Being A New Expat In Indonesia

Indonesian culture is diverse, colorful, relaxed, and spicy. Western Society is slowly working it’s way into Indonesia, but majority of the country is still immersed in traditional culture. Here’s a few tips for being a Newbie in Indoneisa;

Be Proud to A Westerner when in Indoneisa

Moving into Indonesia is a daunting task, especially if you are coming from a developed, western country. The difference between Indonesia and Western countries stretch from food, to lifestyle, to transport. The polarizing views of ‘bule’ (westerner in Bahasa) can cause some difficulties when fitting into Indonesian culture. When living in Jakarta, being a western is catered for as a large amount of international business and development is occurring, but when travelling outside this region foreigners stand out. Being stared at and taken photos of will become a regular part of daily life, which can be seen as a normality to most Indonesian’s. Do not be scared or intimidated, embrace it and smile. Be friendly and accepting of a different culture.

One key issue is that foreigner’s bring their direct culture to Indonesia, and in most cases, it will not fit well into Indonesian culture. Make sure you assess what sort of environment you are in before ‘chucking a pork steak on the barbie’ or ‘speaking English to your taxi driver’.

Choose Food Wisely when Eating in Indonesia

Always a key talking point in Indonesia. The food is great, different and ‘spicy’.

You can buy all sorts of different food on every different corner. Some may not be as hygienic as Western society. This needs to be interpreted with care. If a restaurant is empty at peak time or has meat sitting out in the open on a 30 degree day, maybe skip that one.

Warungs (Street Vendors) are an Indonesian specialty, and will normally have very good food. They cook it hot, and fast. With hot woks, oil and minimal vegetables. This can be very tasty and cheap.

Western Food is offered at most sit-down restaurants but are normally not the best dishes. The Indonesian chefs are very good at cooking Indonesian dishes, but struggle to understand how Western dishes ‘should’ look.

Eating food in Indonesia is like riding a bike. Take it easy at the start, and once you figure it out, go as fast and spicy as you like.

Transport in Indonesia

This will also be a very easy part of living in Indonesia, once mastered.

As an expat, cars will be the most practical option to get around. This is due to the air conditioning, and can also sit back and relax or do some work if needed. This will not always be the fast mode of transport, as traffic in Indonesia (Jakarta especially) is slow and congested. Travelling in off-peak times is highly suggested, but is also a hit-and-miss strategy.

If you are comfortable with sitting on the back of scooter, and need to get somewhere a little bit faster, this would be the suggested mode of transport. Coming from a Westerner riding a bike two times a day, it is much faster. But is hotter, and sometimes a bit more dangerous. An expat will often choose comfort over time, which is not a bad option.

These are the first, basic tips that will be needed when moving into Indonesia. More and more foreigners are coming to work and travelling to Indonesia, and can be helped by Fluent in English, transparent pricing, and efficient. in Indonesia have a diverse team and have people from all parts of the world. A strong focus on communication and efficiency are the team goals which are looking to be improved every day.

Come and try today and let us help you assimilate into Indonesian culture.


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