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Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia, located between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the largest island country in the world, having more than 17,000 islands in its area. With a population of over 267 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. A combination of the country’s location within the equator, immense size, and enormous population, it is very diverse in terms of ethnicity, culture, and landscape, making it one of the most exotic destinations in the world for travelers.
Most people come to Indonesia to visit Bali, its main tourism destination. However, not a lot of people know much about the rest of the country. Indonesia is not just about Bali, it is packed with a rich history, mesmerizing culture, ancient temples, tropical jungles, exotic animals, and stunning tropical jungles. With everything that it has to offer, Indonesia is becoming more and more popular among tourists and expats alike.
Find the latest rental rates on the Indonesia property market
Indonesia has a total land area of 1,904,569 square kilometers, divided into 34 provinces, each with its own unique characteristics. The capital, Jakarta, is the most populous city in the country with more than 10 million people living in its area. It is not a popular tourist destination, but it does have some excellent attractions, such as Monas (the National Monument), Kota Tua (Old Town), Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (beach, waterpark, and amusement park), and Ragunan Zoo.
As Indonesia’s main tourism area, the island of Bali is the most popular part of the country. With its clear blue waters, beautiful beaches, amazing surfing spots, mesmerizing waterfalls, and jungle-covered mountains, it is no wonder that this island is very popular internationally. It is also one of the top choices for expats and retirees to relocate to. Some of the most popular areas on the island are Seminyak (an upscale area with luxury restaurant and beach clubs), Canggu (a trendy area with lots of vegan restaurants and hip bars), Uluwatu (home to some of the best and most tranquil beaches in Bali), Ubud (perfect for those who want to indulge in the local’s culture), and Kuta (mainly popular for Australians and domestic tourists).
In terms of tourism, another popular area in Indonesia is the Special Region of Yogyakarta. It is the only region in the country that officially recognizes the monarchy and is considered as the cultural capital of Java. Here, visitors can visit numerous cultural and historical attractions, such as Prambanan Temple, Ratu Boko Temple, Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat (the Royal Palace), and Taman Sari Water Castle. There are also some beautiful beaches in the southeast part of the province, Gunungkidul.
Apartments and condominiums are widely available in big cities, such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, Makassar, Medan, Bali, and Yogyakarta. Apartments and condo in Indonesia are mostly modern and luxurious. Standard, modern apartments usually offer swimming pools, gym memberships, parking spaces, and 24-hour security. Luxury condo and full-serviced apartments may have more amenities, such as spas, kid's playgrounds, clubhouses, cleaning services, and garden areas in addition to the standard amenities like gyms and swimming pools.
Houses and townhouses are also available all over the country. Renters can found luxury homes, with gardens and swimming pools, in gated communities. These houses usually have western-style features and interior, with minimalist architecture. Modern style and Indonesian-style houses can be found in many areas, usually with smaller spaces than luxury homes and unfurnished.
Villas are mostly available in tourism areas, such as Bali, Yogyakarta, Lombok, Bogor, and Bandung, but there are also some villas available in other areas in the country. Most villas are luxurious and spacious, with swimming pools, gardens, and in-villa theatre. There are also serviced villa available, meaning the villas come with their own staff, such as butlers, chefs, private drivers, and housekeepers. Some villas even serve breakfasts and dinners floating in the pool, if you want.
Another type of property to rent in Indonesia is ‘Kost’ or ‘Kos,’ which can simply be translated as a room to rent. It is very similar to studio room flats or rooms in a dormitory. Renters have one room that acts as a bedroom (as well as a living room, kitchen, and dining room, depending on the size), with private or public bathrooms. Sometimes, this type of property also offers a shared kitchen for its renters. Some kost are purpose build or a room within a larger house with the host family living under the same roof.
The Standard of living in Indonesia, particularly in its developed areas, has increased significantly over the last several decades. Still, the cost of living is relatively affordable for most foreigners. The exchange rate from Indonesia’s official currency, Rupiah (Rp), to US dollars is very favorable as US$1 is equivalent to approximately Rp14, 000. A family can live very comfortably in the country with a monthly salary of Rp20, 000,000 (about US$1,400). However, most expats earn much more than this amount.
With about 300 ethnic groups and more than 700 native languages, Indonesia is very diverse. The national language in the country is Bahasa Indonesia. English is widely spoken in tourist areas and major cities, such as Surabaya, Jakarta, and Bali. Indonesia contains the largest Muslim population in the world, with around 87% of its population following the religion. Other faiths are freely practiced within the country.
Indonesia enjoys a tropical climate, so the weather is warm throughout the year. The average temperatures tend to hover around 23°C to 28°C, but it can get as high as 35°C in coastal areas. The country experiences two seasons, including wet and dry season. The wet season runs from November to May. It is characterized by rising humidity and a significant amount of rain. The dry season, from June to October, is usually very pleasant with lots of sunny days.
Foreigners who wish to live in Indonesia for an extended period of time will need a visa. There are numerous different types of visas available, and the names can be pretty confusing. However, most expats have KITAS (temporary residence permit), which is valid for 6 to 12 months.
More straightforward – renting is a lot more straightforward than buying in Indonesia. The process of buying property in the country can be very complicated. Besides, foreign ownership of properties mostly falls only under the Right of Use category, which is weaker than the Right of Ownership that can only be acquired by Indonesian citizens.
Minimize risk – investing a property anywhere, especially in a foreign country, can carry some risks. In Indonesia, the risk may include corruption in the political and legal system and governance.
Affordability – if you don’t plan to stay in Indonesia permanently, or you are not sure about the rental yields and capital gain, renting is more feasible than buying as it is more affordable. Property tax can be high in Indonesia, not to mention other costs such as maintenance fees and a down payment.
Flexibility – should you have a change of heart or your situation changes, renting gives you more flexibility to just leave the country without having to worry about the property.