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Ubud on Bali Island, Indonesia

Living in Indonesia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 10, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Indonesia: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

What do I need to know about living in Indonesia?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Indonesia, they said:

"Don't worry too much. It's pretty easy life here but will require patience a plenty. Traffic is horrible! But I get lots of reading done in my Mitsurbishi Grandis. Good staff are very important and should be rewarded with your trust and better than average pay if you find good ones. We love ours. Finally, as usual, a little bit of the local language goes a long long ways. Vocabulary is the key here b/c the rest of the language is easy," mentioned another expat in Jakarta.

"Think very hard, it's interesting to see the local culture and be so close to Singapore, but you will be living in second or third world standards. Power cuts, dirty water, trash everywhere, poverty, unreliable internet...the benefit is that it is cheap and expats can own land here. But the corruption makes that an expensive goal," commented one expat who made the move to Batam.

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How do I meet people in Indonesia?

When we asked people living in Indonesia about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Travel, Java Lava mt hiking club, BIS PTA, Cub scouts (either British First Kemang or American scouts) and the various artist groups," said another expat in Jakarta.

"Not hardly anything here. A few people informally meet up. There is an English-speaking international church with lots of expats...otherwise it's up to you to meet others," added another expat who made the move to Batam.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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What is life like in Indonesia?

When we asked people living in Indonesia what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"The local's lives revolve around work, getting to work and family affairs, photography and facebook but beyond that I can't comment. Expat lives revolve around work and family too of course but the family bit comes and goes. Many seem to let the nanny's take over and participate in a lot of Golf or women's organizations, and football/rugby. For us we travel, throw house parties, and participate in school activities," mentioned another expat in Jakarta.

"Everyone revolves around work. All the large manufacturing companies have compounds outside of the city where their people live. Interaction is difficult with everyone all spread out. For the nationals, this is such a transitional city. People come for two years of work then go home," commented one expat who made the move to Batam.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Indonesia accepting of differences?

"Religion is not diverse. It's mostly Muslim among the locals, and aetheism and Christianity among the expats. Their are of coarse plenty of folk beyond that mold though," commented one expat who made the move to Jakarta.

"It has a boom-town feeling, fast development and lots of jobs for the local workforce. Almost all locals or Chinese/local mix. Very young population as this town has many factory jobs open. As mentioned before, since it is far from where people are from they come here, work for a few years and go back," remarked another expat living in Batam, Indonesia.

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What are the schools in Indonesia like?

"This school really cares about your child's development, they will let your child learn by explore the world, explore many resources and by exploring themselves instead of textbooks. It's not like the usual international schools.," commented one expat when asked about Sekolah Cikal in Jakarta.

"Apply immediately because there is a waiting list. I have 5 kids and 3 got in relatively easily but we had an agonizing wait for 2. Luckily they all got in in the same year. There is a lot of requirements so make sure you have your kids' report cards filed away. Choose your teacher reference carefully because you will need a reference and the school will contact them. One of mine was flaky and I was truly concerned she was the reason for one of my kids being in the wait pool. Thank god she got in. Visit the school. You will be wowed. The first time we started the application was on paper but we had to apply for reenrolment and were asked to fill out a digital form. Lengthy process but hey its worth it," remarked another expat living in Jakarta with children attending JIS .

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Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Indonesia?

"My kids and I all had dengue fever at the same time and were taken very well care of at BIMC, Nusa Dua. I am so pleased we had health insurance because the hospital bill would have cost us a hefty US $2100," remarked another expat in Bali.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Ubud on Bali Island, Indonesia

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