“The Jakarta expat community is happy to welcome you”

Falling in love with Jakarta is our new interview series where expat women who found their way in this bustling mega city and who even fell in love with Jakarta share their individual experiences and tips.

Read our interview with Asha and find out what makes the Jakarta expat community so special. Asha, who originates from the Netherlands, lives in Jakarta with her husband, one of her daughters and her dog. Asha’s older daughter is studying in Great Britain.

In which area do you live and what do you like about your neighborhood?

“We live in Kemang Dalam area and have picked this area mainly for our dog. It’s a lovely area to walk with her. But also easy access by walk or scooter to the restaurants and supermarkets. No driver needed for that, so I am independent… and I love it!”

Since when are you living in Jakarta and do you already know how much longer you will be staying?

“We moved to Jakarta from China at the end of October 2020 and we have no idea how long we will stay. For sure until our youngest daughter will graduate.”  

What was your first reaction after you found out that you will be moving to Jakarta?

“What a great next adventure: Still in Asia, fabulous climate, beautiful country, great travel options and a place where my family and friends will visit me.” 

Did you know Jakarta/Indonesia before?

“I do know Indonesia a little bit, but I have never been to Jakarta before. After we had announced that we were moving there, we got contacts from several directions and got all kind of fabulous help. The Dutch community in Jakarta has been incredibly welcoming, but also several Dutch ladies who have lived in Jakarta and who I met in China, have been super enthusiastic about living in Jakarta and reached out to me.” 

What was the most difficult thing moving here?

“Moving our dog with us coming from China. It was almost impossible to get her into Indonesia during the pandemic. We had to fly her by cargo through South Korea, where she got a Korean dog passport and some quarantine days. After that, Indonesia accepted her, but she had to be in a quarantine dog shelter for on week after arrival. It was a super tough and stressful journey for her and for myself!”

What do you like about Jakarta?

“I like the 24/7 street life and the friendly people, and I also love to still see some Dutch heritage here in this city.”

And what can freak you out about this city?

“The huge garbage problem and the way people treat animals and pets.” 

Imagine you would pack again to move here: What should any newcomer bring from home because it’s not available or hard to get here?

“I don’t know how it was before COVID-19 when the borders with Singapore were open and you had easy access to go there and buy stuff. So I can only talk about the time we are in now:
I would highly recommend bringing any medication that you use on a frequent basis.
Alcohol is super expensive here, so every time you go to a duty free shop at the airport on your way to Jakarta, buy a bottle. It saves you a lot of money! Shocking prices here!
If you are addicted to a certain kind of chocolate, then stock it up! Chocolate in general is also super expensive: M&Ms, Mars, Twix, all have ridiculously high prices!”

Is there any new hobby or activity that you have picked up after moving to Jakarta?

“Playing tennis! A perfect sport during the pandemic and I am extremely happy that I found a really nice group to play with. Still struggling with the heat tough….lol!”

How and where do you and your family like to spend your weekends in or around Jakarta?

“We love to go and explore all areas of Jakarta on our bikes or scooters when Jakarta wakes up….my favorite time!We also like to try new places with friends to eat or have a drink at night time… then the temperature outside is the best!” 

Have you been traveling already within Indonesia? If so, tell us your favorites and your secret tips.

“Due to the pandemic, it has not been so easy to travel in Indonesia. You still have to be very careful. My travel list is getting longer and longer, and I can’t wait to explore Indonesia, starting with a road trip over Java!! We have absolutely enjoyed the Komo Islands and Borneo, but we loved our Gili Trawagan vacation also. It is just what you are looking for. Two nights at Pulau Macan when there was a travel ban during Idil Fitri, has been so wonderful too. Too many nice travel spots!”

What is a must see in Jakarta for any newcomer?

“As museums have been closed for such a long time, I have not been to any of them yet. But I have heard that the National Museum and the Batik museum are must go to’s if you are new in Jakarta. For a Dutch newcomer, I would say a must see: Batavia and the Dutch War cemetery at Menteng.”

What are your favorite Cafes, Restaurants, hangout places?

“Due to the pandemic, I have not been to many hangout places, but I like so far: SKYE Bar, Roma Osteria, Lucy in the Sky, Levante, Seed, Sport Stube.”

Do you have a special tip you would like to share with our readers?

“If you are a newcomer, try to meet other expats. you will not be the only newcomer, you will find out. Connect with others through Facebook, school, your compound, sports, omen associations or “your nationality” group. Everybody in Jakarta is happy to welcome you and help you to settle in.”

Thank you very much, Asha!

Also read EMC’s tips on getting settled  in Jakarta

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