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Expat Women Living in Indonesia

If you are (or plan to be) an expat living in Indonesia, please find below a list of expat clubs, schools, general links for women living in Indonesia, country information and more...
Expat Clubs... General Links...
International Schools... Citizens...
Local News in English... Country Information...
Settling In Tips...

Expat Women Living in Indonesia

American Women's Association of Indonesia (AWA)
Membership is open to women and men of all nationalities. Current number of members 250. Cost of annual membership can change periodically. Please contact the AWA Center for information on the current dues. All activities are held in English.
Balikpapan Expatriate Women's Club (BEWC)
The Balikpapan Expatriate Women's Club (BEWC) was established in 1994 to give support and friendship to BEWC members and to give aid to those in need.
British Womens' Association, Jakarta
The BWA Jakarta has been offering friendship and support for women living in Jakarta since 1970 and has members from all over the UK and many other nations too (you don't have to be British to join).
Canadian Women's Association
Membership is open to all nationalities. At present, we have approximately 80 members who are mainly Canadian women, although everyone - male or female - who has an interest in Canada and Canadian affairs is welcome to join. Membership entitles a person to receive a monthly newsletter, membership directory, and discounts at Coffee Mornings.
India Club
Membership is open to men and women of Indian nationality. Current number of members : 650 Families. Most activities are held in English.
Indonesian Heritage Society, Jakarta
The Indonesian Heritage Society, Jakarta is a non-profit organization offering the opportunity to learn more about the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia. The varied activities of the society, including tours, lectures and study groups, provide a stepping stone to discovering the culture, life, history and art of this vast archipelago. The society has a large multinational following that includes many Indonesians and, while most activities are conducted in English, the French and Japanese sections provide the opportunity to participate in projects conducted in their own languages.
International Community Choir
A non-profit community choir that provides a social singing activity for expatriates & local residents. Everybody who enjoys singing is welcome to join with no audition required.
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Expatriate Chambers and Business Associations in Indonesia
Thank you to Living in Indonesia, who has complied a complete list.

Hello Bali Magazine
Official Magazine of the Bali Tourism Board.

Indonesia Travel Guide
Indonesia travel guide contains information on culture, religion, food, visa, maps, islands and travel tips.

Indonesia Tourism
Offical site − Ministry for Culture & Tourism

Jakarta Lions Toastmaster Club
Toastmasters International is the leading movement devoted to making effective oral communication a worldwide reality. Improve your English public speaking skills and leadership in a friendly social environment through weekly meetings with the Jakarta Lions Toastmaster Club.

Jakarta Travel Guide and Java-Jakarta Kini Magazine
Indonesia's leading travel, entertainment and lifestyle magazine providing excellent monthly articles on Wining and Dining in Jakarta, food, sport including golf, rugby, soccer, Aussie rules and many more, sightseeing, culture and heritage.

Living in Indonesia - site for Expatriates
Providing a wealth of practical information for expatriates planning to move to or already living in Indonesia.

Sendok Garpu
Dining & Nightlife Guide in Indonesia

Start Pagina (in Dutch)

What's New Jakarta
The Most Complete Events and Listings Website for Expatriates in Jakarta!
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British International School Jakarta

Education, Schools and Language Schools
Education page on Indonesia.

Jakarta International School

Jaya International School in Bintaro
Located on the outskirts of Jakarta, the school aims to deliver and enrich an internationally accredited curriculum within an Indonesian context.

Medan International School
Provides a high quality, internationally-accredited education which places the development of each student at the centre of all educational endeavours.
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Incide Indonesia

The Jakarta Post
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Indonesia map
Central Intelligence Agency, 2005
Location: Asia
Capital City: Jakarta
Other Important Cities:
Bandung, Denpasar, Mataram (Lombok), Semarang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta
Currency: Rupiah (Rp)
Language: Indonesian
Calling Code: 62
Internet TLD: .id
Electricity: 127/230V 50Hz
Emergency Numbers:
Country Information

Country Study

Embassy Information
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ExpatWomen thanks Living in Indonesia for supplying the following Settling In Tips for Indonesia. This is only a very small summary to help you get acquainted to your new country. You can find much more detailed information, including local websites (that we have not included here) at their website http://www.expat.or.id
Expand/ContractImmigration/Visas and Permits

People who wish to visit Indonesia can do so with a tourist visa which is valid for thirty days. Certain country nationals can pay for their visa upon arrival. Others must request a visa before departing their home country. Double check with your local Indonesian Embassy or consular office or http://www.expat.or.id.

There are MANY types of visas, so it is best to visit http://www.expat.or.id for a list of the types of visas available and the paperwork necessary for obtaining one.

The processes of obtaining proper documentation to live and work in Indonesia can seem like an endless maze of bureaucracy. Lack of posted regulations, irregular application of existing regulations, vested interests and other matters complicate what one would think would be a relatively smooth processing of paperwork for foreigners to live and work in Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has strict guidelines on what foreign expertise is required for the development of the country. These guidelines determine who can be issued work permits.

When all the paperwork on your Vitas visa is done, you will be issued a Limited Stay Permit - Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas, better known as a KITAS card for the working expatriate and each dependent for a one year period. In order to avoid the risk of losing the original KITAS card and the resulting hassle, many expatriates keep the original at home in a safe place and carry only a photocopy.

With your KITAS you will also receive a blue Foreigner's Registration and Change book, commonly referred to as the Buku Mutasi. It's a similar size as a passport. The blue book tracks changes in your immigration status. All changes of address, marital status, new children, etc. need to be notified to the Immigration Office and recorded in this book within a timely period.

This is a valuable document and should be kept safely. The KITAS card and blue book allow you to live in Indonesia for one year and may be renewed annually, up to two extensions without having to leave the country.

Expand/ContractCost of Living and Utilities
Cost of living is much lower than in the west. Costs range widely, depending on how closely you want to recreate/mimic your western lifestyle. The more you live like the locals the cheaper it is to live.
Expand/ContractTelephone Service

Enormous strides have been made in the telecommunications systems in Indonesia in recent years. Today, in major urban areas, the situation has vastly improved and many homes already have a phone line and often two installed.

If you are interested in leasing a house that doesn't have a telephone installed, be wary of your prospective landlord's assurances that he can get a phone line installed. If your home is not already equipped with international direct dialing access, you will have to place all of your overseas calls through the operator at a much higher rate than direct dialing. Ask your landlord to install IDD access in your home before you move in.

New services offering significantly discounted international calls offer a good alternative to IDD services through the major telecommunications companies.

Cellular phones are referred to as hand phones. A good variety of internationally known brands and models are available for purchase, though prices may be cheaper outside Indonesia. There are several operators that provide transmission services for hand phone calls. To help choose an operator, ask your friends which provider they use and if the provider′s quality of service.

Internet telephony or Internet Phone are easy to use and don't require the purchase of any new equipment. All you need is your phone and an internet connection. Skype services are gaining in popularity, especially for those that have broadband connections.

Expand/ContractTV and Radio

Televisions and videos run on the PAL standard. DVD players are organized by region codes. Make sure you buy the right DVDs for the right DVD player or, alternatively, a multi-system player.

Local television stations are available, may of them subtitle foreign shows.

In some locations, cable television is available through Kabelvision. You can subscribe and have access to over 60 major international channels in your home without having to make the expensive purchase of a satellite.

If you are not residing in an area with access to cable TV services, the only way to receive international channel broadcasts is through installing a satellite dish outside your home. If the home you are interested in moving into does not have a satellite dish, negotiate with the landlord to have one installed.

Every television owner is required to pay a monthly television tax to the foundation that runs the government television station.

Expand/ContractInternet Access

In recent years, great strides have been made in the development of telecommunications infrastructure in Indonesia so that there is now an enticing array of alternative services providing ever-quicker Internet access for consumers in Indonesia.

A variety of choices including dial-up, DSL, Broadband Cable, wireless, infrared and ADSL are available from providers.

Expand/ContractPostal Service

Post offices, kantor pos, are located throughout the city. You may prefer, for example, to send your mail from the larger post offices, kantor pos wilayah, to ensure quicker delivery and availability of stamps.

Letters take approximately:

• To the US - 7 to 14 days.

• To England - 5 days for Kilat service and 10 days for regular service.

• To Australia - 7-14 days.

Electricity is somewhat reliable in major cities, but power outages are common and can last for hours. Electricity is supplied by PLN - Perusahan Listrik Negara.


Most homes in Jakarta have individual wells that supply water for household needs. Some homes in Jakarta, and other major cities, have connections to PAM, the city water authority. Neither well water nor PAM water is drinkable - it should be boiled before drinking or using in cooking. It is highly recommended that you have a water treatment system installed.


Some major household appliances run on LPG. LPG (elpiji) is sold in tanks (tanki) from open-bed trucks which drive through neighborhoods most mornings.


Expats, depending on their budget, can choose anything from apartments, townhouses, small houses to villas with pools.

Expats usually use independent brokers, Franchise Real Estate Brokers, or a Corporate Housing Services/Relocation Service to find appropriate housing.

For more details on types of available housing, visit


The official language is Indonesian, known locally as Bahasa Indonesia.

bahasa jepang
halo (casual and on telephone)
Good bye
dadah (usual, informal)
Good morning
selamat pagi
Good night
selamat malam (from 6 p.m. )
Thank you
terima kasih
Please (it the request benefits you)
Please (if the request benefits the other person)
You're Welcome
terima kasih kembali
My name is...
Nama saya
I am...
How much?
Do you speak English?
Bisa bicara bahasa Inggris?
I do not know
Saya tidak tahu.
I want to go to...
Saya mau pergi ke...
Expand/ContractMoney and Banks

The currency used in Indonesia is the Rupiah.

• Notes (Rupiah): 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000

• Coins (Rupiah): 1,000 (gold and silver colored), Rp 500, 100,

The best way to exchange money is at a foreign exchange office or at the bank. You will probably find yourself dealing in cash in Indonesia more than you would in your home country. Personal checks are relatively unheard of for everyday transactions and credit card fraud is always a danger, so many prefer to deal in cash. Many of the individuals you pay for their services will not have their own bank account. Also, merchants who accept international credit cards often charge customers the 3% service fee, so cash is a cheaper alternative in these cases.

ATMs are conveniently located in shopping centers, malls and office buildings and operate with widely accepted international credit and debit cards affiliated with: Alto, Maestro, Cirrus, Plus, Master Card & Visa. US$ cash withdrawals are available from Citibank ATMs.

Foreign Banks generally have several requirements for opening a personal bank account including letters of reference from your employer or sponsor as well as copies of your passport and KITAS card. For checking accounts a reference from your previous bank, your company's Tax Registration Number and a letter from your company verifying that Indonesian income tax is paid by the company should also be submitted. In order to open a personal account in US$ many banks also require a minimum deposit be maintained. Because of the vast range of services and policies unique to each bank, it is advisable to call and make inquiries directly, then follow up by a personal visit.

Many expatriates living in Indonesia choose the option of maintaining their normal account in their home country or opening an account in Singapore. Their employer will then transfer their salary each month directly to this account. You may choose to receive part of your wages in Indonesia in Rupiah cash to cover your cash expenditures in Jakarta. Some companies also have a system where you can write a personal check from your home account and the company will issue you Rupiah cash.

For more details on banking, visit http://www.expat.or.id.

Expand/ContractPayment Types

Most bills are paid at the service provider's local office. If you have a local bank account, it is possible to pay your phone bill online or via ATM in many cases, see BII and BCA services.

Expand/ContractHealth care

Medical insurance is usually provided by employers. When you negotiate your contract with your employer be sure that the terms of your medical insurance are clear and their policy on medical evacuation is clear to you, as it is very common for expats to be evacuated to Singapore for medical treatment.


There are many international schools where English is the main language for learning (from preschool to University level). Please see above for a list of schools (not exhaustive) or http://www.expat.or.id.

Expand/ContractCars and Drivers Licenses

Many expatriates have their own car and most hire a driver, as driver wages are very cheap.

You can drive in Indonesia (as a resident) on an international driver's license.

Foreigners are allowed to obtain an Indonesian driver's license or SIM (Surat Izin Mengemudi). Most employers are willing to assist you by obtaining the services of an agent. This agent knows the procedures and can help you complete the paperwork quickly. The applicant is only required to meet the agent at the Department of Motor Vehicles for their photograph, fingerprints and signature. If an expat wants to apply for a driver's license in person, without the assistance of an agent, it is not a very difficult procedure and relatively efficient. Assuming that the applicant is in possession of all the necessary documents, the entire procedure should not take more than two hours, depending on the number of applicants that day.

See http://www.expat.or.id for the paperwork and procedures necessary.

Expand/ContractPublic Transportation

There are many types of public transportation in large cities (like Jakarta ) the Bajaj, Bemo, Bis, and Mikrolet/Angkot although these are not usually used by expats.

Taking a taxi can often be a viable alternative to using a personal car. The advantages include: never having to worry about finding a parking space, never having to worry about if the driver shows up, and never paying for insurance, gas or repairs. It is important to use a reputable taxi company like the Silverbird chain.

See http://www.expat.or.id for further information on taxi use.


The main international airport is Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkarneg, just west of Jakarta.


Today, shoppers in Indonesia , both expatriate and local, have a good choice of pleasant, hygienic surroundings in which to shop for food. The largest national supermarket chain in Indonesia is Hero. It has particular stores (Kemang, Terogong, Pondok Indah) that cater more to its expatriate customers more than their other Hero stores. These stores feature a wider variety of imported foodstuffs.

In Jakarta we have, in addition, Kem Chicks, Sogo Supermarket, as well as some small chain or family-owned neighborhood supermarkets. Hypermarkets include Carrefour, Makro and the Club Store.

Most malls have a good retail mix with several anchor department stores, small clothing boutiques, stationery/book stores, framers, toy stores, household furnishings and even car dealers. Malls are not only a place to shop, but increasingly, a recreation site. Movie theaters, ice skating rinks, arcades, laser tag, simulated rock climbing, simulator rides, coin-operated children's rides, food courts and restaurants abound. In clean, air-conditioned surroundings you can shop, entertain the kids and have a nice meal.

Expand/ContractDress Code

Women should take care to dress modestly as Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. Covering the thighs, armpits and knees as well as avoiding plunging necklines constitutes modest attire. However, you will always see expats and locals who break these guidelines.

Expand/ContractHousehold Help

Having household staff is a part of everyday life for Indonesians and foreigners alike. Your staff will not only be an enormous help to you around your home, but will also serve as your first window into Indonesian culture, a sort of liaison between two worlds. At the same time, you will be providing much needed jobs and financial support to your staff. There are many types of domestic helpers (maids, cooks, drivers, gardeners, etc).

When you have decided on what sort of helpers you need, the next question is where to find them. There are various ways to locate and set up interviews with potential staff for your home. Perhaps the very best way is through word-of-mouth from friends and colleagues as you will have personal references to go by. Another excellent source is community bulletin boards, where expatriates who are leaving the country often post notices in order to place their staff.

For further details on how to interview, documents to request, average salaries, please visit http://www.expat.or.id.

Expand/ContractSpouse Employment

The Indonesian government has strict guidelines on what foreign expertise is required for the development of the country. These guidelines determine who can be issued work permits. Thus it may be difficult for a trailing spouse to find employment. Some expatriate employment contracts specifically forbid the trailing spouse from working during their stay, so check your contract carefully.

Expand/ContractSports and Entertainment

There are many clubs available in Indonesia.
Visit http://www.expat.or.id for list.

Eating out is an integral part of life in Indonesia , for expats and Indonesians alike. Many local and international restaurants and available.

Major urban centers in Indonesia have a variety of fitness centers that can satisfy most sports enthusiasts. In Jakarta alone, there are more than 150 facilities to choose from. These centers range from a very simple "ruko" down the street that has a daily aerobics class, to world-class fitness centers connected with 5-star hotels and office buildings.


Mostly equatorial. The temperature ranges between 16-35 degrees Celsius (61-91 degrees F) with humidity ranging from 60-90 percent. There are two seasons, the rainy monsoon season which usually lasts from November through May, followed by the dry season which usually lasts from June through October. Rainfall varies throughout Indonesia, averaging 706 mm (28 inches) yearly.


Situations In the current climate of uncertainty, expatriates in Indonesia should take precautions to prepare for emergency situations and possible evacuation. Remember to register with your embassy when you arrive. Living in Indonesia has a great list to help you get prepared. Visit http://www.expat.or.id for the list.

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