One of the most immediate tasks for newly arrived expatriates is to find a place to live. Upon your arrival in Jakarta, you will undoubtedly feel overwhelmed by being bombarded with new sights, sensations and challenges. Getting oriented to the city and learning your way around will be a big task!
Before you can choose a house or apartment to live in, take the time to drive around Jakarta and visit the various neighborhoods favored by expatriates to get a feel for what it may be like to live there, how accessible they are to the working spouse’s office, the children’s school and leisure activities for the family. Track your travels in the Falk Plan Street Atlas to help you get oriented to the various streets and routes from one place to another.
You may have heard from former residents of Jakarta that you should live in a particular area such as Pondok Indah, Kebayoran Baru or Kuningan. Be forewarned that what one person may love in a neighborhood may be what someone else can’t stand. Travel through the neighborhoods on your own and be your own judge!
Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat)
Starting with Central Jakarta, Menteng is one of the oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods. Set just east of the main thoroughfare of Jl. Thamrin/Sudirman, Menteng is known for its stately colonial-era mansions, proximity to the business district, as well as being the site of many embassies, ambassador. s residences, as well as the residence of the President of Indonesia and other senior Indonesian officials. Many houses in this area are considered historical landmarks.
Rents are high due to close proximity to the business district. Some pavilions (apartment over a garage/small guest house) are available for reasonable rates. The infrastructure is old, small narrow streets and crowded thoroughfares abound. Yet the small quiet streets off those crowded thoroughfares and the old-world atmosphere of the old buildings is quite attractive. Good shopping nearby at Plaza Indonesia, Sarinah, Menteng Plaza, Jalan Sabang and the various small neighborhood shops.
The Golden Triangle
While it would never have been considered a neighborhood 5 years ago, apartment developments on or nearby the 3 major thoroughfares that form the Golden Triangle (Jl. Sudirman, Jl. Gatot Subroto and Jl. Rasuna Said) have turned this area into a convenient location for expatriates to live.
For those who like to be at the heart of the action, and don’t need to be located in South Jakarta to be near schools for their children, the apartment-living lifestyle of the Golden Triangle can be very attractive. Within a few kilometers of most major office buildings, commute time is minimal. If you yearn for green, wide open spaces you will probably not be happy for long in this area, but if the drone of traffic is music to your ears, proximity to work is valued and you don’t want the hassles of caring for a large home, consider leasing an apartment in the Golden Triangle.
Just west and east of Jl. Rasuna Said, there are substantial planned housing developments favored by expats. Patra Kuningan, built in the 70s, has been a favorite of oil and gas folks for over 20 years. The neighborhood is well-planned, with tree-lined streets and lots of space for parking. Many of the homes are owned by oil and gas companies and occupied by their current expatriate staff. Kuningan Timur, on the west side of Jl. Rasuna Said, and most of the Mega Kuningan development area behind this are still undeveloped. This area was planned as a diplomatic enclave and does have some stately residences for diplomats.
Nearby shopping in Menteng Plaza and Plaza Indonesia. Closest international school is Pattimura elementary. The middle school, junior high and senior high school at JIS are 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour away.
South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan)
Moving into South Jakarta, Kebayoran Baru is located just east of the southernmost end of Jl. Sudirman. Kebayoran Baru is a well planned neighborhood with large homes, wide tree-lined streets and close proximity to the Pattimura Elementary campus of the Jakarta International School. Close proximity to offices on the southern end of Jl. Sudirman. Lots of nearby shopping in Blok M Plaza, Pasaraya, Blok M and Plaza Senayan. Major streets can be quite congested, yet most side streets are quiet. 10 to 30 minute commute to the Golden Triangle area, depending on your destination.
Conveniently located 10 minutes west of the southernmost end of Jl. Sudirman, these well planned communities have wide, tree-lined streets, good infrastructure and green surroundings. Nearby shopping in the Permata Hijau shop houses and Plaza Senayan. Commute time to the Golden Triangle 15 to 45 minutes, depending on your destination.
Stately mansions line the major thoroughfare of Jl. Metro Pondok Indah, just south of the Pondok Indah Mall. A well planned community with tree lined streets. Pondok Indah is the closest neighborhood to the Cilandak campus of Jakarta International School. Over 45 minutes to commute to the Golden Triangle, depending on your destination.
Just south of Pondok Indah is Lebak Bulus, also very close to the Jakarta International School. Several very nice housing complexes can be found here. Good access via the outer ring road to all parts of Jakarta.
Beautiful homes tucked down alleys and narrow streets, the housing development in Kemang has not been planned. Yet narrow streets and high traffic congestion don’t keep expats away from Kemang neighborhoods. Beautiful homes with substantial gardens hide behind tall walls down unsuspecting back roads. 10-15 minutes from the Cilandak campus of Jakarta International School. Nearby shopping in Kebayoran Baru and Pondok Indah Mall. 45 minute to 1 1/2 hour commute to the Golden Triangle. In the heart of Kemang you will find the new Primary School campus for the Australian International School . The present campus however is no more than 10 minutes from this lovely suburb. For more information on restaurants in this area.
Located just west and south of Kemang, the development of these areas has not been planned. Yet beautiful homes exist down small alleys and in the middle of kampung. 10-15 minutes from the Cilandak campus of the Jakarta International School. 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour commute to the Golden Triangle.
Warung Buncit/Pasar Minggu
For those whose children attend the Australian International School, Warung Buncit and Pasar Minggu are close locales. Quiet winding roads and major thoroughfares offer a wide range of housing options.
Located in East Jakarta, this well-planned community is favored by many expats who work in the commercial/industrial estates east of Jakarta in Bekasi, Cileungsi and Cikarang. Easily accessible to the central business areas via 30-minute toll road ride.
Metropolitan Suburbs and Satellite Cities
Bintaro, Lippo Karawaci, Bumi Serpong Damai
Located in West Java, the above are actually past the western suburbs of Jakarta and located in the province of West Java.. Five years ago it would have been rare to find expats living in these neighborhoods. But with the recent moving of the British, German and Japanese International Schools to Bintaro, many expat families are making the choice for proximity to their children’s education and an organized living environment despite the lengthy commute for the working spouse. Commute time to the Golden Triangle can be 1 to 2 hours. Lippo Karawaci is often chosen by expatriates working in factories and industrial estates in Balaraja, Cilegon, and beyond. This is a mid-point between the commute to work out west, and the commute into Jakarta for community and recreation activities and shopping.
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