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Australian couple retire in Bali With a 28-year Leasehold villa

Retired couple living in Bali

Australian couple retire in Bali With a 28-year Leasehold villa

Bali offers a 5-year retirement visa to those aged 55 years and over. So what is it like to retire in Bali? What is the Sanur expat community like for retirees? In this wonderful interview with an Australian couple in their fifties, we explore villa rentals, challenges, planning, COVID, tips, advice and so much more.

Profile: Lindy and Leigh
Originally from: We are originally from Australia, and had been living in Wollongong for many years. I was born and bred in Horsham Victoria and Leigh in Nowra NSW. We married in May 2014.
Arrived in Bali: We flew from Sydney on July 14 into Jakarta for 7 nights quarantine. We then flew to Bali on July 21 and stayed 4 nights at the Hyatt Regency while getting our villa ready to move into. We moved into Villa Linleigh on July 25, the day before my birthday!

Retiring in Sanur

What made you decide to retire in Bali?

Our decision to move to Bali was primarily financial, but also because we love the country and the people and we had a desire to live a more fulfilling and less stressful life. Wollongong was becoming very expensive to live, and we knew we could live a better life in Bali for far cheaper. I was made redundant from my job in October 2020 and Leigh has work injuries that prevent him from working full-time. 

Where is Home in Bali and Why?

Our home in Bali is Sanur, west of the bypass. We first visited Sanur back in 2017 to see a friend living here. It was my husband’s first trip to Bali and we both fell instantly in love with the more relaxed pace and vibes of Sanur. Sanur has everything we need without the hustle and bustle of other areas. We love living west of the bypass and it’s only a 5-10 minute scooter ride to get to Sanur beach. We sat down on Sanur beach at Lilla Pantai with our friend. Feet in the sand and drink in our hand ….and we both said to each other that this is what we want!!!

Retiring in Sanur, standing outside villa

How long do you plan to stay in Sanur?

We are aged 59 and 57 so whilst we qualify for an Indonesian retirement Visa we are a long way off being eligible for an Australian aged pension! Our aim is to live in Bali for as long as our health allows. It is not an option for us to return to Australia before we are pension age as we have sold everything we own to come here! So we will be here for a minimum of 10 years, hopefully longer. There is no set fast plan as to how long we stay here. Our long term lease is for 28 years so we plan to live here for somewhere between 10-28 years!!!!

I believe you decided to purchase a 28 year LEASEhold sight unseen. Please share more about your villa in Sanur and your decision making process.

We came across our 28 year long lease villa actually not by searching for it. We had been looking at Villa rentals in Sanur area literally for years. Working out what was available, approximate costs and essentially what we did and didn’t want in a villa. We had pretty much settled on a short term yearly lease as we didn’t think we’d be able to sell our home in Wollongong. Miraculously we did sell and so that expanded our options. This villa was offered to us by the landlord and quite simply became an offer too good to refuse! And so in February 2021 we paid for it in full SIGHT UNSEEN!!! We are so happy with our Bali home and even though it was about 2 years old when we moved in, it had not been lived in. So it was our blank canvass to make it our home and we’ve had a lot of fun furnishing it. 

What’s it been like living in Bali during covid?

It’s actually been fantastic! While there have been certain restrictions, we have been able to still do most things we need to and want to. We left NSW 3 weeks into its worst COVID lockdown and many of our family and friends back in Australia are somewhat confused that we appear to have so much freedom here ATM. I’ve been watching daily COVID numbers both here in Bali and also in NSW. And I’m happy to report that Bali numbers have been on a continual decline. The only real constant restriction here is having to always wear a mask when we are out. Apart from that we are really able to go about our daily life as normal here. 

Describe what the transition has been like and if you had any challenges?

I think the only real challenge during transition was the hotel quarantine in Jakarta. We had really hoped we could fly direct to Bali and quarantine here, but I think the Jakarta quarantine was introduced early this year. Denpasar airport is currently preparing to receive international flights but there is still no set date when this will happen. Also there was much more paperwork and extra costs and redtape required to move to Bali mid pandemic! But I think all of that made us more determined to succeed. Plus, I am a born organiser, much to my husband’s relief lol.  The check-in lady at Garuda Sydney airport commended me on being so organised!  At Sydney airport we needed passport, flight details, travel exemption approval, double vaccination certificates, negative PCR test and of course our e-visa for Kitas retirement Visa. Arrival at Jakarta airport was somewhat nerve-wracking and stressful and took about 2 hours but as long as you have all your documents it’s ok. 

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How long were we planning the move to live in bali?

It was on our trip in September 2017 that we instantly fell in love with Sanur and decided that we would do whatever we had to do to make it happen. We did lots of research, bought books on retirement in Bali, talked to lots of people and joined lots of helpful Facebook groups. I also crunched lots of numbers!!!! To see if it was financially viable. We also saw a financial planner in Wollongong who essentially confirmed to us that we did not have enough superannuation to easily retire in Australia. Plan B (for Bali ) was definitely put into early planning stages then. When I was made redundant from my job as an assistant manager at a ladies clothing store in October last year, that is when the plan was put into full swing! I think we agreed to purchase our villa late last year. We were ready to then apply for our Kitas in January this year but unfortunately Indonesian immigration had put a temporary stop on new offshore applications. We then had a nervous 3 month wait until they were open again! And then another 5 week wait until our visas were approved late April.  Next step was applying for the travel exemption from the Australian government, which were approved in less than 48 hours (but also a complex thing to do!). Next we booked  flights with Garuda and our quarantine hotel in Jakarta Indonesia. 

What tips and advice do you have FOR others who wish to retire in Bali?

DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!! AND BE 110% ORGANISED!!!We did about 3 years of research. Lucky for us we knew quickly that Sanur was our chosen destination. There are many different areas to live in Bali, each with pros and cons and their unique characteristics. Sanur is perfect for us. It’s a great base to explore Bali and has a vast and friendly expat community. We have already made so many special new friends here and feel very blessed. You MUST keep up with the ever-changing goal posts if you are seriously thinking about moving here. So many things changed during our process. Join Facebook groups and ask lots and lots of questions like I did. Especially several Facebook groups that give you up-to-date information about visas laws and regulations about moving here, these are vital. I would also advise people to get a good visa agent, as opposed to doing the process themselves.
Bali is still alive and still beautiful and is waiting for YOU! If you want to do it, then DO IT!!! We have absolutely no regrets about our decision to move here. Life is short. Live life. And love life ❤️

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just that we miss our family and friends back in Oz dearly. And it was the hardest part of our decision to leave knowing that we did not know when we could see them again. But with free video calls it has been easy staying in touch with them.  And they cannot wait for the borders to open and to come and holiday here in beautiful Bali and see us. I do believe that once borders open the tourist experience here will be amplified immensely! The pure resilience of the Balinese people will be rewarded.

If you live in Bali and would like to join our interview collection feel free to reach out to me anytime.

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