As I write this article, Balinese are frantically preparing for the “Nyepi” holiday, often referred to as “Bali’s Day of Silence”. On that day from 6 a.m to 6 a.m. the following day, everyone must remain in their house or hotel, for the whole day. The airport even closes down for the whole day. Lights must be kept to a minimum, and you are not allowed to make any loud noise. The idea is that the bad spirits that visit the island, and will see that there is nothing around and will leave.
While it might not sound too appealing, it is amazing to experience the complete silence in an otherwise constant bustling place. It is a good chance for complete relaxation and self-reflection, which is the purpose of the day. For those that would prefer not to be confined to their home for the whole day, they can check into a hotel, with many hotels offering special “Nyepi Packages”. Escaping to one of Bali’s several neighboring islands, such as Java or Lombok is another option.
The evening before Nyepi, parades are held in villages all over the island. Children make huge paper mache demons and gouls, known as “ogoh ogoh”, which they carry around the streets of their village, and are later burnt. Nyepi is just one of the many interesting ceremonies, held on almost daily basis all over Bali. Over 90 per cent of Bali’s population is Hindu, just one island in the world’s most populous Muslim country – Indonesia.
Indonesia offers a retirement visa to people over 55 years of age. An agent will take care of the details and provide the necessary sponsorship for the visa. The cost is about $600 a year for the visa. You need to have an income of over $1500 a month, have health insurance and hire at least one local person. You will be issued a KITAS, which is permanent stay visa, which allows you to open a local bank account and obtain an Indonesian driver’s license.
With a KITAS you can ship your household goods duty-free to Indonesia, although with the high cost of shipping, I would suggest bringing very little with you, and buying everything new when you make the move. You can find many furnished houses for rent and with the year round tropical weather, you can throw away all of your winter clothes.
So other than the tropical weather, what are some other reasons you might want to live in Bali? As Bali has become a popular tourist destination, you can find many high end luxury, hotels, spas and villas. For people on a budget, the cost of living can be quite cheap if you live outside of the main tourist areas, mostly located in the south of Bali. Candidasa, Amed, Lovina and Negara, are tourist destinations, they are not as busy as the south and cheap places to live.
Rental prices can be anything from US$1,500 a month for a villa with pool, to around US$200 a month for a simple local style house, in a traditional Balinese village. With Bali’s abundant rainfall and cool climate in the central mountains, you can get a good range of cheap, fresh produce, as well as the usual array of tropical fruits, which South East Asia is famous for.