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What Factors Do Expatriate in Indonesia Consider When They Stay in the Country

Cost of Living for an Expatriate in Indonesia When you consider living in a foreign country, either temporary work-related or permanently, you’ll look at the cost of living. Expatriates in Indonesia more often than not earn more than the locals; however, they also will consider their security, transportation costs, housing, and where they eat their food. In Indonesia, the cost of living will depend on whether you’re in the big cities or small towns. If your idea as an expat is to save on cost, it would be fitting to go to the smaller cities.

To put you into perspective, we’ll break down the cost of living factors to consider as an expatriate in Indonesia:



On many occasions, expats opt for a serene neighbourhood with adequate security, such as townhouses or serviced apartments. These townhouses would offer many amenities such as gym facilities, swimming pools, spa centres, tennis courts, and kid’s playgrounds. In other areas, we have furnished apartments, and they are usually significant to the tenant’s satisfaction. The average cost for a two-bedroom apartment in a hotel complex is approximately US$2,500- 5000 per month. A jogging track, BBQ, and other amenities would go for a much higher price for townhouses with an elegant finish.



While in Jakarta, expats have several delicacies on offer from their rich and memorable Asian cuisine. Indonesians value food as eating is like a social activity, as meals and sharing are common social habits. It is deemed impolite not to offer any drinks and snacks to a guest regardless of whether invited or unexpected.


Dining Out at Restaurants

Expatriates in Indonesia are synonymous with eating out in a restaurant in and out of Jakarta. Indonesians, particularly the middle and upper classes, try to spend their leisure time dining out in restaurants. This is an opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues to share some fun times. Expect to find restaurants featuring Indonesian delicacies all over Jakarta and other bigger cities. Some of the popular dishes include grilled fish, spicy hot Padang, delicious Chinese seafood, and chicken. If you want a quick ushering into Indonesian delicacies, that perfect place to go would be a mall food court.

The experience is mouth-blowing as you get to see the preparation and serving of various dishes. The fact that Jakarta is a metropolitan city that harbours people from different walks of life, international cuisine is available for sampling.

You’ll have numerous lists of cuisines to choose from across the world from America, Europe, China, India, the Middle East, and South America. Some highly-rated restaurants are concentrated in five-star hotels and around the Golden Triangle area, where there are many business activities.


Hotel Dining

Another option that is common in Indonesia is what hotels can offer in regards to food. Some of the hotels have specialized international and national delicacies accompanied by theme bars. The most synonymous is lunch or dinner buffets that bring about a fascinating way to indulge your taste buds.

To top it up, expatriates in Indonesia prefer such hotels because they regularly provide expensive wine and drinks. Some hotels regularly feature a top chef from either the hotel chain or foreign embassy for special food promotions. In return, the hotels showcase their national cuisine and other activities. Again, such food festivals provide an opportunity to introduce some of the best delicious cuisines worldwide without having to travel. The prices are primarily high based on the comparative prices these chains of hotels offer across the world.



Traffic, especially in Jakarta, can be a nightmare getting through the congested roads. The availability of mass transit and light rail are a boost to the country’s infrastructure. You can choose to go by public transport or hire a taxi to move around as an expat. The bus transport system is readily affordable, familiar with many Indonesians connecting to the major cities. If you’re planning to use a taxi, you’ll have to part with at least $2-$5 within the city limits. The cost goes up (approximately $15) for longer distances, for example, from the airport to the central business district (CBD).

Besides, one can consider using a motorcycle taxi as another convenient means of transport. In this case, the prices are usually not fixed, so you can always negotiate with the riders/drivers before hopping on. However, most expatriates in Indonesia do not use public transport as they have their own company personal driver.


Maintenance Fees

Whereas many companies wish to provide executive expatriates with the benefits of relocation overseas, it is always part of the expatriate agreement. These benefits aim at cautioning the cost of living in the housing, utilities, taxes, and other fees thereof. Once an expat relocates to Indonesia, the company will offer an allowance to cover miscellaneous expenses for a specific amount.

Likewise, in case the expat leaves their families behind, they earn a right to a one-way business class airfare flight for their family. The compensation and benefits go as far as expat’s children education costs, including transportation fees, tuition, and other school-related fees. The expatriate agreement may carry additional benefits, including property management fees or the cost of expat’s household goods to Indonesia. Other miscellaneous provisions may include waivers, withholding taxes, among others.


Starting A Family

If you’re an expat thinking of starting a family while working, you don’t have to worry. Raising a family in Indonesia may be a whole new experience to what is back in their home country. However, there are some similarities to an extent, and the advantage is the wealth of new cultural opportunities to experience. Commonly, expat kids receive much attention, and parents are confident that they’ll fit in as Indonesians value seeing happy children.

Now, if both parents are busy working, it’s easy to find childcare or nannies. Indonesian nannies often work with foreign families, and they perfectly understand their work expectations. We know for sure that nannies can grow very close to children and become the go-to person when they need help.

About kid’s education, you have an array of choices within the international schools available. The curriculum is authentic and transferrable to other international schools in different parts of the world. The exciting thing is that the principal and teachers compose expats with English, German or French being their native language.

Children always value entertainment, and whatever they are used to back at home might be different. However, expatriate children can visit malls within Jakarta that offer great indoor playgrounds such as bowling, movie theatres, small roller coasters, carousels, and Ferris wheels.

Indonesians love Sunday brunch, and it’s a perfect opportunity for bike riding or takes a stroll along the streets. During this time, kids can enjoy shows like Disney.



Due to their position in employment, most expatriates in Indonesia opt for international school rather than public education. The primary consideration and concern is the language and the curriculum offered in public schools. When it comes to international schools, they are commonly franchises that have facilities, curricula that align with the international standards. You’ll often find these schools primarily in larger cities, right from preschool to senior high schools.

The most common pre-schools follow either the British, American, or Australian education system. The truth of the matter is that these franchise schools are more expensive than the local schools. The teachers use English to conduct the classes; however, students do learn the Indonesian language at school. The cost of these schools can vary from one to another; for instance, pre-schools can cost up to US$6,000 per year per child. The capital city of Jakarta has the most significant number of international schools, with other franchise schools spread out to other cities in Indonesia.

The cost of these international schools will depend on several factors including, the age of the child, the city, and the school itself.



When you mention leisure, it will depend on the individual preferences and taste together with the amount they’re willing to spend. Indonesia has numerous recreation centres where one can enjoy their time most elegantly.

If you’re a family kind of person, there are available water parks where kids can enjoy swimming, scuba diving for older kids, and world-class water slides. You can choose out of the numerous expatriate community sports clubs for sports enthusiasts and indulge together in golf or polo from sunrise to sunset. The charges for the golf courses are reasonable.

You can also book yourself to visit museums for the adventurers and enjoy the cultures and traditions of different groups across Indonesia. There are zoos in South Jakarta, the home of some of the endangered species of animals such as the orangutan, gorilla, Sumatran tiger, and babirusa (Ragunan Zoo). The park also offers a great, relatively green, and shady place for those who enjoy a nature walk or cycling and picnic lunch.

Subsequently, many shopping malls have food courts, indoor recreation facilities like arcade games and rides, and multiplex cinemas. You can enjoy your latest movies on big screens in Jakarta with English audio and Indonesian subtitles. As if that’s enough, you can explore some of the older cities like Sunda Kelapa Harbour—an interesting place where you’ll experience sailing with boats. Restaurants that serve foreign and local delicacy are also available within these centres.



As an expatriate in Indonesia, you have a myriad of choices on how you’re going to lead your life, from where to live, food to eat, where to spend your leisure, and where your kids would learn. Indonesia gives you options to choose from either in the major cities or the smaller towns. Nevertheless, the majority of expatriates usually have their minds made up on how to lead their lives. When it comes to education, they opt for international schools that offer quality education and their kids’ language. Those who often do movement within the cities may have designated drivers assigned by their companies or to use public transport. This probably saves them from the hustle and bustle that comes with driving on the roads of big cities. Indonesia has restaurants offering both local and foreign delicacies that conform to international standards when it comes to food. In case they would fall sick, some hospitals give the best treatment available at affordable rates.

Cost of Living for an Expatriate in Indonesia

Indonesia gives ex-pats the best possible experience that they would need not to think of not working and living in the country.