Indonesia at a Glance
Moving to IndonesiaiStockphoto
The Javanese culture is very much influenced by Buddhism.
For most people, Indonesia evokes images of white beaches and stunning scenery. Although this is true, Indonesia has a lot more to offer. Moving to Indonesia will enable you to delve into a very rich and ancient cultural tradition. With a population of almost 250 million, Indonesia is the 4th largest country in the world.
What many people moving to Indonesia are unaware of is that it is an archipelago made up of 17,500 islands. Each island offers a different taste of the country’s multitude of cultures. Moving to Indonesia is a dream come true for many and generally speaking a well-liked destination among expats.
Along with the aforementioned beautiful landscape and beaches, a move to Indonesia gives you the opportunity to submerge yourself in a traditional and yet increasingly modernized culture. Its cities are densely populated; yet if you are moving to Indonesia with the goal of leading a more laidback life on a less inhabited island, there is much to choose from as well.
Moving to Indonesia: Climate
Keep in mind that regardless of what your precise destination is when moving to Indonesia, be it city or village, you may have to get used to the climate first. Indonesia has a tropical climate – in short, very hot and very humid.
In addition, you will have to pay close attention to monsoon season when moving to Indonesia. It would be less than optimal for you to move there during this time. There are two monsoons, the eastern monsoon from June to September, which is the driest season, and the western one from December to March, which brings the heavy rains.
When moving to Indonesia, it is therefore best to consider whether or not this climate would suit you. Check out the BBC’s weather section on Indonesia to find out what the average temperatures are. A number of other online weather services are available as well.
Move to Indonesia: Safety
Moreover, Indonesia occassionally hit the international news when extremist groups or terrorist organizations were involved in violent attacks, especially directed at foreigners, such as on Bali in 2002 or in Jakarta in 2009. The Indonesian government is trying to crack down hard on the perpetrators of such crimes, but such incidents might occur again. The only option for foreign residents is to stay vigilant, keep a low profile, and follow the news regularly. Also avoid certain regions like Papua or Banda Aceh, and make sure to register with your embassy and to have its emergency contact details ready in case of a natural disaster due to volcanic activity.
As far as crime rates are concerned, property crime is relatively common in major cities. Use only taxis booked directly from reputable companies; carefully monitor your credit card statements; keep your documents and valuables in a safe place; secure your new home against burglaries, and beware of spiked drinks when enjoying the local nightlife.
Moving to Indonesia: Accommodation
As with all overseas moves, it is best if you find at least temporary accommodation before moving to Indonesia. This does not only ensure that you will have a place to stay once you enter the country, but it will also facilitate your finding something more permanent. Temporary accommodation is available in the form of serviced apartments (run by upscale companies like Silverdoor, Oakwood, or Fraser) or suites in big hotels (e.g. Hotel Kristal, Ibis, Crown Plaza, or Marriott).
Remember that moving to Indonesia means you will be living in a country that is probably very different from your own. If you want to change as little of your (Western or Westernized) lifestyle as possible when moving to Indonesia, it is wise to choose accommodation and housing in a major city. In the capital Jakarta, for instance, the usual amenities are readily available. When moving to Indonesia’s cities, be aware that it is not uncommon to hire domestic help, especially as an expat.
Ask your new employer to recommend you several reputable real estate agencies to assist you in the apartment search. Always make sure to explore the neighborhood your new apartment is located in, both with the help of a street atlas and on several personal visits by taxi. It’s important that you feel comfortable and safe there, and that it has good transport links.
Move to Indonesia: Apartment Repairs
Contrary to what you may be used to from your home country, Indonesian landlords are not responsible for fixing things in the house. This means that if you rent an apartment or house, do not necessarily expect the landlord to fix the leaky faucet. (In more luxurious complexes, this may be different.) Due in part to the very low property taxes paid by homeowners in Indonesia, many neighborhoods join forces to fix up the street and sidewalks themselves.
This often unfortunately affords con artists an opportunity in spiking the costs of so-called “repairs”. Thus, when moving to Indonesia, it is only advisable to live in such a local neighborhood if your Indonesian is good enough to fully understand what exactly you are being asked to pay for.