A Simple Guide for Expats in Jakarta

Hidupid – Among thousands of islands in Indonesia, there are five big islands which together consists nearly 92 percent of the land area. The official language of Indonesia is called Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia, lit. Language of Indonesia) which is a variation of Malay. Although local languages are commonly used across the country, you will find locals speaking Indonesian in formal settings. The Capital city of Indonesia is Jakarta, which means this city is the hub for most activities in Indonesia.

Jakarta lies in the northwest coast of Java Island with more than 10 million residents of different tribes, cultures, and religions that thrive in this veritable city. There are vast numbers of new restaurants opening regularly in Jakarta as well as convenience stores, due to the thriving economy. This city is a mosaic of broad, tree-lined streets and one can still find thousands of tiny lanes which are locally called gang, crisscrossing the neighborhoods where Jakartans live.

Indonesia is the largest archipelago country in the world with diverse ethnic groups and cultures. Although this spreads across the country, you may find almost every ethnicity represented in Jakarta. Typically, newcomers may have a bad first impression because of air pollution and heavy traffic which occurs daily especially during peak hours. However, newcomers will then be taken aback by Jakarta’s beauty and brilliant contrast which is the combination of the most advanced buildings along with small local repair shops, and popular outdoor restaurants.

Local Language
Indonesian is used as a formal language of the country which unifies the diverse people. Surabaya people mostly speak Javanese daily but use Indonesian as an official language in work environments. It is very wise and recommended for an expat to learn about the local language. Indonesians are very friendly and will gladly help foreigners speak their language. The language is not difficult to learn as the Indonesian language uses the same alphabet as English does. The best thing is, every written word is usually pronounced as it is spelled.

English Bahasa Indonesian
Good morning = Selamat Pagi
Good afternoon = Selamat sore
Good evening = Selamat Malam
My name is… = Nama Saya…
How are you? = Bagaimana kabarmu?
Yes =Ya
No = Tidak
Where is the bathroom? = Dimana Kamar Kecil?
How much does it cost? = Berapa harganya?
Bus = Bis
Soccer = Sepak Bola
Money = Duit
Thank you = Terima Kasih
Excuse me = Permisi or Maaf
Can you help me? = Bisa Bantu saya?
Please = Tolonglah
One = Satu
Two = Dua
Three = Tiga
Soccer = Sepak Bola
Taxi = Taksi
Be careful = Hati-Hati

How To Avoid Offending Residents:
• Respect Gods.
• Respect the elderly in the community.
• Shaking hands when greeting and at departure is customary.
• Try to remember someone’s name and do not laugh at their names.
• Wait until you are offered before sampling food.
• Do not expect punctuality from locals.
• The right hand is preferred.
• Feet are considered unclean and never point with them.
• Remove your shoes before entering houses.
• Pointing with your finger is deemed to be rude.
• Do not pat adults on their heads. This is very offensive.
• Restrain yourself from eating or drinking in front of fasting Indonesian Muslims
• Women are expected to be sensitive to the local culture and religions; therefore, wear clothing which keeps your body covered up.
• Personal questions regarding salary, education or family life should be expected or politely sidestepped if you do not want to answer that.
• While eating, you are expected to be quiet and concentrate on your food
• Topics to avoid: human rights, politics, religion, military influence, corruption, personal success, sex/role of the sexes and criticism of Indonesia.

Local Weather
Indonesia is located near the equator, which means this country basically has two seasons; hot and rainy. This type of weather makes the country very humid so it’s important to dress appropriately in the warmer months and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and healthy.