Are you happy in Indonesia?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Indonesia? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Indonesia happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

Priscilla :

How about you? Are you happy in Indonesia? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

I'm as happy as a pig in poop.

Seriously, I love being here, I love Indonesian food, and I love being here with my beautiful wife and great kids.
The UK has a series problem with drugs and all that crap brings, but that's a minor issue out here, so drug related crime is rare. That means you can feel safe the vast majority of the time, and know your house is safe from some mindless drug puddled idiot breaking in when you go on holiday.
Apart from that and the terrific Indonesian food, the locals tend to have a great attitude to visitors, being generally welcoming and friendly.
That really only leaves the great Indonesian food to mention.

I rarely bother with a negative view, but I would probably have been stacking shelves in Tesco had I remained in the UK; a less than pleasant alternative to not giving a flying rats to the fact I'm unemployable here but still having easily enough cash to live on and buy as much of that fabulous Indonesian food as I fancy.

Priscilla :

In your opinion, are locals in Indonesia happy? How can you tell?

In general, yes.
Apart from in the cities where business drives everything (except the cars because they can't move in the terrible jams), Indonesians tend to be happy, especially in the smaller villages.

By the way, did I mention the fantastic Indonesian food?

Thank you for your appreciation for Indonesia beloved country, yes perhaps because Indonesia is still the category of developing countries are still many shortcomings on roads and other infrastructure ,, apologize for any inconvenience you while living in Indonesia ..
once again thank you to settle down and live in Indonesia ..

Joe Manave :

many shortcomings on roads and other infrastructure ,, apologize for any inconvenience you while living in Indonesia ..
once again thank you to settle down and live in Indonesia ..

Dude, the roads are terrible, but the massive list of 'fantastic' Indonesia has far outweighs that one problem.
Thanks to all Indonesians for giving me such a warm welcome to wonderful Indonesia.

Hiduplah Indonesia Raya.

thanks fred.
all who came and lived in Indonesia also have the same hope that the change will be an adequate transportation facilities so that it can reduce congestion.

I have been riding across Jakarta for 6 years. I have been through floods, demonstrations, near riots, peoples houses, fires and smoke, through accidents and now its just another trip on the bike. I have had my house broken into, my personal things taken and my house trashed. I have had my personal belongings stolen from my office by people unknown. Typhus, flu, fevers, sprains and aches.

And these things take their toll on you and make life harder and more of a challenge. However, if stacked against dealing with that in England, here is the better option. I am happier here. My family make me happy, my friends and my work.

The odd nasty slice of life that comes along does rock the boat but it is what it is. 

Being happy in a foreign land is a sttre of mind and a choice which if it is not right then don't be an expat. Does Jakarta make me happy? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? Probably but with a huge slice of its not the west and life as you know it and don't let it get to you.

Interestingly so many Indonesians fail to see the beauty and magic of Indonesia (perhaps even Jakarta) and they dream of life outside, somewhere else. I have been to somewhere else and it is amazing but this is my somewhere else now, so I can understand their view. But I doubt it will be as easy as it can be here.

lukereg :

I have been riding across Jakarta for 6 years. I have been through floods, demonstrations, near riots, peoples houses, fires and smoke, through accidents and now its just another trip on the bike. I have had my house broken into, my personal things taken and my house trashed. I have had my personal belongings stolen from my office by people unknown. Typhus, flu, fevers, sprains and aches. .

I had a cold once.
You'd had rough times, something I've been lucky enough to pretty much avoid. I saw the demo in support of Mr Prabowo a couple of years back, was almost attacked by a drunk last Sunday, and was called a naughty name by a serious nut case who seemed to think insulting someone was in the Almighty's agenda, but that's really it in 9 years.
It's nice you can see through the rough patches and still appreciate the lovely country Indonesia is.

Jakarta may be similar to other major cities in the world, crime, social problems, and all associated with the lives of others. but the patience to resolve the issue is a matter of pride for the newcomers ..
want to travel to other countries like Europe did the dreams of Indonesia, while the natural beauty of the country itself is much more beautiful and can advance and rising living standards, is if it is not supported by the human resources and government support may not be running, many foreign investors who want to manage the natural beauty. This will help the people of Indonesia improve living standards ..
thank you all who have enjoyed the natural beauty of Indonesia, and I hope you will feel at home can do little to promote in other countries.
thank you

Nah, I’m miserable…totally miserable, and so is my whole family including my three sons.  Even our dog is totally miserable.  Just two days ago all of our birds dropped dead and fell from their perches…they being so miserable too.   :sosad:

Ubudian :

Nah, I’m miserable…totally miserable, and so is my whole family including my three sons.  Even our dog is totally miserable.  Just two days ago all of our birds dropped dead and fell from their perches…they being so miserable too.   :sosad:

Were the parrots blue?


Cheers mate!

Being one of the richest countries n the planet, one would think that their population would not settle for such poverty stricken climate and that by now, they would get a grip on what they possess.. i.e.: gold, silver, platinum, uranium, coal, wood, tourism, beaches, land, and the list goes on and on... how can such a rich country be predominantly so poor and also be happy with the status quo? maybe that should be the question...

It will be even more happy moments if this chat were to be live sit down on a table with booze on a quiet Saturday evening! I may not see everyone here eye to eye. It does bring comfort to listen to stories contributed by everyone here.

Agree to Fred, food is fantastic!

In reply to Agent008...

To respond to your is essential that "poverty" be defined in a way that the Indonesian people apposed to your definition, ...the definition of some western cultures.

And in that is found my greatest admiration, love, and respect for Indonesians.  They are self reliant, they are not overly influenced by the "outside" and even the poorest of Indonesians have great pride, respect and a love for their traditions and culture.

Nothing gets me more aggravated than the assumption by outsiders that they have the answers for Indonesia.  And nothing gets me more aggravated than reading comments by westerners that do not reflect, or even come close to what Indonesians think about Indonesia. 

if you came to my village, as naive and ignorant as most westerner are, you would almost certainly presume four facts which are grossly untrue.

Fact one that you would be wrong about is that their way of life, their compounds, and even their methods of cooking would reflect in your eyes some sort of distortion that this is "third world" and reflective of poverty. 

Fact two would be that they are poor.  That is so laughable to me...especially when considering the monetary value of the real estate that comprises the typical Balinese compounds. 

Fact three is that you would likely presume that education and access to quality medical care is not up to your western standards. 

Fact four would be the presumption that if offered a free ticket, a green card, and a job in America or Europe...that everyone in my village would jump at that opportunity. 

I rarely say to anyone on this forum that they have no idea what they are talking about, but in this case...I'll make the exception and have no idea what you are talking about.

Might i add that i have been attacked more than a few times.. two of which were with a knife.. no real legitimate reason except for being a foreigner with modern views.. People in Indonesia are on the edge, very aggressive and angry and although i can understand why, behaving like animals is never a good thing..

I'm happy here though at the beginning it wasn't the case now i feel at home.

Back to Agent008...

You're a fellow American.  And you're embarrassing me. 

If you were attacked, based on my 17 years of 24/7 living here, I would have to wonder how you may have possibly provoked that attack.

Unlike many Americans, the Indonesian people are NOT overtly aggressive or violent.  That said, I will admit my comment is a generality.  There are exceptions, and I freely admit to that. 

However, I will NEVER send my three sons to America to study in college.

Why?  Simply because the idea of schools needing armed guards, and colleges allowing concealed carry of firearms is not acceptable to me.

Look, any expat, regardless of where they are from, has to make the decision, sooner or I happier here, is this a better place to raise my kids, and can I prosper here?  If not...then leave.  It's as simple as that.

It seems to me that the solution for you finding your happiness is obvious.

thats just funny.. maybe you haven't been looking around you much.. Bali is completely screwed.. and if you cannot admit that also, then clearly you are the one who doesn't know what they are talking about.. Also, take a ride around... go into the back streets (jalans) and gangs and try and tell me it isn't a third world country, no matter where you're from!. ** get a reality check.. most people in indonesia, 90% couldn't even afford medical care let alone eat decent food.. other than some rice and whatever they can scrounge up, including the local stray dog!.. **, the pollution on the ground, in the ocean, in the water, on the streets.. HIV that has reach epidemic proportions, the lawlessness and the list goes on and on, then good for you.. but keep it real! 

Moderated by Christine 6 days ago
Reason : inappropriate content
agent008 :

.. People in Indonesia are on the edge, very aggressive and angry ..

Are there 2 countries called Indonesia because I have no clue about the one you live in.

Yea.. there must be two countries with the same name Indonesia.. And the one I have been in, is like i have described, and I actually have described it lightly... I have many many examples of real world examples of it. However, I have spent enough time with this. People are in a state of denial and the comments here do not at all surprise me. Its typical..  Good luck with it either way!

I am from neighbouring Malaysia and I have been in Medan for 3 years. I feel absolutely miserable here with the frequent "mati lampu" and absolute nothingness. Employee rights are almost non existent. Roads look like they have not been repaired for umpteen years. Prices of goods are generally more expensive and inflation is rocket high. I hate the expressionless look waiters at the restaurants give me. All in all, it's an intellectually challenged place with few sensible conversations I can have with the locals.

Things I like - visits to the massage parlours n salons are cheap, alpukat juice, instant noodles

I think you're being nice .. I feel your pain...

House was burgled less than 2 months before I got married resulting in me losing everything for the wedding not of which we could afford to replace. Tablet and phone were stolen from work last week. Been threatened by people all over the place for reasons unknown. Wife called a whore because she was with me everywhere I have been with her, Bali, Java, Jakarta etc.
I have seen terrible poverty here and witnessed crime and violence.

My home is in a Kampung in a very crowded area of Jakarta where people look after each other and yes there is crime and thuggery I am sure but its managed and I don't feel unsafe and me and my family are left alone.  I am not an expat who has a western lifestyle, house or approach to living here. Yes I have a house keeper, but thats because my wife and I need to work to pay for the family.

Mean while back in a 1st world country (what ever that looks like) I have been threatened, beaten up, chased, followed home. At times you can't walk through the historic town center of my English home due to thugs and fools doing nothing because of being bored. I have travelled parts of the USA and had guns drawn and threats made to me and my friends.

Now, here is the thing. Does that deter me from being here or wanting to travel with my family? No. I am better than that. I can rise above it.

Why westerners bemoan the lack of Western things here is beyond me. Why westerners come here and decide its a dirty ill educated and backward place shows little or no respect. Why anyone wants to go down the poorer end of a road in Bali is the same as why someone would want to want down the rough end of Sunset Boulevard or wander around the housing complexes in Washington DC and then complain that they are not very nice and the people are hostile.

Don't go there, why do you need to? Indonesia isn't a place to extend views on people or expectations on people who have their culture and beliefs based around different things other than your own. You try and argue the American or European way of life is better then ultimately they will not want to here it and will resent you and who you are and this will cause trouble for you.

Let it go. Move on.

I agree with you completely..
The question was: "In 2016, people from Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark were among the happiest people in the world, according to a UN Survey.
How about Indonesia? Do you think that locals in Indonesia are happy?
And you? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?"

To repeat my point.. there is good and bad to every country and i have traveled the globe over.. over 30 countries ++ and its always the same everywhere.. but one thing i won't do it sugar coat something for the sake of saving face, avoiding being attacked or just being untruthful.. It is what it is.. sorry of anyone doesn't like it.. Its desperate in indonesia and its getting really bad in Bali.. thats just the way it is..

Is Indonesia perfect?
Absolutely not.

Does the good massively outweigh the bad?
In my opinion, absolutely yes.

Yes, there are problems with poverty, just as there are in the US, Australia and the UK, and the roads are a serious mess - No one denies these things, but Indonesia has a far greater upside that easily covers the downside.

I  worked and visited in Indonesia several times. I like Indonesian food and people.  They are smiling, seems they are happy. It is very difficult to measure happiness.

I am right there with Fred. I absolutely love it here. I love the country and I love the people.
Although I have heard people have some bad experiences, I have never had an fact quite the contrary. I have only seen the good in Indonesians.

My second year here in Jakarta me and my wife were side swiped on our motorbike by an 18 year old in a van who did not stop. 4 separate cars chased him down and brought him back. One person even escorted him to the emergency room and waited for his parents arrived to make sure our bill was payed for.....He also later had my bike fixed.

On another occasion I left my wallet and phone on the counter of Alfamart and a young man of no more than 15 came running after me to return them.

These are good people that will forever hold a place in my heart.

Honestly agent....your stories seem really over the top.

Of course I've had the odd bad moment in Indonesia, but a million good moments.
The people are extremely friendly in general, and the food is amazing.
Sambal, lovely sambal.

I am in West Sumatra working on a remote Island, Sumatra is like Bali 30 years ago,very under developed and poor infrastructure.
The corruption is really bad at all levels and this does tend to wear you down.
There is still a high proportion of deaths at child birth so it is sad to hear of all the money being poured into Indonesia from foreign governments and NGO's and not seeing any improvement at village level.
I was happy a couple of years ago but the grind has worn me down and I am about to leave and head off to Vietnam to work.

Beautiful country with pleasant people
Extremely happy to be here,  it has its shortcomings but it all countries have it
Given a chance I wiill not hesitate to make it my second home

Hey all. I received an email asking me to contribute, so I'm here.
I'm not much of a forum person but after agent008 complaining, I had to say my part.
I obviously don't know agent008's status but the obvious question springs to mind: why are you here then? Is it maybe possible to try a different province or city than the one you are in currently? Anyway... I'm not here to start a fight.
I hail from sunny South Africa and have been in Indonesia a little over a year now. I've mainly lived in Palembang but now I'm dragging the wife and child to Bengkulu. I too, like Fred, have not been able to find work, but a rounded up a few bucks and made a few friends and now will be launching a Bakery and a Food Truck down in Bengkulu.
  Am I happy in Indonesia? Yes.
Are there issues I would like to see change? Of course, but I would probably say the same thing in whichever country I was living in.
Would I think of going back to the RSA? No ways!
The food is great, the people are friendly and the lack of a cold winter appeals to me.
My biggest issue is traffic. Not the jams but how they drive. Its like they have no concern about others on the road. They skip traffic lights, drive in the oncoming lane, use turn signals and hazard lights for the wrong reasons, overtake near a blind corner and forget what side mirrors are for. I haven't started on bikes yet.
Bribery is an issue but I've noticed over the past year that the problem is being tackled. It does help, in places like immigration, to video record what is being said and by who. Twice I've sent a video to Jakarta Head Office and the problem is quickly rectified. I tackle my KITAP next year.
There are obviously a lot of topics I could go into but this thread asked if I'm happy.. I am.

If I may add.. (This isn't an ad) if anyone is in the tourism industry or similar, please pop around Bengkulu. There is so much potential. Housing is cheap and the city really needs a boost in visitors. We have a 7km beach and the seafood is amazing, if that grabs anyone's attention ;)

Hi, been reading the exchanges in this forum which I must say is very amusing indeed, and I just had to pen down (or type!) my thoughts on this 😌 Whether or not your experience in Indo is a pleasant one really depends on the area you live in. I've been here for over 6 years now and live in central Jakarta - the fact that i've continued to live and work here for that long says it all.

LOVE the fact that Indonesians are extremely hospitable and helpful. I've yet to find a sales person who is not knowledgeable about the products they're selling. I now find myself getting really irritated on how useless the sales persons are back in my home country.

Yes, absolutely agree with the contributors here that huge improvements are needed in infrastructure etc but i find that getting around is a breeze with options from ojek, mikrolet / angkot to taxis. Sure, am still pulling my hair out with the notorious Jakarta 'macet-ness' and police escorts hell bent on squeezing through the already bumper-to-bumper traffic but at least my best mate GoogleMap is accurate enough to provide me with fastest route each time (clearly, planning ahead helps and subscribing to news channels and traffic forums / tweets!)

In short, am absolutely happy to call Jakarta my second home!

All people have to make choices in life. As expats we all have made a choice to live in another country. When you make the choice to live in another country, you need to respect that country and its culture and traditions.

I made my choice to live my retirements years in Indonesia and we have a home in Bekasi. Also we spend a lot of time in Eastern Indonesia in places like Manado and Sangihe. I also have had the privilege to visit many other parts of the country.

Yes there are a couple of things I don't like about Indonesia.These are summarised as Jakarta traffic and Jakarta traffic.

I also don't like a few things about my home country but I  still love Australia and would live there if that was my choice to do so.

However, I have made a choice to live here with my wife and family. I am equally as pleased to live here as I would be to live in my country of birth.

Expats who come here have to realize that we are living in a young democracy and the country is growing. It is part of Asia and things are done differently in Asia to the Western world.

This country is lucky to have a committed President who is trying had to improve the economy and living standard.

I know a lot of people talk about corruption but to be honest a lot of people in Asia do not see anything wrong with exchange or money or favours being part being part of business practice. That is the Asian way and it has been entrenched in Asian cultures for many centuries.

I believe the President is currently taking small steps to reduce corrupt business practices and small step is the only way to go.

I can truly say I love living in Indonesia and I am very grateful to be afforded the opportunity by the government and people of Indonesia to live in their country.

The best part for me is the people and the diversity of culture between regions. I consider myself very lucky to have experience many thing s that other Australians have not.

For those who don't like the country I say to you you always can make the choice to leave.

Are you happy in Indonesia?
In general, I'm happy. If you stopped me at any point on a given day you'd probably get the impression of someone who enjoys their life, enjoys their surroundings and is fairly positive about things. People are decent, food is good and you can still make a living and save a bit at the end of the month.

Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?
My family is the largest reason I'm happy here. My wife and I have created a life that is healthy and where we can spend time together. Our children and grandchildren are part of the 'happier than before' equation.

In your opinion, are locals in Indonesia happy? How can you tell?
I don't think locals are happy, mostly due to the level of uncertainty. Unemployment remains a problem. Prices have increased and although many want to blame it on higher salaries you just have to look at the pricing of things to see that's not really a factor. Lemons and apples grown here got the same as imported fruit. Alcohol is taxed to a ludicrous degree. Education costs, even in local schools, are punitive - even before you add the building fee. This does not correspond with higher salaries for workers. For the most part, our medical care has been good, largely because we had the foresight and the means to get insurance. Many do not have the option. Medical care is expensive.
Whether this uncertainty adds to the aggression and lack of respect on the road is hard to quantify, but the road situation does impact the quality of life for everyone. It's a long, drawn out answer, that can be summed up as ' people seem unhappy and unsatisfied, and that seems largely due to uncertainty.

I am afraid to say I was not happy in Bali and have moved back to Australia.  After 2 years, I didn't think I would still have to haggle so hard all the time for every piece of fruit or vegetable.  I am a very honest & trusting person and found it hard to live a life where everyone tells you to "trust no one" - so, I was always on my guard. For some this is okay, but it didn't work for me.  I am happy to be back in Australia.

@Mawar Allan...

I note that according to your profile, your move back to OZ was for "health reasons."

Now back in OZ, I hope your health issues have been resolved.

Yes I am very happy in Indonesia. I feel liberated from my life in France from the French system and my old job. Before I moved to Indonesia, I was a type of moderator for a french company and spending all the time online I felt that I had no more life, just a virtual life but not a real life. I was slave to my computer even though I worked from my home. My family suffered in silence. If I did not have a salary I think I would have class myself as online addict. Yes I am embarrassed to say this.

Then I decided that enough and I must change my life, and I resigned my job.

Moving to Indonesia has given me a chance to throw away that old lifestyle. Bali is so great and wonderful. Now my life feels fresh and everyday is different and interesting. I travel around the island, write, sketch, and do snorkeling and swimming when I am near the beach. I meet new people everyday and eat delicious food. It is like living in paradise, so yes, for me, I am very happy living in Indonesia.

I don't know if I will call local people happy. Yes many are, but many are content with their lives. There is so much poverty in the world and even in Indonesia, so if people have enough money for food and clothes and to raise their families then perhaps I can call them happily content.

One of the things that has made my stay here better has been the nice attitude of immigration.
I had a problem with a corrupt official many years ago, but that's been my one and only real issue.
My KITAS, to KITAP was taking a while, meaning my KITAS expired, but they just gave me a letter to say all was well and that was that.
I would like to thank Indonesia's immigration department for taking away a bunch of headaches, thus making my time in this wonderful country all the better.

Hi all. I have read this thread with great interest.  I have taken on board everything I have seen and appreciate all the effort people put into explaining their views and opinions.

I myself have only been here since the beginning of august. In that short time I have absolutely adored being here.  I currently live in Surabaya and have found the area so amazing and diverse.

The people are really happy and ready to help you when you are stuck for directions etc.  I have bought a bike and despite early fears am starting to gain confidence!  You have to just go for it!

The food is great, entertainment is cheap especially cinema where you can see blockbusters for less than £3.

Anyhoo. I will continue to watch this thread and enjoy your comments.

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