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What you need to know about living in Indonesia
The archipelago Indonesia consists of more than 17.000 islands, and it’s a diverse and culturally rich country located in Southeast Asia. Their traditions, landscapes, and opportunities make Indonesia a very desired and unique experience for those considering working abroad. Whether you’re drawn to the bigger cities, tropical beaches, or jungles, Indonesia is ideal for both work and exploration.
Check our job offers in Indonesia if you are interested in working and living here. Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out if this fascinating country is the right fit for you.
Work in Indonesia
Indonesia’s work culture reflects a blend of professionalism and traditional values from their community. They value respectful interactions and a collective approach at the workplace. There are job opportunities in diverse sectors, including tourism, technology, and manufacturing. Jakarta, the capital city, is a hub for multinational corporations. English proficiency is valued, enhancing prospects, especially in sectors like IT and finance. Networking and relationship-building are very important, which emphasises the significance of personal connections in career advancement. With a growing economy and an open-door policy for expats, Indonesia offers a dynamic environment for career development.
With a growing digital economy, freelancers find opportunities in sectors like graphic design, writing, programming, and digital marketing. The low cost of living provides financial flexibility, while co-working spaces in cities like Jakarta and Bali cater to remote workers. Engaging with global clients is seamless due to robust internet connectivity.
Taxes in Indonesia
Expats are generally taxed on their worldwide income if they reside in Indonesia for more than 183 days in a fiscal year. The tax rates range from 5% to 30%, with additional surcharges for high earners. Understanding the complex tax system requires expats to navigate various forms and documentation.
Certain benefits, such as housing allowances, may be considered taxable income. Expats should ensure compliance with local tax laws and keep thorough records of their financial activities. Utilising tax professionals or consultants is advisable for accurate guidance and to maximise potential deductions. Additionally, the Indonesian government has been working to attract foreign investment by implementing tax incentives for certain industries. Staying informed about updates and changes in tax regulations is crucial for expats to fulfil their financial obligations while taking advantage of available benefits.
Popular places in Indonesia
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Life in Indonesia
Imagine waking up to the sound of waves gently crashing against the shore, surrounded by lush greenery and the aroma of exotic spices. Dive into crystal-clear waters with amazing marine life in Raja Ampat, hike through rainforests in Sumatra, or relax on beaches in Bali. Indonesian cuisine is a fusion of flavours. Enjoy delicious dishes like Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Satay (grilled skewers), and Rendang (slow-cooked beef). Don’t forget to try their coffee, such as Kopi Luwak, made from beans excreted by civet cats.
Basic facts about Indonesia
Indonesia is the world’s largest island country, with a population of over 270 million people spread across diverse islands like Java, Bali, Sumatra, and more. Jakarta, the capital, is the largest city, and the official language is Bahasa Indonesia. The currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The country has a tropical climate with high temperatures and distinct wet and dry seasons.
5 fun facts about Indonesia
- Indonesia is home to the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia Arnoldii, known for its foul smell.
- With over 300 ethnic groups, Indonesia is incredibly diverse, and this diversity is reflected in its cuisine, languages, and traditions.
- The Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard, is native to Indonesia’s Komodo Island.
- Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist temple in Java, is the world’s largest Buddhist temple.
- Indonesia has the world’s highest number of active volcanoes, contributing to its fertile soil and stunning landscapes.
Rich culture in Indonesia
Indonesia’s culture is deeply influenced by its diverse history, religions, and traditions. Traditional dances, such as the Legong and Barong dances, are great examples of the country’s rich artistic heritage. Batik is a significant part of Indonesian fashion, and it’s a traditional method of dyeing cloth.
Furthermore, religious celebrations like Ramadan and Hindu ceremonies are widely observed, and festivals such as Nyepi (Day of Silence) in Bali provide a glimpse into local traditions. Gamelan music, shadow puppetry (Wayang Kulit), and traditional arts and crafts are integral to Indonesian culture.
When it comes to sports and activities, Indonesia also excels and adores several kinds. Sports such as badminton, football, and traditional martial arts like Pencak Silat are popular among Indonesians. The diverse landscapes also offer opportunities for outdoor activities, from surfing in Bali to trekking in the jungles of Sumatra.
Indonesian cuisine is known for its flavours, aromatic spices, and diverse food. Some popular dishes include:
- Nasi Goreng: Fried rice mixed with various ingredients, often served with a fried egg on top.
- Rendang: A flavorful and tender beef stew with coconut milk and spices.
- Satay: Grilled skewers of meat, often served with peanut sauce.
- Nasi Padang: A variety of dishes served with steamed rice, originating from Padang in Sumatra.
- Soto: A traditional soup with various regional variations, usually containing meat, vegetables, and broth.
Indonesia offers a wide range of street food, from Martabak (stuffed pancake) to Bakso (meatball soup). The cost of living can vary depending on the city and lifestyle, but overall, Indonesia is known for its affordability. Eating out in Indonesia is very affordable and Warungs (local eateries) offer budget-friendly delights like Nasi Goreng for around €1. In restaurants, a meal for two at a mid-range establishment costs approximately €15. Street food vendors offer tasty treats like Martabak or Bakso at prices as low as €0.50. Enjoy local delicacies such as Nasi Padang or Soto for an authentic taste of Indonesian cuisine, where affordability meets a world of amazing tastes in every bite.
Expats in Indonesia
Life in Indonesia is characterised by warm hospitality, a relaxed pace, and a strong sense of community. Expats find diverse communities in major cities like Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya. The country’s sandy beaches, jungles, and historical sites, provides a wide range of opportunities for exploration and relaxation.
Finding accommodation in Indonesia
There are many types of accommodation available in Indonesia to suit various preferences and budgets. In cities like Jakarta or Bali, international hotels, resorts, and budget-friendly hostels cater to different needs. Expats and travellers can rent furnished apartments, often available for short-term rentals, providing a comfortable and convenient stay. Online platforms like Airbnb and local real estate websites facilitate easy access to various housing options.
Where to learn Indonesian
While English is widely spoken in urban areas and tourist destinations, learning Bahasa Indonesia can enhance your experience and help you connect with locals easier.
Numerous language schools and online platforms have offers to learners of various levels. Consider reputable language schools like ‘Pusat Bahasa’ in Jakarta or ‘Cinta Bahasa’ in Bali, offering immersive courses with experienced instructors. Online platforms such as Babbel, Duolingo, or iTalki provide flexibility for self-paced learning or personalised lessons with native speakers. Engaging with locals through language exchange meet-ups or language exchange apps like Tandem enhances practical conversational skills. To grasp colloquial nuances, explore YouTube channels like ‘Learn Indonesian’ or ‘Bahasa Indonesian101’.
Still not convinced about Indonesia?
Indonesia’s appeal lies in its diversity, both in terms of culture and landscapes. You can live a life that includes both urban excitement and natural wonders. From vibrant cities to insta worthy beaches and ancient temples, Indonesia has something for everyone. Be prepared for the occasional tropical rain showers and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
The Indonesian people are known for their friendliness, hospitality, and their unwavering spirit, making you feel like part of the extended family. The cultural heritage is rich and diverse. Experience dances like the Balinese Legong or the Javanese Wayang Kulit shadow puppetry. Indonesia’s spirit of togetherness is evident in the concept of “gotong royong,” where communities come together to help one another. Experience the joy of participating in local ceremonies, from vibrant weddings to colorful religious festivals, and feel the sense of belonging.
With the advancement of technology and the increasing popularity of remote work, many people choose to work remotely while living in different countries, including Indonesia. The country has a relatively good internet infrastructure, especially in major cities and tourist areas, making it conducive for remote work. However, it’s important to check the visa requirements and regulations for working remotely in Indonesia, as they may vary depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. It’s advisable to consult with the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information.
If you are interested in working abroad in Indonesia, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can assist you throughout the entire process, from job searches to accommodation tips and getting settled.
You can stay in Indonesia up to 30 days without appyling for work visa. If you’re planning to stay for a longer period of time you need to apply. You can read more here.
The cost of living in Indonesia is generally lower compared to many Western countries. However, it can vary depending on the region and city you are in. Major cities like Jakarta and Bali tend to have higher costs of living, especially in terms of accommodation and dining out. On the other hand, living expenses in smaller towns and rural areas can be significantly lower. Housing, transportation, food, and entertainment are generally more affordable in Indonesia, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle at a relatively lower cost. It’s important to note that individual lifestyle choices and preferences can greatly impact the overall cost of living.
Indonesia’s weather and climate are tropical and diverse. The country has two main seasons: the wet season (October to April) and the dry season (May to September). Average temperatures range from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, with coastal areas being generally hotter and more humid. Indonesia is known for its lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, and occasional tropical downpours that add to the country’s vibrant and tropical ambiance.
English proficiency varies across Indonesia, but overall, the level of English spoken is moderate to low in comparison to some other countries. In major tourist destinations and urban areas, such as Bali, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta, you are likely to encounter more people who can speak English, especially those working in the tourism industry. However, in more rural areas or among older generations, English proficiency may be limited. It’s a good idea to learn a few basic Indonesian phrases or have a translation app handy to facilitate communication, particularly in non-touristy areas.
Indonesia offers various public transport options to navigate its vast archipelago. In urban areas like Jakarta, you’ll find an extensive network of buses, commuter trains, and the TransJakarta bus rapid transit system. Motorbike taxis known as “ojeks” are also popular. Inter-city travel is facilitated by trains, long-distance buses, and domestic flights. In some regions, such as Bali, local transportation options include taxis, traditional horse-drawn carriages called “cidomos,” and motorcycle rentals.
Indonesia’s healthcare system is a mix of public and private providers. While the country has made progress in improving healthcare access and infrastructure, there are still challenges, particularly in rural areas. The public healthcare system is administered by the Ministry of Health and provides basic healthcare services. However, the quality and availability of healthcare facilities and services can vary, with urban areas having better-equipped hospitals and clinics. Private healthcare options are also available and offer higher-quality care, often preferred by expatriates and those seeking more specialized treatments. It is advisable for residents and visitors to have comprehensive health insurance coverage when in Indonesia.