Jakarta, Indonesia Report of what it's like to live there - 06/01/15
Personal Experiences from Jakarta, Indonesia
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
First time living as an expat for an extended period of time.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
DC. Trip is brutally long. Expect around 24 hours from the time you leave to the airport until the time you arrive at your new home.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Groceries are more expensive for imported items.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Jakarta has all the fast food chains. Dining out is cheap.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Mosquitos are more than just a nuisance. They carry dengue fever so be careful.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Cheap. Seems to be widely available.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
You don't need it but it can really help sometimes.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Taxis only. Stick with Bluebird, Silverbird, or Express. I don't know anyone that takes buses. Trains to other cities in Indonesia are OK. Jakarta is currently in the process of building a subway system but it's anyone's guess as to when it will be completed
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Yes they do.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
Seems to be opportunities to volunteer with local children etc.
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Batik shirts help you stay cool and are still considered formal wear.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Lots of Gastro-intestinal issues, food poisoning. Dengue is a concern.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
very unhealthy. Indonesians smoke everywhere including indoors. Sinus issues exacerbated.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot and humid everyday of the year.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Movies, the mall, going out to eat, swimming, getting massages.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
There is a very active nightlife scene in Jakarta. Bars, Restaurants, nightclubs. Men will have no problem dating locally, not sure about women. There is an active internations (expat organization) scene that hosts events and a decent expat community. Not a bad place for singles.
Couples will enjoy going out to restaurants and taking excursions outside of the city. Lots of other expat families as well.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Friendly people. Great beaches. Relatively cheap restaurants/shopping/massages. Easy access to other Southeast Asian destinations
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
You can take a train to Bogor and see the botanical gardens which are not really that special but are a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta. A weekend trip to Singapore is really easy. Flying to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, other Southeast Asian destinations. Thousand Islands are only a 1-2 hour boat ride from Jakarta if you want a mini beach vacation. Bali is always an option as are other island options.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Batik shirts, wood-craft.
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Jakarta has lots of nice restaurants, lots of nightlife. Indonesians are friendly. You can travel pretty easily to other Southeast Asian countries (if you can deal with the traffic on the way to the airport.)
10. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
How hard it is to spend time outdoors in Jakarta. Lack of sidewalks, lack of green space, horrendous traffic.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Probably not. It was ok but I have no desire to go back to Jakarta. Too crowded, horrendous traffic, and air quality was not good. It did serve as a good point to explore other parts of the region though.
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Winter clothes, expectations of clean, fresh air.
4. But don't forget your:
Sunscreen, E-reader so you have something to do while you're sitting in traffic.
5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city: