Deciding whether or not to move to Jakarta? To help you settle into expat life in The Big Durian, here's your guide to the basics
Welcome to Jakarta! Indonesia’s vibrant capital can seem hectic and overwhelming but once you scratch the surface, you’ll find a unique and friendly city that is ready to welcome newcomers with a smile. For all you need to know about moving to Jakarta, check out our super helpful guide below.
Living in Jakarta
We’re sure you have already seen heaps and heaps of photos of our infamous traffic (known as macet here). Yes, that is a big downside to Jakarta, but don’t let it overshadow all of the amazing things our awesome city has to offer. We’re a city of foodies and a nation that boasts a hundreds of different cuisines, you’ll never run out of new Indonesian dishes to try. But Jakarta is also very international, we’ve got great options from around the world, ranging from humble street food to Michelin-quality cuisine. Check out our Hot New Tables round ups every month to see the latest culinary offerings. Also our Eat & Drink section is a great place to start if you’re looking for the best restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and lounges in town.
Finding a Job
Due to Indonesia’s strict visa laws, you should already have a job and work visas in place before you settle here. Once you have a job offer in Indonesia, your new company should sponsor a KITAS work visa for you. Finalising this process differs slightly from company to company as they work with different passport agents. Only KITAS holders can work in Indonesia, tourist visas and business visas are not allowed to earn income here and lately the government has been cracking down on this law so best not to chance it. Here is a quick breakdown of all of the types of visas that are available in Indonesia.
Cost of living can vary wildly in Indonesia, starting with if you are living in Jakarta or Bali (much higher cost of living) versus almost anywhere else in Indonesia (relatively cheaper). From there, depending on what kind of housing you pick, the area of town you live in, and your daily expenses, it can be really hard to predict. You can read our in-depth insights into the cost of living in Jakarta here.
If you’re bringing the whole family, picking a school is going to be a top priority. The best way to find the right school for your littles is by visiting and talking to the administrators, teachers and fellow parents but here are some of the most popular international schools in town to get you started: Jakarta Intercultural School Established in 1951, Jakarta Intercultural School is one of the oldest and best-known international schools in the city. Due to it’s long history, it has adapted many safety and security features. British International School Jakarta Another educational institution in the city, the British International School Jakarta is aimed at British and Commonwealth students and follows a similar curriculum and academic schedule as those countries. Australian International School, Indonesia Offering kindergarten through secondary education in a convenient location is the Australian International School, Indonesia. There are also school branches located in Bali and Balikpapan. New Zealand Independent School Enjoy a Southern Hemisphere school year, small classes, and expat teachers, mainly from New Zealand, at the New Zealand Independent School. Anglo-Chinese School The Anglo-Chinese School is an International Baccalaureate World School and an authorized Cambridge centre that caters from primary education through Grade 11 and 12 with IB Diploma program for students looking to attend overseas universities. Sekolah Pelita Harapan Christian school Sekolah Pelita Harapan is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and has five campuses in Jakarta.
Making sure your furry best friends join you in Indonesia can be a complicated process, depending on what country you are coming from. Only certain countries can bring their pets in directly to Indonesia and clearing customs can be tricky. If you are using a relocation service, they should have the most up-to-date information. Some ground rules for all pets are: pets from non-rabies-free countries are not allowed into Indonesia; you need to obtain an import permit needs be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture before the pet arrives; and a certificate of health from a certified vet needs to be presented. Once in Jakarta, keep in mind that the majority of the city is Muslim and citizens can be skittish or sensitive around your dog. Your best friend might be welcomed everywhere and should always be on a leash when out in public.
Picking a professional relocation service is probably one of be biggest and most stressful things you will have to do for your move to Jakarta. Picking someone to trust with your valuables is a big task but thankfully there are a number of professional services that have been moving families to Jakarta for years. Not only will they make sure your belongings make it safe and sound, but will also answer your questions about relocating. We recommend the professionals at Crown Relocations, Santa Fe Relocation Services, and Allied Pickfords.
Compared to neighbouring Singapore or Thailand, the medical services in Indonesia are a bit lacking. Make sure you have your health insurance, complete with emergency medevac services, in place before moving to Jakarta. Service quality can range wildly in the Big Durian and for surgeries, it is advised that you travel abroad. Many people opt for their home countries or Singapore or Thailand. For other, less serious, medical issues, many expats trust International SOS and Global Doctor. If you need hospital services, Siloam Hospital has branches across town.
Don’t worry about having a long-term accommodation plan before you move here. Many rental properties require you pay at least six month’s rent upfront so you’re locked into a property for a hefty amount of time. We suggest you set up in something temporary while doing research on the ground. If you’re itching to get started, check out our Neighbourhood Guide for an overview of what some of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods have to offer.
This article is sponsored by Crown Relocations.