Indonesia is a unique destination and a beautiful country, famous for its enchanting islands, ancient temples and gracious people. Jakarta offers a tropical climate, vibrant nightlife and great career opportunities.

Life in Jakarta

In Jakarta, the cost of living is low, so you’ll have more disposable income to enjoy. Accommodation costs vary but are much cheaper than in Western countries. A 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre averages out at about £300/ $400 per month, or you can splash out and get a luxury 3 bedroom+ apartment for about £875/$1150 per month in the city (outside of the city centre they go for approx. £415/ $550). With the extra cash, some people choose to hire staff to help them around the house (cleaners, nannies, gardeners, etc). Get the space and support with your home life you have always dreamed of. 

Eating out can also be inexpensive, with meals in nice malls (such as the Grand Indonesia) costing about £2/ $3 and a 3-course meal for 2 people in a good restaurant will only set you back £12/ $17.

One of the biggest perks of living in Jakarta is the location. You’ve got Bali, Malaysia and Singapore right on your doorstep for a weekend break, with cheap plane tickets (£60 for a return ticket in August). There are also beaches in and very close to Jakarta, such as Ancol beach in North Jakarta.

Petrol is very cheap in Indonesia, so taxis are affordable. They are all metered and usually start at around 7500Rp (£0.40/ US$0.52) and costs about 300Rp for every 100m after the first 1km. The most reliable taxis are run by Bluebird, Uber and Grab, which all have apps to easily order from. It’s also not uncommon for expats to hire drivers, they can travel anywhere and everywhere in comfort at their leisure.

This year, on the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey Indonesia jumped up a number of places, ranking it better than the United States, the UK, Ireland and many other countries. It ranked especially high in the categories ‘Making friends’, ‘Property’ and ‘Integration’, which proves it is a good location to be an expat in.

Business in Jakarta

Indonesian business culture is dominated by diverse cultural dynamics. There are a number of customs and traditions that need to be followed. One of the most important cultural concepts is ‘loss of face’, which is about avoiding social embarrassment. Any shortcomings or blame should be addressed in private, and it is very rude to mock or insult someone.

It’s polite to address someone senior by putting “Pak” (for men) and “Ibu” (for women) before the name.

Where to go, what to see

One popular tourist attraction is the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) or “Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park” (literal translation). It is a culture-based recreational area, showcasing all aspects of daily life in Indonesia in miniature forms. The details of all the architecture, clothing and dances are impeccable. There is also a man-made lake with a tiny depiction of the whole archipelago.

For some family fun, visit Ancol Dreamland (otherwise known as Taman Impian Jaya Ancol), which is part of Ancol Bay City, a popular resort located along Jakarta’s waterfront. Boasting a theme park, international championship golf course, hotels, a water park and a lagoon for fishing.

Located north of Jakarta is the Thousand Islands archipelago, which are perfect for a mini holiday away from the city. The main island is Pramuka, which has the most accommodation and dining options available and is only 2 – 3 hours away from Jakarta by boat. Pramuka island has a beautiful white sandy beach and clear water, so snorkelling and diving are popular here, and there is a turtle conservation centre.

Yearly events/ festivals

January/ February – Lunar New Year – A public holiday across the country, full of exciting events and festivities. Lion dances (barongsai), lantern festivals and a trip to Jakarta’s Chinatown are common to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

March – Java Jazz Festival – Artists and musicians share their talents on various stages across the festival.

May – Food and Fashion Festival – Upmarket fashion shows and worldwide cooking events come together to showcase vibrant colours and exquisite menus.

August – Sunny Side Up Festival – Summer musical festival held in Bali every year since 2014 at Potato Head Beach Club.

December – Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFEST) – Major film festival, with an Indonesian Feature Film Competition using foreign film professionals as the jury.

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