organize a retreat in Bali

TripAdvisor named Bali the best travelling destination of 2017, and it’s easy to see why. The famed Island of the Gods offers stunning and varied landscapes. Cost of living is low. It hosts wondrous cultural landmarks and tourist activities. Balinese are friendly, tolerant, and enjoy a slow pace of life.

This last point, in particular, is what makes Bali one of the world’s hottest destinations for organizing retreats.

If you also want to organize a retreat in Bali, the most important aspects you need to pay attention to are the legal requirements. Having your documentation in order helps you avoid hassles with the authorities that could overshadow your guests’ enjoyable experience.

Planning the ideal Bali retreat

There is no hard rule about what a retreat should be. However, some kinds of retreats prove to be very popular on the island – which means they are successful in filling seats (or yoga mats!).

Health and wellness retreats

Bali attracts a wide range of tourists, from solo backpackers to organized tours. One thing they share in common? A desire to look after themselves. From detoxifying spas to indulgent rejuvenation sessions, wellness and Bali tend to go hand in hand.

Yoga retreats

Within the wellness niche, yoga takes the center stage in Bali. It is the favorite place for travelling yogis, and whether you are a teacher or not, you will find no shortage of venues to host your yoga retreat.

Luxury retreat

If you want to cater to a more affluent crowd, Bali has got you covered. Home of numerous 5-star hotels, deluxe bungalows and plush villas, all the infrastructure is in place so you can offer the most opulent experience to your guests.

Weight loss retreat

Weight loss retreats are another popular segment in Bali. For many people, detoxing is the first step towards a healthier diet. Because the food in Bali is plentiful, affordable and healthy, it is a great place to let your guests focus on nutrition while looking after themselves.

Sports retreats

Bali is a fantastic place to set up camp for sports enthusiasts. You will be able to let attendants focus on their favoured activity, from surfing to mountain climbing, or even scuba diving.

Finding the perfect venue in Bali

It goes without saying that the venue should match your retreat ideals. If you want attendees to find peace and quiet, avoid the touristic centers. Focusing on surfing? Don’t book too far in the mountains.

Now the good news is that Bali has no shortage of hosting grounds. You’ll find everything from huge mansions to rustic bungalows. Most hotels and resorts also offer communal spaces such as conference rooms and workshop areas.

It helps to be on the ground to scout locations, but you can also enquire online directly with various venues – and you’ll find thousands of foreigners renting out their villas in Bali for a variety of events.

Offering extra activities in Bali

Aside from those specific to your type of retreat, Bali has plenty of extra-curricular activities. They are great options to add on your brochure, or simply to give attendees a well-deserved day off.

The most popular ones include:

  • Day cruises
  • Kite surfing
  • White water rafting
  • Cooking classes
  • Massage sessions
  • ATV rides
  • Canyon tubing
  • Day trips to waterfalls / neighboring towns

The legal requirements of holding a retreat in Bali

Sadly, this is the part nobody wants to think about. In the eyes of the Indonesian government, you must have a company in Bali and a KITAS (temporary residence permit) to exercise your activity.

It is not uncommon in Bali that foreign nationals are being deported because they have violated the conditions of their tourist visas. In fact, the police are cracking down on foreigners working without permits – even for something as seemingly innocent as a photo shoot.

..In the eyes of the Indonesian government, you will need a company and a KITAS – a temporary residence permit – to organize and hold a retreat.

What is a KITAS and do I need one to organize a retreat?

KITAS is the Indonesian limited stay permit. You will need it to operate your retreat, even if it’s a one-off event. Otherwise, you will risk with being deported.

The three most common types of KITAS are:

  • Sponsored by an Indonesian entity
  • Sponsored by Indonesian spouse
  • Retirement KITAS

Keep in mind that your KITAS must be in accordance with the subject of the retreat and only a KITAS based on a work permit allows you to organize one. Even so, there is no one-size-fits-all KITAS for organizing retreats in Bali, and each case requires individual attention.

Emerhub can assist you on this and determine the specific requirements for the KITAS you need. Contact us via [email protected] for a consultation.    

Do retreat participants in Bali need permits?

No, they can simply be in Bali on tourist, social or business visas.

Organizing a retreat in Bali with Emerhub

If you don’t have a company in Bali that could sponsor your KITAS, another solution for running your retreat is to get the required KITAS through our employer of record service, or EOR. This means that Emerhub will sponsor your KITAS as well as provide a support letter for organizing your retreat.

Through our service you can:

  • Test the waters for organizing your first retreat without setting up a company
  • Save yourself the hassle of filling out a lot of paperwork
  • Remain compliant with constantly changing local laws
  • Stay focused on what matters: organizing a fantastic retreat for your attendees

Emerhub can help you at every step of your retreat-planning journey, from finding an office to hiring employees in Bali and ensuring that your activities are in accordance with the Indonesian law.

For more information about Emerhub and how we can help with your retreat, please contact  [email protected] or use the form at the bottom of this article.

Setting up a company to organize retreats in Bali

If you plan on organizing recurring retreats in Bali, consider setting up your own business.

Before you embark on the process, familiarize yourself with the laws and requirements that accompany company registration in Indonesia, many of them depend on the type of the retreat and the business classification it falls under.

Minimum capital requirement

The minimum paid up capital requirement in Indonesia is Rp. 2.5 billion (~US$ 170,000).

There are two ways you can prove the paid up capital – by signing a capital statement letter or transferring the capital to your company’s bank account.

Read more about the minimum capital requirement in Indonesia.

Multiple business classifications

If you are offering more than one kind of service, you might need to register your business under several business classifications.

As an alternative to registering your own foreign company, you can also set up a local nominee company. However, make sure you use nominee shareholders the safe way.

For more information on setting up a company in Bali, see our dedicated articles on how to start a lifestyle business in Bali and foreign-owned company registration in Indonesia.

Getting started with organizing a retreat in Bali

If you have any further questions, feel free to get in touch with us by filling in the form below. Our consultants in Bali will gladly assist you in acquiring the necessary documents for organizing a retreat in Bali.

And who knows, maybe your retreat will be such an enjoyable experience that you’ll consider  moving to Bali permanently!

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