Bali first impressions

Bali first impressions

I’ve landed here in the land of temples, beaches and surfing searching the best country to retire cheap. Bali. Will this be my rew retirement home? I arrive from Kuala Lumpur airport a bit tired and grouchy from the flight, but ready to explore the city. My home base will be in the Sanur area as I explore Bali for the month. From my previous research I know Sanur with its honeymooners is much more my speed than Kuta with its hard partying Austalians.

After grabbing my checked luggage, I jump into a bandit taxi $17 (170 000 idr) and enjoy the blessed blessed air conditioning. Like other cities in Asia, bandit taxi operators will swarm you as soon as you get near the real taxi stand (read my previous articles on bandit taxis) 

I love air conditioning in Asia. Bali is blazing hot in September, a combination of 30 plus degree heat, high humidity and tropical rain. I love the humidity but again, you’ll want to try and find a place with a pool or you’ll be living with your own sweat drenched self between showers.

After my hour long taxi ride (with a stop to pick up a bottle of Asoka whiskey $2 (280000 idr) I arrive at the hostel. For the first time in a billion years I’ll be staying in a hostel. Normally I am all about booking private rooms on Airbnb (use my link    https://www.airbnb.ca/c/samsonc17 but I had a hard time finding a room for $10 (10000 idr) near the Sanur beach.

The rooms in Sanur are more expensive than I like, but Bali has so many places to live that I have a feeling I could get an apartment here for $300 (300000 idr) here (or at least share one )if I settle here long term.

For this first month though I wanted something close to a beach, so I sucked it up and joined the throng of 20 something backpackers in a 8 bed per room hostel (To be honest it’s much better than I thought it would be: full story to follow).

Is the beach worth it? After Phuket in Thailand and North Sandbar in Cebu I’m a bit of a beach snob now (totally kidding all beaches are great.) 


The Sanur beach is a little rocky versus pristine white sand but it’s not too crowded. It’s kilometres of beach separated  by an invisible line between the tourist area and the locals area. Restaurants and bars line the edges and food isn’t much more expensive than in town. Be warned there are the ever present tshirt vendors and these old ladies are more persistent and aggressive than I’ve seen anywhere in the world (including Bangkok!)

I recommend walking the entire length of the beach on day 1. A lot of the restaurants have weekly or monthly events. By checking this out on day 1 you won’t miss an event that might only happen every other Thursday. (I found a BBQ restaurant event that I made a reservation for immediately)


After a day at the beach, I settle in for the night in my new hostel listening to the wind rushing through the tropical flowers and trees. Occasionally a horned toad makes its presence known with its call interrupting the crickets. 
So far Bali has everything that ticked off many boxes on the BestCountriesToRetireCheap.com checklist. (Beach, cheap food and great wifi.) I’ll give all of you more tips as I explore Bali.


I hope this article helped you with your quest of finding the best country to retire cheap. I try not to  write too many  “dear diary” articles.  Scroll to the bottom of the page for more tips and articles on finding the cheapest places to retire. And if you liked the article, please share on social media (I’d love it if you did!) 

2016-12-12T00:10:36+00:00

About the Author:

Samson Chui is the chief travel blogger behind Best Countries to Retire Cheap. His goal is to find the best country to retire for $1000.

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