“From the comfort of your veranda,” writes Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice, “you can see the people of the neighboring village tending to the irrigated paddies of bright-green rice. A gentle breeze making its way down from the distant mountains softly touches into life the shimmering greens of a hundred species of plant life.
“You eye the ducks swimming in the irrigation canals and tilt your ear slightly toward the sounds of happy laughter, and other-worldly gamelan music softly carries from the banjar community hall in the distance.
“Taking a deep breath, you sigh with contentment. The scent of flowers surrounds you, and a wisp of incense floats your way from the canang sari offering baskets that your housekeeper has carefully and reverently placed to invite balance and harmony into your home.
“This place is called the ‘Enchanted Land,’ and, once you’ve seen it, you’ll understand why. Despite its small size, this island packs in everything you expect of paradise, from coral reefs to the jungle-clad slopes of mighty mountains complete with tribes of naughty monkeys. Here, amid the most gracious and hospitable of people, you could live well for as little as US$1,500 a month.
“Yes, this is one of the most charming and affordable havens on earth.
“I’m speaking of the island of Bali, Indonesia.
“If you’re in search of an exotic but welcoming retirement haven on a fixed income or a modest budget, Bali offers a fine quality of life that could be just what you’re looking for.
“If you have a slightly bigger retirement budget, you’ll find that you could live substantially better in Bali than you could most other places in the world today.
“Certainly other overseas retirement havens offer more Western-style comforts and amenities, and, yes, some places qualify as more affordable retirement options than Bali.
“But I’d say that perhaps no other place on earth offers more stunning beauty, gracious hospitality, or diversity of cultural and outdoor activities than this little island.
“Fantastic festivals, mysterious jungles, and exotic foods are just some of the treats in store for the adventuresome retiree who seeks out these shores.
“Of course, you aren’t going to pack up and move to Bali without first experiencing life on this island firsthand. Most people initially head to Bali with a tourist visa and experience the area for a month or two before making a full commitment for permanent retirement…and I heartily endorse the strategy.
“Thinking longer term, Bali is a great place to consider for part-time retirement overseas, spending maybe half a year or so on the island and the remainder of the year elsewhere.
“Although it’s not for everybody, thousands of foreigners have come to Bali for a visit and then decided to make it their home. Even if you aren’t up for a retirement move this exotic, there’s no denying that this is one of the most beautiful spots on earth.”
Kathleen Peddicord www.liveandinvestoverseas.com