A list of essentials for newly arrived expats in Jakarta
Welcome to Jakarta! There is a lot to do but in the first 30 days, there are a few essential things you should narrow down first. Here are something things to think about:
Mobile phone plans are quite affordable and easy to use in Indonesia. There are two types of options – a monthly billed subscription and a reloaded-credit based plan. Phone credit is known as pulsa in Indonesia and your phone can be topped up via bank ATMs, convenience stores and street stalls (but beware the last two options might net you tonnes of junk sms messages as the vendors sell the numbers to a third party.)
The most popular networks (Telkomsel Simpati, XL, and Indosat) all have the two service options and Internet data plans (super important for Indonesia), and there isn’t much of a difference between the big companies, so it’s a matter of preference.
Some important notes: To open a bank account in Indonesia, you’ll need to present a KITAS working visa, a picture ID, and a small starting deposit. Although you might have an account with an international bank that also has branches here, you’ll need to open an account here as well and you’ll have to show up in person to do so.
For personal finances, choose between an international bank (ANZ, Standard Charter Bank, CIMB Niaga, HSBC Indonesia, UOB Indonesia) or a local one (BCA, Mandiri, Bank Danamon, BNI). Although all of the banks provide roughly the same terms and conditions and services, we recommend starting with a BCA account, they are the mostly widely used and leaders in online payment.
You’ll notice that finding a ride isn’t hard in Jakarta, it’s getting to your final location. If you haven’t sorted out a car and personal driver yet or don’t plan on employing someone full-time, Jakarta is filled with taxis and mototaxis. We go into detail on getting around Jakarta here. And for more in-depth, check out our transportation section to find ways to deal with our rains and floods and the latest news commuting and transportation news.
Finding a home
Finding a suitable home is particularly hard in Jakarta because many landlords demand at least six months of rent upfront. The best way to avoid renter’s remorse is to check out neighbourhoods and accommodations yourself when you get into Jakarta. Our neighbourhood guide is a great start for your research, but in the meantime, temporary set up shop at a serviced residence. We recommend The Ascott Jakarta, Fraiser Residence, Oakwood Jakarta, and The Mayflower, Jakarta by The Marriott.
Grocery and shopping
You’ll quickly notice that Jakarta is not short of shopping opportunities! Kill two birds with one stone as many malls have a grocery store located in the lower levels. Hypermart, Giant, Carrefour, Hero, and Lotte Mart will have all of your basic produce and materials and generally have the best bargains. If you are looking for specialty or imported items, head to Grand Lucky, Kem Chicks, or Ranch Market, but also expect a specialty price tag to go with those goods.
Making a big move can often have a huge impact on your children. Make sure the whole family is having fun in their new home with visits to these kid-friendly attractions. We’ve rounded up some great places and activities to entertain the littles and our Kids section is always being updated with the latest information about new places and activities for the whole family.
This article is sponsored by Crown Relocations.