Discover Indonesia


The Republic of Indonesia is a highly diverse nation that can boast being South-East Asia's biggest economy. Understandably, many expatriates cannot resist the charm of this archipelago chain of more than 17,000 islands that are dotted along the equator for 5,000km between Asia and Australia. Learn more about this alluring destination and its unique culture below.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populated country and is officially a secular democratic country, although it has the world's largest Muslim population. Although Islamic principles do influence political decisions, six religions are officially recognised by authorities — Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Confucianism — and the country enjoys a relative freedom of religion.

More than 300 local languages are spoken by different ethnic groups, and expats can expect to witness a range of cultural traditions and lifestyles across the nation. Each island is like a mini country in itself, and inhabitants of one island can differ radically from those on a neighbouring island. As a result of these varying distinctions, the country faces demands for independence in several provinces.

Only about 8,000 of Indonesia's islands are inhabited, but the dramatic landscapes are as diverse as the republic's 252-million populace, which ranges from rural hunter-gatherers to an urban elite. The largest islands in the archipelago are New Guinea (shared with Papa New Guinea and home to Indonesia's highest mountain, the Puncak Jaya), Borneo (73% of the island is owned by Indonesia and this portion is often referred to as Kalimantan), Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Java (over half of the country's population reside on Java, and the Javanese are the largest ethnic group in the country).

While Sulawesi flaunts white-sand beaches and diving havens along its coastline, Sumatra is contoured by nearly 100 volcanoes (many of which are still active). Bali may be the most well-known island but, as an expat living in Indonesia, you'll soon discover equally beautiful and far less touristy stretches of sand in other parts of the country.

As the country is split by the equator and has a tropical climate, which means you can expect it to be rather hot and humid all-year-round. The main variable throughout the year is rainfall, and there are two main seasons — the wet season, which generally lasts from October to April and is characterised by heavy bursts of rain (and sometimes even typhoons); and the dry season, which spans from May to September and is arguably the best time to hit the beach and hike up volcanoes.

Thanks to its vast tracts of wilderness and pristine coral reefs, Indonesia has the second highest level of biodiversity in the world (although demand for palm oil and other agricultural products has sadly led to high rates of deforestation). So if you do need to escape the hustle and bustle of Jakarta where most expatriates work, you're only ever a hop, skip, and a jump away from a beach idyll or jungle adventure, where you can release your inner conservationist while spotting orangutans or dodging Komodo dragons.

Economy

Indonesia has become a major emerging economy — it is a member of the G20, and it is the 10th largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. In spite of its poor infrastructure and issues with corruption, investors are still attracted by its rich natural resources (namely gold, tin, copper, natural gas, and oil), agricultural production (namely palm oil, rice, coffee, tea, rubber, and spices), as well as its large consumer base.

Even though the number of recorded foreign workers in Indonesia is less than the number in neighbouring countries (in 2017 the Ministry of Labour in Indonesia reported that there were only 74,183 foreign workers), Indonesia still offers an affordable and enjoyable place to live for many expatriates. And although the country has seen a decline in the oil and gas sector, which was once a cornerstone of the economy, it is still a popular destination for foreign professionals in this sector, and PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that Indonesia will be the 5th most powerful economy in the world by 2030.

 Useful link:

Indonesia National Portal