Moving to Jakarta will take you to a bustling city,
complete with skyscrapers and traffic jams. Indeed, Jakarta is often considered
to be the “Big Apple” of Southeast Asia. Our guide on moving to Jakarta will
help you with your move by providing you with advice on housing, education,
visas and more.
The Big Apple (Big Durian) of Southeast Asia is the
economic, political and cultural hub of the Indonesian archipelago. With almost
10 million inhabitants, it is the largest city in Indonesia. Jakarta is a
fascinating place, even though it is fighting against the negative image of
being a terrorist stronghold. This prejudice arose in the wake of violent
terrorist incidents across Indonesia in the past decade. Actually, most expats
in Jakarta are pleased with their decision to move to Jakarta and enjoy the
Jakarta: Brief Historical Background
Jakarta – formerly known as Batavia – has a very
turbulent colonial history. Europeans first came to Jakarta in the
14th century. Between the Portuguese and the Dutch colonists, Jakarta has
seen its fair share of foreigners. Due to the lucrative work opportunities
afforded by the Dutch government rule of the capital city, many Asians,
especially Chinese people, decided to immigrate to Jakarta, making the Chinese
the largest minority in today’s Indonesia.
In 1942, Indonesian guerilla forces succeeded in
regaining control over their city with the help of Japanese soldiers; however,
they quickly withdrew fire from the then Allied-occupied city. In 1950, after
much back and forth, the city was finally proclaimed independent and made the
capital of Indonesia.
When moving to Jakarta you should not be surprised to
find remnants of the colonial era, such as buildings, parks and the general
infrastructure of the city.
Upscale Neighborhoods in Jakarta
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to investigate
housing options before moving to Jakarta. There are plenty of neighborhoods, so
everyone should be able to find something which fits their budget. Most expats
moving to Jakarta end up renting a house or an apartment. Indonesian property
laws are rather complicated, and it’s very difficult for foreigners to buy a
condominium, let alone purchase land.
Central Jakarta is one of the most beautiful and oldest
areas in the city. If you are looking for a more upscale lifestyle in Jakarta, Menteng with its
colonial-era mansions, the busy neighborhood in the Golden Triangle, and some
expat enclaves in Kuningan would probably be of
interest to you.
Due to their proximity to the Central Business District
(CBD), rent prices in these neighborhoods are higher in comparison to that in
some of Jakarta’s other districts. Housing in these neighborhoods comes mainly
in the form of elegant apartment buildings, complete with a facility manager.
Be aware, however, that some of these areas, especially the Golden Triangle,
are quite loud in terms of traffic – something you should get used to when
moving to Jakarta!
Other Residential Districts in Jakarta
Expats with a more modest budget might consider moving
to East Jakarta. This district is well liked among expats for its proximity to
the commercial and industrial areas of town, where many expats tend to work.
Housing is not as expensive as in other parts of the city, but the cheaper
costs are made up for by the long travel distances. It is not recommended to
live here if you have children, as most international schools are quite far
away. If you are looking for a large Indian expat community, East Jakarta is
the place for you to live.
Those of you moving to Jakarta who are not necessarily
fans of living in apartments are in luck! Neighborhoods like Kemang and Pondok Indah are beautiful
areas in southern Jakarta, with many gorgeous villas hidden behind veils of
flowers and trees. Those who are moving to Jakarta find this the perfect place
to raise a family, thanks to the large gardens, the many shopping malls and restaurants
nearby, and the proximity to several international schools.