Balinese were in the '70s and '80s. We visited in early 2019 so I doubt things have changed much. Young children race up to you in the streets and beg for money "for my school" in several languages including Japanese. Do they teach them those begging phrases in the schools?

Geographically, the place is pleasant with a distinctly low-key (un)commercial, laid-back, and in parts grubby image, which for some will be part of its charm.

There are a few good hotels and guesthouses with pools and well-landscaped surrounds. Also low-end losmen with ramshackle bungalows and stone-hard beds, bugs in the morning coffee and rats getting up to who knows what in the ceilings at night. The beach is nothing special. Every second local has a boat to take you out for "dolphin" and kids hustle you to buy cheap souvenirs for dollars. For some, this is all fun. Me, I'm too travel-jaded, or maybe too old...

Hotel room rates are a little lower than the southern strip. We lucked into a pleasant guesthouse off one of the side streets with two pools (!) and stayed in comfort. There are interesting places to explore (best by rented motorcycle) in the inland hills and there is a good paved road to Bedugul, which has far better amenities and services but also attracts many more tourists.

Food in Lovina isn't up to much and service in many eating-places is abyssmally bad, but Singaraja is 15 minutes away by car, motorcycle or bus, with supermarkets, one or two shopping malls (Lovina is one of very few places in Indonesia without a supermall), an excellent pasar kota (central market), some good shops and generally all the mod cons Westerners enjoy. Ngurarai airport is 2-3 hours to the south by car and there is a rumor of a new international airport to be built locally in the next few years. So the north coast may well be poised for a tourist surge.

We didn't check house rents in Lovina as it's a tourist village and there seemed to be none available. Singaraja has rentals and tat least one estate agent with staff used to dealing with Westerners. Landlords dislike monthly rent payers and live in hope of rents paid in advance for up to two or three years (dream on, bapak, dream on), which could be a bargaining chip. Savvy foreigners usually pay quarterly (as we do) and the more cashed-up half yearly with a reasonable discount for bigger payments. As a tenant you maintain the property and at times hidden defects rear their ugly heads. In Sanur our hot water unit (basically an instant heater without a tank) packed up two months after we moved in - it's ten years old and the repairman told me it had never been serviced. Fortunately, a 'quick fix' had it working again and I didn't have to cough up for a replacement unit.

This week our landlady (Indonesian married to a foreigner) phoned to announce she will be returning to Bali in April and wants to meet with us. From the way she went on, I rather suspect she was "asking without asking" to be invited to stay ,but I didn't bite on that. Our lease will end in August (I wrote June in another post, but on checking the lease it's two months later) and according to our friendly neighbor, she will probably try to double the rent, at which we will threaten to move out if she is too unreasonable. She did this to the last tenant and the house was empty for almost a year, so maybe she has learned her lesson. Anyway, we'll see.

If we have to move then Singaraja may well be our first option - it appeals, being large enough to provide all we need and find hidey-places if one needs to get away from things for a while. Also close enough to other places to be convenient, and with an enjoyable slower paced lifestyle without the glitzy hype of the southern tourist havens. Lovina, likely not. It's too much a village and sadly tainted by tourism.

So yes, the north coast of Bali may be your sort of place, and possibly we will be neighbors or meeting at the local pub for a pilsner or two on hot tropic afternoons.

If anyone reading this hails from either Singaraja or Lovina, your input will be most welcome - from two posters.
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