Your guide to expat life in Indonesia

Embrace diversity in the world’s largest archipelago


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Comprising more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is an ethnically and culturally diverse nation with a distinct identity.

The country is home to more than 260 million people – the world’s fourth largest population. Even so, it continues to attract expats in their droves and, with some of the best beaches in the world, turquoise, eminently surfable waves and a super laid-back lifestyle, it’s easy to see why. While some surf-loving expats head for the popular tourist hub of Bali, most end up basing themselves in the capital Jakarta, Indonesia’s political, financial and cultural centre.

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Indonesia highlights



Indonesian rupiah

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Quick Facts

  • Population: About 270 million
  • Capital city: Jakarta (also the largest city)
  • Neighbouring Indonesia: Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Malaysia.
  • Main languages: Bahasa Indonesian is the official language, but English is widely spoken in Jakarta and tourist centres like Bali.
  • Time: Indonesia spans three time zones – GMT+7 in the west (including Java and Sumatra), GMT+8 in the central regions (including Bali, Sulawesi and Lombok), and GMT+9 in the east.

Research the culture well and ensure you have adequate local support from your employer.

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Relocation Checklist

Our checklists give you a comprehensive overview of the kinds of things you need to do before you move and also what to consider in your first few months in your new country or region.

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Good Friday

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Accept that this culture will be vastly different to your own.

Expat Explorer respondent

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