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Ubud on Bali Island, Indonesia

Pros and Cons of Living in Indonesia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Mar 03, 2024

Summary: The pros of living in Indonesia include its diverse culture, beautiful landscapes, and friendly people. Indonesia is also home to some of the world's most stunning beaches, and its cuisine is renowned for its unique flavors. Additionally, the cost of living in Indonesia is relatively low, making it an attractive destination for those looking to save money. On the other hand, the infrastructure in Indonesia is not as developed as in other countries, and the country is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Additionally, the air quality in some parts of Indonesia can be poor due to the burning of fossil fuels.

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What are the pros and cons of living in Indonesia?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Indonesia responded:

"Expats and digital nomads often appreciate the low cost of living in Indonesia, as well as the friendly and welcoming people. They also enjoy the diverse culture, the beautiful beaches, and the delicious food. On the other hand, some expats and digital nomads may find the traffic and pollution in some cities to be overwhelming, and the bureaucracy and paperwork associated with visas and permits to be tedious. Additionally, the language barrier can be a challenge for some," said one in Indonesia.

"Housing costs are very reasonable. I can easily get everything I need delivered to my door, and pay with bank transfer directly. The terms of rentals is sketchy, as it is generally month to month, with no real requirement to give notice, but which also makes it hard to move from one rental to the next when day of occupancy is usually NOW. Means you might lose money to move, if you have to move out early. Many rentals prefer tourists to long term, which puts pressure on long term rentals to locate something in an increasingly competitive market for long term rentals. There is no real niche being developed in the tourism profile for long term renters per se, as it is assumed that short term tourist turn overs can be much more lucrative. There is no long term planning in Bali for accommodating the capacity of the country to sustain the level of tourism that the country is experiencing going forward. Government is considering different kinds of visas for people who are like digital nomads. Visas are expensive. . My retirement visa costs $600 a year, and I use an agent. It is less expensive if you do it yourself, but also the Immigration Beaurocracy can be tricky. Important to get clear about what can and cannot be imported into the country. I bought a renewed phone from the United States and it is still sitting in Customs after over 10 weeks, and since they won't let me have it because it's used, I am subject to the whims of a beaurocracy that does not seem to want to return it but to run out the clock and confiscate it. On health issues, I have decided that I am no longer wanting to live in the tropics as my immune system is not strong enough to handle the level of exposure to parasites that I encounter. I as given inatravenous antibiotics during a nominal procedure at a hospital, and now my gut micro biome is destroyed and I have a horrible case of worms that no one seems to know what to do about. There is no one in Bali who can do a comprehensive stool test, and they cost $500 to be sent to Jakarta and back which takes over a month. The response to protocols for Covid is a huge issue, as Balinese don't understand social distancing, do not bother to use masks much of the time, etc. Despite the rules issued by the government. Being in a third world country during a pandemic, is dicey, and the government struggled a long time to frame a response and also rushed to acquire vaccines way too early in the phase of evaluating the vaccine's success rate. Also, the plan for how to vaccinate westerners is still vague and undeveloped and changing as Westerners will not be able to get the vaccines available from the government for Indonesians, and how and who and whether private companies can purchase vaccines that are not earmarked for Indonesians has still not been worked out," explained one expat in Bali.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Ubud on Bali Island, Indonesia

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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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