Jakarta, Indonesia Report of what it's like to live there - 05/18/23

Personal Experiences from Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia 05/18/23


1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This is our first post abroad as a family; I had previously lived in a few cities in Japan for about 2.5 years

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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?

There's always a layover back to the States from Jakarta, usually in Tokyo. Approximately 7-8 hours to Tokyo, and then 11-12 to LAX. It's pretty easy to travel here, other layover options are Singapore, Seoul, Doha, etc.

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3. How long have you lived here?

1.5 years.

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4. What years did you live here?

2022- present.

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Apartment in central Jakarta. Housing depends on if you have older kids or not; families with middle or high school age kids tend to be placed in houses in southern Jakarta, while singles or families with young kids are usually in central Jakarta. Commute to the embassy is about 15-20 minutes regularly, but longer during rush hour, or when it rains.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

We have found everything we need here, with the exception of some medications. The cost of groceries is lower than in the US; currently 100k rupiah is about $6.50, but has a purchasing power of about $10 because groceries and restaurants are generally cheaper here.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

We wish we had taken more Costco toilet paper along as rolls here are smaller and rougher, haha.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Anything you can imagine! Lots of availability, but surprisingly we haven't found amazing Thai food

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

We get ants every so often, and see a cockroach maybe once a month.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Packages from the US currently take four to six weeks to arrive.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Very affordable for expats; salaries for housekeepers is around 5-6 million rupiah ~$335-400/month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

It depends on the housing assignment; most apartments and complexes have gyms and pools.

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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?

Yes, we use our VISA all the time.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

A few protestant, catholic, and pentecostal churches are available.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is widely understood, but knowing Indonesian opens a lot of doors. The embassy hosts a language program.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Since most travel is done by Bluebird Taxi ($2-3 per trip), I would say it's doable. Apartments have elevators and are well-serviced. Jakarta isn't necessarily a walkable city anyway. Malls and attractions are usually wheelchair-friendly.

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1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Yes, taxis are a couple of dollars. The new subway system is less than $1.

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2. What kind of vehicle(s) including electric ones do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, infrastructure, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car or vehicles do you advise not to bring?

Buy a car here as the wheel is on the opposite side and so is the traffic.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, no problem. It also depends on the housing location, as our apartment set it up for us immediately.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Take a dual sim phone, and get a local sim here ASAP because everything is app-based (taxi services, grocery services, e-money, etc.).

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Health & Safety:

1. 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?

During the rainy season (oct - march) air quality is not horrible, because it's windy and regularly in the green or yellow AQI. During the dry season, its regularly orange or red AQI unfortunately.

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2. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Surprisingly very manageable for dairy and nut allergies; restaurant staff are very accommodating and there are many non-dairy milk alternatives. Peanuts are in some local foods, but not that many compared to Malaysian or Singaporean cuisine. We've had very few cross-contamination issues.

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3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The sun is very strong. during the rainy season (which is a misnomer; there are beautiful blue skies and a cool breeze most days, and maybe a downpour in the afternoon). Oregon was rainier in the fall and winter than Jakarta is!

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Schools & Children:

1. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

I heard AIS (Australian International School) is a better option to accommodate special needs.

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2. 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?

Inexpensive compared to the US. Our tuition for the year is approximately $4000-5000. I've heard great things about Discovery and Little Ants in central IKT.

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3. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Super affordable and common to hire private tutors to come to your residence (tae kwon do, gymnastics, ballet, soccer, swimming, chinese, guitar, piano, etc).

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Expat Life:

1. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This is a wonderful place to live for families with small children. Indonesian culture is very friendly and welcoming towards babies and children. Nannies and household help are inexpensive and affordable, and there are many activities and indoor playgrounds.

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2. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

I was surprised at how tolerant the Muslim-majority population is towards Christianity. During Christmas and Easter for example, there are many celebrations at malls, hotels, etc.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, most definitely.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

bicycles as air quality combined with crazy traffic makes it difficult.

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3. But don't forget your:

favorite kitchen appliances!

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