If you have been to other big capital cities in Southeast Asia, then the urban sprawl of Jakarta will feel like déjà vu. It’s hot and there’s traffic, and a lot of shopping malls. Entrenched in the labyrinth of streets, however, are pockets of creativity and grit, expressed in charming shops filled with home and art items, great food – from world class restaurants to street food, and a thriving nightlife that just keeps on going.
There are several good international schools to choose from and a dynamic private and public sector. The Indonesian and expat communities are diverse, so it is easy to make friends and find support groups. You can find nearly anything you need, including most modern comforts, and part of the fun is finding out where to get it.
There are cultural events throughout the year, including annual jazz and film festivals and concerts featuring international artists. Indonesian art and fashion in Jakarta is a blend of traditional and modern themes and motifs, showing up in eclectic art works and a vibrant music scene. Children are kings and queens in Indonesian society so there are constant activities and events for kids.
The number one hardship for Jakarta residents is the traffic, but you learn quickly to manage your time around it and avoid planning activities in different areas of the city in one day.
Living in Jakarta and working in CIFOR means that you travel counter to the traffic flow, since most commuters live in Bogor and work in Jakarta. Chances are you’ll choose to live in South Jakarta, where there are modern homes and activities and shops catering to expat families.
Rest assured that the one thing you may never get a chance to be in Jakarta is bored.