Guide for foreigners living in Indonesia 2023

As a foreigner living in Indonesia, there are several things you should know to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Indonesia is a country with a rich culture and diverse customs.

Here is the list of the points which are the most important to help you navigate life in Indonesia.

  1. Visas and Documentation

    If you plan to stay in Indonesia for an extended period, you will need a visa. The type of visa you require depends on the purpose of your visit. You can apply for a visa on arrival if you are on the list of selected countries, for a visa at an Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country.

  2. Language

    The official language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia, but there are hundreds of regional dialects spoken throughout the country. Try to learn some basic Indonesian phrases to help you get around and communicate with locals.

  3. Culture

    Indonesia has a rich and diverse culture, with many different customs and traditions. Indonesians are generally very friendly and welcoming to foreigners. However, it’s essential to respect their customs and traditions, especially when it comes to dressing codes and religious practices.

  4. Food

    Indonesian cuisine is incredibly diverse and delicious. Try local dishes such as nasi goreng (fried rice), sate (skewered meat), and rendang (spicy beef stew). Be careful when eating street food, and always make sure it’s fresh and cooked thoroughly.

  5. Transportation

    Indonesia is a vast country, and transportation options vary depending on where you are. In major cities, you can take taxis or public transportation such as buses, MRT, or trains. In more rural areas, you may need to hire a car or motorcycle. Be aware that traffic in major cities can be heavy and chaotic.

  6. Healthcare

    Indonesia has both public and private healthcare systems. Public healthcare is generally of lower quality and can be overcrowded. Private healthcare is more expensive but of better quality. Make sure you have health insurance that covers you while you are in Indonesia. One of the most recommended hospital chains is called Siloam hospital

  7. Safety

    Indonesia is generally a safe country, but like any other place, there are risks. Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and theft, can occur. Avoid traveling alone at night and be cautious when using ATMs.

  8. Climate

    Indonesia has a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 23°C to 33°C throughout the year. The wet season lasts from October to April, and the dry season runs from May to September. Be prepared for frequent rain showers, especially during the wet season.

  9. Communication

    Indonesia has a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure. Mobile phones and the internet are widely available, and many cafes and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi. You can purchase SIM cards from local providers, which offer affordable rates for calls and data. If you want to use your own mobile which you brought from overseas you have to register it at the local authority.

  10. Banking

    Opening a bank account in Indonesia is straightforward and is necessary if you plan to work or live in the country for an extended period. Most banks require a minimum deposit to open an account. ATMs are widely available, but it’s recommended to use machines located in banks to avoid scams or theft. As a foreigner you can open your bank account in Indonesia just based on a work permit (KITAS, KITAP), probably in some selected ones can be sufficient sponsorship letters from a local person.

  11. Housing

    Finding housing in Indonesia can be challenging, especially in major cities where the demand for housing is high. Rent prices can vary significantly depending on the location and the quality of the housing. Consider using a reputable real estate agent to help you find suitable housing, and do your own location research to ensure you do not stay in the flood area.

  12. Education

    If you plan to bring your family with you, Indonesia has a range of international schools that cater to ex-pat children. These schools offer a Western-style education in English and follow international curricula. However, fees for these schools can be expensive.

  13. Etiquette

    Indonesians are generally very polite and respectful, and it’s essential to reciprocate this behavior. Respect the elders, avoid discussing sensitive topics such as religion or politics, and always remove your shoes before entering a home or temple.

  14. Environment

    Indonesia has many beautiful natural attractions, including beaches, mountains, and rainforests. However, environmental issues such as deforestation, and plastic waste are significant challenges facing the country. Be conscious of your impact on the environment and try to minimize your use of single-use plastics and waste.

  15. Air Quality

    Indonesia is known for having issues with air pollution, particularly in major cities such as Jakarta. This is due to factors such as vehicle emissions, industrial activity, and forest fires. During periods of high pollution, it’s recommended to limit your outdoor activity and wear a mask when necessary, or use an air purifier indoor.

  16. Outdoor Activities

    Indonesia is a country with diverse natural attractions, and there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, diving, and surfing. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential hazards and take necessary precautions. For example, check weather conditions before hiking or climbing, and only dive or surf with reputable and experienced guides.

  17. Religion

    Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, but it’s also home to significant populations of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and other religions. Religion is an essential part of daily life in Indonesia, and it’s essential to respect the customs and practices of different faiths. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and be aware of any specific rules or regulations.

  18. Socializing

    Indonesians are known for being friendly and welcoming, and socializing is an important part of their culture. Take the time to meet new people and attend local events and festivals. However, it’s essential to be aware of cultural differences and to avoid behaviors that could be seen as disrespectful or offensive.

  19. Emergency Services

    In case of an emergency, dial 112 or 110 for police or 118 for ambulance services. It’s recommended to have the numbers of emergency services saved on your phone and to know the location of the nearest hospital or clinic.

In conclusion, living in Indonesia can be a unique and fulfilling experience, with plenty of opportunities to explore the country’s rich culture and diverse natural beauty. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential challenges and to take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and comfortable stay.

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