Choosing A Retirement Location In Bali

Following on my article, Pensions And The Cost Of Retirement Living In Bali, today we will take a look at selecting a location in which to live on the island. I've also included some general information regarding vaccinations for consideration prior to relocation as being in the tropics, for some the risk of disease may be higher than in their country of birth.

Where To Live?

There are so many locations to consider when deciding where to base yourself in the long term. Listed below are some of the more well-known haunts where expats list among their favorite destinations to live.

Ubud is located in the mountains approximately one hour’s drive from the coastal area Kuta and serves as an earthier alternative to the coastal towns. Ubud is one of the most popular areas in the country for expats with many now calling the Ubud home. It has a reputation as a new age, spiritual town with coffee shops, round the clock yoga sessions, arts and crafts.

Ubud-Monkey-Forest Ubud Monkey Forest

Some of the best restaurants on the island are to be found in Ubud. The area features many temples, but be warned, stay well clear of the monkeys if you can as they may likely be harboring the rabies virus.

Kuta is a magnet for backpackers and young holidaymakers keen to shed the constraints of western society. There are an infinite number of nightclubs, bars restaurants and shops catering to the younger market. Unless you love the party scene, it’s an area best avoided, particularly at night.

Seminyak is a popular coastal town with a blend of local culture making it a relaxed destination. Beach resorts and brand hotels feature prominently in the area. Generally speaking the beaches are quieter than that of nearby Kuta, with a more laid back social scene.

Bali-Beach-Seminyak Beachfront Seminyak

Seminyak is a popular location for couples and families. Many famous bars and restaurants can be found in Seminyak making it a good location for those seeking a lifestyle in the low to midrange.

Sanur is a beachside town overflowing with restaurants and accommodation. It’s a popular location for expats with a strong community residing there due to the relaxed feel of a mature beach-side town. The area is quiet and considered a good location for those sitting within the mid-range of expenditure.

Canggu provides a relaxed environment relatively free of tourists and a low key destination for those seeking a laid-back lifestyle. Popular with the surfing community, it’s cool vibe suits those who like a quiet lifestyle on a low to medium budget.

Canggu-Beach-Bali Canggu Beach

Nusa Dua is known as a resort location reserved for those who prefer holidaying in a five-star enclave with little or no contact with the outside world. Located approximately 45 minutes from Kuta, there is a small number of expats residing in and around Nusa Dua.

Jimbaran Bay is famous for its sunsets and seafood, located on the southwestern coast of Bali. Set back from the beach, the land gently slopes featuring a canopy of leafy tropical forests. The area is noted for the number of luxury resort hotels including the Four Seasons.

Flipping Over To Island Time

You will frequently hear the phrase ‘Bali Time’ implying the relaxed attitude to time experienced in many cultures. It’s not uncommon for a person who is scheduled to arrive in the morning only to turn up in the afternoon, if they show up at all.

Important appointments should be carefully managed by placing a quick phone call or sending a test message to the person to reconfirm arrangements. As you settle into your new Balinese life, you will encounter many expats who can recommend reliable workers, shops and services. Take advantage of the experiences of others and save yourself some disappointment.

Vaccinations For Consideration

Living so close to the equator the tropics lends itself to a wide range of tropical diseases, so its well worth considering getting vaccinated before leaving home. By scheduling a visit your local travel doctor before leaving you can discuss which ones are recommended for the region.

Whilst many people don’t consider vaccination necessary and happily live day to day, from my perspective it’s all about minimizing risk. Health is important without even contemplating the potential costs to be evacuated from Bali to be treated for a condition which could easily have been avoided in the first place.

The medical system in Bali is poor to say the least, but for now consider scheduling an appointment for the following vaccinations:

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Malaria
  • Tetanus
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Yellow Fever
  • Rabies
  • Dengue Fever


Second only to traffic accidents one of the most imminent of health hazards in Bali, is exposure to Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease. Symptoms can occur between three to fourteen days after being infected (bitten) including high fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, accompanied by a skin rash.

Recovery from the symptoms usually occurs within two to seven days. There is currently no known cure for dengue so the best way to protect yourself is through prevention. Like Malaria, its best avoided. Dengue fever is a flu-like illness which can be contracted in many countries around the world.

The Aedes Mosquito responsible for Dengue, bites primarily in daytime but also during the night. They can be found mainly in densely populated areas like the capital Denpasar. The disease is observed all year-round, it can be very painful and in some cases be fatal. Always regularly apply insect repellent containing a high concentration of DEET.

Before heading off to your dream life in Bali, check out my article on Bali Visa Information

Sandra Hawkins

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