Jakarta is located on the island of Java, which is the most populous island of Indonesia. The climate is tropical with an average temperature of 32 C or 86 F, with 80 to 90 percent humidity. The rainy season falls between September and April and dry season begins in June.

The following pictures and information are provided to help employees who are considering an assignment in Jakarta see what it is like to work and live in Indonesia.

work environment

The Sentral Senayan I and II office buildings are south of central Jakarta and closer to the neighborhoods where many employees live in single family homes.


Jakarta features a variety of housing choices. As such, decisions on where to live are usually based on personal needs such as proximity to schools or the office, size of family and lifestyle preferences. When viewing housing options during pre-assignment trips, be sure to ask about traffic during commute hours. It is also highly recommended employees choose homes in compounds or apartment complexes to provide greater security. Traffic is a major consideration when choosing a home. In general, traffic in Indonesia is congested and undisciplined. The number and variety of vehicles on the road far exceed the capacity of existing roadways to handle the traffic. So for many families, proximity to the office or school is a priority. Families with elementary school-age children may also want to consider living in Kebayoran Baru near the Jakarta International School (Pattimura) as schools are assigned based on where a family lives.

Most houses and apartments have swimming pools, maid's quarters and laundry facilities. There are many furnishing options - employees may bring their own furniture or rent property fully or partially furnished.

Both house and apartment leases are normally on a two- or three-year terms basis with full payment expected up front. By paying up front, there may be difficulty in getting the landlord to make house repairs, however, Chevron's Housing Services works to represent tenant interests with landlords when issues arise and will provide guidance for the lease agreement to help limit exposure.

Some home renters recommend residences previously occupied by a Chevron employee, as the probability of unknown issues arising is lower. If there are problems in the house, it may be better for hired household help to make the repair calls. They speak the language, have experience addressing home repair issues, and generally speed up the pace of repairs.

Home repairs are not as much an issue with apartments. Apartment complexes tend to have maintenance on site with prompt response time.
  • Kemang: This neighborhood is suggested for those who wish to live close to many restaurants and shops. Although Kemang is usually very busy, the housing areas are more secluded and quiet. It is close to the main road and are between the office and Pondok Indah area.
  • Pondok Indah: Pondok Indah neighborhood is a neighborhood popular for families with children that will attend Jakarta International School (JIS) preschool to high school. It is located near the Cilandak and Pondok Indah campuses.
  • Kebayoran Baru: This neighborhood is close to the office, offering both an apartment complex and residential houses. It provides access to Jis (Pattimura), which is the smaller campus that provides education to pre-school to middle school aged children. Please note that due to limited class size, it is important to ensure class availability.
  • Cilandak: Houses, apartments and compounds found in the Cilandak area are conveniently located between the Pondok Indah and Kemang neighborhoods. It is very pleasant with more of a rural feel. There are many restaurants that can be found in this area and it is located near the French International School and the Jakarta International School. However, there is a fair amount of traffic in this area.
  • Bintaro: Although Bintaro is fairly far from the business district, this neighborhood has a very pleasant and fresh environment. It is close to the British International School and is secluded from much of the traffic that comes with several other neighborhoods. However, there is very bad traffic flow to other areas in Jakarta.
The Kebayoran Baru area includes typical houses available for employees to rent.

The Cilandak area is near the SOS Clinic. Because the neighborhood is owned by the same landlord, rent includes all gardening, pool services and maintenance for houses on the block.

Recently several townhouse compounds have been built around several areas such as Cilandak, Cinere, Pondok Indah and Kemang. These complexes are fairly reliable as security is provided as a whole as well as individually. The larger compounds also provide space and parks for children of all ages to enjoy without parents having to worry about traffic.

There are a couple of high-rise apartment buildings near the Sentral Senayan office building. The Pakubuwono Residence is a short drive from the office. The five-tower complex has two and three bedroom units and many facilities. Most apartment complexes do not allow pets, however, some do allow cats.

The Senayan Apartments are a five-minute walk to the Sentral Senayan office building. Two malls and multiple restaurants are in walking distance. Traffic is quite heavy in this area which makes walking a good option. These apartments may be small for a family, but great for a couple or single person.

Senayan City is a new apartment complex that offers larger units and is located across the street from the Sentral Senayan office. It contains many of the facilities listed below.

While slightly older, the Darmawangsa apartments also offer many amenities and are located in-between Kemang and the office.

Facilities in the above apartments can include:

  • Security
  • Library
  • Café
  • Health club
  • Bike trail
  • Putting green
  • Tennis courts
  • Basketball courts
  • BBQ
  • Spa and hair salons
  • Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
  • ATMs
  • Dry cleaner
  • Mini-market
  • Pharmacy
  • Parking
  • Power and high-speed Internet
  • Cleaning services are available for residents who don't want to hire domestic help
  • Event room
  • Children's playground
  • Music room and music tutor for single, duos and/or groups
  • Jogging track that is approximately 0.9 km long
  • Power: Electrical wiring in some of the houses may not be up to western standards. In these situations, too many appliances running at the same time may cause the circuit breaker to trip. This can affect water because pumps are electric and may go down during a power outage. Chevron Housing requires the wiring systems be checked by a Chevron provider prior to signing a lease. In some areas, power goes out about once a week for about an hour during weekdays and a couple of hours on weekends. 
  • Telephone: Most people have two telephone lines. When there are problems with one, they switch to the other. The extra line may also be used for fax. Telephone calls can be expensive. Home telephones and cell phones are not always reliable. Another option to telephone service is to subscribe to computer services and place calls through the Internet. This service is very reasonably priced. If you are planning a move, be sure to ask about how to place telephone calls. The steps vary from office, home and mobile. 
  • Gas: Tanks with LPG gas are delivered to homes for cooking. Adjusting to cooking with LPG may take some time as it is more difficult to regulate the heat while cooking. 
  • Water: Apartments have their own filtration system. Some homes have filters and water can be boiled for drinking. Although tap water is fairly safe, drinking tap water is not recommended. Drinking filtered water is recommended. Some residents, even those with filters in their homes, choose to use bottled water for everything except for washing clothes.

support services

Although there are several options for medical treatment in Jakarta, many expatriates use the International SOS (ISOS) clinic. International SOS has over 20 years' experience in Indonesia. Consultants are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the emergency room is open 24 hours each day. When calling the clinic for an emergency, the doctor may make a home visit or ISOS may send an ambulance, depending on the severity of the case. In addition the clinic provides visiting consultant services for gynecology, dermatology, diabetes, psychiatry, orthopedics, ear/nose/throat, and eye care. Psychology, pediatrics, vaccinations, dental, , prescriptions, lab tests and pre-employment exams for drivers and maids are among the other services. 

National doctors are on site and by Indonesian law, are required to provide initial medical services. An expatriate doctor is available for back-up or secondary consultations 24 hours a day. The clinic performs minor surgery and coordinates evacuations with Chevron HMS in the event of a medical emergency. First aid training is available at the clinic. 

Global Doctor is another expatriate-oriented medical clinic in Jakarta. They are smaller than ISOS but provide similar services, in terms of primary care backed by visiting specialists. They also are connected with a medical evacuation service which works closely with Chevron HMS in the event of an emergency. 

Currently Chevron has an HMO-like contract that provides for partial services for expatriates with ISOS only. Global Doctor is an alternative; however no prepaid arrangement exists. 

Occasionally, patients may be referred to the Pondok Indah Hospital to see a specialist. The hospital is close to where many expatriates live, and is the most Western-oriented of the hospitals in Jakarta. 

Some expatriates choose to go to Singapore for dental work, although they pay for it themselves. Dental services continue to improve in Jakarta and Chevron HMS can provide local recommendations based on reviews conducted with the US Embassy in 2006. Contact the Jakarta HMS office for details.

Although prescriptions are required in Jakarta, care should be taken in regards to quality. Products do fail and there is a lot of falsification with products and expiration dates. 

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) support is available to expatriates in helping them to adjust to their new assignments in Indonesia and in providing family, marital and psychological support. As part of the Employee Assistance Program, Chevron has an agreement with a local provider whereby expatriates can obtain confidential counseling with Western-trained and certified psychologists and counselors. This help can be critical in helping individuals and families adjust to the many changes of a new culture and country. EAP services are available on a prepaid basis and are completely confidential. 

MedikaLoka is another reliable clinic available in Jakarta. It is in the Kuningan area and includes dentist, dermatologist, general doctors, physicians and cardiologist.
Jakarta expatriate employees should not drive. The company provides each expatriate family with a car and driver and makes a nominal deduction from their monthly salary. If an additional car is needed, the company will assist in purchasing a car and hiring a driver.
Most households hire household help such as maids and gardeners. Staff may be hired to cook, clean, garden, run errands, baby sit, take children to school or shop. Some live in, some come daily and others come based on a set schedule. It is important to interview, check references and have candidates undergo health checks before hiring. The SOS Clinic will perform health evaluations for a fee. There is typically a trial period, between one and two months. During this period the help may be terminated without severance. It may take adjusting to help in the home for those who have not employed house staff in the past. The Living in Indonesia website is a good resource.
Many ATMs are available in the malls and on the streets. Indonesia is a cash society. Cash is widely used due to the high incidence of credit card fraud. It is generally safe to use credit cards for purchases from reliable vendors such as airlines or major hotels. It is not recommended to use credit cards at small shops or with independent vendors. Consumers relying on credit cards should have a back up card because it can take up to two weeks to get replacement if the card is lost or stolen. 

There is a bank with an ATM in the Sentral Senayan office building lobby.
The Indonesian postal service is widely used for mail within Indonesia. Company pouch mail service is available to expatriates sending letters and parcels abroad (subject to restrictions).
Expatriates generally feel safe and secure in Jakarta. The company provides 24-hour security for single family residences and company approved apartments are well guarded. Many feel the international media coverage of Indonesia is sensationalized and negatively biased. There are few security incidences directly involving expatriates and relatively little violent crime. The company Security Department sends text messages to alert employees and spouses of major traffic disruptions and demonstrations. 

Health safety is a concern as malaria, dengue fever, typhoid and TB are present in greater Jakarta. The company provides up to date information and resources for all employees through the IBU Health & Medical Services website (intranet access).
On average, home Internet service is unreliable and is slow. Apartments tend to have better connectivity and offer broadband service, but it depends on the complex.


There are several international schools in Jakarta, including: 

  • Jakarta International School 
  • British International School 
  • Australian International School 
  • French International School 
  • Deutsche Internationale Schule 
  • Nederlandse Internationale School 
  • Singapore International School 
  • Ghandi International School 

where many expatriates live. Chevron employees rate the school very high. School information is available on the school's website. The school is open to students from pre-school through high school with an average class size of 18. The maximum number of students per class is 21. The campus is divided into elementary, middle and high schools. There are two elementary campuses in Pondok Indah and Pattimura. The middle and high school campuses are located in the Cilandak area. 

The Jakarta International School has campuses that are near where many expatriates live. Chevron employees rate the school very high. The education is top-notch and teachers give a lot of care to students. School information is available on the school's website. The school is open to students from pre-school through high school with an average class size of 18. The maximum number of students per class is 21. The campus is divided into elementary, middle and high schools. There are two elementary campuses in Pondok Indah and Pattimura. The middle and high school campuses are located in the Cilandak area. 

School facilities available to all grade levels include swimming pools, baseball fields, basketball courts, cafeterias, a theatre, libraries, tennis courts, nurses' station and extracurricular activities include sports, band, choir, orchestra, arts and crafts, drama as well as other special interest instruction. College and university counseling is available to high school students. There are also several high-ranked universities and colleges that visit the high school campus to provide information to the students that are interested. 

Buses pick students up at home and bring them to school. Supervisors who are either teachers or teacher aides are present on the bus to ensure safety for the elementary students. Late buses are available for middle and high school students participating in after school activities. 

Depending on the children's ages, students may go on local field trips or travel outside Jakarta to Yogyakarta, Sulawesi or Bali. Students in the ninth grade have the choice of a "Project Week" field trip to anywhere from Jakarta to several nearby Asian countries, such as India, Nepal or China. 

Parents are actively involved in the school reading programs, classrooms, activities, sports, fundraising and advisory forums. The Parents Booster Club and Parent Teacher Association are great community clubs for parents. The school environment is very friendly and parental involvement is welcomed. There are parent led basketball, soccer and baseball games every weekend. 

The British International School is available for children in pre-school through secondary school. The BIS campus is located in the Bintaro area. Although it is fairly far from central Jakarta, there are new freeways that make the journey much easier. Class size is limited to 22. Although it is an international school, it follows the English National Curriculum. The student population is diverse. The two-year International Baccalaureate program is available to students at age 16. Those beginning tenth grade are automatically submitted into the GCSE program. There is more information on the school's website.

The campus includes Olympic-size swimming pool, 800-seat theatre, computer labs, gym, lunch areas, basketball, soccer field, tennis courts, medical room, cafeteria and libraries. In addition to extracurricular activities, BIS offers cooking classes, design technology, art and textile classes. 

The students in secondary school are able to participate in competitions with several others Southeast Asian schools in the FOBISSEA and SEASAC competitions. The activities that are included in this competition are soccer basketball, track & field and several more.

The school system in Jakarta lacks education for students with special needs. Some parents end up sending children to Australia or New Zealand schools that have support not available in Indonesia. Another option is to home school children.
Kumon is an excellent source for additional help for your children. They help students from the ages of 3 to 18 years and specialize in both math and English.
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You can find just about anything you need in Jakarta, although you may pay a little more for imported items. A wide variety of local and imported food, clothing, furniture, and household items are available. Expatriates will find that some items and services cost less than at home.
The Kem Chicks Supermarket carries a variety of international non-perishables, produce, meats, and seafood in addition to a delicatessen and bakery. Several other reliable supermarkets include Hero, Giant, Ranch Market, Grand Lucky, Carrefour and Foodhall. 

The Pasar traditional market, located in Jakarta, sells fresh fruits, vegetables as well as a few crafts. Expats may shop here or send their maids to buy produce.
Jakarta has high-end malls with designer clothing, department stores, restaurants, movie theatres and more. The SOGO department store is found is many malls throughout Jakarta such as Plaza Senayan and Pondok Indah Mall II. It has groceries in the basement as well as women's clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, accessories to top floor with Electronics and Chatterbox Café. The store sells clothing, food, linens as well as house wares.

Plaza Senayan is a large upscale mall that is adjoined with the Sentral Senayan office building. In addition to department stores, clothing stores and sporting goods, there are many fast food restaurants.

Another upscale mall, Senayan City, is located just across the street from Plaza Senayan. Stores such as JCrew, Zara, Dengki Electronics, two major grocery stores, Pizza Hut and a number of restaurants serving a variety of international cuisine.

There are several other malls that are very popular such as the two Pondok Indah Malls (A.K.A. PIM), Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia. These malls have several department stores such as Metro, SOGO and Debenhams. There are also a wide range of restaurants available.
The Kemang Area, where many expatriates live, has many furniture stores ranging from modern, traditional, pre-manufactured or made to order. Shoppers can take a photo or drawing into a shop to have pieces made to order/specifications. Galleries in this area also offer carvings, statues and paintings.
Pasaraya is a mall where one can search for and buy paintings, sculptures and cultural artifacts.

Two major malls that have a variety of electronics are Ratu Plaza, Ambassador Mall and Poins Square. They sell electronics such as:

  • Televisions 
  • DVD players 
  • Computers 
  • Computer Accessories 
  • Video Game 
  • MP3/MP4 players 
  • Handphones and PDAs 
  • Music 
  • Movies
It is difficult to find western size clothing but easy to have clothing tailor made. Shoes for men and women are difficult to find in large sizes. Some famous designer clothing stores available are Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. There are also several shops that are more reasonably priced, such as Forever21 and Marks & Spencer's. 

American Women's Association (AWA) shopping guide is a good resource.


Within the city, traffic and pollution can be frustrating. In general, traffic in Indonesia is congested and undisciplined. The number and variety of vehicles on the road far exceed the capacity of existing roadways to handle the traffic. Driving times are unpredictable and commute times from between home and the office can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes on average depending on time of day. Rain typically compounds Jakarta's traffic issues, increasing the congestion and delays.

Because of traffic during commute times (7 to 10 a.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m.), the city has established three in one which designates specific routes for three or more people in a car. Taxis are not exempt from three in one and are easy and inexpensive to use. Employees and employee families should only use company recommended taxi companies such as the Blue Bird group taxis.

recreational activities and entertainment

The American Club is open to all nationalities; however, most members are American. It is the oldest sports club in Jakarta. The club is run by the U.S. Embassy, Recreation and Commissary Department. There are 20 houses surrounding the complex in which U.S. diplomats live. 

Amenities include:

  • A full-service mini-market
  • Swimming programs for children
  • Coffee shop
  • Game room with pool, ping pong and videos
  • Personal trainers
  • Floor exercise room
  • Happy hour on Friday and Saturday nights, offering 20 international beers. Prices are low because beverages are purchased through the commissary. 
  • Air-conditioned martini lounge
  • A dining room for dining as well as meetings
  • Performances by The Jakarta Players, a group of expats
  • Climbing structure
  • Playground
  • Tennis courts
  • Racquetball and squash court
  • Basketball courts

There are numerous sporting opportunities; however they come with challenges. Planning is required to make arrangements with drivers in advance to attend or participate in sporting activities. Additionally, traffic presents some problems and activities such as golf can be an all-day event. 

The Padang Golf Pondok Indah is an 18-hole golf course. Pangkalan Jati, Jagorawi and Rainbow Hills are other 18-hole golf courses that are very popular. There is an expatriate golf group called the Tee Set that plays every Sunday and welcomes new members. Chevron holds monthly golf tournaments. Some activities, such as golf or health clubs can be expensive. Horseback riding is also available.

The Sanayan Park facilities appeals to children and adults. There is a batting center, baseball field, putt-putt golf, driving range and stadium with soccer, track, squash and tennis courts.

There is a large selection of movies in English that can be found in reliable movie theatres such as the Blitz-Megaplex and XXI Cineplex. The Blitz theatre is the largest theatre in Jakarta and tickets range from Rp. 50,000 to Rp. 125,000. The most expensive seats are in the "Velvet" theatre which has full sized beds as opposed to the seats. XXI theatre’s tickets range from Rp. 25,000 to Rp. 100,000 per person. The XXI has the "Premier" room which includes waiters and reclining chairs. The cultural life is wonderful. Expatriates are attending the opera more frequently. There are numerous dance clubs with great DJs, bars, wine bars, dancing, karaoke, restaurants and cigar bars. 
There are numerous clubs in Jakarta. The Indonesia Heritage Society has over 700 members. Most nationalities have a club such as the Australian, British and Canadian Women. Membership is usually open to all nationalities.
The Mulia Hotel is located near the Sentral Senayan office. Chevron visitors, guests as well as employees on mandatory pre-assignment trips, stay in a hotel approved for security and at preferred Chevron rates. The Shangri-La, Le Meridien and the Crowne Plaza are other examples of approved hotels.
People tend to eat out quite a bit. Fast food outlets, such as Pizza Hut, KFC and Starbucks, dot the city streets as well as malls. 

In addition to fast food in the malls, there are quite a few high-end dining establishments including Cilantro in the BNI Building, La na Thai, kembang Goela, Tony Roma's, Outback Steakhouse, "C's" at the Grand Hyatt, Batavia Café, Zigolini at the Mandarin Oriental, Kinara, Dragonfly and Al Noufoura in the Le Meridien and Shangri-La Hotel. There is also a Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood in Jakarta. Amigos is another restaurant that is famous for its great food and live music. 

There are a variety of ethnic restaurants including Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Middle Eastern.
Spas can be found throughout Jakarta, in apartment complexes, hotels, and as stand alone businesses. Salons for men and women are located in malls or in Sanopati area.
Many organizations provide opportunities for expats to engage in community support activities. Specifically, some of the women's organizations have social welfare volunteer programs.
There are many theme parks that people of all ages can enjoy. Water Bomb is a water park that recently opened near the Soekarno-Hatta Airport. There are several different rides and other recreational activities in this park that everyone can enjoy. Other family oriented activities include the Ragunan Zoo, Taman Safari, SeaWorld and Dunia Fantasi (DuFan). Taman Safari is a zoo that you can drive through to see the animals. DuFan is a theme park with several rides for children of all ages such as roller coasters for the adolescent children and ferris wheels for everyone.

There are also many national monuments such as Monas for the family to experience the Indonesian culture.

additional information

It's also a good idea to gain a basic understanding of Indonesian culture, history and especially language. English is widely spoken within Jakarta and not an issue except in some stores and taxis. However, daily interactions and tasks are eased with basic Bahasa Indonesia language skills. It is a fairly easy language to learn as there is no future or past tense. Chevron sponsors language training for expatriates.
Dogs and cats are not allowed to be imported directly into Jakarta from the continental United States as this region has been designated a "non rabies-free" zone. Contact your expatriate assignee counselor for a list of additional identified "non rabies-free" zones. Upon arrival in Jakarta, dogs and cats will be subject to additional 14 days quarantine in the Animal Quarantine Station in Jakarta. Prior to release, a rabies serology blood sample will be taken.
The Indonesian constitution and Panca Sila (the five principals) recognize religious freedom. The Indonesian government does, however, recognize only five religions for Indonesians: Islam, Christian Protestant, Christian Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist. A wide variety of religious faiths are practiced within Jakarta - many with international congregations and services in English.

The Sunday edition of Jakarta Post and Web list church services.
Indonesia can be very conservative when it comes to dress, although Jakarta does have a more metropolitan and less conservative style than other parts of Indonesia. Long pants, long to medium length skirts and sleeved shirts/tee-shirts are seen as appropriate attire. This is not to say you cannot wear shorts or skirts, but there will be situations where they are unsuitable, especially for females. Try to wear unrevealing clothes at all times as a mark of respect to the country's predominantly conservative culture. Beach attire is tolerated around the resort areas in places like Bali but outside these regions bearing flesh is considered immodest.
Jakarta is well connected by air to many locations throughout the archipelago. It is easy to get away for a weekend or short holiday. Yogyakarta, Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are accessible within two hours flight time, while Bangkok and Perth are accessible within four hours flight time. Other popular destinations within Indonesia include the west coast of Java, Bandung, Sulawesi and Lombok. Internationally, expatriates enjoy traveling to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and New Zealand. 

There are many opportunities to shortcut through corruption. Company policy is not to pay people off.
Jakarta is generally an easy city to live in. Traffic and pollution are the biggest hardships faced daily. In addition, Indonesia periodically endures natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. For expatriates, being far away from home, extended family and friends is a hardship but it also presents opportunities for friends and family to visit this region. 

Many expatriates go on home leave during the summer months. For those with children moving to Jakarta during the June-August time frame, be prepared for an absence of other children for your children to play with during that time.
The currency used in Indonesia is the Rupiah. One There are several money changers that can be found throughout Jakarta such as the money changers in the Pondok Indah Mall, Plaza Senayan and Puri Indah Mall and Plaza Adorama.