Living in Indonesia



Indonesia is a vibrant and exotic nation nestled in the middle of the Indian and Pacific Ocean. It is one of the fastest developing countries Southeast Asia that offers a wealth of jobs for expats who want to be part of its growth while learning the rich local culture.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago that encompasses over 5,000 kilometres of ocean and more than 17,000 islands. Aside from its abundant natural resources, the versatility of the people is one of the major assets that draw expatriates to come and settle in this country. Indonesia has a highly diverse population of about 260 million, making it the fourth most populous country in the world. The largest archipelago in the world holds limitless wonders yet to be discovered, and expats who are about to live here will find themselves up to a quite exciting challenge.

Outdoor Fun for Kids

In Indonesia, beaches alone can present one too many options for kids to enjoy themselves. And they need not travel far to find a place where they can frolic in the water or build white sand castles in between banana boat races, snorkelling, scuba diving or swimming. In Jakarta, the Central Museum offers a great way for children to discover the art of puppetry through its regular puppet shows happening every fourth week of the month. Kids can also go trekking or camping in any of the archipelago's many parks, especially the Gunung Leuser National Park which is the largest and most exciting of its kind in the islands.

Parents who would like to introduce their children to the beauty and value of nature can also bring the kids to the many zoos and wildlife centres scattered across the country. SeaWorld Indonesia, for example, is a perfect way to entertain and educate the little ones through a close encounter with marine animals.

A Taste of Indonesia

The food in Indonesia is one of the most sumptuous in Asia. Since this country has over 17,000 islands, foreign assignees can expect that the term ‘local food’ covers a variety of cuisines. The influences of this country’s cuisine primarily come from the eastern and central parts of Java Island. Many tourists and expats in this country can attest that one of the most common Indonesian foods served during break fast is the nasi goreng (brown fried rice served with sunny side up egg). Rice is one of the staples across the archipelago. Aside from the famous nasi goreng, other rice dishes include bubur (rice porridge), nasi kuning (a ceremonial dish made from yellow spiced rice wrapped in a cone) and nasi uduk (rice cooked in coconut milk and paired with fried chicken).

Mie (noodles) is also popular in Indonesia and expats must try the bakmi (egg noodles served with various toppings) which is their local version of the Japanese Ramen. Those who are a bit adventurous when it comes to food should look for the Manadonese and Batak eateries which serve spicy dishes influenced by two ethnicities. The usual ingredients in these eateries are pork cooked in blood, wild boar and bat meat.

Breaking Down the Language Barrier

Bahasa Indonesia is the sole, official language used in Indonesia. It is similar to Mayan which is spoken in Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. Expats bound to this archipelago should know that a majority of the locals do not speak English mainly because of shyness. The most people that can speak the universal language can be found in main tourist cities such as Bali. Locals who work in hotels, banks, airlines and mobile customer service companies also speak an acceptable level of English. As an advice, foreign nationals should make an effort to learn Bahasa Indonesia so that they won't have a hard time interacting with the locals on a daily basis.

  • Hello - Salam sejahtera
  • How are you? - Apa kabar?
  • What’s your name? - Siapa nama anda?
  • My name is - Nama saya..
  • Good Morning - Selamat pagi
  • Good Evening - Selamat sore
  • I don’t understand - Saya tidak mengerti
  • Thank you – Terima Kasih
  • Please – Tolong
  • How much is this? - Berapa harganya?
  • Excuse me – Maaf

Generally speaking, Indonesians are warm and submissive people but they will not tolerate reckless questions or statements regarding their religion. They are also offended when touched or patted on the head which they consider to be sacred. And while they do not expect expats to adopt their culture, they are impressed with those who show interest and, most of all, respect.


See more

Expat Finance Services in Indonesia

Education Services in Indonesia