Indonesia expat guide

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The world’s largest island country, we take a closer look at what life is like for an expat in Indonesia.

By Allianz Worldwide Care | January 2, 2017

Allianz Care - Indonesia expat guide

The Republic of Indonesia consists of over 13,000 islands, with the archipelago situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Indonesia offers many cultural and natural highlights to expats, with its diverse ethnic and linguistic groups – approximately 700 languages and dialects are spoken by its 255 million people - and world famous beaches and volcanos.

Most expats choose to settle in the vibrant capital of Jakarta, a fast-growing megalopolis at the economic, cultural and political heart of Indonesia.

Indonesia quick facts

Main languages: Indonesian

Population: 255 million

Main religion: Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Political system: Unitary presidential constitutional republic

Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

 

Quality of Life

The 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey places Indonesia 142nd out of 221 cities evaluated on quality of life factors including political, economic, environmental, personal safety, health, education, transportation and other public service factors.

With islands spread over an area of 5200 km, access to services will vary greatly depending on your location.

Regardless of their location in Indonesia, most expats find it takes a little time to adjust to the countries tropical climate. There are two monsoon seasons, the eastern monsoon from June to September, which is typically very hot and humid, and the western season from December to March, which sees very heavy rain fall.

Food is a significant part of Indonesia’s culture, from the numerous hawker stalls offering tasty but inexpensive street food to the fine dining restaurants of Jakarta, Indonesia offers rich and varied dining experiences.

Outdoor living and sports are well catered for in Jakarta, with public parks providing exercise facilities. Indonesia’s numerous beaches and sunny climate make participation in outdoor sports and water activities possible throughout the dry season.

All in all, the dynamic mix of cultures and ethnicities make Indonesia an exciting destination for expats to work and live.

 

Education in Indonesia

Education standards for expat children in Indonesia are high, offering a choice of good international schools following an international curriculum.

There are nine years of compulsory education in Indonesia, six years of Sekolah Dasar (primary education) and three years of Sekolah Menengah Pertama (secondary education).

With a significant expat population, Jakarta has many international schools catering for both primary and secondary education. Outside of Jakarta, international schools are well dispersed. It is essential that expat families thoroughly research school options prior to settling on a location.

All schools in Indonesia fall into one of three categories:

National schools - offering the national curriculum only

Embassy schools - offering the curriculum from the home country. Essentially embassy schools are what we commonly know as international schools, however schools in Indonesia cannot use “international” in their name.

SPK (Satuan Pendidikan Kerjasama) schools – These schools offer the International Baccalaureate but also incorporate some of the Indonesian national curriculum. SPK schools must have a direct tie with an overseas school or educational authority. SPK schools are often a less expensive alternative to embassy schools.

For more information visit the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

Cost of Living

Overall the cost of living in Indonesia is quite low, particularly as expats tend to be on higher salaries than much of the local population.

Living costs in Jakarta are much higher than those of other areas within the archipelago, particularly for accommodation in central Jakarta.

Example costs*:

McDonalds meal IDR 45,000 (€3.15)
Litre milk IDR 18,000 (€1.25)
Pint of beer IDR 42,000 (€2.95)
Broadband IDR 345,000 per month (€24.00)
Studio apartment IDR 8,200,000 per month (€570.00)
Petrol IDR 7,800 per litre (€0.50)
Public transport (monthly ticket) IDR 310,000 (€21.75)

 

Healthcare

Indonesia's medical care facilities are ranked lower than that of many developed countries and their healthcare system is considered one of the poorest in any ASEAN country. Typically specialised healthcare is not available outside major cities.

Although expats who live in Indonesia's larger urban areas or developed islands will find health care services available, those in rural areas will have limited access to healthcare.

All medical facilities in Indonesia are available to expats to use. However, expats are not covered under any of the government healthcare programs, and will require private medical insurance or pay up front for any treatment.

For expats living in Indonesia a good international health insurance plan is crucial to ensure continued access to quality healthcare and avoid expensive medical fees. When assessing health insurance options, expats living in Indonesia should consider including a repatriation plan, the countries geography makes reaching people in remote locations difficult.

For more information on the healthcare system in Indonesia, visit the Indonesian Ministry of Health.

 

Visa Info

For expats considering relocating to Indonesia for work or study, advice and the most up date information on visa requirements and regulations can be obtained by visiting the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

*Costs accurate at time of publishing