For most people, Indonesia evokes images of white beaches and stunning scenery. Although this is true, the country 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 over 259 million, Indonesia is also the fourth most populous country in the world.
Many people are unaware that Indonesia is an archipelago made up of thousands of islands. Each island offers a different taste of the country’s multitude of cultures. Moving to Indonesia offers many opportunities and generally speaking it is 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 plenty to choose from.
Keep in mind that regardless of what your precise destination is — be it a city or a village — it make take you some time to get used to the local weather. Indonesia has a tropical climate — in short, it is typically very hot and very humid.
You should also be especially aware of the monsoon seasons. 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. It would be less than optimal for you to move to Indonesia during the rainy season.
Check out the website of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (in Bahasa Indonesian only) for more information on weather conditions in Indonesia. Alternatively, AccuWeather provides information in English.
As with all overseas moves, it is best if you find at least temporary accommodation before moving to Indonesia. This not only ensures 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).
As in most countries, major cities offer the most modern and advanced lifestyle possibilities, therefore if you do not wish to be confronted with too big of a cultural shock, it is wise to choose accommodation and housing in one of these. In the capital Jakarta, for instance, all modern conveniences 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 several reputable real estate agencies to you 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. After all, when looking for an apartment, it would be good to keep in mind the safety of the area and whether or not it has good transportation links.
Contrary to what you may be used to in 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 a 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 even join forces to fix up the streets and sidewalks themselves.
Unfortunately, this often gives con artists the opportunity to increase the costs of so-called “repairs”. Thus, when choosing your new home in Indonesia, it is only advisable to live in this type of local neighborhood if your Indonesian is good enough to fully understand what exactly you are being asked to pay for.
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