After your arrival in Jakarta, you and your family will be spending an enormous amount of energy trying to set up your new lives. The immediate tasks include: getting settled into your job, finding ahouse/apartment, getting your kids enrolled in school, buying or leasing a car, learning your way around town, hiring household staff, getting involved in the community and making new friends.
Your company may advise or require you to stay in a hotel or serviced apartment until you are able to locate suitable housing. If this is the case, ask the company to book you in a hotel/apartment that is near the neighborhood you are most likely to live in. Hotel Kristal is a favorite choice, because it is conveniently located to the Cilandak/Pondok Indah Campus of the Jakarta Intercultural School and your children can start school from this temporary residence while you seek a permanent home. Many of the serviced apartments offer suite rooms with kitchenettes which are great for families or people that quickly get tired of eating out continuously.
Be sure your temporary residence has broadband internet connections in the rooms so that you can easily get connected with the world 24 hours a day.
Other alternatives to the traditional hotel are emerging in Jakarta. Some companies may have a guest house where your family can stay for several weeks in a much homier atmosphere. Some apartment buildings offer Serviced Apartments which are fully furnished and equipped for short-term stays. Maid service is also available.
If you choose a Serviced Apartment which is located near the neighborhood you eventually want to live in, you can begin to learn your way around what will end up being your neighborhood, as well as where to shop for food, furniture and other household needs. You may end up choosing to stay in one of many Serviced Apartments, as they offer convenient locations, elegant living conditions, and often access to fitness and sports facilities for long-term as well as short term residence. Many single people or young couples find this a great short term living solution as it eliminates the necessity and cost of outfitting an apartment. Apartment living has definite advantages over living in a single-family home. For people that frequently travel on business and have to leave their apartment vacant or spouse alone, serviced apartments offer security and peace of mind while they are away.
Undoubtedly your sponsoring company or housing agent will have recommendations for where you should stay until you rent a house or apartment. Ask them to give you details on the choices you have and the proximity of the temporary housing to the office, school and the neighborhoods you may end up living in. Heavy traffic congestion in Jakarta on a daily basic can result in hours spent in the car if the housing choices are located long distances from the work place, or schooling.
Some people will need to stay in temporary housing while the final lease agreement for their permanent residence is being processed. Depending on how many other expats there are in your company, the HR department may or may not be familiar with the leasing process. Because all payment and renovations should be taken care of prior to moving into the residence, some time may be needed to process the finances or complete the renovations and improvements requested on the permanent housing before move in. Typically the preparation of the home as well as the processing of the documents through the sponsoring company will take 3 weeks to a month. During this time it is expected that the expat will be staying in temporary accommodation.
Your company may also advise you to stay in temporary housing until your household goods shipment has cleared customs. The Indonesian government requires that your KITAS (limited stay permit) be issued before your household goods shipment can clear customs. The only way that this document may be waived is if the shipment was landed in another port other than Jakarta, however then transportation charges may apply making the shipment much more expensive. There is nothing more frustrating than spending weeks in a hotel, to move out into your new home, only to find that you have to wait another 1-2 months for your household goods to be shipped and/or cleared.
While in temporary housing, use this opportunity to get out as much as possible and familiarize yourself with the various expatriate community organizations and the programs and services they offer. You’ll hit the ground running if you get out soon after your arrival and get involved in community groups that interest you. It’s a great way to make friends and start building a new support group of newcomers, just like you. They can be helpful in helping you source household help, offer advise where to get items that you will need to set up your home and offer solutions to problems or situations that you will experience, saving you frustration and lost time since they have recently experience similar problems personally.
Some apartment buildings favored by expats have informal afternoon teas where you can meet other newcomers and neighbors. Sign up for a Bahasa Indonesia class soon after your arrival, as these classes are a great way to meet newcomers like yourself. Then you will make new friends to explore and learn more about your new home with.
You may find that you like your temporary residence enough to stay there permanently!