Everything You Need to Know When Relocating to Indonesia in 2024

Indonesia, a land of unparalleled diversity, captivates with its vibrant cities, rich cultural heritage, and stunning natural landscapes. From the bustling streets of Jakarta to the serene beaches of Bali, this archipelago nation offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Indonesia’s vast expanse presents a rich tapestry of experiences, from exploring ancient temples and lush rainforests to enjoying the cosmopolitan charm of its urban centers.

For those considering making Indonesia their new home, Noble Asia stands ready to assist. As a first-class real estate and destination service provider based in Jakarta and Bali, and a trusted partner of Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group, Noble Asia offers a comprehensive range of services tailored to the needs of expats and newcomers. From real estate and relocation to interior design and furniture rental, Noble Asia ensures a smooth transition and helps you settle into your new life in Indonesia with ease.

Discover more about how Noble Asia can make your relocation to Indonesia a seamless experience at Noble Asia and Noble Properties Asia.


What It’s Like to Live in Indonesia

Living in Indonesia means embracing the rich tapestry of diverse cultures that unite the nation. “Unity in Diversity” is Indonesia’s motto, reflecting the commitment to harmony amidst variety. Indonesians are renowned for their friendliness and helpfulness, making the country welcoming to all. As the fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia holds immense potential for growth and development. Our natural landscapes are among the most beautiful globally, offering stunning vistas and unique experiences. In recent decades, infrastructure development has been a top priority, further enhancing the country’s appeal and connectivity.

Cultural Differences

  • Collectivist Society: Indonesia places a strong emphasis on community and family. Social harmony and group cohesion are highly valued.
  • Religious Practices: Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, and religion plays a significant role in daily life. Foreigners should be respectful of Islamic practices, such as prayer times (with early morning prayers starting around 4:30 AM), the presence of mosques everywhere, fasting during Ramadan, and modest dress codes in certain areas.
  • Respect for Elders and Hierarchies: There is a strong cultural aspect for elders and authority figures. Addressing people with proper titles and showing deference to older individuals is important.
  • Modesty and Dress Code: Modest dressing is appreciated, especially in rural areas and during religious events. Foreigners should be mindful of local dress codes, particularly in more conservative regions.
  • Festivals and Traditions: Indonesia has numerous cultural festivals and traditions. Participating in and respecting these can enhance an expatriate’s experience and integration into the community.
  • Religious Holidays: Indonesia recognizes five official religions, resulting in a significant number of religious public holidays throughout the year. These holidays, stemming from Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, provide numerous opportunities for cultural celebration and observance, as well as potential impacts on business operations and public services.
  • Cost of Living: The prices of alcohol and imported goods in Indonesia are quite high due to substantial taxes, which can impact the cost of everyday items and luxury products.


  • Bahasa Indonesia is recommended for effective communication, navigating daily life, and integrating into society.
  • English is also widely understood in major cities, tourist areas, places of business, and among the younger population.

Economy and Job Market

The Indonesian economy is on a growth trajectory with expanding opportunities, given the country’s size and diverse demographics. Rich in natural resources, Indonesia remains the world’s largest producer of nickel. The job market is welcoming for expats with relevant skills, and proficiency in the local language and cultural understanding can further enhance career prospects. Indonesia’s economy, particularly in the tech and digital sectors, is experiencing significant growth and development.

Opportunities for Expats: There is high demand in sectors like education, information technology, engineering, and hospitality. Language skills in Bahasa Indonesia can enhance job prospects.


Cost of Living

The cost of living in Indonesia is relatively affordable compared to many other countries. Here, we offer a budget-friendly lifestyle, making it an excellent choice for those seeking affordability without compromising cultural richness.

  • Average Cost of Living: The average cost of living in Indonesia is $567, which is 1,84 times less expensive than the world average. Indonesia ranks 161st out of 197 countries by cost of living. It is considered the 105th best country to live in.
  • Salary and Expenses: The average after-tax salary in Indonesia is $332, which is enough to cover living expenses for 0.6 months. This affordability makes Indonesia an attractive destination for expatriates.
  • Comparison with Other Countries: Compared to the United States, Indonesia is significantly more affordable. The US ranks 7th in terms of expense, while Indonesia is 161st. When compared to Singapore, Indonesia’s cost of living is 81% less expensive. Singapore ranks 3rd globally, while Indonesia ranks 161st.


Life in Jakarta offers a blend of modern urban conveniences with rich cultural experiences. While the city’s pace can be fast and traffic challenging, the warmth of its people, diverse culinary scene, and numerous recreational options make it an attractive place to live. For expats, integrating into the local culture while enjoying the amenities of a bustling metropolis creates a unique and fulfilling lifestyle.

Healthcare Services

Healthcare services in Jakarta vary, and while both public and private facilities are available to expats, most choose private hospitals or clinics.

  • Healthcare Facilities: Expats often prefer private hospitals due to better facilities, English-speaking staff, and shorter wait times.
  • Quality of Care: Jakarta’s healthcare quality varies. Some private hospitals offer excellent care, but it is essential to choose wisely. For serious procedures, expats sometimes travel to neighboring Singapore.
  • Health Insurance: Foreigners are not covered by Indonesia’s universal health insurance scheme. Arrange comprehensive health insurance before moving to Jakarta. Corporate relocating packages often include this.
  • Pharmacies: Pharmacies are abundant in Jakarta and are found in most large malls. They offer prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Educational System

The educational system in Indonesia offers a range of options for expatriate children, with international schools providing high-quality education in a multicultural environment. They offer comprehensive curricula, excellent facilities, and strong community support, making them a popular choice for expatriate families. Integrating into the local community through school activities and parent associations can enhance the overall experience for both students and parents. Despite the higher costs and commuting challenges, international schools in Jakarta provide high-quality education and a multicultural environment, making them ideal for expatriate children.


Legal Considerations When Moving to Indonesia

Moving to Indonesia involves navigating various legal considerations, including obtaining the appropriate visas and work permits, understanding property ownership restrictions, complying with tax laws, and respecting local customs. Professional legal and financial advice can ensure a smooth transition and compliance with Indonesian laws.

Process of Acquiring Work Visas for Professionals and Their Families

Acquiring work visas for professionals and their families in Indonesia involves several steps and considerations. Indonesia has specific regulations and procedures that applicants must follow. The first step is securing a job offer from an Indonesian employer. The employer must demonstrate that the position cannot be filled by a local Indonesian candidate. Subsequently, the Indonesian employer acts as the sponsor and applies for a work permit (IMTA) on behalf of the foreign employee. Navigating the process of acquiring work visas for professionals and their families in Indonesia requires thorough preparation, adherence to regulations, and potentially seeking assistance from local experts to ensure a smooth application process and compliance with Indonesian immigration laws.

Process for Setting Up a New Business or a Branch of an Existing Company

Setting up a new business in Indonesia involves choosing a business structure, registering with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, and obtaining necessary licenses, permits, and tax identification. Establishing a branch office requires approval from BKPM, registration with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, and obtaining a tax identification number.

Requirements for Permanent Residency or Citizenship

The requirements for permanent residency or citizenship typically include meeting residency duration, language proficiency, and integration criteria, along with demonstrating financial stability and a clear criminal record.


Work Culture

The work culture in Indonesia emphasizes hierarchical structures, respect for authority, politeness, indirect communication, teamwork, adaptability, and flexibility.

Business Customs

Understanding Indonesia’s business customs is crucial due to its rich cultural diversity, which shapes unique characteristics. Indonesians prioritize personal relationships, starting meetings with polite greetings and small talk to establish rapport, while decision-making tends to be hierarchical, emphasizing seniority. Demonstrating respect for authority is essential in business interactions. The country’s diverse society emphasizes group unity, whether within families, villages, or islands, reflecting the national motto of “Unity in Diversity”

Typical Workday and Work Week

In Indonesia, the typical workweek spans five days, from Monday to Friday. Working hours are generally from 8:00 AM to 5 PM for both private and public sector employees. The standard full-time workweek consists of 40 hours, which can be distributed in either of the ways.

Tips for Making Good Business Relationships

Building strong business relationships in Indonesia requires adhering to several key practices. It starts with demonstrating politeness and respect by initiating meetings with warm greetings and acknowledging seniority using formal titles. Indonesians value face-to-face interactions, so prioritize in-person meetings whenever feasible for discussing business matters. Patience and flexibility are essential due to the cultural emphasis on deliberative decision-making and potential changes in plans. Building trust is crucial, achieved through investing time in relationship-building activities such as attending social events, sharing meals, and showing genuine interest in counterparts’ interests. Additionally, offering small gifts as gestures of goodwill, chosen thoughtfully and with cultural sensitivity, can further strengthen business connections.


Commonly Available Accommodation

  • Apartments: Modern high-rise apartments are popular among expats, offering amenities like security, pools, gyms, and easy access to business districts.
  • Services Apartments: There are fully furnished apartments with hotel-like services such as housekeeping, laundry, and sometimes dining options. They are ideal for short-term stays or those preferring more convenience.
  • Houses/Villas: For those seeking more space and privacy, houses and villas are available, particularly in suburban areas like Kemang, Pondok, Indah, and Cipete. These often come with gardens and private pools.
  • Townhouses, Compounds, or Clusters: Gated communities with townhouses offer a mix of apartment convenience and house-like space, often with shared amenities like security, swimming pools, and playgrounds.
  • Condominiums: Similar to apartments but often with ownership options, condos can be found in many of the same areas and provide various amenities.

Housing Prices Across Different Regions

Housing prices in Jakarta vary significantly across different regions, reflecting factors such as location, amenities, and property type. Generally, the most expensive areas are found in Central Jakarta, such as Menteng and the Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD), known for high-rise apartments and luxury residences. Prices can range from USD 3,000 to USD 8,000 per month for high-end apartments. South Jakarta is popular with expats, offering a mix of luxury apartments, townhouses, and standalone houses in neighborhoods like Kemang, Pondok Indah, and Cipete. Monthly rents typically range from USD 2,500 to USD 7,000, depending on the property size and amenities. Housing prices in Jakarta vary widely based on location and property type, with high-end luxury options predominantly in central and southern areas, and more affordable choices in the west, north, and east regions.

Key Considerations When Searching for Housing

  • Location: Proximity to work, schools, hospitals, and amenities like shopping centers and restaurants is crucial. Traffic congestion can be severe, so consider commuting times.
  • Security: Check for secure housing options, such as gated communities, compounds, or buildings with good security measures like 24-hour guards and CCTV.
  • Amenities: Look for properties with desired amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, playgrounds, and green spaces, especially if you have a family.
  • Budget: Ensure the rent fits within your budget, accounting for additional costs like maintenance fees, utilities, and possible deposits.
  • Housing Type: Choose between apartments, houses, townhouses, or serviced apartments based on your space needs, lifestyle, and preferences.

Process of Purchasing a Property

  • Research and Budget: Understand your needs, research prices, and engage a real estate agent.
  • Property Selection: Visit properties and evaluate conditions and amenities.
  • Due Diligence: Verify ownership and legality.
  • Negotiation and Offer: Make an offer and negotiate terms.
  • Sales and Purchase Agreement: Draft an agreement with a notary.
  • Payment and Taxes: Pay the agreed amount and be aware of transfer taxes.
  • Transfer of Ownership: Transfer the title at the land office.
  • Post-Purchase: Register the property and update utility accounts. Consult a lawyer for legal advice during the process.


Main Forms of Transportation

Jakarta offers a comprehensive transportation network, including the efficient Jakarta MRT with both elevated and underground sections spanning from South Jakarta to Central Jakarta. The Jakarta LRT serves the route from East Jakarta to South Jakarta, and the TransJakarta BRT covers numerous routes across the city, known for its dedicated lanes and extensive coverage. Commuter Line trains connect Jakarta with satellite cities like Bogor and Tangerang. Additionally, popular ride-sharing apps Gojek and Grab, along with Bluebird taxis, provide convenient short-trip options. For seamless travel planning, utilize the JakLingko app.

Internet and Mobile Connectivity

Indonesia’s internet landscape has shown significant growth, yet challenges persist. Mobile connectivity has improved with accelerated speeds and expanded 4G availability nationwide, although coverage gaps remain in remote areas.

Best Cities or Regions for Commuting to Work

For commuting to work in Jakarta, neighborhoods like Sudirman-Thamrin, Kuningan, Senayan, Menteng, and SCBD are highly recommended. These areas are strategically located near major business districts, offering good public transport options such as TransJakarta BRT, MRT, and commuter trains. They provide a mix of residential tranquility and easy access to offices, shopping malls, and entertainment venues, making them ideal choices for professionals seeking convenience and accessibility in the bustling Indonesian capital.

Accessibility to Main Business Hubs

The main business hubs in Jakarta, such as Sudirman-Thamrin, Kuningan, Senayan, and SCBD (Sudirman Central Business District), are highly accessible and well-connected. These areas boast excellent infrastructure with multiple transportation options, including TransJakarta BRT, MRT, and commuter trains, facilitating convenient travel within the city. They are also serviced by major highways and thoroughfares, easing traffic congestion during peak hours. Additionally, these hubs feature modern office buildings, hotels, shopping centers, and dining options, creating vibrant environments conducive to business activities and attracting both local and international companies.



Indonesia is generally welcoming to foreigners, particularly in major cities and tourist destinations where diversity is common. Integration into Indonesian society can vary depending on factors such as location, cultural understanding, and language proficiency. Urban areas like Jakarta and Bali, with their international communities and amenities, often provide easier integration opportunities through social clubs, expat networks, and English-friendly environments. Indonesia’s hospitality and diverse cultural heritage contribute positively to the experience of foreigners seeking to integrate into society.

Communities or Groups for Expats

Expats in Jakarta have several established communities where they can connect with others and build networks. Popular groups include ANZA Jakarta, catering to Australians and New Zealanders with social activities and support. The Friends of What’s New Jakarta Meetup Group welcomes newcomers and locals alike for social outings and mutual support. Internations.org offers international networking events, while Expat Nations focuses on cultural exchange and community support. For those interested in the arts, The Jakarta Players provide opportunities in theatre and performing arts. Additionally, communities like the Indonesian Heritage Society offer insights into local culture, while groups such as the Women’s International Club (WIC) and The BWA Jakarta provide social events and support specifically for women expatriates. Joining these communities can enrich the expatriate experience in Jakarta, fostering friendships and connections within the diverse expat community.

Socializing and Networking

In Jakarta, there’s a wealth of opportunities for socializing and networking across diverse communities and settings. Expatriate groups offer tailored events and cultural exchanges, while local clubs cater to varied interests from sports to cultural exploration. Business districts host professional networking events, complemented by online platforms like Meetup and Facebook groups. Jakarta’s vibrant nightlife, dining scene, and cultural events provide casual settings for meeting new people, while fitness centers and volunteer organizations offer avenues for connecting with like-minded individuals. These avenues collectively create a dynamic environment for fostering social connections and professional networking in the Indonesian capital.

Participation in Local Activities and Community Events

To get involved in local activities and community events in Jakarta, explore online platforms like Meetup and Facebook Events for a variety of interests and causes. Join expat groups or local clubs focused on sports, arts, or cultural pursuits that host regular gatherings. Look for volunteer opportunities with charities or community centers, attend cultural exhibitions and performances at museums and galleries, and participate in festivals and markets to immerse yourself in Jakarta’s vibrant social scene. Enrolling in language or interest-based classes and joining fitness centers also provide avenues to meet locals and expatriates alike, fostering connections and enriching your experience in the Indonesian capital.



Indonesia has made significant strides in emergency preparedness, with a framework established through the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB), early warning systems, and regular disaster drills. However, the country’s vast and diverse geography presents logistical challenges, particularly in remote areas where infrastructure may be underdeveloped. Public awareness and education on disaster preparedness also vary, impacting community resilience.

As the capital, Jakarta is relatively well-prepared with better-equipped emergency services, advanced early warning systems for floods, and investments in disaster-resilient infrastructure. The Jakarta Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) coordinates efforts and conducts public awareness campaigns. Despite these measures, challenges such as traffic congestion, dense population, and the vulnerability of informal settlements continue to pose risks, necessitating ongoing improvements in the city’s emergency preparedness and response capabilities.

Steps to Follow in Case of a Medical Emergency

In case of a medical emergency in Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta, follow these steps:

  • Call Emergency Services: Dial 112 for emergency assistance (Jakarta’s emergency call center). For an ambulance, you can directly call 118 or 119.
  • Provide Essential Information: Clearly state your name, location, and the nature of the emergency. Provide any critical details about the patient’s condition (e.g., unconscious, severe bleeding, difficulty breathing).
  • Transportation to Hospital: If you have a car and the situation is urgent but manageable, consider driving to the nearest hospital if waiting for an ambulance would take too long. Ensure the hospital is aware of the incoming emergency to prepare for immediate care.

By following these steps, you can ensure a prompt and effective response to a medical emergency in Jakarta or anywhere in Indonesia.

Natural Disasters

Indonesia, located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, and landslides. Preparedness involves having emergency kits with essentials, knowing evacuation routes, staying informed through local alerts, and practicing safety drills. In case of earthquakes, drop, cover, and hold on. For tsunamis, move to higher ground immediately. During volcanic eruptions, use masks and goggles, and follow evacuation orders. For floods, avoid floodwaters and move to higher ground. In landslides, move away from the path and seek higher ground. Ensuring insurance coverage and participating in community drills are also crucial for effective disaster preparedness.

Support in Emergency Situations

In an emergency, expatriates in Indonesia can expect support from local authorities and their home country’s embassy. Local authorities provide emergency services (dial 112 for general emergencies), disaster response, and public information through the National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) and local agencies (BPBD). Embassies offer consular assistance, emergency travel documents, evacuation support, and coordination with local authorities. They also provide crisis hotlines and regular safety updates. Expats are encouraged to register with their embassy and keep emergency contact information accessible for timely assistance.


Reloc8 Asia Pacific Group

Reloc8 consists of key partners located in 12 countries across the Asia Pacific region. Together, we offer employee mobility services to clients seeking assistance in 23 locations throughout Asia, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. In addition to these, we extend our services to the following destinations: Fiji, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, The Solomons. The Maldives, and Guam. Our members represent the premier destination and immigration service providers in the Asia Pacific region. Each partner maintains their unique style and cultural identity, contributing to the Alliance’s diverse and multicultural atmosphere. However, they all share a collective commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethics, integrity, and service excellence.

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