Jakarta at a Glance
Moving to JakartaiStockphoto
Jakarta, like most of Indonesia, has a very large Muslim population.
The Big Apple (Big Durian) of Southeast Asia is the economic, political and cultural hub of the Indonesian archipelago. With about 10 million inhabitants, it is the largest city in Indonesia. Jakarta is a fascinating city, even though it is fighting against the negative image of being a terrorist stronghold. (This prejudice arose in the wake of violent terrorist incidents across Indonesia in the past decade.) Actually, most expats moving to Jakarta are quite pleased with their decision and enjoy a lot about the city’s flair.
If you come from a small provincial town, moving to Jakarta will probably give you a bit of a shock. To put it plainly, moving to Jakarta will send you one of the largest metropolises in the world!
Moving to Jakarta: Brief Historical Background
Jakarta – formerly Batavia – has a very turbulent colonial history. Europeans first started moving to Jakarta all the way back in the 14th century. Between the Portuguese and the Dutch colonists, Jakarta has seen its fair share of foreigners. Due to the lucrative work opportunities afforded by the Dutch government rule of the capital city, many Asians, especially Chinese, decided upon moving to Jakarta, making the Chinese the largest minority in today’s Indonesia.
In 1942, Indonesian guerilla forces succeeded in regaining control over their city with the help of Japanese soldiers; however, they quickly backed down from the then Allied-occupied city. In 1950, after much back and forth, the city was finally proclaimed independent and made the capital of Indonesia.
When moving to Jakarta you should not be surprised to find many remnants of the colonial era, such as buildings, parks, and the general infrastructure of the city.
Move to Jakarta: Housing and Neighborhoods
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to investigate housing options before moving to Jakarta. There are many neighborhoods fit for the budget of almost every person moving to Jakarta. Most expats moving to Jakarta end up renting a house or apartment: Indonesian property laws are rather complicated, and it’s very difficult for foreigners to buy a condominium, let alone purchase land.
Central Jakarta is one of the most beautiful and oldest areas in Jakarta. If you are moving to Jakarta and are looking for a more upscale lifestyle, Manteng with its colonial-era mansions, the busy neighborhood in the Golden Triangle, and some expat enclaves in Kuningan would probably be of interest to you.
Due to their proximity to the CBD, rents in these neighborhoods are higher in comparison to moving to Jakarta’s other districts. Housing in these neighborhoods comes mainly in the form of elegant apartment buildings, complete with a facility manager. Be aware, however, that some of these areas, especially the Golden Triangle, are quite loud in terms of traffic – something you should get used to when moving to Jakarta!
Moving to Jakarta: Other Residential Districts
If you do not have as much money for moving to Jakarta, you might consider moving to Jakarta’s eastern parts. East Jakarta is well liked among expats for its nearness to the commercial and industrial areas of town, where many expats tend to work. Housing is not quite as expensive as in other parts of the city, but the cheaper costs are made up for by the long travel distances. It is not recommended to live here if you have children, as most international schools are quite far away. There seems to be a school catering to the Indian expat community, though, so families from South Asia might give it a go.
Those of you moving to Jakarta that are not necessarily fans of living in apartments are in luck! Neighborhoods like Kemang and Pondok Indah are beautiful areas in southern Jakarta, with many gorgeous villas hidden behind veils of flowers and trees. Those who are moving to Jakarta find this the perfect place to raise a family, thanks to the large gardens, the many shopping malls and restaurants nearby, and the proximity to several international schools.