Your guide to expat life in Indonesia

Moving to Indonesia

While the archipelago has the largest Muslim population in the world, it’s also considered one of the most progressive Islamic countries – and Indonesians are generally more open to Western practices than many Middle Eastern Muslims. Of course, you should always still respect Islamic customs and traditions, but in Indonesia you don’t necessarily have to make any significant compromises to your lifestyle.

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Basic info

  • Population: About 270 million
  • Capital city: Jakarta (also the largest city)
  • Main languages: Bahasa Indonesian is the official language, but English is widely spoken in Jakarta and tourist centres like Bali.
  • Main religion: Islam. Other religions include Christianity and Hinduism.
  • Political system: Presidential constitutional republic
  • 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.
  • Electricity: 220V, 50Hz. Standard plugs have two round pins.
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
  • International dialling code: +62
  • Internet domain: .id
  • Emergency numbers: 110 or 112 (police and general emergencies), 113 (fire), 118/119 (ambulance)
  • Road traffic: Drives on the left

Next holiday

May

01

Labour Day

Islamic holidays are subject to sightings of the moon.

Public Holidays

2020
1 January New Year's Day
25 January Chinese New Year
10 April Good Friday
1 May Labour Day
7 May Birthday of Buddha
21 May Ascension Day
24–25 May Eid Al Fitr
31 July Eid Al Adha
17 August Independence Day
21 August Muharram
29 October Prophet Muhammad's Birthday
25 December Christmas Day
2021
1 January New Year's Day
12 February Chinese New Year
2 April Good Friday
1 May Labour Day
12–14 May Eid Al Fitr
13 May Ascension Day
26 May Birthday of Buddha
19 July Eid Al Adha
10 August Muharram
17 August Independence Day
19 October Prophet Muhammad's Birthday
25 December Christmas Day

Your relocation checklist

Moving to a new country takes a lot of planning. To help you get started, here are some of the things you need to do before you leave home – or just after you arrive.

Key phrases in Bahasa Indonesian

  • Hello Hi
  • Good evening Selamat sore
  • Goodbye Selamat tinggal
  • How are you? Apa kabar?
  • Thank you Terima kasih
  • Yes Ya
  • No No
  • Do you speak English? Anda bisa bicara bahasa inggris?
  • Can you help me? Bisakah kamu membantuku?
  • Sorry Maaf

Top tips

View a selection of tips sourced from expats about Indonesia:

“Research the culture well and ensure you have adequate local support from your employer.” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

“Indonesia is a wonderful place to stay. Keep your 'ID' card always with you. Transport of your own is a must. Let it be your first priority. Always keep some cash at home.” Added by SV

“Go: if you want to learn about culture, people and the country. Do not go: for the money! You will be disappointed at some point, working only for money is not an option - love what you do!” Added by NICOLE DOMINIQUE LE MAIRE

“Find new friends, new experiences, new challenges, experience a different culture, enjoy more money and travel to other places.” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

“It's financially rewarding with improved healthcare, improved schooling for children, more international holidays, much lower cost of living, better housing, shorter travel to work, better safety.” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

View more hints and tips for Indonesia

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It's financially rewarding with improved healthcare, improved schooling for children, more international holidays, much lower cost of living, better housing, shorter travel to work, better safety.

Expat Explorer Survey respondent

View more hints and tips for Indonesia

Shipping

You can ship most of your belongings to Indonesia, but it’s worth checking the country’s import regulations. You should also be prepared for all your goods to be inspected by customs.

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Import duties

You won’t have to pay duties on furniture and appliances that you’ve owned for more than a year.

Banned items

There are strict bans on anything that criticises the government, so avoid taking printed or digital media that may be considered politically sensitive. Alcoholic beverages are also confiscated by customs.

Pets

You can take a pet to Indonesia as long as you’re from a rabies-free country. There’s a 14-day quarantine period for all animals arriving in the country.

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by expatarrivals.com, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in August 2017. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.