What you can and cant do..and advice.

Bank accounts

Foreigners may open accounts here if they hold a KITAS or KITAP immigration document.
An account is easy enough to open, but the banks will ask for originals of various documents including KITAS/KITAP and your local ID card SKTT/KTP.
Check with the bank as the requested documents have a habit of changing from branch to branch.
Your ATM card is usually instant, but does have restrictions. It can be used with an ATM and for instore purcheses, but you can't use it for telephone or internet transactions.
BNI have a debit card with the 16 digit number available that takes around a week to make, but BCA keep telling me they have no such card and I must get a credit card for those types of transactions.

I've had very little trouble because I'm a foreigner, but one lady at one branch asks me for my passport for every transaction. She doesn't need it, but she still asks every time.
You'd thionk she'd remember after a couple of times, but she never does.

The most popular bank here seems to be BCA, a very good bank with a lot of branches and a lot of ATMs, but those tend to have long queues at busy times. I generally advise using them at quiet times, and a bit of forward thinking allows that.
They also have very good online banking that works very well from the internet or mobile phone app.
I've used both systems without the slightest problem.

BNI is another very good bank, but they have fewer branches and fewer ATMs, but generally shorter queues.
Mandiri is another big player, but I've only used them to pay my daughter's school fees so I can't comment on them as a bank, but their staff are clearly very professional.

More later

Clothes and shoe shopping in Indonesia

The larger cities all have western style shops so clothes and shoes are easy  to find for all but the largest of expats; the small towns present a problem, but one that is easy solved with a little knowledge.
Tailors and dressmakers are all over the place, varying wildly in quality and this is one of those occasions where size doesn't matter.
I've used many small tailors for made to measure shirts and been very pleased with the excellent results, but been equally disappointed with at least one larger posh looking place.
These guys will make anything in any size, meaning even a town with nothing as far as larger western sizes goes has everything you want.
The best way to find the good ones is simply ask a few people and they'll point you the right way.
Average waiting time for shirts has been just a few days, so pretty quick. With smaller shops, you can buy the material from the tailor/dressmaker or buy outside and ask them to make it up, but larger places will only work with material they sell.
Suits, dresses, skirts, trousers, anything you want in available in any size, and you'll be amazed at the very cheap prices in the smaller places. The very posh ones tend to charge very posh prices, but the quality at the best ones is pretty much Savile Row.

Shoes for most westerners are available in the cites, sandals are everywhere, but those of us with very large or wide feet can have a problem. My feet are unusually wide and I have serious issues finding shoes (I did in the UK as well), but some of the open back shoes will fit. Nine years in and I still haven't found a pair of laced shoes that fit me.
Large and wide fitting trainers are easier to find if you live in a city or larger towns.


This is a sensitive subject here but it is possible.
The basics are:

You need to have been legally resident on a KITAS or KITAP for 5 years continuously or ten years on and off (but still have a valid immigration document for the whole period).

No criminal record that was punished by a year or more in prison. (Any criminal record hurts your case.)

There is no Indonesian language test as such but the whole process is in Indonesian (Written and oral) so you need to have reasonable skills.

Being married to an Indonesian is not essential but makes life easier.

If you fit the above, PM me for details.


You'll find Indonesian officials require a lot of paperwork of all sorts to produce pretty much any sort of document, sometimes even asking for very old stuff as has happened to me on several occasions.

1 - Keep every bit of paperwork you ever get from anyone.
2 - Copy any paperwork you're given to pass on to any other office, even if you don't need it.
3 - Scan everything and keep copies on several disks to back them up. I also keep a copy of everything on my phone so I have it with me at all times - That can be handy from time to time, especially as you can bluetooth them to an official's computer and he can print them out.
4 - Keep at least one set of all the main documents in a folder and take them to every meeting where you think you might be asked for anything.
5 - Scan your passport and all immigration stamps and any permits (KITAS KITAP and so on).
5 - Keep copies of all police reports and scan them. These will only be needed in unusual times but I had that late last year and they were very handy.
6 -  Make colour copies of the required documents. You don't have too but they tend to be well received and that can help in difficult situations.


A favourite subject for many and much misunderstood here.
The girls many expats meet in bars are far from typical of the general population, the vast majority of girls still being virgins until married but there is a growing trend to sex before marriage for a lot, especially in large towns and cities.
Protection is always a good idea and you'll find condoms easily available if you wish to get naughty.
This was taken in an Alfamidi but similar stands are in most small chain shops and supermarkets. by [url=[at]N06/]Indofred[/url], on Flickr

For the ladies, the contraceptive pill is available without prescription in most chemist chains but the advice always has to be consult a doctor first.

I wish to keep this thread as clean as possible so, if you notice an error, want to add something, or feel something could use more detail, I would prefer you to send it by PM rather than post on the thread.

I will add posts and edit posts as thoughts come into my head or I see them in threads.

I hope this thread helps you and saves you much of the messing around so many new expats have to endure.

Welcome to beautiful Indonesia.


Thanks for all the info you provide, may I just add a little bit.
pre-paid cards can be used for Transjakarta bus, toll-road, parking, shopping at major convenience store (Alfamart & Indomaret mostly), pay gas (Pertamina) and commuter line (greater jakarta railway network).  Just look for the logo. I prefer e-money by Mandiri as it has the biggest network currently, may change in the future. you can buy e-money cards in Indomaret.

As for train (commuter line) make sure you have at least Rp.11000 in the card as currently that is the max fare for the longest ride. If you never use the card for train, you need to activate it by tap it on the red box usually near the loket, or just ask someone in the loket to activate it for you. The gov't is planning to add more stations as part of the network so expect this minimum deposit to go up. The current network goes up to Cikarang on the east (planned until Cikampek), Bogor on the south, Rangkasbitung on the west (planned until Serang).

useful link:
Transjakarta Network Map

Commuter Line Network Map    (keep scrolling down),
Peta Rute (Route Map), Jadwal Perjalanan (Schedule), Info Tarif Perjalanan (Fare info) --> sorry, I'm yet to find the english version

Does this page need to be updated?  I would think much has changed in two or three years.

Thank you a lot for sharing this helpful information. I have just moved to Indonesia and I am trying to get on well with things in here.

JamieConway88 :

Thank you a lot for sharing this helpful information. I have just moved to Indonesia and I am trying to get on well with things in here.

The thread is in need of updating, something I'll do when time allows, but most is still valid.
I do have one problem now as I no longer have any dealing with immigration, thus my knowledge is rapidly getting out of date in that and some other expat related matters such as driving licences.

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