With a thriving economy and attractive expat salaries on offer, an expat's lifestyle in Jakarta can be full of comforts and luxuries.
Traffic can sometimes hinder leisure time during the week, so weekends are perfect for playing on the golf course, scuba diving expeditions and short holidays to the nearby islands.
The vast expat communities and associations in Jakarta provide a little taste of home to expats with their constant balls and special charity events. From medieval banquets to Latin balls and Mardi Gras soirées, expats are able to enjoy the buzzing nightlife of Jakarta as often as they please.
Shopping in Jakarta
Shopping can be seen as a national sport for Indonesians, both honorary and native. The immense variety of shopping malls, markets and boutiques make Jakarta a shopper’s paradise. Like most countries in Asia, Jakarta boasts extravagant world-class malls with designer stores galore, as well as smaller local designer boutiques. Renowned designers and interior decorators often visit Jakarta and showcase their latest creations both at runway shows and special exhibitions at the many malls around the city.
Visiting shopping malls is a central activity in the lives of many Jakartans. Malls provide an escape from the heat, humidity and rain, and the many entertainment options make them pivotal in the lifestyle of Jakartans and expats alike. Shopping malls in Jakarta can be described as lifestyle centres. Expats can leave the mall with a fresh new haircut after getting a massage, enjoy international cuisine and buy stationary, a pair of shoes, and food for their pets. Malls are truly the cornucopia of shoppers, where products are bountiful, ever-changing and always following the latest trends.
Markets are excellent venues for buying fresh produce, live fish and beautiful freshly picked flowers. These markets are often crowded with bajajs (two- or three-wheeler cars), carts and even motorcycles, and they are bustling with life and colour.
There are often price fluctuations between locals and foreigners, so it's best to go in with at least a slight idea of how much something is worth. Bargaining is expected so be prepared to negotiate prices until finding a good discount of about 10 to 20 percent.
Eating out in Jakarta
Jakarta is home to a colossal variety of international cuisine. Specialities range from high-end tepanyaki restaurants to small hole-in-the-wall type venues that offer authentic Javanese fare.
Despite the fact that Indonesia is an Islamic country, alcohol is widely available and served in most restaurants. Alcohol, however, can sometimes be pricey compared to other countries due to high levies on imported spirits and wine and the value-added taxes.
Nightlife in Jakarta
Nightlife in Jakarta exemplifies Indonesia at its best: diverse, swarming and intense. From small pool bars to swanky and hip nightclubs with queues of hopeful partygoers lining up for hours outside, Jakarta offers expats whatever kind of diversion they desire.
Several neighbourhoods are popular among expats due to their exuberant party scene. Kemang, in South Jakarta, is frequented by groups of friends looking to watch sports, listen to live music, play pool or drink beer with friends in an informal atmosphere. The Senayan and Kuningan areas are home to the hippest, trendiest and most expensive clubs Jakarta has to offer. Expats and locals attend the clubs to see and be seen and booking a table for the night is common practice. Single men looking to have a cheap beer with friends and mingle with the locals often visit the area of Blok M.
Outdoor activities in Jakarta
Jakarta's lush environment has plenty to offer expats looking to enjoy the great outdoors. From volcanoes and hotsprings to waterfalls and forests, plenty of adventures await the adventurous expat. Beach days are another good option. Most of Jakarta's beaches require a boat trip, which is a fun way to get around, but for those who prefer something a little bit closer, Ancol Beach is easily reached from the city.
►For more useful information about expat life in Jakarta, have a look at Pros and Cons of Living in Indonesia
Are you an expat living in Jakarta?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Jakarta. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.