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Buying An Island In Central Sulawesi?

by Thomas Despin October 09, 2018

Buying An Island In Central Sulawesi?

After we missed the flight yesterday, and because Palu airport closed down, we had to change all our itinerary.

It took us an additional 5h by car to reach Ampana, Central Sulawesi, the closest town from the island I want to buy, located 30min away by boat.

Reminder: the plan is to buy an island in Central Sulawesi, in order to develop it into a sustainable eco-retreat.

The island is the closest to the airport and still virgin. It’s part of a group of island called Togean Islands, one of the most beautiful and wildlife-rich area of Indonesia.

The project is called reconnect.

To buy an island, you don’t just need to put some cash on the table and voila, you have an island.

It’s a long process, and the barriers at the entry are way bigger than what I expected initially (yet, we’re getting there!)

First, I had to incorporate a real estate foreign investment company in Indonesia, which I can own 100%.

This is the basis of the rest of the project, since I can’t buy a land in my name as a foreigner in Indonesia.

However, a foreign investment company, under certain conditions, can purchase lands and properties.

It took me almost 6 months to complete the process, but today we already achieved the following:

- Incorporating the company & bank account
- Setting up my tax residency in Indonesia
- Getting myself an Investor Work Permit, which allows me to grow my business and work all around Indonesia
- Registering all my current staff and covering them with healthcare
- Registering the different authorisations and license to be allowed to buy lands, build the project, and actually run the project on the island in the future

Now this has been done, we are working on the following steps:

- Doing a due diligence with one of the best real estate lawyer in Bali (we fly him to Central Sulawesi to double check all the legal foundations of the land & project)
- Proceeding to the purchase of the first land (13,800 square meters with 200m of beach)
- Registering the full papers & certificates of the land
- Getting the endless list of authorisations we need to start building on the land 100% legally
- Contacting the others land owners of the island (less than 10) to start buying their lands and control a bigger part of the island

Now, this is a very small island (about 2km wide), and when I say “buying an island”, I clearly talk about controlling most of it. So nobody can come and build a monstrous concrete hotel there, while we do our best to develop the island in a sustainable way.

We reached Ampana in the end of the day.

First activity was to have dinner with the land owner whom we are buying from, and an eco-resort owner from another of the Togean Islands.

After this, we spent some time at a local event in Ampana, where people raised funds to help the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami which happened in Palu, 400km from there.

I was the only foreigner there, and they apparently appreciated that I helped them collecting money. I got asked a dozen of times to take pictures with them, or say something in front of their live videos.

Even though the trip was long and tiring, it was a great way to start our week there.

Our lawyer will arrive onsite tomorrow evening, and until then, we will explore, spend time with locals, with the land owner and other business owners.

What’s a better way to learn than getting to ask directly to people who already accomplish something similar to what you want to do?

I hope you enjoy those daily e-mails and updates from my current hustle,

Thank you for reading,


Thomas Despin
Thomas Despin

Founder of doyou.co & hustlersvilla.com

You do you, we do us.