Digital Nomad in Indonesia - A Guide

Are you planning to leave your current area to become a digital nomad or an expat in Indonesia? If so, you’ll want to gather some information and be as prepared as possible for this move.

This is especially the case if you’ve not been living somewhere in this region and never have been to Indonesia before. It’s crucial to research what Indonesia is like and what you’ll need to do once you get there.

History of Indonesia

Indonesia is on the greater part of the Malay Archipelago, the largest group of islands in the world. Situated in between Australia and South-East Asia as well as the Pacific and Indian oceans, Indonesia is the fourth most populous and fourth largest country in the world.

This country has a fast-growing economy, mainly due to the trading partnerships created over the last few centuries before Indonesia won its independence in 1949. Today, only 922 of its more than 17,000 islands are permanently inhabited. People love this stunning, exotic country well-known for its creation and appreciation of the arts in many forms.

If you are already a digital nomad in Indonesia or are considering becoming one, it is worthwhile to explore the best cities to work from. Some municipalities may offer more opportunities, such as networking with other digital nomads or finding great spots for living. In contrast, other cities may be more accessible to your location if you are living in a rural area.

Here are some of the best cities in Indonesia to find an abundance of unique culture and commerce.

  • Makassar - This is a larger city in South Sulawesi that still has a smaller town feel while providing everything you would need in a city. Makassar is also an affordable Indonesian city for digital nomads to make a base.
  • Jakarta - A well-known and bustling city that is the capital of Indonesia. Because of its size and culture, Jakarta offers many employment avenues to explore for entrepreneurs and other digital nomads. It can be a bit costly to live in Jakarta. Still, with many businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities here, the cost of living may not be a factor for some digital nomads.
  • Medan - The city of Medan features a thriving and prosperous culture for digital nomads to immerse themselves in. Eateries, scenic views, and a solid business hub make Medan a good place for digital nomads to consider. While living in Medan may be a little more expensive, it is a scenic and vibrant place to stay with friendly locals.
  • Canggu - There is a town with the name, but Canggu typically refers to a particular region in South Bali. This is a popular location for its known for its small-town feel and emerging business scene. Digital nomads who are entrepreneurial-minded may find Canggu a perfect location to work and live. Housing is very affordable in Canggu, which adds to its overall appeal for digital nomads.

6 Points to Consider

There are some great aspects to making Indonesia your new home country. However, there also are some downsides to the area of which you should be aware. Just like anywhere else, you take the good with the bad and make wise choices about what you do, especially as you’re getting to know the in’s and out’s of a new place.

  1. The Existence of Expat Organisations
  2. The Culture is a More Conservative One
  3. The Nightlife and Entertainment are Plentiful
  4. Overcrowding Is a Problem
  5. Inexpensive Food and Household Assistance
  6. Social Inequality and Poverty

The Existence of Expat Organisations

You’ll be pleased to know that there are several expat organizations you can join. If you’re a woman and feel isolated in a new land, there are some specifically targeted to your needs. They offer various events, fundraisers, and weekly meetings where they give advice and support to people who are new in the country.

This is of great benefit if you run into any issues, so you can use the group as a sounding board to work through some ideas to resolve the problems and make the process easier.

The Culture is a More Conservative One

The majority of Indonesian society is likely more conservative than what you’re used to, particularly if you’re from the Western part of the world. Alcohol is not prohibited, though there isn’t the same drinking culture you’ll find in Europe. In fact, alcohol prices are higher. It’s also fairly common to be stopped by police.

The Nightlife and Entertainment are Plentiful

You’ll find a great deal of nightlife and various forms of entertainment, especially around the cities such as Jakarta. There, you’ll get to view regular art shows, listen to live bands (including international rock bands and famous singers), and experience film festivals.

Enjoy getting to try a wide array of international foods, as well as American fast food. Coffee and tea also are available in many places.

Overcrowding Is a Problem

Indonesia has a problem with overcrowding. If you want a house that has a yard, you’ll need to pay a lot more than you would ordinarily. Most individuals tend to live in apartments. Keep in mind that traffic is quite bad in the major cities, so if you’re working outside of your home, you’ll want to find a place that’s a close commute.

Inexpensive Food and Household Assistance

It is possible to find bargains on food no matter where you go if you’re in the city. Just remember that it’s ideal to shop for local fresh produce and cooked food while you’re at the markets. You can find imported foods to prepare. However, you’ll be paying more.

Mobile phones and cable are available for reasonable prices, which is great if you need this for work purposes or to keep in touch with what’s going on with your loved ones elsewhere.

You can get hired help for your cleaning, cooking, and more at a reasonable cost compared to what it would cost in the Western countries.

Social Inequality and Poverty

It may be a culture shock when you enter Indonesia. Many people live in poverty, and there isn’t the same level of social support to help them. Hopefully, as the economy continues to improve and there are more opportunities, this will be addressed in a better way.

Tips for Arriving in Indonesia

As a digital nomad, you’ll face some challenges when you first get to Indonesia. Make the most of this time, and soon enough, you’ll likely feel as though it’s home.

  • Get to know the city: Talk a walk around your neighborhood right away. This is especially important if you already have a stable lodging where you know you’ll be staying for a while. See if you can find someone to be your - guide, whether it’s somebody from an official city guide or a connection you’ve made elsewhere.
  • Find adequate health insurance: Health insurance in this country may be different than you’re used to. Find your options for insurance and set it up as soon as possible.
  • Master the language: If you know where you’re going in advance, it’s always good to learn the predominant local language. Bahasa Indonesian is the more common language you’ll want to learn so that you can communicate with many people.
  • Spend carefully: Though the cost of living for many things is lower in Indonesia, you’d do well to spend less for whatever you can. Try not to have too many nights out and find good deals on food.
  • Watch your health: Speaking of food, you may struggle with the differences in Indonesian cuisine. It’s best to eat as simply as possible, cook on your own if you can, and adjust yourself slowly to new foods.

Start Getting Ready

If you consider moving to Indonesia as a digital nomad or an expat, you should be fine as long as you follow the procedures step-by-step. Many individuals come from different places in the world and have done well as residents of Indonesia.

Do the research and see if being one of many digital nomads in Indonesia would be a good choice for you and if you decide to do this, start getting ready right away.

Author: John Donnelly

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