FEATURED: Expat Arrivals See and Do in Jakarta

Somehow despite all the craziness of the past 3 weeks, I was able to give my article on time! Phew! (Hopefully without too many grammatical errors!) I was really excited to be asked by Candice of ExpatArrivals.com to do an article on Jakarta. I chose to do the See and Do in Jakarta, because I felt most comfortable about the topic.

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It was a great experience writing an article that didn’t require my photos, because I got to focus on giving us much helpful info as possible in a succinct manner. And how cool to be called a “Jakarta Expert?” Even though I feel like I still have so much to figure out about the Big Durian, even after 4 years of living here. If you want to read my recommendations on things to see and do in Jakarta, do go on and click on the link below!

See and Do in Jakarta

This is only based on my personal experience, but I am sure there is so much more to see and do! What do you think? Did I miss out on any other things to see and do in The Big Durian? Do let me know if you have other see and do tips to share! I would love to hear from you about your amazing experiences in Jakarta!

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Lovely comments

    • says

      Jakarta is similar to Manila, i.e. weather, smiling people, big divide between rich and poor. However there are some differences for expats, and I am only talking about for expats here meaning for people who don’t speak the local dialect. There is a great divide in Jakarta if you are a local and an expat. The moment they hear your accent and English, the prices go up. And Expats cannot eat cheap because of the sanitary conditions of the food. So these are just my personal opinions, generalisations and experiences (other people will probably have a different experience and opinions).

      Jakarta has better highways and all the streets are beautiful treelined and green (not dotted with billboards), the city is not as cramped as Manila (there are gardens and landscape between buildings). One of the things I love about Jakarta is how fresh the seafood is in the city, even in cheaper restos.

      However I couldn’t walk in Jakarta because there are barely any sidewalks, more motorcycles and traffic much worse than Manila. Customer service is worse, prices are much higher and availability & dependability of stock of goods is horrible, it’s hard and expensive to find goods that are cheap and common in Manila. Diplomats also do not get the same tax free benefits in Jakarta. The water quality is much worse, and air pollution for me was worse, because people smoke everywhere even indoors. The language barrier was also very stressful in Jakarta so I really had to learn Bahasa, unlike Manila wherein expats cans survive with English alone. Jakarta is SO not dog friendly, because it’s against the religion. And there are calls to prayer several times a day from mosques all over the place so it is also quite noisy. Pork and alcohol is extremely expensive and it’s hard to get top quality or variety. English education is very expensive in Jakarta because you would need to send your children to International school. For example Kinder tuition is about $7000 without materials, uniform, schoolbus, fieldtrips and lunch money. And their field trips are more extravagant – kids go with their classmates to Bali for fieldtrips.

      The malls in Jakarta are something to behold. After living there, I am not so easily impressed because Indonesians do everything in such a grand style and scale. Manila malls and spaces are smaller in comparison. Indonesians are a gentle people though and they will rarely say no (not necessarily meaning they will do something) and there is very strict gun control so I definitely feel safer in Jakarta. I’ve lost my phone once or twice only for the waiter to run after me and return it.

      Cost of living for expats in Jakarta is very high, but they also earn more than in Manila. (I say they because we aren’t expats in a sense that my husband is not employed by a company in Jakarta since he is still earning Filipino diplo wages). I’ve heard of several Filipino pilots here who work in private planes of Indonesian families. The rich people here seem to be even beyond my imagination. They give away iPods in the 6 year olds birthday parties to all the kids attending the party.

      So there are definite pros and cons in both cities. So that’s all I can think of, off the top of my head unless you had any specific questions in mind.

  1. says

    Your article’s given me some great first ideas of what to do when I’m there. I can’t wait to get to know the city for myself. A little nervous but also so excited. Thank you for sharing :)

    • says

      Hi Amelia, I am glad you are getting ideas. It’s so exciting moving to a new place! Are you shipping all your household effects or getting them all in Jakarta? Is your firm handling negotiations with your landlord or are you doing it yourself. This is my experience renting in Jakarta, but we did negotiations ourselves so it was very hard and also our main problem was we had a dog. This narrowed are choices to one unit and made negotiating with our landlord a special kind of hell. =p

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