Moving to Indonesia

With over 17,000 islands making up Indonesia, it is the largest grouping of islands in the world. Of the 8,000 which are inhabited, there are around 300 languages spoken and 350 distinct ethnic groups, making this an incredibly diverse place to call home.

Indonesia has for a long time been a popular holiday destination, with visitors drawn to its beautiful beaches, dramatic volcanic landscapes, exotic wildlife and ancient heritage. Anyone moving to Indonesia will discover a conservative nation with quiet, friendly and polite locals who tend to respect cultural and religious customs. Family life holds great importance, with the elderly particularly respected.

As a leading economy, Indonesia attracts many foreign visitors to live, work and study. Residents in this exotic country enjoy unparallelled natural beauty as well as a treasure trove of cultural gems which include the rich traditions in music, arts, storytelling and crafts.

Finding accommodation

Most people moving to Indonesia tend to rent accommodation and a good selection can be found. It is in fact illegal for foreigners to own land. Houses and apartments can be bought, however, although the process can still be quite complex.

Typical available accommodation includes apartments, houses, townhouses and secure complexes. In comparison to Western countries the cost of living in Indonesia is still low, although expect to pay more in popular expat areas. Also, be prepared to haggle with landlords to tackle inflated prices!


Compulsory education in Indonesia lasts for 9 years, with a required 6 years of primary school and 3 years of secondary school. Although there are national schools available, curriculum and classes are taught in Indonesian. National Plus schools are private and offer an international curriculum. Here classes are in English and pupils usually work towards the International Baccalaureate (IB). The final option is International schools, which are generally favoured by most expats. Tuition fees can be high, but here pupils can continue the studies of their home country.


Religion within Indonesia is diverse and plays a significant part in Indonesian life. The majority of people are Muslim, which makes up around 80% of the population. However, throughout the islands you will also find Buddhists, Hindus and Christians.

The official language is Bahasa Indonesia, yet there are around 300 languages spoken throughout the islands. 70 million of the 200 million inhabitants of Indonesia speak Javanese. English is widely spoken, although less so away from the major cities and tourist spots.

Good to know

Alcohol is not prohibited, but Indonesia does not have a strong drinking culture. There are bars and clubs, however alcohol prices are often more inflated than many other countries.

Healthcare within Indonesia is still not considered up to Western standards, especially on islands other than Jakarta. Serious medical problems are usually dealt with in other more developed countries such as Singapore.

Burping is not considered bad manners in Indonesia and is often seen as a sign of appreciation of a good meal.

Santa Fe Relocation is the local and international moving company that specialises in moves to Indonesia.

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