Life in Indonesia

waarmstrong

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Yes, Executive class, but never eat the food & use the toilet as little as possible. I will make a note to self about the cooler idea. We have friends in east central Java -- Nganjuk. The best way to get there is the night train from Gambir station, but it's a gruelling trip.
 

Daniel50

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Lots of interesting thoughts and ideas. I plan on enjoying my time in Indonesia, as much as possible, and who knows how long we will live here. We were out for a movie today and then a meal at the mall. It was a nice afternoon. I can see how there is more development around Jakarta area, as far as malls and restaurants. I can also see how Bali could be a nice place to live, along with almost everywhere else people are living. A lot of it is up to me. Every place has pluses and minuses, depending on what we are looking for, and we take ourselves wherever we go.
 

Jaime C

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We moved from Jakarta after 13 years to Bali to enhance the quality of life for the kids (who were 3 years old at the time) been here nine years now and in retrospect it was the best decision we ever made. Jakarta is a toilet and on each occasion I return to Jakarta I am amazed how I tolerated it for so long. These days I can manage about 3 days before I have to get out.
Ha, I beat you on that front. We moved out of Jakarta while my wife was still pregnant.

Jakarta is fine if you're at a decent hotel, and don't have to go anywhere. Otherwise, spending 2-3 hours to drive 5-6 km at busy times is madness.

Unfortunately, Bandung is getting worse and worse. I just try to go out in the morning, and not on weekends much.

And today, it rained so much that many roads were flooding, in Bandung.
 

Puspawarna

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Sigh. I can't argue with all you Jakarta-bashers; unlike Kellyanne Conway, I don't feel like defending an obvious loser.

Having said that, Jakarta CAN be okay, if it meets your needs. It has jobs for the grown-ups and schooling for English-speaking kids who hope to one day attend competitive colleges abroad. These job and school options aren't necessarily impossible to get elsewhere, but for many of us in dual-expat marriages, it is pretty unrealistic to think of settling outside Jakarta if we aren't retirees.

Also, I think the experience of Jakarta varies a lot depending on (a) your budget, and/or (b) your age.

To be blunt with respect to (a), money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can buy enough solace to keep you from noticing the bad parts quite so much. I spend most of my time in Jakarta, but I spend enough of it back in the US (maybe 2-3 months/year) to be able to draw comparisons. In Jakarta, the income/benefits that my husband and I get allows us to indulge in an amazing (for me) level of luxury: household staff who wash all my dishes and clothes, and keep my very large house spotless. A driver, so I don't have to worry about driving myself around the confusing/congested streets. A spectacularly beautiful house, much larger than anything I could afford, or even want, in America. I am not happier in Jakarta than I am when I am back in the US, but I'm equally happy for different reasons.

To be blunt with respect to (b), I really don't know exactly (I was already 30+ and married when I first moved to Jakarta, plus I'm female), but I get the sense that Jakarta can be quite a fun place to live if you are a young single bule guy. Certainly that's what my younger male friends have told me. I'm guessing that life in a conservative backwater would not be nearly so much fun, if you like nightlife and, uh ... dating.
 

jstar

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This comes from that article:

According to the British Foreign Ministry, threats of terrorism and kidnapping of foreigners are two main safety concerns that visitors need to be aware of. In addition, Jakarta also sits along a series of fault lines known as the "Ring of Fire." This leaves the region susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis without warning. Those planning to visit the area should consider purchasing travel insurance early, in order to take benefit of all benefits in the event a trip turns bad.

Yep, those tsunamis can be rather annoying. And the rate of kidnappings is worse than Mexico or Haïti.

Talking about Bandung and flooding; just saw a video on Instagram of today's situation at Pasteur; rather bad.
 

waarmstrong

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This comes from that article: .... the rate of kidnappings is worse than Mexico or Haïti....

Maybe I missed all the headlines, but kidnapping does not stand out as a major concern in Jakarta. I know it happens occasionally, but not at Banana Republic levels, to my thinking.

Besides that, the Ibu-Ibu in our area know instantly if someone out of place shows up in the neighborhood and they are not bashful about SMS'ing security or PakRT immediately.
 

jukung11

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Yes, I have read quite a bit of the international living sight and was surprised how high many other countries rank vs. Indonesia. From my assessment much of that is because of proximity and direct access to western countries and healthcare.
I personally had great experiences with modern eks train travel in Indonesia, even 12+ hour trips and the food was good. I just didn't like that there were no trash cans and had to ask someone to take my trash.

To be blunt with respect to (b), I really don't know exactly (I was already 30+ and married when I first moved to Jakarta, plus I'm female), but I get the sense that Jakarta can be quite a fun place to live if you are a young single bule guy. Certainly that's what my younger male friends have told me. I'm guessing that life in a conservative backwater would not be nearly so much fun, if you like nightlife and, uh ... dating.

This could be a whole nother thread. For those with that desire, this isn't much of a problem anyplace I have experienced. Personally, I would say the chances of uh ... dating go up the farther from Jakarta and Bali you get. (more exotic and fascination with less competition)

I will steer back to some of the OP. Much of what you seem to have focused on is Java. Is there a family or personal connection to Java? Java does seem to have the most infrastructure.

Malang was and even more becoming the get away city from Surabaya. Malang is cooler but with still an urban infrastructure. Many people will travel to Surabaya for business, international travel, and large scale shopping. It is a simple 2 hour train ride for 50K. I have heard it compared to Bandung as a get away from the major city. What did you like about it?
 
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Daniel50

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Malang seems to me to be greener and cleaner, then other Indonesian cities I have visited. There are certain times or places where there can be too much traffic for me, I realise I am on Java Island, but it is much less then Jakarta or Bandung. The analogy of Malang to Surabaya as Bandung to Jakarta is similar except the population of Surabaya metro area would be closer to Bandung's metro population. Therefore, it is about 8 million vs 30 to 36 million. Also, unlike BSD City, if I get out of the city there is a a chance for a bit of nature. It does feel a bit cooler especially in the AM and if you get up a bit higher I could feel a coolness in the air in the late afternoon. It has a more laid back small town feel to me. There is also enough infrastructure, variety of places to eat etc.. We are not big on having to be near the ocean unless it is for a holiday. Yes, it is also close enough to get to a bigger city, if desired. There is quite a bit of development going on, I was told primarily by people from Surabaya, building properties for "investment". I am not sure how true this is, meaning where the investors are coming from. However, I imagine they are looking to pave over the whole area if a profit can be made on "investment properties". I am sure over time it will get more busy/crowded. For my wife a down side is the 2 malls are not as nice as malls in Jakarta and area. There are daily flights to Jakarta as with many other cities.
 
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Puspawarna

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This could be a whole nother thread. For those with that desire, this isn't much of a problem anyplace I have experienced. Personally, I would say the chances of uh ... dating go up the farther from Jakarta and Bali you get. (more exotic and fascination with less competition)

Jakarta has great nightlife - outside the Kuta Beach area, is there anywhere in Indonesia that can compete?
 

Smallworld

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... ..There is quite a bit of development going on, I was told primarily by people from Surabaya, building properties for "investment". ...

I would bet it is true. Some investors are going outside big cities where land is still cheaper than in the city centre.

I noticed there is this trend: People from Jakarta (most of them cannot afford to invest in Jakarta anymore) invest in Bandung in properties (inside the city or close to toll road), investors from Bandung move to outskirts of the city or outside areas to build new properties, and people from the outside cities / areas of Bandung are pushed away (by the price hikes of land and houses) to buy place where price is relatively low.

It always amaze me how many developments are in Indonesia compared to where I come from.
 

fastpitch17

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Working income vs Fixed income was our main thing to work with. We being fixed income had to take all the prices for necessities into mind.

If working in Indonesia you have to basically work where you are assigned or where offices are located. This selects your area for you basically. Then, if you have family, school location comes into play. No matter what, the time spent in traffic for either of the above has to come into play.

On our fixed income we had the privilege to look around being that nothing was holding us to a particular community or area. So, we looked with prices in mind. Getting outside Jakarta housing takes a drastic drop. We entered a two year contract here for just over Rp20 juta per year. The same property in Jakarta was three to five times that easily depending on location. Food cost also came into play. We actually found food prices for all but beef lower here and I contribute that to this being Sumatra and many items reach here prior to Jakarta. If I purchased beef in the morning pasar, perhaps it would be closer to the Jakarta price.

We are not clubbers so entertainment to us is a decent restaurant and this area is getting more and more upscale places. At least up scale in comparison to what they used to offer. Not in Jakarta upscale reasoning but to me, that is just marked up stuff any way. We have modern malls with Matahari and Chandra. We have some large grocery stores like Giant, Super Indo, Hero, and Chandra. There is a stand alone Solo store also as well as smaller malls with grocery outlets. As everywhere, there are AlfaMarts and Indomarets all over the place. Then there are the Pasars just like every city big and small has.

We have access to a Domestic Airport with flights to Jakarta all day long as well as Palembang, Batam, and Medan. We have passenger railroad service to Palembang also. There is now a bus service serving the city but it is being run like an Angkot company and they are normally overcrowded and stop wherever they feel like. Taxi's are plentiful. No Bluebird or Grab and all prices are fixed. It seems that all drivers give the same prices but if one should need some work they may offer for less. They don't negotiate. I figured by distance, the fares are about the same as Jakarta but here you get to where you are going in minutes compared to hours.

Traffic is sometimes congested and that mainly depends on the time and day. Congestion may only be for a few blocks and it never really stops completely. I drive here while refusing to in Jakarta. I drive a motor and not a car. Roads are improving and new toll roads are being built for the longer distance out of the city travel.

There are plenty of places to visit not too far from us. If we want to go see the porpoises we only need to travel 2 hours. Want a beach side seat looking at Krakatoa, 1.5 hours. Hit some of the best, basically unknown surfing except by some World travelers and locals, West Lampung, 6 hours with a stop for lunch. Off season. 1.5 meter breaks, in season, up to 3 meter breaks. Elephant reserve, 1 hour. Interesting little villages, everywhere.

Air quality, very good. In Panjang Bandar Lampung there is industry so it doesn't always smell that great there. It is also the heaviest population in the city. No expat would probably live there because there really is no housing they would want to live in and there are no plans for more modern housing developments there. Once out of that area heading north and it freshens right up.

Climate as on our list. We were told by many that Bandar Lampung is very hot and we wouldn't like that. We found it cooler then Jakarta and there are many nights and mornings that are cool and comfortable and there is normally a breeze. Temps don't seem as warm here compared to Jakarta. Just a lot more healthy environment for these older lungs.

Religion and the people. Warning, this section talks about religion so now you have been pre warned in case you don't think I should bring up the subject. Before our first visit here, we were told that Bandar Lampung is heavily Islamic and don't take kindly to anyone who is not. That the people are not friendly to outsiders and we would have a hard time fitting in here yet alone find suitable housing since we are a mixed marriage. Nothing further from the truth. Just driving from the airport we asked, what is that? A Christian church we were told. What is that? A catholic church we were told. Actually, there are a lot of them and also 7th day Adventist (with the people going door to door) and we discovered that there has not been any problems between the Muslims here and any of the Christians. This city is a good mix of people from Majority Javanese, then Lampunian, Balinese, Sundanese, and Chinese residents. With that population there are Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, and Hindus making up the city. All intertwined with each other. Except for one ad for housing, no one else listed Muslim only. We have never encountered anyone who seemed ill willed towards us and frankly, people seem to be very accepting of us. Everyone seems very outgoing. Of course you get the person who thinks they should get more price for something because there is a Bule involved but so far, there hasn't been a lot of those and they exist anywhere you go in this country. Bules? Me and another that live here and he is planning on leaving for work out of the country for awhile. Foreign workers are mainly Chinese and Korean but they are all located outside of the City with only a few in the Panjang area. As for people speaking English? I actually come across more that at least try to then I ever did in Jakarta. There are a couple English schools here and the university has popular programs and club lever English groups.

Family. For us, it wasn't high up on the list but helps if there is someone near that has a much better understanding of the city then you do. We ended up in the middle of family basically with one sister here but not close by, another in Jakarta, and another in Palembang. We don't see any of them too often but they are all happy we are here. Well, except the Jakarta one but she is her own story.

These were on our score list and things we felt important being on fixed income, a mixed marriage both racially and religiously. Plus, being on a fixed income, you can move if you don't care for it and find something better. You are not tied to anything.
 

Daniel50

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Indonesians, historically, put their money in properties more then in banks. It could seem like a property bubble but they report because of the younger demographics, population growth and more people moving into the upper middle class it will fill in the investment properties. The middle class here earn roughly 3 to 8 million per month, so they are probably not filling in BSD City Jakarta etc.. I am not sure how this will work but people have made a lot of money in properties. I suppose people moving further out of main cities, for more affordable housing, is not a new phenomenon.
 
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Daniel50

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Also, there are a number of English speaking expats living in the area. I have met a couple of them so far and there are a number more from different countries.
 

jstar

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And don't forget Toko Oen (although I prefer the one in Semarang). The good thing of Malang is the climate (they can grow apples there) and the relatively small size combined with historical buildings etc. As Jakarta had Bandung and Bogor to escape the city, Surabaya had Malang (and Batu). At the time it was already a pensioner's retreat.

Don't talk to me about Surabaya; for me that's worse than Jakarta. And that could be a major downside of a place like Malang yes; if you need to go to Surabaya for some decent shopping and malls, decent healthcare, pfff.
 

Daniel50

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And don't forget Toko Oen (although I prefer the one in Semarang). The good thing of Malang is the climate (they can grow apples there) and the relatively small size combined with historical buildings etc. As Jakarta had Bandung and Bogor to escape the city, Surabaya had Malang (and Batu). At the time it was already a pensioner's retreat.

Don't talk to me about Surabaya; for me that's worse than Jakarta. And that could be a major downside of a place like Malang yes; if you need to go to Surabaya for some decent shopping and malls, decent healthcare, pfff.

Yes, it is a bit cooler and I like the smaller size/feel. I have never been to Surabaya but have heard it is hot and somewhat cleaner looking then Jakarta. I don't know if it is true as anecdotal reports, are just that. Actually Jakarta during Ramadhan is kind of pleasant to go around. If it was more like that all the time it would be much better. If I was into clubs and shopping, I am sure my list would be different. Family is in Jakarta but that is not where we want to live. It would mean too much time waiting at home or going to the mall.
 
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jstar

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Family is in xxxxxxx but that is not where we want to live. It would mean too much time waiting at home or going to the mall.

That is the huge danger of living close to the f-i-l over here. The pull on the local spouse can be enormous. Then you really need some hobbies or other activities...
 

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That is the huge danger of living close to the f-i-l over here. The pull on the local spouse can be enormous. Then you really need some hobbies or other activities...

Yes I can second that comment in all respect
 

Daniel50

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That is the huge danger of living close to the f-i-l over here. The pull on the local spouse can be enormous. Then you really need some hobbies or other activities...
Actually my wife's family are quite good, as far as, being respectful of our decisions. They have had some hopes or suggestions but they are supportive/respectful of our decisions.
 

Euc-

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Jakarta has great nightlife - outside the Kuta Beach area, is there anywhere in Indonesia that can compete?

Depending on what type of nightlife you're after Batam might be a competitor on the KTV, prostitution en recreational drugs use fronts. Luxury bars and clubs, yup, stick to Jakarta.
 

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