Top 6 Expat-Friendly Destinations in Indonesia

5 min read|Last Updated: July 22, 2024|

Indonesia, with its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse cultural tapestry, offers a multitude of expat-friendly destinations. This Southeast Asian gem boasts thousands of islands, each with its own unique charm. From lush beaches to majestic mountains, Indonesia offers a plethora of options for outdoor enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. In this guide, we’ve curated the top 6 destinations for expats looking to create a new life in Indonesia.

Jakarta – Where Tradition Meets Modernity

As the bustling capital of Indonesia, Jakarta seamlessly blends traditional Indonesian culture with modern conveniences, making it an ideal destination for expats seeking a multicultural experience. The city boasts an array of attractions, including the iconic National Monument, the National Museum of Indonesia, and the grand Istiqlal Mosque.

For those who relish green spaces, Jakarta offers respite with parks like Taman Mini Indonesia Indah and the Ragunan Zoo. The city’s vibrant culinary scene, thriving nightlife, and rich art and culture make it an exciting place to call home.

Expats in Jakarta can explore diverse job opportunities across industries like finance, technology, and healthcare. Top employers include Bank Mandiri, Telkom Indonesia, and Unilever. The city also caters to international families with a range of international schools like Jakarta International School and British School Jakarta.

Bali – Tropical Paradise with Cultural Riches

Bali, known worldwide for its stunning beaches and lush landscapes, isn’t just a tourist hotspot; it’s also an inviting home for expats. The island offers a tropical climate, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. Explore the beauty of Mount Agung, the Tegalalang rice terraces, and the iconic Tanah Lot temple.

Immerse yourself in Bali’s rich cultural heritage, with traditional dances, ceremonies, and festivals throughout the year. The island’s welcoming community makes it easy for expats to adapt and feel at home.

Bali provides a wide array of activities, from yoga and surfing to hiking, along with a thriving food and nightlife scene. Accommodation options vary from luxury villas to more budget-friendly apartments. Areas like Seminyak, Canggu, and Ubud are popular among expats.

Despite its allure, Bali remains relatively affordable compared to other expat destinations, making it appealing to those seeking a laid-back lifestyle with a focus on wellness, spirituality, and eco-consciousness.

Surabaya – East Java’s Hidden Gem

Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia, is a thriving hub for expats, offering a blend of rich culture, diverse work opportunities, quality education, and affordable housing. Explore the city’s vibrant lifestyle with shopping centres, restaurants, cinemas, and parks.

Uncover the city’s historical treasures at the Submarine Monument, House of Sampoerna, and Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument). Surabaya’s cultural richness is on display at sites like Kampung Kapasan and Ampel Mosque.

The city’s economy is on the rise, with job opportunities in finance, banking, engineering, tourism, and education. Top institutions like Institut Teknologi Surabaya and Universitas Airlangga provide quality education. International schools such as Surabaya European School cater to expat children.

Surabaya offers housing options ranging from modern apartments to traditional Indonesian-style homes. The city’s cost of living, including accommodation, transport, and dining, is comparatively budget friendly.

Flores – Adventure Awaits in Eastern Indonesia

Nestled in eastern Indonesia, Flores has gained popularity among adventurous expats looking for a unique and thrilling place to live. Its natural beauty, diverse accommodation options, schools, and relaxed lifestyle make it a compelling choice.

Explore Flores’s national parks, including the renowned Komodo National Park, home to the famous Komodo dragons. Enjoy stunning beaches, waterfalls, and hiking trails. Accommodation ranges from apartments to villas, with Labuan Bajo being a popular expat hub.

International schools in Flores offer high-quality education for expat children, often following international curriculums. Flores enjoys a favorable climate year-round, making it an attractive destination.

For expats interested in entrepreneurship or employment, Flores’s tourism industry presents opportunities. The island’s unique and welcoming culture fosters a sense of community.

Semarang – Central Java’s Hidden Gem

Semarang, the capital of Central Java, combines traditional and modern elements, offering expats an affordable cost of living, diverse job opportunities, and a high quality of life. Explore the historic Old Town, a district showcasing Dutch colonial-era architecture.

Experience the vibrant Chinatown of Kampung Pelangi, famous for its colorful houses and street food. Visit the Sam Poo Kong Temple, dedicated to Admiral Zheng He, a renowned Chinese explorer.

Semarang offers a range of housing options, from luxurious apartments to affordable residences. International schools and universities provide quality education. Job opportunities span manufacturing, logistics, and tourism.

Enjoy a laid-back lifestyle with recreational activities such as water sports and golf. Semarang’s healthcare system boasts modern facilities, ensuring expats receive excellent medical care.

Makassar – Tradition Meets Modernity in South Sulawesi

Makassar, located in South Sulawesi, strikes a harmonious balance between tradition and modernity. With its diverse culture, affordable cost of living, ample job opportunities, and reputable schools, Makassar is a hidden gem.

Explore historical sites like Fort Rotterdam, dating back to the 16th century, and savor delicious street food at Losari Beach. Trans Studio Makassar offers a range of indoor and outdoor attractions.

Accommodation options in Makassar cater to various budgets, and international schools like Makassar International School support expat families. The city thrives in tourism, offering employment opportunities.

Makassar’s cultural richness, including Buginese dances and festivals, adds vibrancy to expat life. The city’s affordability makes it an attractive choice for those seeking a well-rounded lifestyle.


Come down to our office or get in touch virtually to discuss on how you can live, work, and/or study in Indonesia.


Which state in Indonesia has the best business opportunities?2022-01-14T18:12:33+08:00

Indonesia has lots to offer, from agriculture, to manufacturing and business. Depending on the industry you are looking at, there are different areas in Indonesia that excels in these areas.  

For example, Surabaya, East Java is popular for foreign investments as it has one of the highest property growths in Indonesia, also ranking top five cities in Asia to invest in.  

Is Indonesia a good place for Expats?2022-01-14T18:12:04+08:00

Although the people are accommodating and welcoming, Indonesia also has a significant expat community especially in the island of Bali and the capital, Jakarta. The cost of living although varying, is still relatively very low compared to the western countries. There are still numerous different redeeming factors such as the entertainment life that is found everywhere in Indonesia as well as the sights the mountains and volcanoes have to offer.  

Why is Indonesia a good place to live?2022-01-14T18:11:33+08:00

The people of Indonesia have a culture of respect, and this makes tourists feel welcomes and equal instead of ostracised by the population. Additionally, if you are a Muslim, Indonesia is a majority Muslim country but is not a Muslim country per say. It is easy to find mosques and a very large Muslim community wherever you go.  

Is Indonesia a good destination for business?2022-01-14T18:10:10+08:00

Indonesia has a lot to offer, from their low cost of living to the attractiveness it holds to tourists with their myriad amount of islands. Indonesia is also 73rd worldwide when it comes to boing business, this is attractive to foreign investors who are looking to expand their business.  

What is the main culture of Indonesia?2022-01-14T17:29:30+08:00

Indonesia is centrally located along ancient trading routes between the Far East, South Asia and the Middle East, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, and Islam, all strong in the major trading cities. 

What is the safest city in Indonesia?2022-01-14T17:29:09+08:00

In Indonesia, thanks to incredibly friendly locals and a laid-back vibe. Although it may look tiny on the map, Bali is actually quite a large island with many different areas to explore 

Is Indonesia a good place for expats?2022-01-14T17:28:40+08:00

However, even though it is difficult to process documents in the archipelago, the country itself is affordable for expats. Additionally, entertainment and leisure are pretty much everywhere. 

Is Indonesia easy to immigrate to?2022-01-14T17:25:23+08:00

Applying for and acquiring a visa to Indonesia is a simple process, except for work visas, which are quite difficult to obtain. Expats can obtain several types of visas that dictate how long they can stay in the country and how much they pay for them. 

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