4 Tips for Expats in Indonesia: What You Need to Know

4 Tips for Expats in Indonesia: What You Need to Know

Moving to another country is exciting. It introduces you to new culture and environments, not to mention all the fun and daring experiences you’re going to have. However, along with the excitements also come the challenges. After all, being an expat is no small matter.

Learning the culture of the country you’re visiting is essential. Indonesia is a country rich of diversity. With more than 17 thousand islands and a population of around 260 million, Indonesia is home to various ethnic groups, religions, cultures, and languages. But fret not, we will cover some tips to make your expat living in Indonesia smooth as silk.


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While in some countries you can usually address others by their names, the same can’t be said in Indonesia. Indonesian society values hierarchy. When speaking to someone, especially those who are older than you or with a higher status, you should use the honorific title.

In most situation, use ‘Bapak’ or ‘Pak’ (‘Sir’) for men and ‘Ibu’ or ‘Bu’ (‘Madam’) for women. This title can be followed by their names. In addition, Indonesian doesn’t usually use the surname or family name when addressing someone. For example, if a person’s name is Alvin Chandra, you can call him “Pak Alvin”.

Indonesian Food

indonesia food
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With diverse culture, comes diverse culinary choices. There are plenty of food that you can try in Indonesia, be it traditional food, Chinese, Western, you name it. Each ethnicity has its own unique cuisine. One of Indonesia’s most famous dish, Nasi Padang, uses a variety of spices and chilli. Javenese cuisine on the other hand, is known for its rather sweet dishes compared to other Indonesian dishes.

Most Indonesian usually eat in restaurants or small stalls called warung. Many restaurants offer international cuisine, while most warung offers affordable local food. It is also worth mentioning that rice is the staple food for most Indonesian. Before eating, some restaurants may give you a small bowl of water. This is not for drinking but for cleaning your hands, as some Indonesians like to use their hands for eating.

Read more: Visiting Indonesia? Try This 5 Traditional Dishes!

Flexible Time

flexible time
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In general, Indonesians are quite flexible when it comes to time. It is not unusual for Indonesians to arrive late to a meeting or an appointment. This phenomenon has become a common knowledge among Indonesians and called “jam karet” or “rubber time” by the locals. Those who live in urban cities often blame their lateness on traffic congestion. However, this also differs on the situation you’re in or the person you’re meeting with.

Learn Bahasa Indonesia

By learning and mastering Indonesian language, it would definitely make your life as an expat easier.

Let's Learn Bahasa Indonesia With Us

While many Indonesians can speak English, it is still highly possible for you to meet locals who couldn’t speak other languages. Not only that, you will surely get a lot of compliments from Indonesians if you can speak Indonesian. You can learn Indonesian anytime and anywhere with the Indonesian Language Course or buy Bahasa Indonesia Learning Package at Cakap.com to make your stay in Indonesia easier and more comfortable.

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