The iconic Tanah Lot Hindu temple in Bali at sunset.
Despite being a relatively small island, one of Bali’s strengths lies in its diversity. With beautiful private beaches, dynamic nightspots, and a rich local culture to experience, Bali offers a myriad of activities for every traveller.
By Michelle Yee
With its gorgeous tropical surroundings, stunning white beaches, adrenaline pumping activities, as well as its idyllic pace of life, it is no wonder the Indonesian resort island of Bali is a huge draw for travellers seeking the perfect beach holiday.
This is especially true for city dwellers seeking a respite from the pressures of their daily routine. Apart from attracting urbanites, Bali is also rapidly gaining popularity among culture enthusiasts seeking new and unique experiences. There are numerous island-wide religious festivals, as well as richly cultural ceremonies held throughout the year to mark sacred days that travellers can personally experience during their visit including Nyepi, Galungan, Kuningan ceremony, and more.
Sharing his thoughts on Bali’s diverse offerings, Djodi Trisusanto, Chief Representative for Hotel Development in Indonesia for Marriott International said, “Those who like nightlife, beaches and shopping can opt for Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Nusa Dua is better for families due to its host of kid-friendly resorts. Ubud is a cultural destination with some fantastic resorts while the rest of island offers everything from river rafting to hiking. Quite simply, there’s something for everyone here.”
With such diverse appeal, it is no surprise that Bali is continuing to witness extraordinary growth. Recent reports reveal that the Indonesian island exceeded its foreign tourist arrivals target last year. According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the target for the year had been set at 4.4 million foreign tourist arrivals, but the island surpassed that figure in November when the number of foreign tourist visitors starting from January 2016 hit 4,485,137.
“The majority of tourists visiting Bali come from Australia, China, Japan, the UK, and India,” Head of BPS Bali, Adi Nugroho, told Indonesian newspaper Republika.
The percentages of arrivals from these countries were 23.35 percent, 20.22 percent, 4.82 percent, 4.54 percent and 3.66 percent, respectively.
When asked where the popular spots in Bali are, the head of Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Anak Agung Gede Yuniartha Putra said, “Kuta is said to be the most popular destination amongst foreign tourists, while the other equally alluring spots are Tanah Lot, Pandawa Bach, Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park, and Bedugul.”
Aside from increasing tourist arrivals, experts say that the number of foreigners investing in Bali properties, too, has been rising. “With Bali you now have decades of infrastructure, easy connection to the airport from most major cities, a huge range of facilities, warm and friendly locals, hipster cafes, high-end restaurants over a backdrop of beautiful sunsets, and plenty of outstanding natural beauty. Bali as a market to buy into isn’t going anywhere so it offers a lot more stability than other emerging areas,” shared Kevin Deisser, Director of PT PMA Invest Indonesian Islands.
Looking ahead, the Indonesian island is set for even more growth, with reputable foreign developers such as the MNC Group (run by Indonesian billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo) slated to build a luxury hotel and golf resort near a temple on the island of Bali, which will likely attract even more discerning and affluent travellers.
Once complete, the project, which will comprise a six-star hotel, luxurious villas and a golf course, will be managed by the Trump Hotel Collection, a subsidiary of the Trump Organisation founded by US President Donald Trump.
To cater to the expected influx of tourists, a second airport is currently in the pipeline. The site under consideration is in Buleleng Regency on the north side of Bali, which is dotted with gorgeous beaches featuring dolphins, beautiful lakes and mountains.
Here are some other factors that will encourage you to consider investing in Bali.
Steady economic growth
According to reports, Bali’s economy registered a growth of 6.24 percent in 2016, which is a 0.2 percent increase as compared to 6.04 percent recorded in the previous year.
The increase was sustained by a high growth of nine percent registered in the health services and social activities sector.
Commenting on Bali’s economic growth, Deisser said, “The Balinese economy has been on a steady rise for decades as the largest Indonesian economy outside of Jakarta. The setbacks in the past have been to do with less welcoming political regimes than we currently have. However, under Jokowi we expect to see a shift towards the capabilities of bigger foreign money.”
Increase in tourist arrivals
According to the Statistics Office for the Province of Bali, tourism arrivals for the month of February 2017 totaled 453,985 – on a month-on-month basis, arrivals in February 2017 increased 20.82 percent as compared to the same month one year before.
Overall, total tourist arrivals from all foreign sources for January to February 2017 hit 914,809, increasing 25.95 percent over the same period the previous year.
The Statistics Office added that if Bali sustains this rate through the end of 2017, total foreign tourist arrivals will hit 6.175 million by the end of 2017.
Another factor that will help increase tourist arrivals include the addition of new daily direct flights to the island by airlines such as Qatar Airways. From 7 May 2017, the airlines have added a third daily direct flight to Bali from its hub, Doha.
Improvements to infrastructure
Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika shared that the Indonesian island is likely to have a port soon once the Rencana Induk Pelabuhan (main port plan) draft is finalised. Once complete, the port, which will be large enough to accommodate logistic, cruise and passenger loading services, is expected to be the biggest in Bali.
Said Deisser: “Since 2015, investors can now own a landed property without a nominee if the value is over Rp 3 billion, or an apartment with a value over Rp 2 billion. The ‘nominee’ in Indonesia means that the buyer will need a trusted Indonesian partner who will have 100 percent rights to land and property below these values.
“This system was mainly set up for married couples, as we have seen instances in the past where the government seizes back property if the buyer is not married to his / her nominee. Invest Islands’ main objective in the market is to offer foreign investors with a legal platform through our Real Estate Foreign Investment license. With a corporate set up governed under commonwealth law in Hong Kong, we are able to offer our clients added security with no nominee on any ownership documents or as shareholders of Invest Islands.
“This is something that has only become possible to execute in the last few years, and certainly helped by President Jokowi’s welcoming of foreign investment into the country.”
Tips for prospective buyers
“Make sure you get help from a professional company, there are still a lot of hustlers there, and if you don’t speak the language or fully understand the laws, like with anywhere else, there can be potential pitfalls. Having said that, there is no reason why foreigners can’t buy safely into the market. With newfound transparency and far more welcoming laws on ownership, it’s getting easier by the day for foreigners to buy properties in Bali,” warned Deisser.
Property hotspot: Canggu
Located in the southern part of the island between Seminyak in the south and Pererenan in the north, Canggu, with a wide range of cafes, restaurants, and great beaches, is currently the hottest spot in Bali. For those seeking diversity, Canggu is the place to be as the beach side of Canggu is vibrant and bustling, while the north side mesmerises with beautiful ricefield views and tranquil vibes.
For families with school-going children who wish to settle in Bali, they can look at this area, which is filled with plenty of amenities including the Canggu Club and the Canggu International School. Other attractions in the area include Old Mens, Nelayan Beach, Batu Bolong Beach, Echo Beach, Pepito Supermarket, and more.
Bali is famous for its beautiful beaches, historic temples and relaxing resorts. We look at two projects on the island that are pushing the boundaries of luxury living.
The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bali
Bukit Peninsula, Bali
Type: Luxury villas
Developer: PT Bali Ragawisata
Facilities: Private beach, restaurants and bars, spa, Beach club, Kids club
Nearby Key Amenities: 18-hole golf course, tourist destinations of Seminyak and Sanur
Nearest Transport: Ngurah Rai International Airport
Starting Price: US$600,000 (S$829,000)
For those seeking the ultimate in luxury living, The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Bali is the property you should be looking at. Developed by PT Bali Ragawista, the development will comprise 91 villas.
Some of the perks of owning a unit in this development include complimentary access to the hotel’s common facilities such as restaurants and bars, a spa, Beach Club and Kids Club.
Buyers will also be pleased to know that each unit offers sweeping views of the ocean, and each villa also comes fully equipped with its own 15m private pool with sundeck and outdoor dining space.
The Cliff, Alila Villas Uluwatu
Type: Luxury suites
Developer: PT Bukit Nusa Harapan
Facilities: Lifestyle restaurants and bars, wedding courtyard, infinity lagoon pool
Nearby Key Amenities: Tourist attractions, restaurants, cafés, bars
Nearest Transport: Ngurah Rai International Airport
Starting Price: US$591,872 (S$817,849)
Another stunning development that investors and buyers can consider is The Cliff, Alila Villas Uluwatu. Designed by Singaporebased architect WoHa, the luxury development comprises 56 suites which extend over four storeys, offering magnificent views of the Indian Ocean and surroundings.
Each unit comes furnished with luxurious and modern furniture, and is equipped with high-tech must-haves.
The development also offers a bevy of recreational facilities including restaurants and bars, a wedding courtyard, an infinity lagoon pool and a signature cliff bar, which will be built at the edge of a cliff.
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