|Preface Last Updated: 11/5/2003
Man has woven a rich brocade of cultures among the far‑flung
islands of the world’s largest archipelago. Most of Indonesia’s
inhabitants trace their descent from Malay seafarers who left the
Asian mainland long before the time of Christ. Chinese pearl
fishermen and Indian holy men brought their influences—Hinduism
survives on Bali, a storied setting of temples and rice paddies
where an endless pageantry of festivals and dances placates
attentive spirits. Arab mariners introduced Islam. The Dutch
monopolized the rich spice trade of the Moluccas and with them
Indonesia’s 17,000 islands stretch almost 5,000 km (3,100 miles)
into the Pacific Ocean. Richly endowed with natural resources and
hosting a phenomenal array of distinct cultures, for centuries they
have been a magnet to Chinese and Indian traders, European
colonizers, wayward adventurers, and intrepid travelers.
It is generally believed that the earliest inhabitants of the
Indonesian archipelago originated in India or Burma. In 1890,
fossils of Java Man (homo erectus), some 500,000 years old, were
found in east Java. Later migrants (“Malays”) came from southern
China and Indochina, and they began populating the archipelago
around 3000 BC.
By the 15th century, a strong Moslem empire had developed with
its center at Melaka (Malacca) on the Malay Peninsula. Its influence
was shortlived, and it fell to the Portuguese in 1511. The Dutch
East India Company, based in Jakarta, took control of Java by the
mid‑18th century. The Dutch took control in the early 19th century,
and by the early 20th century, the entire archipelago was under
Burgeoning nationalism and the Japanese occupation in World War
II weakened Dutch resolve. Indonesia declared independence in 1945,
which the Dutch recognized in 1949.
Today, Indonesia is a vibrant, multiethnic nation comprised of
more than 300 ethnic groups in the midst of an enormous democratic
transformation after years of authoritarian government.
This is the official post report prepared by the post. The
information contained herein is directed to official U.S. Government
employees and their families. Any other information concerning the
facts set forth herein is to be regarded as unofficial information.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:32 PM
The Republic of Indonesia encompasses the world’s longest
archipelago. From the tiny island of Sabang in the northwest to
Papua (formerly Irian Jaya or West Irian) in the east, over 17,000
islands stretch some 3,400 miles along the Equator. The total land
area covers about 736,000 square miles. The main islands, in terms
of population and importance, are Java, Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan
(Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Papua, and the Maluku. The landscape
is highly varied with mountain peaks and volcanoes, some rising to
over 15,000 feet. In central Papua, snow covers some peaks all year.
The tropical climate varies with location, season, and altitude.
Jakarta lies in the lowlands. Spanning the Equator, Indonesia
experiences no real seasons. However, a wet season begins in
November and lasts until March, followed by a dry season from April
to October. Days and nights each last 12 hours.
The tropical climate and rich soil support abundant flora and
fauna. Mangrove swamps and marshes flourish along the coast;
tropical rain forests cover most of the terrain up to 3,000 feet;
and abundant subtropical vegetation, such as oak, pine, and
hardwoods, thrives at higher altitudes. The abundant forest cover
and favorable climate have stimulated a diverse animal life.
Many endangered and unique animals, such as single‑horn
rhinoceroses, orangutans, saltwater crocodiles, Komodo “dragons,”
Sumatran tigers, giant monitor lizards, and anoa, the pygmy buffalo
of Celebes, still find a home in Indonesia. Many species of snakes,
insects, and birds abound.
Population Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:33 PM
Indonesia’s 220 million people make it the fourth most populous
country in the world, as well as the most populous Muslim country.
Some 63% live on overcrowded Java and the adjacent islands of Madura
and Bali. Some 65% are under age 25; about 85% live in rural areas.
Indonesia has over 300 ethnic groups. Roughly 45% of the population
are Javanese. Other large ethnic groups include the Sundanese (West
Java), Madurese, Balinese, Bataks (North Sumatra), Minangkabau (West
Sumatra), coastal Malays, Dayaks (Kalimantan), Ambonese (Maluku),
Makasarese‑ Buginese (Sulawesi), and Chinese.
Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), a form of Malay, is the official
language. Many Indonesian leaders speak English. Some 87% of the
population are Muslim; the remainder are Christian, Buddhist, or
European and American Christian missionaries have been
influential in certain parts of Indonesia, especially in northern
Sulawesi, the Moluccas or “Spice Islands,” North Sumatra, the lesser
Sundas (Flores, Timor, Sumba), and Papua. Currently both Catholic
and Protestant minorities exist. Many ethnic Chinese are Catholic.
The island of Bali is predominantly Hindu. The annual population
growth rate is 1.6%. To reduce the growth rate, the government
sponsors family planning. About 50% of eligible couples on crowded
Java and Bali have enrolled.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 10/14/2004 7:29 AM
Indonesia is a unitary republic, divided administratively into 32
provinces. (The former province of East Timor gained independence
following a referendum in August 1999.) The provinces are further
subdivided into regencies, subdistricts, and municipalities. Since
the collapse of Soeharto’s authoritarian “new order” regime in May
1998, the country has embarked on the road to democratization and
decentralization. Under the transitional presidency of B.J. Habibie,
freedom of expression was restored and political laws were rewritten
paving the way for the June 1999 parliamentary elections, the first
free and fair elections held in more than 40 years.
In October 1999, the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), the
constitutionally highest governmental body, elected Abdurrahman
Wahid (a.k.a. “Gus Dur”) to a 5‑year term as the country’s fourth
president. Wahid was removed from office, however, amid allegations
of corruption and misrule in July 2001, and succeeded by Vice
President Megawati Soekarnoputri. She in turn was succeeded by
former Coordinating Minister for Security and Political Affairs,
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in the country's first direct presidential
elections, held in September 2004.
“Professionalizing” the military, which played important
political, economic, and social roles under past governments, is a
current goal, and so are justice sector reform and a fight against
terrorism and corruption. Both the MPR and DPR have become very
active, with the MPR addressing constitutional reform and the DPR
exerting considerable influence on government policy and the budget.
The government is implementing new laws on regional autonomy
aimed at devolving political and economic control to the regions.
Success in this effort is seen as crucial in addressing grievances
that have helped spawn separatist movements in some provinces
including Aceh and Papua (formerly Irian Jaya). Most internationally
known commercial, social, and philanthropic organizations such as
the Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, Rotary, Lions Club, and Scouts
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:35 PM
The arts in Indonesia reflect the perception and creativity of a
people surrounded by great natural beauty and a rich cultural
heritage. Art, like religion, is woven into patterns of daily life.
It is an integral accompaniment to celebrations and religious rites,
as well as a principal source of leisure time enjoyment. Various
Indonesian art forms are based on folklore, but others were
developed in the courts of former kingdoms or, as in Bali, are part
of religious tradition.
The famous dance dramas of Java and Bali derive from Hindu
mythology and often feature fragments from the Ramayana and
Mahabarata Hindu epics. These highly stylized dances with elaborate
costumes are accompanied by full “gamelan” orchestras comprising
instruments similar to the xylophone as well as drums, gongs, and
occasionally, stringed instruments and flutes.
One of the most fascinating types of Indonesian performing arts
is the “wayang,” or puppet performance, accompanied by gamelan. Two
main types of wayang exist: The “wayang kulit” features flat leather
shadow puppets, and the “wayang golek” uses wooden hand puppets. In
both forms, the puppets are used to narrate a story usually based on
one of the Hindu epics, but they frequently offer veiled comments on
contemporary political figures and events.
Indonesian crafts vary both in medium and in art form.
Indonesians are artistic by nature and express themselves on canvas,
wood, metal, clay, stone, and cloth. Painting in both traditional
and contemporary styles is popular. Woodcarvings for ornamentation
and furniture, silver engravings from Yogyakarta and fine filigree
from South Sulawesi, and sculptures of clay, sandstone, or wood are
just a few of the arts and handicrafts found in Indonesia. Indonesia
is perhaps most famous for its batik, a process of waxing and dyeing
fabric that originated in Java centuries ago. The classic designs
have been modified by modern trends in both patterns and technology.
Java has several batik centers; principally Yogyakarta, Surakarta,
Peka‑longan, and Cirebon. Other provinces produce woven cloth with
gold and silver threads, and silks or cottons with intricate
Museums depicting the history and culture of Indonesia are found
in major cities. They are interesting but unfortunately not
generally well maintained, and they often lack guides or written
materials to explain their collections. The National Museum in
downtown Jakarta is perhaps the most comprehensive; a private
museum, Gedung 28 in Kemang, presents an excellent selection of
artefacts from Indonesia’s eastern islands in a state-of-the-art
facility. Members of the Indonesian Heritage Society, an
international organization designed to further the appreciation of
Indonesian art, history, and culture, conduct English‑language
tours. The Indonesian Heritage Society also offers weekly lectures
in Jakarta at the Dutch Cultural Center by experts on Indonesian
life and culture. The Indonesian Heritage Society is open to all
In Jakarta and other large cities, you can enjoy Western culture,
including popular music and jazz at hotels and nightclubs. Hotels
and foreign embassies occasionally sponsor dance, theater, and other
performing arts. Many American films are shown in Indonesian
theaters with Indonesian subtitles.
Jakarta has an active cultural center, Taman Ismail Marzuki
(TIM). TIM has three theaters for the performing arts that are
active nearly every night, several exhibit halls, a movie theater,
and a planetarium. Prices are reasonable; however, the quality of
performances varies greatly.
Indonesia is struggling with the traditional developing country’s
problem of quality versus quantity in education. During the more
than 300 years when Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands, the
Dutch did very little to encourage higher education. On gaining
independence in 1945, Indonesia had no universities and few primary
and secondary schools. Since independence, Indonesia has tried to
meet the challenge of providing public education, and currently most
children receive at least 6 years of primary education. Entrance
into secondary schools and universities, however, is highly
competitive. Only the best applicants to government universities are
accepted, so most Indonesian students attend generally less
competitive private universities. Many Indonesians attend tertiary
institutions abroad, particularly in Australia and the U.S.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:06 AM
In the 1980s and 1990s, Indonesia enjoyed rapid economic growth
during which the economy diversified away from oil and other natural
resource‑based industries into a number of basic export industries
such as paper, textiles and clothing, shoes, and electronics.
Foreign direct investment and foreign lending helped fuel the
economic boom. The result was an overall improvement in living
standards, leading to a significant reduction in the percentage of
the population living in poverty. Another result was extensive
industrial development on parts of Java, where half of Indonesia’s
population resides, though most other islands retained their focus
on agriculture, natural‑resource industries, or tourism (especially
Bali and, increasingly, Lombok).
In 1997, Indonesia proved vulnerable to regional exchange rate
and financial market turbulence that led to a sudden loss of
confidence in its economic system. A full‑fledged economic and
political crisis arose in early 1998, leading to President
Soeharto’s resignation in May 1998 after three decades in power.
In 2000, the government embarked on an ambitious economic reform
program, guided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other
international financial institutions. They recognized that it would
be years before the economy would reach previous growth rates
because of the mountain of bad debts and legal disputes that
government institutions were not fully equipped to handle. Even so,
the natural recuperative powers of the economy were seen as
improving conditions gradually, and foreign investors were known to
be investigating potential projects again.
The Bali bombings in October 2002 and the bombing of the JW
Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August 2003 and the Australian Embassy
in September 2004 led to a dramatic loss of tourist revenue
nationwide, but the industry has begun to recover after the
government took strong measures to identify, capture, and prosecute
those responsible for terrorist incidents.
The American Chamber of Commerce remained active in Indonesia,
with over 500 members as of 2000. An estimated 6,600 U.S. citizens
live in Indonesia, with 2,800 in Jakarta. 80% of U.S. investment in
Indonesia is in the oil, gas, and mining sectors. U.S. merchandise
exports to Indonesia, adversely affected by the economic crisis,
amounted to US$2 billion in 1999, while Indonesian exports to the
U.S. reached almost US$10 billion.
Automobiles Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:37 PM
Personal cars for work, shopping, social occasions, and trips to
the mountains or seashore add a great deal of convenience and
independence to life here. Please consider the following before
deciding to ship or purchase vehicle locally.
Vehicles imported into Indonesia must be for the bona fide and
exclusive personal use of employees. The Embassy must get advance
approval from the Government of Indonesia before shipping a vehicle
to Indonesia or purchasing a duty‑free vehicle locally.
The most commonly imported and locally available automobiles are
Toyotas and other Japanese models, and to a lesser extent European
and Australian models; few American models are imported due to
limited parts and lack of repair facilities. Automobile resale
values vary and are less favorable for large U.S. models. Smaller
cars are easier to handle, as streets and highways are narrow and
traffic is heavily congested.
Most people prefer air‑conditioned cars because of Jakarta’s
heat, dust, and pollution from heavy traffic. Repairs for
air‑conditioners are limited; spare parts are usually ordered from
abroad. Repairs often do not compare with U.S. standards. However,
several dealers servicing Japanese and European cars offer reliable
if expensive facilities. Australian and Japanese model spare parts
are available in adequate supply at high cost. Bring extra supplies
such as fan belts, distributor points, radiator hoses, wiper blades,
spark plugs, touchup paint, etc.
Direct‑hire employees may also purchase one duty‑free, locally
assembled motor vehicle at any time in accordance with Indonesian
approval procedures. However, this vehicle must be in the owner’s
possession for 2 years prior to resale.
Post will register employee vehicles with the government and the
Importing a car into Indonesia requires two separate permits and
approvals from the Government of Indonesia: (1) Preliminary approval
(PPI) before your car is shipped/ordered/or purchased; (2) Customs
approval (PP‑8) when the car arrives at port. Post cannot obtain
approval until after the employee has arrived at post and the
government issues a diplomatic ID card and the employee receives a
Auto insurance is available locally, and post will assist you in
obtaining local coverage, but you are responsible for paying
premiums and renewing coverage. You might also consider U.S.
insurance coverage available through various companies before
deciding. By law, you must have third‑party coverage in an amount
equal to Rp 1,000,000. Full comprehensive coverage is recommended.
Collision insurance is strongly recommended, as most Indonesians are
financially unable to pay for damages. Additionally, government
insurance plans pay only nominal amounts, and it may take months or
even years to settle a claim.
Driving in Indonesia. Traffic moves on the left. Right‑hand drive
is recommended but not required. A left‑hand‑drive car is less
hazardous in Jakarta than on the busy, narrow two‑lane (or one and
one‑half lane) roads leading from Jakarta to mountain and beach
resorts. Driving in Indonesia requires care and vigilance to avoid
accidents. Many employees hire a full‑time or part‑time driver.
Employees can drive in Indonesia using either an Indonesian
drivers license, obtainable on presentation of a valid U.S.,
foreign, or international license, or an international drivers
license validated by the Government of Indonesia. Keep in mind this
license must be renewed annually. If you do not have a valid
license, you must take written and driving tests for a fee.
The state‑owned Pertamina Company sells gasoline and diesel fuel
through its outlets throughout the country. Unleaded fuel (called
Super TT) is Rps 1,400 a liter. Higher octane leaded is Rps 1,300;
lower octane leaded is Rps 1,000; and diesel fuel costs Rps 600 a
liter. A few stations sell unleaded gasoline. However, unleaded fuel
is now available in some major cities and on the toll road to Bogor
Traffic in Jakarta is extremely heavy, and during the evening
rush hour, which lasts from about 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., traffic on
the city’s major north-south and east-west axes is bumper-to-bumper;
during the rainy season (November–March), streets become quickly
flooded, increasing transit times still further.
Adequate asphalt roads connect major cities in central and east
Java. A standard shift is preferable, and air‑conditioning is
necessary. Heavy‑duty springs and shock absorbers, undercoating, and
rustproofing are recommended. If your car has tubeless tires, bring
at least one spare with a tube for emergencies.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 3/1/2005 7:37 PM
By Western standards, public transportation in Jakarta is
overburdened and inadequate. Buses in particular are not maintained
properly, are known to harbor pickpockets, and are considered so
unsafe Embassy personnel are advised not to use them. The Embassy
recommends several taxicab companies which operate fleets of metered
cabs and have reliable, English-speaking reservation services. Taxi
drivers speak limited English, and are not likely to know the names
of streets other than major thoroughfares. “Bajajs” (motor‑driven,
three‑wheeled vehicles) are unsafe and best avoided.
For these reasons, each agency provides home-to-office
transportation Monday through Friday, for a fee; employees are
Surabaya. “Becaks” (pedicabs) are the most commonly used means of
local public transportation for short trips. Various types of three‑
and four‑wheeled vehicles supplement the city bus system, but
Consulate General personnel rarely use any of these motorized public
vehicles. Metered taxi service is available.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:50 PM
The rainy season often causes the generally poor roads to become
impassable. Otherwise, trucks, buses, animal carts, becaks, and
pedestrians congest the roads. Depending on the season and local
road conditions, you can possibly drive from Jakarta to the eastern
tip of Java (about 800 miles) in 2–3 days. From there your car can
be ferried across to Bali. The Indonesian State railway system
serves major cities in Java. Accommodations, standards, and service
vary from air‑conditioned comfort to steerage. Limited rail and road
networks on Sumatra make traveling difficult.
Garuda Indonesian Airways, Bouraq, Merpati, and several other
local airlines provide air service to major cities and outlying
islands in Indonesia, including Denpasar on the island of Bali.
Garuda also flies to major Asian, European, and Australian cities.
Numerous daily flights to and from Singapore, 1 hour and 20 minutes
from Jakarta, exist. The international airport is some 20 miles from
downtown Jakarta. Several daily flights from Medan serve Jakarta and
Singapore. One flight a day goes to Penang, Malaysia. Several weekly
flights within Sumatra service Padang, Banda Aceh, and Pekanbaru. An
almost hourly shuttle service connects Jakarta and Surabaya.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/14/2004 0:50
A 24‑hour satellite‑telephone service connects Indonesia with the
U.S. Reception on international calls is usually good, but local
phone service is only fair. Cables and central exchange equipment
are often saturated and sometimes inadequately maintained. All
Mission‑owned or leased homes have a telephone, and occupants are
charged for telephone service. Telephone rates include a basic
charge plus a per‑call charge. An extra charge is also made for each
minute over 3 minutes. The Embassy telephone number is (62) (21)
3435–9000. In‑country direct dialing is available throughout
Indonesia. Embassy personnel can direct dial throughout Indonesia
from their homes.
If you have a telephone charge card from a U.S. company, use it
during your tour for cheaper rates on calls to the U.S. Many
long‑distance companies provide reduced rates upon request for calls
made with their calling cards. The CLO has information on companies
with competitive calling card rates. Personal fax messages may be
sent through the Embassy commissary during office hours. The Post
and Telegraph Central Office is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,
and can be used during nonoffice hours.
Surabaya. Telephone service in Surabaya is comparable to that in
U.S. Consular Agent Bali (62) (361) 222426
U.S. Consulate General Surabaya (62) (31) 5674492
U.S. Embassy Jakarta (62) (21) 3862259
USAID Jakarta (62) (21) 3806694
ODC Jakarta (62) (21) 3843339
NAMRU (62) (21) 4244507
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:54 PM
Fleet Post Office (FPO) service is available to eligible
employees and their dependents. Inbound mail (to the FPO address)
and outbound mail (addressed to the U.S.) is considered U.S.
domestic mail and is charged U.S. postal rates. Individual country
postal rates apply to outbound international mail. The FPO offers
services comparable to those provided by U.S. Post Offices to
Inbound/Outbound Mail Special Mail Services, i.e., Express Mail
(Outbound to U.S. destinations only), Registered Mail, Certified
Mail, Insured Mail, and Return Receipt. U.S. Postal Money Orders
Claims and Inquiries Customs declarations are required on
inbound/outbound mail. Firearms of any type are prohibited.
Information pertaining to customs forms, restrictions regarding
content, preparation, and handling are contained in the pamphlet,
Conditions Applied to Mail Addressed to Military Post Offices
Overseas, available at your servicing post office. The maximum
weight/size limits for parcels to and from the U.S. is 70 pounds and
108 inches length and girth combined. Weight and size limits on
parcels to international addresses and other APO/FPO addresses vary
according to destination. Average transit time for letter mail to
and from the U.S. is 6–8 days.
Personnel receiving official mail should inform their
correspondents to use the official (versus personal) address
indicated below. Inbound official mail incorrectly addressed as
personal mail must be forwarded or returned to sender if the
addressee has transferred, even though the article may be official
material. Inbound mail addressed to Surabaya and Medan FPO addresses
is received at the FPO in Jakarta and forwarded to addressees
through the pouch system.
Address official and personal correspondence as follows:
American Embassy Jakarta: Personal: NAME American Embassy Jakarta
Unit 8129 (****) FPO AP 96520–8129
Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit
8129 (****) FPO AP 96520–8129
(**** Indicate appropriate work section, e.g., Mgt, Pol, GSO,
American Consulate General Surabaya: Personal: Name American
Consulate General Surabaya Unit 8131 FPO AP 96520–8131
Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name American Consulate General
Surabaya Unit 8131 FPO AP 96520–8131
NAMRU-2: Personal: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit 8132 NAMRU
TWO FPO AP 96520–8132
Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit
8132 NAMRU TWO FPO AP 96520–8132
OMADP: Personal: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit 8133 OMADP
FPO AP 96520–8133
Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit
8133 OMADP FPO AP 96520–8133
USDAO: Personal: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit 8134 USDAO
FPO AP 96520–81343
Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit
8134 USDAO FPO AP 96520–8134
USAID: Personal: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit 8135 USAID
FPO AP 96520–8135
Official: OFFICIAL TITLE ATTN: Name American Embassy Jakarta Unit
8135 USAID FPO AP 96520–8135
Personnel without FPO privileges must use either the Indonesian
Postal Service or the State Department Diplomatic Pouch Service (if
Indonesian mail. Indonesian postal rates, mailing conditions, and
restrictions apply to mail addressed to or from Indonesian
addresses. International mailing addresses are as follows:
Jakarta: American Embassy Jalan Merdan Merdeka Selatan 5 Jakarta
Surabaya: American Consulate General Jalan Raya Dr. Sutomo 33
Surabaya, Jawa Timur INDONESIA
Pouch. Because of State Department pouch service limitations,
persons posted to Indonesia and authorized to use the FPO should
remind correspondents to use only FPO. Although letter mail may be
received by pouch, it is much slower than FPO, and letters cannot be
registered, insured, certified, or sent via special delivery.
Periodicals and parcels addressed via the State Department pouch
address will be returned to the sender. Therefore, all persons
should use the FPO address in all cases for periodical subscriptions
and parcels. The pouch address for Jakarta for those not authorized
to use the FPO is:
Full Name (Agency affiliation: USAID, OMADP, etc.) 8200 Jakarta
Place Washington, D.C. 20521–8200
Full Name 4200 Surabaya Place Washington, D.C. 20521–4200
Radio and TV Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:54 PM
Commercial television was allowed by the government to begin
operations in 1989, after many years of government television only.
Indonesian broadcast television is in the PAL (European) format.
Programming varies greatly, from locally produced dramas and game
shows to U.S. sitcoms and dramatic series with Indonesian subtitles.
There is daily English news on Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI),
the government network. The local cable and satellite television
services offer CNN, BBC, CNBC, Star News, and Australian news
programs to subscribers, as well as HBO, Cinemax, ESPN, Discovery,
National Geographic, C‑Span, Worldnet, and Star TV, and other
educational and entertainment channels. Subscribers can receive up
to 50 channels, in various Asian and European languages as well as
English. Rates are comparable to those in the U.S. Jakarta has
abundant TV, radio, and stereo equipment sales and repair services,
although prices on new equipment can be high.
Vendors sell or rent DVDs, VCDs, laser disks, and PAL videotapes.
Locally sold or rented videotapes are censored. Local power is 220v,
50‑cycle, AC but fluctuates widely. A voltage regulator, available
locally, is recommended to protect audio and video equipment.
U.S.‑standard NTSC videotapes are rented by the commissary and the
AERA Club, so U.S.‑standard televisions and VCRs are useful to view
Radio keeps most of the population informed and entertained. In
addition to hundreds of small commercial stations throughout the
country, Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI), the government radio
network, broadcasts nationwide via relay stations. RRI Jakarta
broadcasts news and commentary in English for about an hour in the
early mornings and evenings. Dozens of AM and FM stations broadcast
in Jakarta, including several with English programming and Western
popular music. Most are stereo. Since all newscasts come from RRI
and all stations relay it, the top of the hour begins with the same
voices on all radio stations at once. Some personnel might also want
to have a shortwave radio receiver for VOA, BBC, and Radio
Australia. Shortwave reception is generally good.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
5/25/2005 3:17 AM
The British Council, the Women’s International Club, and the
Indonesia-America Friendship Society (PPIA) operate lending
libraries with minimal membership requirements and collections of
approximately 20,000 books. The library facilities of the Jakarta
International School (JIS) are available to students and their
parents. Anyone in the international community may use the library’s
facilities on the school premises, but only families with students
attending JIS may borrow books. Each elementary school library
contains more than 20,000 books, and the high school library has
almost 40,000. The mission’s library is an electronic reference
service that provides information about the U.S. and U.S. Government
policy to host country nationals.
English-language sources of news in Jakarta are readily
available. The Jakarta Post is published daily, and carries
political, economic, and cultural news. The International Herald
Tribune, the Asian Wall Street Journal, and USA Today are sold in
many major hotels. The Tribune is available for home delivery. A
wide variety of international magazines in English are available
Many hotels and bookstores have a selection of English-language
books at prices some 50% higher than those in the U.S. In addition,
there are several English-language bookstores in major shopping
malls and other central locations. The American Women’s Association
(AWA), the International Community Activity Center (ICAC), the
recreation association and the commissary all operate small
bookshelves recycling used books. Bring basic reference works,
particularly for children, and leisure reading material.
Subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs in the U.S.
are possible via FPO.
Surabaya. The Jakarta English-language newspapers and many
international newspapers and magazines are also available
commercially. PPIA offers free memberships for a small
English-language lending library.
Internet. A wide variety of home connections to the internet,
including through high-speed digital lines, TV cable, and dialup
services, are available at reasonable monthly prices. Cable modems
are available for rent at less than $10/month. Additionally, there
are large numbers of internet cafes throughout all major urban
centers where customers can connect for nominal fees.
Health and Medicine Last Updated: 11/5/2003 6:33 AM
The Embassy in Jakarta operates a Regional Medical Office staffed
by a physician, nurse practitioner, medical technologist, and
several locally-hired, Western-trained nurses. This Health Unit
serves as a first point of contact for American employees and family
members, provides inoculations, and will make arrangements for
specialized treatment at other facilities if required. Local medical
care is frequently inadequate, and patients requiring treatment
beyond the capability of local facilities are evacuated to
Singapore. The Medical Unit also has a fully stocked pharmacy.
Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by a mosquito which
bites during the day. After a five-to-eight-day incubation period,
it can cause fever, headache, and body aches. The only preventive
measure is to avoid contact with the mosquito vector. Use mosquito
repellent and avoid perfume or aftershave, as these will attract
The other major health concern is bacteria contracted from impure
water or improperly prepared food. Only commercially bottled water
should be consumed; this is provided in large drums to both homes
and offices. Tap water is safe for bathing, washing clothes and
dishes, etc., but not for drinking. All vegetables and salads must
be washed in bleach before preparation, and all cooked food should
be cooked well-done and served hot. Avoid buffets that keep the food
only warm. The Health Unit regularly tests the food and sanitary
conditions at the American snackbar, Indonesian snack bar, and AERA
Although malaria is not present in Jakarta, other regions of
Indonesia are considered to have multiple drug resistant malaria,
and either doxycycline or mefloquine is recommended for malaria
prophylaxis when visiting these areas. For further information,
consult the Medical Unit.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 12/14/2004 1:00 AM
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta maintains a Health Unit staffed by
three Foreign Service medical officers: a physician, a nurse
practitioner, and a laboratory technologist. Office hours are
scheduled Monday through Friday, with a medical officer on call
after hours and during weekends. The Health Unit is an outpatient
primary‑care facility with a laboratory. U.S. Mission employees
whose agencies have agreements with the U.S. Department of State
regarding health care may use this facility for themselves and their
eligible family members, provided that they receive a medical
clearance from the Department of State's Office of Medical Services.
The Embassy Health Unit has a small private pharmacy located on
the premises, but if you take chronic medication, bring your own.
This includes birth control pills, vitamins, blood pressure
medication, and thyroid or estrogen hormones. Local pharmacies carry
a range of products of variable quality, availability, and cost.
Some chronic medications may be bought here, but make that decision
after you arrive. Establish a supply source before coming to post.
Those receiving allergy shots may continue to receive them at the
Embassy Health Unit. However, the question as to whether or not
these shots will be helpful against Indonesian allergens must remain
Local medical facilities are used selectively for specialty
consultation and emergency hospitalization, but do not approach U.S.
standards. Patients with problems that cannot be handled in Jakarta
are evacuated to Singapore. The hospital used (whether local or
regional) depends on the condition and urgency of the problem.
The Health Unit recommends that babies be delivered in Singapore
or the U.S. Some expatriates choose to deliver in Jakarta, but this
is a personal decision and should be discussed with the Health Unit.
Indonesian facilities to handle high-risk obstetrics and neonatal
care are very limited.
Dental care, such as cleaning, repairs of dental cavities, and
root canal and bridge work, can be performed in Jakarta. Complicated
dental problems can be referred to specialists in Singapore. There
are orthodontists who work in Jakarta (regularly used by Embassy
personnel), though the quality of their work is quite inconsistent.
However, all personnel and their eligible family members assigned to
Jakarta should attend to their dental needs before arrival. Although
medical travel can be funded for management of serious dental
problems, the limitation of per diem payments and the fact that
follow‑up trips cannot be funded can make dental care in Singapore
Jakarta has optometrists and selected ophthalmologists of
reasonable quality. Lens work is satisfactory, but bring an extra
pair of glasses with you.
Surabaya. The Consulate General has no Health Unit. A medical
officer visits regularly, and employees should call the Jakarta
Health Unit for necessary guidance and advice. Local physicians are
used selectively, with variable satisfaction. No American or
European doctors currently practice in the city. Hospitals are
generally of a significantly lower standard than in Jakarta.
Surabaya is not equipped to support significant ongoing medical
problems, and persons posted in Surabaya must be aware of this.
Concerns and plans regarding dental and optometric care and chronic
medications should be considered and resolved prior to arrival.
Local pharmacies carry a range of products of variable quality,
availability, and cost.
Health and Medicine
Community Health Last Updated: 10/14/2004 7:32 AM
Community sanitation and public health programs are inadequate
throughout Indonesia and subject to frequent breakdowns. Water and
air pollution and traffic congestion have rapidly increased with the
growth of major cities. Almost all maladies of the developing world
are found here. Residents are subject to water‑ and food‑borne
illnesses such as typhoid, hepatitis, cholera, worms, amebiasis, and
bacterial dysentery. Mosquito‑borne dengue fever exists throughout
Indonesia. Malaria is endemic in some parts of Indonesia, but not in
metropolitan Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, and Bali. Respiratory
difficulties are common and are exacerbated by the high pollution
levels. Asthma problems are generally worse during a tour here, as
are any other respiratory or skin allergies.
Health and Medicine
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 11/5/2003 1:58 PM
Everyone covered under the Department of State’s medical program
must have proper medical clearance prior to assignment to Indonesia.
Individuals with limited medical clearances for medical conditions
requiring sophisticated medical surveillance or delicate laboratory
monitoring should avoid assignment to Jakarta. The Health Unit can
advise on local resources if there is a question.
Recommended immunizations for children include all of the
standard pediatric immunizations of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus,
polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and hemophilus B, plus hepatitis B,
hepatitis A, typhoid, and preexposure rabies for toddlers. Adults
should be current on all recommended immunizations. Malaria
prophylaxis is recommended for travel to endemic areas outside major
cities. Check with the Health Unit before traveling. Additionally,
use of screens, clothes that cover the body, and insect repellant
for children and adults is important to decrease exposure not only
to mosquitoes carrying malaria but also to those carrying dengue
fever, a disease that is present in both urban and rural areas.
Because of evidence of hydrocarbon and other chemical
contamination in Jakarta, the Embassy currently provides bottled
water for drinking and food preparation. All water used for
consumption should be bottled. Bottled water is also supplied in
Surabaya. Factory‑bottled soft drinks and juices are generally safe.
Milk sold in sealed containers is generally safe. Standard
recommendations for preparing fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats
apply here. Washing, soaking, and peeling and/ or thoroughly cooking
are mandatory to minimize insecticide residue and bacterial and
parasitic contamination. A wide variety of foods are available in
local markets and supermarkets, and it is possible to eat a
Car accidents are the primary causes of severe injury to
foreigners living in Indonesia. Defensive driving and use of
seatbelts are encouraged, and use of motorcycles is strongly
discouraged. The Embassy and Consulate General maintain a list of
available blood donors, but Rh negative blood may be difficult to
obtain in an area with very few Westerners. Therefore, it is
important to know your blood type and recognize that this may be a
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 12/14/2004
There is no bilateral work agreement between Indonesia and the
However, all agencies at the Embassy in Jakarta seek to employ
qualified eligible family members for available positions within the
Mission. The key words are “qualified” and “available positions.”
Most employed eligible family members work in Mission‑sponsored
positions; some have found employment with non-governmental
The Embassy also hires eligible family members on short‑term
projects such as writing booklets or doing price surveys. In
addition, the Embassy runs a summer‑hire program for teenage and
The U.S. Employees Association (USEA) commissary and the AERA
Club offer occasional managerial, assistant managerial, and other
positions. Some previous experience is usually required.
JIS accepts applications from dependents qualified to teach on a
full‑time basis and maintains a substitute teacher roster from
qualified applicants in the U.S. community. Interested applicants
should write well in advance (prior to arrival at post) to:
Superintendent Jakarta International School c/o American Embassy
FPO AP 96520
Obtaining local employment is difficult. The Indonesian
Government maximizes employment of Indonesians by all firms
operating in Indonesia. The Indonesian Government will not as a rule
grant work permits to any holder of a diplomatic passport. Limited
job opportunities are available through special arrangements with
international schools and nonprofit groups such as foundations.
Volunteers are needed in many spheres of life in Indonesia. If
you are an art historian, anthropologist, etc., you can keep your
skills alive and, at the same time, help the country’s National
Museum or universities. Social workers will find plenty of projects
to keep them busy. Whatever your talents, you might find a place to
use them here and get credit for it. Volunteer work may lead to a
Surabaya. The Surabaya International School and the Binational
Center offer opportunities for teaching. Other employment
opportunities in Surabaya are rare.
American Embassy - Jakarta
Post City Last Updated: 3/1/2005 9:19 PM
Jakarta — the capital, chief port, and commercial center of
Indonesia — and its suburbs cover some 350 square miles. Over 11
million people live within this area. As seat of the central
government, Jakarta is the center of political life, with the
Presidential Palace, national government offices, Parliament, and
the Supreme Court all located in the city center.
The main ethnic groups in Jakarta are Sundanese, who predominate
in the surrounding province of West Java, and Javanese. However, the
city is a melange of all main groups from throughout the
archipelago, including a substantial Chinese population and tens of
thousands of expatriates.
In the 16th century, Jakarta, called Sunda Kelapa, was the chief
port for the Sundanese (West Javanese) kingdom of Pajajaran. Later,
the Sultan of Bantam changed the name to Jayakarta, “Glorious
Fortress,” in the Sundanese language. At the end of the 16th
century, Dutch and Portuguese traders struggled for a foothold on
Java. Since it was difficult for foreigners to pronounce Jayakarta,
the name was changed to Jakarta.
Eventually, the Dutch won possession of Java and established a
fortified trading post at Jakarta, which they renamed Batavia. For
three‑and‑a-half centuries after the Dutch arrival, Batavia was the
focal point of a rich, sprawling commercial empire called the
Netherlands East Indies. In older sections, Dutch‑style gabled
houses with diamond‑paned windows and swinging shutters are still
found. The canals, narrow downtown streets, and old drawbridges will
remind you of the city’s Dutch heritage and early settlers.
Eventually, more modern sections of the city were built some 8 miles
inland. Indonesia became a sovereign state on December 27, 1949; the
next day Batavia was renamed Jakarta. The city has grown rapidly in
population from about 600,000 in 1940 to over 11 million.
Physically, Jakarta has changed much in the last decade. A modern
center with hotels, restaurants, and tall office buildings now has
grown up amidst the crowded “kampungs,” often with banana groves and
rice paddies, reminiscent of rural Java. Infrastructure, roads,
electric power, and water supply are vastly improved, and new
housing and apartments have gone up. With Jakarta’s expanding
boundaries, most Americans and other foreigners live in newer
suburbs, such as Kebayoran, 5 miles from downtown, or Kemang, even
farther to the south.
Like most Asian commercial cities, Jakarta has a large population
of Chinese origin, many of whom have Indonesian citizenship. They
constitute the country’s largest non‑Indonesian ethnic group. Many
have lived in Indonesia for generations and no longer speak Chinese,
but most maintain Chinese traditions and family ties. Most Chinese
in Jakarta operate businesses. Their district, Kota (or Glodok), has
a distinctly Chinese flavor.
Over 25,000 foreigners live in the Jakarta area. Over 60 nations
now maintain diplomatic or consular missions. The U.S., Russia,
Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and Australia operate the largest.
Over 6,000 Americans reside in Jakarta — members of U.S. Government
agencies, the U.N., and private, nongovernmental agencies; business
representatives; and missionaries. Jakarta is the main stop for an
increasing number of U.S. business visitors, and many American,
European, and Australian tourists visit Jakarta each year, usually
on their way to tourist areas such as Bali or Yogyakarta.
Jakarta’s average temperature ranges from 78 °F to 87 °F. It
seldom varies more than a few degrees all year. The average
humidity, 82%, rises to 83% or 84% during the wet season. It rains
about 125 days a year for an average of 70 inches. Although heavy
rains occur during the wet season (November through March), they do
not compare to the heavy monsoon downpours that characterize the
rainy season in other tropical countries.
Western‑style clothes predominate in Jakarta, but many still wear
Indonesian attire. English is understood by many higher level
Indonesian officials, business representatives, and professionals,
particularly the younger generation. However, some knowledge of
Bahasa Indonesia, the national language, is needed by foreigners for
everyday communication. The older, Dutch‑educated Indonesians can
speak Dutch, especially those who grew up under the Netherlands’
Security Last Updated: 10/14/2004 7:34 AM
On October 12, 2002 terrorist bombs detonated in Bali killed over
200 people, most of them Westerners, including seven American
citizens. A much smaller terrorist attack rocked the JW Marriott
Hotel in Jakarta on August 13, 2003, and a terrorist attack on the
Australian Embassy on September 9, 2004 claimed ten fatalities.
Since the Bali and Jakarta bombings, the Indonesian authorities have
taken great pains to increase security at airports, hotels, and
elsewhere, and tourists, to a great extent, have returned.
Nonetheless, the bombings have reinforced the reality that
Americans can be the targets of terrorism anywhere in Indonesia, and
the Embassy and its personnel remain alert for additional attacks,
targeting U.S. interests in Indonesia, including U.S. government
officials and facilities. The most recent Department of State travel
warning cautions American citizens to defer travel to Indonesia. All
American citizens in Indonesia have been warned to evaluate their
security posture while in the country. Those who reside in or travel
to Indonesia should exercise maximum caution and take prudent
measures, such as avoiding crowds and demonstrations, as well as
locations known to cater primarily to a Western clientele, including
but not limited to: resorts, tourist sites, nightclubs, hotels,
bars, restaurants, and places of worship. They should keep a low
profile, varying times and routes for all required travel, remaining
acutely aware of their immediate environment, and notifying the
Embassy or Consulate in case of any change in the local security
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:20 AM
U.S. Foreign Service posts in Indonesia are the U.S. Mission in
Jakarta; the Surabaya Consulate General, and the Consular Agency in
Bali. Plans to reestablish an official presence in Medan are in
process. The Embassy is also deeply involved in support and staffing
issues for the liaison office in Dili, East Timor, which regained
its independence from Indonesia in 1999. The U.S. Mission in Jakarta
consists of the Department of State, USAID, the Defense Attache
Office (DAO) (Army, Navy, and Air attachés), the Office of Defense
Cooperation (ODC), the Naval Medical Research Unit (NAMRU), the
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the Library of Congress (LOC),
the Department of Justice’s ICITAP and OPDAT programs, the Foreign
Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), the Department of Interior’s
Office of Surface Mining (OSM), the Foreign Commercial Service
(FCS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The
Ambassador, assisted by the DCM, directs and coordinates all Mission
The U.S. maintained consular establishments in the Netherlands
East Indies for several decades and, following Indonesian
independence, officially opened an Embassy on December 30, 1949. The
U.S. was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with
the new Republic. Diplomatic relations have been maintained since
The Mission in Jakarta and the Consulate General in Surabaya are
open Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4 pm, with 30 minutes for
lunch. After working hours and on weekends and holidays, the Embassy
in Jakarta provides a Mission duty officer to handle emergency
situations. The Chancery is located at Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan
5, near the Jakarta downtown and business district. The telephone
number is 3435–9000. The Chancery switchboard serves all U.S.
Government agencies in Jakarta except LOC, and is staffed
twenty-four hours a day. LOC’s telephone number is 3102127. NAMRU2
can be reached through the Embassy switchboard or on a direct line,
4214457. USAID is in a separate building on the Chancery compound.
Economic and technical assistance to Indonesia began in October 1950
when USAID’s predecessor agency, the International Cooperation
Administration, opened an office in Jakarta. The successor agencies,
including the present Mission, have supported Indonesia’s economic
development and growth. The Mission director and deputy director
head the office in Jakarta.
DAO, headed by the Defense Attaché is located in the Chancery.
ODC, located on the Chancery compound, administers a military
assistance program to the Indonesian Armed Forces. ODC is directed
by a full colonel whose title is military attach‚ for Defense
programs. Other military organizations under the DAO umbrella
include a NAMRU element and the FPO.
NAMRU began operations in Indonesia in 1970 and conducts medical
research in vaccine and drug development and the epidemiology of
tropical infectious diseases in collaboration with government health
authorities throughout Southeast Asia. Offices are located at the
Indonesian Department of Health, Jalan Percetakan Negara, Jakarta.
LOC in Jakarta, headed by a field director, has regional
responsibilities for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei,
Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Its
principal function is to acquire Indonesian and Southeast Asian
publications for the Library of Congress and American research
libraries. It gathers important publications and information in
English and Southeast Asian languages for distribution to the
Library of Congress, other U.S. Government agencies, and selected
libraries in North America. LOC is located at Jalan H.O.S.
Cokroaminoto 65, Jakarta.
FAS, located on the Chancery compound, develops and expands the
market for U.S. agricultural products and reports on agricultural
conditions in Indonesia to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Justice administers the ICITAP program to
provide training for the Indonesian police force. It is also located
on the chancery compound. The OPDAT program, to provide training for
prosecutors, is collocated with the Foreign Commercial Service.
A Community Liaison Office (CLO) was established in 1978. CLO
offers services to all Mission members including single and married
employees, spouses, and other dependents. CLO welcomes newcomers and
their families. It also sponsors tours and social events to support
the interests of Mission families and foster positive morale. CLO
acts as an ombudsman and is a collector and coordinator of ideas and
information to make life at post easier and more enjoyable. It also
offers educational counseling and preventive mental health care
referral and advice. CLO also acts as a liaison between various
Embassy sections and community groups and organizations.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:02 PM
Every effort is made to assign employees to their permanent
quarters as soon as possible after arrival. Employees are housed in
temporary quarters for overlapping assignments, necessary
renovations, lease expirations, etc.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:21 AM
Designated housing is provided only for the Ambassador, DCM,
Marine detachment, and principal officers in Surabaya and Medan. The
post’s Inter‑Agency Housing Board makes all other housing
assignments, following worldwide guidelines based on position grade
and family size.
Housing consists of government-owned and -leased quarters, in a
variety of single-family homes, townhouses, apartment buildings, and
gated communities. Over 90% of employees are housed in some form of
Employees assigned to permanent quarters normally remain in those
quarters for their entire tour. Exceptions are made for justifying
circumstances, such as significant changes in the number of
dependents or position requirements and the needs of the Government.
These would include such factors as having to give up the property
because of a lease expiration or sale of the property and, in rare
circumstances, the need to move an employee who is “over‑housed”
into smaller quarters to make room for another employee with a
larger family. Employees assigned to adequate quarters will,
however, not be reassigned to other quarters merely for personal
Furnishings Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:03 PM
Mission personnel live in furnished quarters. The quantity and
types of furniture vary depending on house size, number and size of
rooms, and number of occupants. Basic furnishings include living
room, dining room, and bedroom furniture, and draperies, lamps, gas
range, refrigerator, hot water heater, automatic washing machine,
clothes dryer, and air‑conditioners for the living room, dining
room, and bedrooms. Queen‑size beds are standard issue for the
master bedroom, and twin beds are standard for the other bedrooms.
The post provides an upholstery allowance after arrival. You can
have rattan chairs, stools, tables, and bars made to order in
Jakarta at your expense.
Bring your own blankets, pillows, linens, kitchenware, glasses,
china, silverware, iron and ironing board, and other personal
accessories. Although you must surface ship most of these, include a
few in your airfreight or send them via FPO to use until your
household effects (HHE) arrive. Mission Welcome Kits are loaned for
a short time, but ship most basics in your airfreight.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 11/6/2003 6:19 AM
In most Government quarters, lights and small appliances run on
220v, 50‑cycle, AC. Exceptions are the houses in the FOA complex at
the American Embassy Recreation Association compound which are wired
for 110v/50hz appliances, so check your housing assignment before
investing in 220v‑110v stepdown transformers. All heavy appliances
such as air‑conditioners operate on 220v. The Embassy provides one
or two transformers per home for personally owned appliances.
Stereos, clocks, tape recorders, and timers (on washers, etc.) must
be built for or adapted to 50‑cycle operation to obtain the right
speed. Local appliance prices are reasonable. All Government
quarters have a telephone; fees are nominal. Kitchen gadgets such as
mixers, blenders, and pressure cookers vary in value. Most household
help, unfamiliar with them, prefer not to use them.
Food Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:23 AM
Most food can be purchased in Jakarta. Local markets and grocery
stores have a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (locally
produced and imported), beef, pork, chicken, and fish available.
Western convenience foods and snack items are readily available in
local stores, albeit at prices higher than in the U.S. Most Mission
personnel use a combination of local markets and grocery stores,
duty‑free stores, and the commissary to supply their everyday needs.
If you have a strong attachment to particular brands of U.S. goods,
such as shampoos, toilet paper, personal hygiene products, etc., you
might want to ship some in your household effects (HHE). Imported
brands of toiletries are expensive but available here. Otherwise,
with a little initiative, you will be able to find everything you
need in Jakarta.
The Commissary and American Snack Bar. The American Embassy
Commissary and Recreation Association (AECRA) is a cooperative which
operates a commissary and the American snackbar on the Embassy
compound. The commissary stocks basic items imported from the U.S.
and Australia, which are not available or prohibitively expensive
locally. The snackbar is open for breakfast, lunch, and snacks
Monday through Friday from 7 am to 2:30 pm. A standard
American‑style grill/café menu is supplemented by daily specials,
which provide variety and take advantage of local produce. The
Embassy Medical Unit inspects the snackbar frequently to ensure high
standards of hygiene are maintained. The menu is priced in Rupiah,
as the Snack Bar is also open to FSNs.
The commissary stocks a range of U.S. brand groceries and other
“dry” goods and frozen foods. As alcohol is subject to high duties
in Indonesia, the commissary stocks a selection of duty‑free U.S.
and Australian beers and wines, as well as most major brands of
spirits. A limited selection of over‑the‑counter medicines,
toiletries, and cleaning products is also stocked. It endeavors to
stock seasonal items (e.g., Valentines, Halloween candy), but the
selection is often much greater in the local department stores and
supermarkets. Most items on the shelves are imported from the U.S.
The commissary necessarily carries fewer brands than the average
supermarket, due to the long distance from suppliers and space
limitations. Think of it as a 7‑Eleven or convenience store.
Commissary hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 3:30 pm, and
closed on Embassy holidays, which are announced in the post
newsletter. (When a large shipment arrives, the commissary also
closes for a half or full day to unload the goods.)
Services available in the commissary:
Sale of grocery items, frozen foods, fresh produce, beer, wine,
and liquor Travelers checks Video (VHS) rental library Hardcover
book lending library Pack and wrap service Personal fax service Film
processing drop-off point Drycleaning drop-off point Special Order
Service (please see below) AECRA Membership. Your membership deposit
is based on your family size and in some cases the duration of your
tour. Your membership deposit should be paid in full upon opening
your account. The full amount of your membership fee is refunded
when you close your account and/ or depart post.
Current USEA membership joining deposits are:
Single (no eligible family members $100 Family $200 Marine
Security Guards $50 Temporary duty personnel (90 days’ $50 temporary
duty and longer)
Note: Personnel assigned for TDY periods of less than 90 days may
make purchases on the account of their sponsoring section/ agency if
that section/agency has an account.
Members operate a shopping account in the commissary. No cash is
taken at the register but your purchases are entered into your
account. You will be asked to keep your shopping account with a zero
or credit balance. Most people find it convenient to deposit a
certain amount of money, using personal checks, travelers checks,
money orders, or cash, into their account and then shop against that
balance, replenishing it as needed. If you prefer, you may pay for
each purchase as you make it, keeping a “zero” balance on your
The commissary’s prices are all in U.S. dollars. It is important
to note that the commissary pays freight and handling fees on all
goods it imports, so prices are significantly higher than in the
U.S. (but often lower than competitors in the local economy!).
If you are stationed outside Jakarta and have commissary
privileges you may shop by proxy (by prior arrangement with the
commissary). The commissary can package and send items to Surabaya,
etc., provided you agree to meet the airfreight cost (which is quite
reasonable) and exempt commissary staff from responsibility for any
Special Orders. If there is a brand or item you just can’t live
without, the commissary will be happy to place a special order for
you through one of its regular suppliers. Special orders must be
made in whole caselots. You agree to purchase the entire case on
arrival. Plan on a 3-month wait. All special orders over $300 must
be paid for in full, less shipping charges, at the time of placing
Clothing Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:05 PM
Men, women, and children wear cotton and other lightweight
clothing year round. Due to frequent, hard washing, clothing does
not last as long as in the U.S. Launderers generally do satisfactory
ironing and pressing. Adequate drycleaning costs considerably less
than in a major U.S. city. Shoes wear out sooner than in U.S. due to
the dampness and rough terrain. Locally made men’s and women’s shoes
are adequate to good, but large sizes are sometimes difficult to
find. There is a very wide range of price and quality available
Imported shoes for both men and women are available at many shops
and department stores, but larger sizes are rare even in imported
shoes. Several places in Jakarta sell moderately priced
made‑to‑order shoes. Athletic shoes are more readily available in
larger sizes, especially at outlets for the many name brands that
are manufactured locally. For children and young teens, sandals,
cloth shoes, and tennis shoes are available. Imported fabrics are
available locally but are expensive. Indonesian batik, with its
distinctive patterns, is popular for dresses and sportswear. Prices
for batik vary widely depending on the quality and intricacy of
design. Many Mission personnel take advantage of inexpensive
tailoring to have clothing made. Tailors and seamstresses do not
work from patterns, but can copy based on a picture or a sample
item. Bring some warm clothing for travel to Tokyo, Hong Kong, or
the U.S. in winter months.
Men Last Updated: 12/14/2004 1:50 AM
Lightweight, washable clothes are recommended. Most Foreign
Service Officers wear standard business attire (tropical weight
suits, long- or short-sleeved shirts and ties, and equivalent for
women). Some Embassy personnel do not wear jackets. Men who will
attend representational functions may wish to bring a tropical
black‑tie evening suit with either white or black jacket and dark
trousers. Few, if any, occasions require black tie. However, the
Ambassador and the DCM must bring a black dinner jacket. A dark suit
or batik shirt is recommended for diplomatic functions. Many men
wear batik shirts (long and short sleeves) for social affairs.
Indonesians consider long‑sleeved batik shirts formal attire; you
may wear them to official functions. Batik shirts can be purchased
readymade or tailor made. American sport shirts are usually worn
only for casual affairs and at private parties. Bring an adequate
supply of shoes. Only a few exclusive, expensive shops sell Western
styles and sizes. Some have found sandals desirable for informal
wear. Bring your own golf shoes or buy them in Tokyo, Hong Kong, or
Singapore for better quality and more reasonable prices. For
evenings in the mountains, men will need a light jacket or sweater.
Bring sports clothes, including tennis or golf shorts and swimming
Women Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:24 AM
Office wear for women is similar to that in Washington, D.C.,
during summer. Since offices, cars, and most indoor places are
completely air‑conditioned, most lightweight summer fabrics,
including knits, are suitable. Sleeveless tops are sometimes worn
within the Embassy, but for appointments outside the Embassy, women
should wear clothing that covers their shoulders. Some women wear
nylon hose. Casual dresses or long pants are suitable for nearly all
daytime occasions. Evening wear is usually casual. Special occasions
are dressy or formal. Both long and short casual dresses are
appropriate for informal events. Indonesian dressmakers are skilled
in copying clothing from pieces you already have or from a picture.
A wide variety of fabrics, both local and imported, is available
locally. You may also order clothing from mail‑order catalogs and
Internet sites after you arrive. Women who wear smaller sizes will
not have trouble finding attractive and affordable clothing locally,
but larger sizes are rare. Bring two casual long or short evening
dresses with you, as it may take several weeks for airfreight to
clear customs (see Notes for Travelers). Bring some shorts and
sleeveless shirts. Shorts are worn primarily for golf and tennis and
at the AECRA Club. Also bring swimsuits, tennis and golf clothes,
and sports clothing.
You can often use a wool sweater and slacks during the cool
mountain evenings. Ready‑made maternity clothes are not available.
Most women bring an ample supply of underwear. Women rarely wear
hats and gloves; they are not required in churches or for calling.
Bring plenty of shoes and sandals. Some prefer closed (canvas‑type)
shoes for shopping and sightseeing during the rainy season. Bring
your regular size if you know your feet don’t swell in hot weather.
Children Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:07 PM
In general, bring enough of everything for 6–12 months. This will
give you time to place mail orders once you have had a chance to
look around and ask questions. Again, cotton and polyester/cotton
washable clothes are recommended.
At JIS, all children in grades 7 thru 9 must wear uniforms
(available for purchase at the school) and tennis shoes for physical
education classes. Most children wear shorts at home and at the
pool. Local shops sell children’s shoes, but a proper fit may be
difficult to obtain. Western‑style clothes are popular with young
people in Jakarta. Jeans and denims are sold everywhere.
Office Attire Last Updated: 11/6/2003 6:28 AM
Office attire for both men and women is the same as that worn
during the summer months in Washington, DC.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 11/6/2003 6:30 AM
Most basic toiletries are available locally, but if you rely on a
particular U.S. brand, you should pack a supply in HHE. Several
websites selling toiletries, vitamins, and other drugstore items are
used regularly by Embassy families. Bring special medicines or
vitamins and reorder them by mail. The commissary sells a few basic
toiletries such as face cream, deodorant, shampoo, feminine hygiene
articles, etc. The commissary also stocks U.S. toilet paper,
detergents, laundry soap, starch, and disinfectants. Local stores
carry most of these, including expensive American brands. The Health
Unit has a pharmacy, and similar drugstores are available in all
major shopping malls.
Bring the usual household repair tools (such as screwdrivers,
hammers, etc.). American garden hoses do not fit Indonesian faucets,
but adequate quality hoses are available in local shops at slightly
higher than U.S. prices. The commissary carries name brand
cigarettes, pipe tobaccos, and cigars. They are also sold locally at
reasonable prices. Ace Hardware, at the Pasaraya Department Store,
stocks the full range of American hardware, gardening, and cleaning
products. Prices are higher than in the U.S., but selection is
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:08 PM
Each household has a washer and dryer and many families have
household staff do laundering. Drycleaning is generally deemed
adequate. Shoe repair facilities are fair. Prices are less than in
the U.S. A few beauty shops are recommended; some are small and
simple, others are more luxurious. They offer the usual services at
low, reasonable prices. Color rinses, perms, and dyes are available
but expensive. You provide your own perm and dye supplies. Major
hotels and shopping areas have barbershops. The usual services are
Automobile repairs range from poor to good, depending on the type
of car. Repair shops do not carry spare parts for American‑made
vehicles, especially for newer models with many gadgets. Local
mechanics are not trained to repair American cars. If you plan to
ship an American made car to post, bring spare parts. Several
dealers service Japanese and European cars. Most parts are adequate
and expensive, but labor costs are reasonable. Very few service
stations exist. Some, but not all, of the stations provide such
basic services as tire repair, compressed air, and battery services.
All stations sell gasoline.
Generally, radio, TV, and household appliance repairs do not meet
U.S. standards. However, several shops perform adequate repair
services; parts are usually imported and expensive. Good quality
batik floor cushions and draperies can be custom made at reasonable
prices. Picture framing is inexpensive and quality and selection
varies. Several upholstery shops offer good work at reasonable
Jakarta has many dressmakers, but prices and competence vary
greatly. Some will visit your home for fittings. Establish a
dressmaker’s competence before providing an expensive piece of
fabric. Tailors are available and, again, their competence and
prices vary greatly. They make shirts, shorts, and suits.
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 11/6/2003 6:40 AM
As in most of Asia, household help is not a luxury, but a
necessity — not to provide a life of ease, but to help a family live
a normal life and maintain a good level of security. You must take
extra precautions when preparing food and must thoroughly scrub and
peel vegetables before cooking, or soak them in disinfectant and
rewash them in bottled water if you eat them raw. Marketing can be
time consuming, although the preponderance of Western‑style
supermarkets makes shopping easier, albeit at a higher price. In
many households, the cook shops for food in local markets at a
considerable savings to the family. Domestic staff cannot shop in
Aside from being practical, household help is customary in this
part of the world. Even Indonesians of moderate circumstances have
them. Most households require at least two household staff, and you
may need more, depending on your family size. You may have to
replace staff members, or even the whole staff, before you achieve
the right combination. Staff management can be difficult and
requires patience and good nature.
The number of household help needed and their salaries differ
according to individual households, with varying emphasis on their
responsibility and ability. Below are examples of staff
responsibilities. Salaries are paid in Rupiah and are considered
quite affordable by western standards. CLO conducts an annual staff
survey that identifies salary range and duties. The survey is
available from the CLO office in either hard copy or electronic
Cook. Plans the meals with you; informs you of what is on the
market and does shopping; keeps a kitchen account book, which you
should check; cleans the kitchen; and does the dishes.
Maid/Houseboy. Serves at table, mixes drinks, and cleans living
and dining rooms; may also prepare meals on the cook’s day off or if
she or he is the only servant in a small household.
Nanny. Takes care of children, cleans their room, mends their
clothing, and sees that it comes back from the launderer in good
condition. May help with general housework if the family is small.
Driver. Acts as chauffeur, purchases gas and oil, and keeps your
car in good operating condition.
Gardener. Tends the lawn, shrubs, flowers, etc. Most common is a
combination gardener/watchman who watches the house during the day
while he tends the yard.
Night Watchman. Guards your house.
Many families employ one or more “all in one” helpers who combine
the functions of cook, maid/houseboy, and nanny.
Domestic staff in Indonesia depend on their employers. The
employer customarily provides uniforms and/or clothing, a Lebaran or
Christmas bonus (1 month’s salary if the employee has worked at
least a year, prorated for shorter periods), and some employers
provide uniforms and/or clothing as well as some basic food stuffs
and some medical expenses. Additionally, employers must provide a
bed (including the mattress), sheets, pillows, and towels for each
employee that lives in. A bed, mattress, and pillow (at minimum)
purchased locally costs between $25 and $35. Sheets and towels are
very expensive on the local market. Some people prefer to bring some
extra inexpensive ones for their staff.
All household staff should have a preemployment physical
examination and annual stool tests and chest x‑rays. As of February
2000, the range in cost for full physicals was $8–$20; x‑rays were
$15. Domestic employees who are dismissed by you for any reason
other than wrongdoing (e.g., if you leave post or your needs change)
should be given severance pay at the rate of 1 month’s salary for
each full year worked and a prorated portion of a month’s salary for
employment periods of less than full years. If the employee resigns,
you are not obliged to give severance pay but may want to give
“service pay,” something like a thank‑you bonus. Prevailing practice
in business is to give one‑half a month’s salary after 5 years of
employment. But should you choose to give “service pay,” the amount
is at your discretion. Some staff require constant supervision,
especially on cleanliness, market prices, storage and use of food
supplies, and personal effects. Depending on house size and your
individual preferences, one or two domestic staff normally live in.
Most houses have staff quarters.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 11/6/2003 6:38 AM
In Jakarta, churches of several denominations hold regular
services in English: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Baptist,
interdenominational Protestant, Lutheran, and the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latterday Saints. There are also two active Christian
youth groups: Friday Night Live for teens and preteens and
International Christian Youth for high school students. There is an
informal Jewish network that plans observations of high holidays and
holds some social events.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and Muslim
employees will find a wide range of religious activities and
institutions. Religion plays an important role in daily life in
Indonesia, and non-Muslims will want to familiarize themselves early
on with social norms. During the month of Ramadan, some
entertainment venues may close and domestic employees may spend
their evenings at the local mosque.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:13 PM
In Jakarta, most dependent American children from kindergarten
(prep 1) through grade 12 attend JIS. JIS enrollment for the
2000–2001 school year was 2,526. Currently, more than half of the
227‑member teaching staff is American. The high school is fully
accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and
the European Council of International Schools. All instruction is in
JIS has three campuses, two of which are elementary schools, in
two locations. For elementary level students, campus assignment is
based primarily on area of residence. All Embassy housing areas are
nearest to Pattimura Elementary, although space limitations may
require that an Embassy child attend Pondok Indah Elementary. To
ensure that your child is able to attend the campus of your choice,
it is important to get applications in to CLO as early as possible.
Pattimura is located in Kebayoran Baru and houses prep 1 through
grade 5. Completely reconstructed in 1986, Pattimura now consists of
23 classrooms; a library with more than 20,000 volumes; a computer
lab; a theater; a gymnasium; and special rooms for art, music,
English to Speakers of Other Languages, and reading. All indoor
facilities are air‑conditioned.
Pondok Indah Elementary (PIE) is located in Cilandak, behind but
not connected to the middle and high school campuses. PIE houses
prep 1 through grade 5. Located on 9 acres, it includes 47
classrooms, a library with more than 30,000 volumes, two computer
labs, a science lab, a gymnasium, a theater, a cafeteria, a covered
play area, a swimming pool, and extensive fields for outdoor
recreation. All buildings are air‑conditioned.
The Cilandak campus houses the middle school (grades 6 to 8) and
high school (grades 9 to 12), in addition to the administrative
offices. The 23‑acre campus includes 115 classrooms, 2 libraries
totaling more than 37,000 volumes, 9 computer labs, 2 theaters, 2
gymnasiums (with a third under construction), covered tennis courts,
sports fields, a swimming pool, and a cafeteria.
The JIS elementary curriculum gives students a solid foundation
in basic skills. The school offers up‑to‑date programs in math and
science, using discovery and inquiry methods, and places a strong
emphasis on language arts. Students have specialist teachers for
music, art, computer studies, library science, and physical
education. In grades 3, 4, and 5, students also have specialist
teachers for Indonesian language and culture.
The middle school curriculum includes a balanced emphasis on
basic skill development and content. A variety of teaching methods
are employed. The school’s program of studies and daily schedule
provide a gradual transition from the largely self‑contained school
structure of the elementary school to the departmental organization
found in the high school. Students receive instruction in
English/language arts, mathematics, history/social studies, science,
and physical education. There are also a variety of exploratory and
elective options in the areas of visual and performing arts,
computer studies, practical arts, and modern languages. Each 7th–8th
grade student also must complete required courses in computer
applications, Indonesian language, and health.
The high school curriculum offers a modified American curriculum
as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB), fulfilling
admission requirements for both American universities and those of
other countries. Normally, six subjects are taken each year,
including a sequential progression of courses in English,
mathematics, science, and social studies. The following foreign
languages are offered: French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Japanese,
Korean, and Indonesian. One semester of Indonesian Studies is
required for JIS high school graduation. Electives include music,
drama, fine arts, practical arts, business, computer studies,
physical education, yearbook, and journalism. Advanced courses are
offered in selected areas to prepare students for Advanced Placement
(AP) exams, the AP International diploma, the IB diploma, and the IB
To supplement the academic program, JIS provides a variety of
extracurricular activities designed to encourage physical
well‑being, intellectual interchange, and participation in social
activities. Boys and girls can participate in a varied after school
sports program. There are also special‑interest clubs such as
photography, chess, and handicrafts. Community leagues in soccer,
basketball, baseball, and competitive swimming are available.
At the high school level, JIS participates in the Interscholastic
Association of Southeast Asia Schools (IASAS), a regional
organization that offers competition in sports and cultural events.
Club activities are available at all levels, as are Boy and Girl
The school year begins in mid‑August and ends early in June.
There is a 3‑week vacation between semesters and a 1‑week break
during the second semester. The school observes Indonesian holidays.
School hours are:
Prekindergarten (Prep Junior): 7:30 am–noon Kindergarten (Prep
Senior): 7:30 am–noon (1st semester) 7:30 am-1:45 pm (2nd semester)
Grades 1-5: 7:30 am–1:45 pm Grades 6-12: 7:30 am–2:40 pm
A catering service sells sandwiches and hot lunches on campus.
Ice cream, bottled drinks, and various snacks are also available at
the student stores on campus. School uniforms are worn only for
physical education; however, clothing should be clean, neat, and
comfortable. Shoes must be worn at all times for health reasons.
JIS does not have the facilities to deal with children who have
serious learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. Parents of
prospective students are advised that the school is able to serve
only those mildly learning‑disabled (LD) students who are able to
function in the regular program with minimal support. If a child is
receiving special services, such as LD instruction, remedial
teaching, speech/language therapy, or seeing any educational
specialist outside the regular classroom, parents are advised to
contact the school and discuss the child’s situation before making a
decision to come to Jakarta.
There are several other schools in Jakarta, including schools
following the British, French, and Australian educational curricula,
as well as a Montessori school. The Australian International School
(AIS) is a smaller, relatively new school in southern Jakarta that
offers special needs programs.
Personnel assigned to post should send completed application
forms and copies of transcripts for their children directly to CLO,
which will act as liaison with the schools on their behalf. Students
wishing to enroll in prep 1 (kindergarten) at JIS must reach their
5th birthdays prior to October 31 of the current school year.
Contact CLO regarding any questions about enrollment.
Preschools: There are several good English‑language preschools at
post. Many families of young children take advantage of part‑ or
full‑time preschools, including Bambino, Tutor Time, Discovery
Center and Jakarta Montessori School. JIS has a preschool program
for 3‑ and 4‑year-olds; however, most Embassy families find the JIS
program to be too expensive. It is not necessary to register for
preschool before arriving at post. Contact the CLO for information
about programs and prices.
At Post Last Updated: 11/18/2003 6:19 AM The Jakarta
International School (JIS), with three campuses totaling 46 acres in
South Jakarta, is one of the finest international schools in the
world, offering a complete program of instruction from
pre-Kindergarten through International Baccalaureate (IB) and
Advanced Placement (AP) programs. Its air-conditioned facilities
offer students a curriculum based on North American and other
models, complemented by outstanding 19 science laboratories, 7
computer laboratories, 4 libraries (with over 100,000 volumes), 4
theatres, 3 cafeterias, 3 tennis courts, 6 gymnasia, 6 playing
fields, 2 swimming pools, a design technology facility, and art,
music, and dance studios. It also offers its international student
body courses in Indonesian language and culture, and field trips
emphasizing the rich diversity of the archipelago. JIS is fully
accredited by the Western Assocation of Schools and Colleges and the
European Council of International Schools. The school's website is
JIS, founded in 1951, is a private, coeducational day school,
governed by an 11-member School Council, 9 of whom are elected by
parents. The enrollment is approximately 2400, of whom over 500 are
American citizens. There are over 200 faculty members, 123 of whom
are American citizens.
In addition, there are Australian, French, Korean, and other
foreign schools in Jakarta, intended primarily for students who have
already begun study elsewhere in these systems and who have the
requisite foreign language skills.
For pre-Kindergarten students, there are a number of options;
up-to-date references may be obtained from the Community Liaison
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:14 PM
Children with special needs are mainstreamed, with full‑time
Indonesian classroom assistants assigned as necessary. A special
needs coordinator works with the children individually several times
per week. Speech therapy is sometimes available, though not
guaranteed. School facilities are basic, but class sizes tend to be
small. The school offers classes from preschool through grade 12,
operating on the Australian school calendar which means that the
school year goes from January–December. For more information,
contact the school at AIS@bitnet.id, or phone 62–21–780–5152.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:14 PM
Indonesian language training is available through a number of
local resources, including the Lembaga Indonesia‑Amerika (Yayasan
LIA) and ICAC. The Embassy also has a language program that is open
to employees and spouses. Ask your administrative officer for
information on eligibility and cost. The Indonesian Heritage Society
offers various opportunities to study Indonesian culture in depth
through its study groups, lecture series, and museum volunteer
program. Although several Indonesian colleges and universities
exist, all instruction is in Indonesian.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:31 AM
Jakarta hosts a variety of recreational and sports facilities,
from fitness clubs to golf driving ranges to tennis courts to riding
stables. Many Mission personnel join the AECRA Club, located in
Kebayoran Baru and surrounded by Embassy housing. AECRA provides a
variety of activities to enhance the morale of American families
both within and outside the official Mission. Facilities include
dining areas, a Western‑ style bar with large‑screen TV, a pool
table, video games, NTSC video rental, a satellite dish, tennis
courts, swimming pool, a fitness center, and multipurpose rooms used
for fitness and children’s classes and available for special‑purpose
The club conducts a summer camp for elementary school-aged
children, organizes activities for adults and children, and hosts
programs for American holidays and other special occasions. It also
provides catering services for members. Membership fees include a
reasonable initiation fee and monthly dues. Charges for food, video
rentals, etc., are payable on a monthly basis. Mission families are
given membership priority.
There are several other clubs that expatriates join, including
the Jakarta American Club (not affiliated with the Embassy or the
AECRA Club) and the Mercantile Athletic Club. Several large hotels
make their facilities available on a daily or membership basis. In
addition, the Mission housing pool includes some apartment complexes
and housing complexes that have swimming pools, tennis courts, and
Golf. Golf enthusiasts can choose from 18‑ and 9‑hole golf
courses and driving ranges. Some are open to casual players, but
others require memberships. Membership and green fees are moderate.
Courses are generally well maintained and are open from sunrise to
sunset. Most have pro shops, snack or meal service, locker room
facilities, and instruction. Golf equipment is available locally but
is more expensive than in the U.S.
Tennis. Most clubs have tennis courts, including the AERA Club,
the Hilton, the Senayan Sports Complex, and JIS. Several housing
compounds also have tennis facilities. Although tennis equipment and
balls are available locally, prices are generally higher than in the
Swimming. In Jakarta, most clubs, hotels, and apartment or
townhouse complexes have swimming pools. Many hotels charge daily
fees for use of the pool. Ancol and Pondok Indah offer public
swimming and water park facilities. These tend to be crowded on
weekends and public holidays. Saltwater bathing is available at
beach resorts and nearby islands. Beach lovers should note, however,
that the closest beach is some 3½ hours by car from Jakarta.
Pelabuhan Ratu (Samudra Beach) on the Indian Ocean, south of
Jakarta, is about 4½ hours by car, and Anyer, Carita, and Sombola,
on the Sunda Straits west of Jakarta, are about 3½ hours by car.
Pulau Seribu or Thousand Islands is a system of small islands in the
sea north of Jakarta. There are several basic but pleasant resorts
that offer scuba, snorkeling, swimming, and various sports.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:04 AM
Snorkeling and Scubadiving: Snorkeling and scubadiving are
available both near and far from Jakarta. Several islands of the
Thousand Islands area have popular sites for viewing coral, highly
colored tropical fish, and other sea life. Some are reachable by
boat in several hours. Pulau Putri and other islands have beaches
and full tourist facilities, including cottages for rent. Scuba
courses are available, and informal groups organize trips to the
islands. For travel further afield, several other islands and
resorts offer both activities, including Sulawesi, Sumatra, Lombok,
Bali, Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua. Most dive shops/tour operators
rent tanks and weights. Most also sell equipment, but it is
expensive compared to U.S. prices. It is advisable to bring your own
regulator and BCD.
Horseback Riding: Several high‑quality English‑style equestrian
facilties offer regular lessons for all levels, including jumping
and polo; costs of lessons are cheaper than the equivalent in the
U.S. Horses can be leased long term, which is the best arrangement
if you plan to ride more than a couple of times a week.
Photography: Picturesque villages, colorful native dress, street
scenes, mountains, and beaches provide a variety of photo
opportunities. Film and slides, mostly Japanese and U.S. brands, are
available locally at reasonable prices. Film may be sent via FPO for
processing in the U.S., particularly black and white. Local
processing of color film is good and reasonably priced.
Sightseeing: In and around Jakarta, there are several museums,
including the National Museum, which houses a large collection of
Indonesian antiques, cultural displays, and one of the world’s
finest Asian porcelain collections; Gedung 28, a private collection
of artefacts from Indonesia's eastern Islands (Kalimantan, Sulawesi,
Papua, West Timor), displayed in a purpose-built facility; the
Museum of the Armed Forces; Museum Wayang, which houses a collection
of puppets representing various regions and eras in Indonesia;
Museum-Tekstil, containing a collection of Indonesian textiles; the
Adam Malik Museum, containing some of the late statesman’s
collection; the Ceramic Museum; and the Jakarta Historical Museum.
Taman Mini, located about 13 miles southeast of Jakarta, has
several theme museums, exhibits of traditional houses of the 27
regions in the country, amusement rides, an orchid garden, and
various other attractions. Taman Impian Jaya Ancol is located in the
north of Jakarta and has a water park, an amusement park, an art and
handicraft market, and Seaworld. Many consider visiting the various
market areas as a sightseeing trip in itself. Jakarta also has a zoo
and planetarium. Newcomers often enjoy city tours arranged by major
hotels and travel agencies. The Indonesian Heritage Society has an
Explorers Club that organizes regular tours to a wide variety of
local landmarks and historic areas. It is an interesting way to see
the city and meet new friends.
To learn about Indonesian culture, take trips outside the city.
The Puncak Hills and the nearby town of Bogor offer a pleasant
climate and scenery change. In Bogor, the famous Botanical Gardens
feature a 275‑ acre park with a zoological museum, scientific
library, and laboratory. The orchid collection is a special
attraction. Puncak Pass, on the road to Bandung, is 5,000 feet high.
Jakarta residents often rent cottages in the Puncak on weekends. A
Safari Park, where you can drive through and view wild animals, is
located here. There is also a children’s zoo on the premises.
Bandung, a 4‑hour drive from Jakarta or a pleasant train ride,
offers good hotel accommodations and pleasant mountain views.
Several modern artists live and work in Bandung; one of Indonesia’s
art schools is here. About 15 miles north of Bandung is the
Tangkuban Prahu Volcano.
Yogyakarta and Solo are interesting cities on Java. Yogyakarta is
of historical and cultural interest‑here are some of Indonesia’s
best‑preserved Hindu and Buddhist monuments and temples, among them
the famous Borobudur Temple. At the magnificent Prambanan Temple,
between Yogyakarta and Solo, a Javanese dancedrama is performed
twice a month at full moon during the dry season. Both Solo and
Yogyarkarta are Javanese cultural centers and offer a variety of
events and shopping opportunities. Good hotels are available.
The Island of Bali is one of the most popular vacation spots for
tourists. It has beautiful beaches and striking volcanic scenery.
Accommodations range from four‑star hotels to simple guest houses
and bungalows. Balinese culture is particularly interesting. As
Islam swept through Indonesia, many Hindus fled to Bali, where Hindu
and Indonesian culture and customs mix in an interesting fashion.
The island abounds in cultural activities and performances and
shopping opportunities. Bali is about 1 hour and 20 minutes by air
The island of Lombok also continues to be popular. Considered
similar to Bali of 30 years ago, this still‑unspoiled island has
lovely beaches and is famous for its weaving and pottery. There are
flights from Jakarta, via either Bali or Yogyakarta.
The Island of Sumatra offers Lake Toba, a beautiful volcanic lake
in the north; Padang, central Sumatra’s largest city and center of
the Minangkabau people (a matriarchal society); Palembang, site of a
refinery and large oil installations; and an elephant training
center near Lampung in southern Sumatra. Visiting many of these
places requires a car, but travelers must be wary of poor road
conditions and hazardous local driving. Some travel agents and
hotels offer packages that include tours onsite with a rented
vehicle and driver.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 5/25/2005 3:31 AM
Jakarta offers a large variety of restaurants ranging from
international-standard restaurants, generally housed in major
hotels, to moderately priced, family-style restaurants, to most
popular American fast-food restaurants. A 10% government tax and 11%
service charge is included in the bill at nicer restaurants.
The city offers a variety of nightlife, including clubs both in
major hotels and as independent establishments. There are several
discotheques that offer both live and recorded music. For security
reasons, American employees and family members are cautioned against
going to establishments known to cater to Westerners.
Expatriates frequent several Jakarta cinemas; they are
air‑conditioned, clean, and wide screened. American films are shown
in their original English language version with Indonesian
subtitles. Admission is usually about $2.50. American movies shown
here tend to be several months old and are subject to government
Americans occasionally attend Indonesian dances, music
performances, and puppet shows. Local artists frequently hold
exhibits throughout the city. Several amateur theater groups present
English language plays and musicals. There are classical music
evenings and an occasional ballet, usually at Gedung Kesenian in
Central Jakarta. Stage plays are rare, but the number of rock
concerts is increasing.
Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), the Jakarta Cultural Center, has an
enclosed theater, an open‑air theater, a cinema, exhibition rooms
for art shows, and a planetarium.
There are no real public libraries here, and although popular
English‑language books are available in several bookstores, prices
can be double what they are in the U.S. The British Council, ICAC,
and AWA operate small lending libraries, and parents of JIS students
can use the high school library. The AECRA Club and the commissary
operate small, informal used book exchanges. Many families order
books from Internet bookstore sites.
Recreation and Social Life
Among Americans Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:26 PM Most social life
centers around private homes and includes cocktail parties, buffets,
dinners, and card parties. Heavy traffic patterns frequently
determine the timing and frequency of such entertaining.
AWA organizes social and charitable activities for women and
their families. Monthly meetings are held with guest speakers or
other activities. Twice a year, AWA sponsors major craft bazaars,
which are very popular. It publishes Introducing Indonesia, an
excellent guide to expatriate living in Indonesia, as well as the
Jakarta Shoppers Guide and other useful books. It also maintains a
center that houses a thriftshop, a used book section, a lending
library, and a servants registry. The organization also organizes
group tours within and outside of Indonesia.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, commonly known as
AMCHAM, is an association of businesspeople abroad and is concerned
with U.S. trade, investment, and community services. AMCHAM holds
monthly luncheons with guest speakers and sponsors some social
Recreation and Social Life
International Contacts Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:07 AM With a
large international community, social activities include
Indonesians, Americans, and other expatriates of many nationalities.
A great deal of entertaining occurs among international
representatives and Indonesians. The Women’s International Club
(WIC) has members from many nationalities. It was organized in 1950
to promote friendship and understanding among different
nationalities. It sponsors social activities and classes and is
active in social welfare programs. It sponsors an annual Christmas
Bazaar that is very popular with both expatriates and Indonesians.
ICAC is a nonprofit organization that provides workshops,
activities, professional counseling services, a lending library, a
small craftshop, and a newcomers resource center. It conducts
orientation programs quarterly and smaller luncheons and discussion
groups to help newcomers meet each other and begin their adjustment
The International Allied Medical Association (IAMA) is an
informal group of English‑speaking health professionals interested
in keeping up with current developments in the medical field.
Monthly meetings with guest speakers are held.
The Indonesian Heritage Society is an organization of volunteers
interested in learning about the history, art, and culture of
Indonesia. Volunteers assist in the museums of Jakarta and sponsor a
public lecture series and smaller study groups.
A multinational community chorus, the PPIA choir, presents
concerts twice a year and is open to all. In addition to these
groups, there are many other organizations based on specific
interests and needs, such as Rotary and Lions Clubs.
The Wine and Spirits Circle holds monthly meetings, usually held
at major hotels, featuring the wines of a specific country or
countries, often with a representative of the winery(ies) or
distributor(s) present. The final meeting of the year is a black-tie
Official Functions Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:27 PM
Jakarta is relatively informal, with few strict protocol
requirements. Specific guidance on local social customs and
practices can be easily learned after you arrive. Except at the
counselor level and above, few or no formal calls are required.
However, prompt informal calls on diplomatic and Indonesian
counterparts are encouraged.
Officers at counselor level and above will need formal, engraved
calling cards as well as informal cards. You can bring these from
the U.S. or have them printed here. Other officers will find it
useful to have calling cards. Both the Indonesian and international
communities expect the exchange of cards. Invitations can also be
printed in Jakarta. Costs are reasonable and quality is acceptable.
Special Information Last Updated: 11/6/2003 6:47 AM
Military personnel are cautioned that not all sections of the
post report will pertain to them. The post report is a good general
information source, but military personnel should correspond
directly with their prospective commands and their sponsors for more
definitive information concerning their assignments, housing,
medical and dental care, importation of privately owned vehicles,
etc. Military and assistant military attaches and ODC officers will
need calling cards, which can be bought in Jakarta. Spouses may also
wish to order calling cards.
DAO Personnel. Military uniforms are worn by attachés to official
functions and social events where Indonesian officers are expected
to be present and when calling at offices of the Indonesian Armed
Forces and military representatives of foreign governments;
otherwise, civilian clothing is worn. Officers normally wear
summerweight, short-sleeved uniform shirts or civilian clothing at
the office, depending on their scheduled activities. Dress uniforms
are worn for formal affairs and on ceremonial occasions. Enlisted
personnel wear washable, short-sleeved shirts, slacks, and all
accessories. Most social events attended by both officers and
enlisted personnel are informal. Batik shirts and slacks are
normally worn for these social events.
ODC Personnel. Short‑ or long‑sleeved civilian shirts with ties
are worn by ODC officers. Service dress and mess dress uniforms may
be required for some official events. All personnel should bring one
or two lightweight uniforms. Most social events are informal and
specify sport shirts/ batik shirts and slacks; however, each officer
and enlisted person should bring a dark summerweight suit.
NAMRU and FPO Personnel. NAMRU and FPO personnel wear washable,
short‑sleeved shirts and slacks, but bring a few service dress, mess
dress, and tropical uniforms. Most social events are informal and
specify sport shirts/batik shirts and slacks; however, each officer
and enlisted person should bring a dark summerweight suit.
Marine Security Guards. All members of the Marine Security Guard
detachment are provided with furnished living quarters. Marines wear
uniforms only on duty and on formal occasions such as the annual
Marine Corps Ball. The Department of State provides Marines with a
civilian clothing allowance prior to their departure from the U.S.
For further information, see the annual Marine post report for
Post Orientation Program
Newcomers receive a welcome book with information on checking in,
currency exchange, health and medical information, pertinent
administrative memorandums, shopping, and other subjects related to
the Mission and life at post. CLO offers orientation tours, advice,
and information on living in Indonesia.
The Embassy holds an orientation program for all new Mission
employees and their adult eligible family members. Speakers,
including the Ambassador, the DCM, and appropriate Mission officers,
discuss American interests in Indonesia and the political,
psychological, and cultural situations encountered in Indonesia.
Individual briefings are also held by the Regional Security Office,
the General Services Office, and the Medical Unit.
Consulate General - Surabaya
Post City Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:45 AM
Surabaya, with a population of about 3.5 million, is Indonesia’s
second largest city and the provincial capital of East Java.
Surabaya is on the northeastern coast of Java opposite the nearby
island of Madura. The city itself is thickly settled along the
Brantas River Estuary. The area around the city to the west and
south is marshy, coastal plain. In recent years, the abundant rice
cultivation in the south has given way to steady development of
industrial sites. The southern plain gradually rises to a range of
volcanic mountains, the nearest of note being about 31 miles south
of the city.
Surabaya’s climate is very hot and humid, with an average
humidity of 75%, average rainfall of 60 inches, and average
temperature of 81 °F. The rainy season begins in November and ends
around April. The rest of the year, particularly June through
October, is drier. The periods when the monsoons change direction
(usually March–April and November–December) are characterized by
harsh rains and often result in some flooding in East Java and in
greater Surabaya. The months of July and August are the most
comfortable of the year.
At the turn of the century, Surabaya was the leading port of the
Dutch Indies and Indonesia's largest city. The city exported rubber,
tobacco, teak, kapok, sugar, and fibers. Despite the impact of the
two World Wars, the 1930s depression, the 1945–49 revolution, and
subsequent periods of civil turbulence, Surabaya remains a major
agricultural and industrial center and is Indonesia’s second largest
port. Provincial and municipal government has taken on an
increasingly important role as Indonesia implements a far-reaching
political decentralization program.
The city’s present population is mostly indigenous Indonesian
(primarily Javanese and Madurese), with a visible ethnic Chinese
minority which is very prominent in the business community, smaller
ethnic Indian and Arabic communities, and several hundred other
foreigners, including Japanese, Koreans, Australians, Europeans, and
Americans. About 180 Americans live in the greater Surabaya area,
primarily engaged in teaching and social service work. Japan has the
only other fully staffed Consulate General in the city. There are
also a British Council, a French Cultural Center, a Goethe Institut,
a Western Australia Trade Office, and several honorary consulates.
Few American tourists visit Surabaya, but many visit Bali and
Yogyakarta, which are also in the consular district.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:48 AM
The Surabaya consular district includes East Java, Central Java,
Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku,
the District of Yogyakarta, and the four provinces of Sulawesi.
About half of Indonesia’s population resides in the Surabaya
consular district. The U.S. consular presence in Surabaya dates from
1885. The office was upgraded to a full Consulate in 1918 and became
a Consulate General in 1990. The Department of State is the sole USG
agency represented in Surabaya.
The Consulate General is located in a residential section of the
city near the CBD. The address is Jalan Raya Dr. Sutomo 33; phone
numbers is 295-6400, fax 567-4492. All Consulate General staff
undertake consultations at the Embassy in Jakarta prior to arrival
in Surabaya. New arrivals are met by an American member of the
Consulate General staff if advance notice is given. If you are not
met, telephone or take a taxi directly to the Consulate General. HHE
and automobiles are normally shipped directly to Surabaya. Customs
clearance for HHE and automobiles takes 2–3 weeks, and clearance can
begin once the bill of lading and packing list arrive at post (by
fax or mail). Airfreight can be shipped directly to Surabaya;
customs clearance takes one week.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 5/10/2005 0:24 AM
All personnel are assigned to government‑leased housing.
The principal officer has a large two‑story leased house with
three bedrooms, three baths, and a study upstairs. A living room,
dining room, kitchen, TV room, bathroom, storage, and garage are
downstairs. A screened porch and a fairly large backyard are
suitable for representational purposes. China, silverware,
glassware, linens, and well as most appliances are furnished.
Other officers occupy three- to four‑bedroom detached houses with
small yards or two-to-three-bedroom apartments, depending on family
size. Houses generally require domestic staff, and some personnel
hire night guards as well. Apartments are located in secure,
high-rise facilities. All attempts are made to house new arrivals in
permanent housing, but if make-ready work or transfer dates
conflict, the Consulate General will make arrangements for temporary
Furnishings Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:52 AM
All houses are furnished with basic items, including furniture,
refrigerators, some lamps, air‑conditioners, water heaters, gas
stoves, freezers, washers, and dryers. Some furnishings are
available locally, as are drapery and upholstery materials. Although
post personnel may use Embassy ordering facilities for these
materials, the distance to Jakarta makes a trip there for purposes
of decorating a house impractical. Linens, blankets, china,
glassware, tableware (service for 12), and kitchen utensils should
be shipped, since these items are not provided (except some items
for the consul general’s home), or they can be purchased locally at
reasonable prices. Plan to buy locally kitchen appliances such as
toasters, blenders, and mixers. An electric iron is a must.
Electricity is not constant and each house is supplied with a
minimum number of transformers. Cheap electrical appliances are
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:52 AM
Cold and hot water, toilets, and showers are standard in all
Consulate General houses. All houses have telephones, and
air‑conditioners are in all bedrooms. Low and erratic voltage
problems sometimes occur, especially during the rainy season.
Standard local current is 220v, 50 cycles. Dial-up internet
connections are available through local vendors, but do not yet meet
U.S. speed and quality standards.
Food Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:54 AM
An increasing number of Western‑styled supermarkets ease the
grocery shopping experience in Surabaya. And though you can
generally get everything on your list (from olive oil to Swiss Miss
instant cocoa), you may have to visit two or more stores and/or wait
a matter of weeks for that hard to find item to turn up again on the
shelves. A wide variety of local seafood, chicken, beef (often tough
and dry), pork (including bacon) and mutton are available. In
addition, sausages, lamb and a better quality beef are imported from
neighboring New Zealand and Australia but are more expensive. Most
dairy products are also imported: cheddar, mozzarella, Edam, Gouda,
Parmesan, Camembert, Brie, and feta cheeses. Baking supplies are
available, although sporadically. Some Americans join the commissary
in Jakarta and order some foods as well as duty-free liquor from
At Post Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:56 AM Dependent American
children in Surabaya attend the Surabaya International School
(K-12). The school occupies a large site on the western side of the
city, and was built in 1995 to accommodate 600 students. The
economic crisis of 1997-98 and subsequent tumultuous political
transition led many expatriates to leave Surabaya, and SIS
enrollment declined significantly. Enrollment figures have recently
stabilized, and even grown a bit. 2004-2005 enrollment is around
230. The school is fully accredited by the Western Association of
Schools and Colleges, and all instruction is in English. The campus
has four computer labs, three science labs, a gym, a 50-meter
swimming pool, a soccer field, music and art rooms, and over 40
classrooms. More than 20 nationalities are represented, with
students from Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Great Britain, the
Philippines, India and Indonesia being the largest groups in the
student body. The school's website address is www.sisedu.net.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 3/1/2005 6:58 AM
Surabaya offers a wide variety of restaurants, including Western,
Indonesian, and other Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.)
cuisine. Surabaya also has several nightclubs and discos. Film is
available locally. Local printing and developing service is
inexpensive and satisfactory. Surabaya has several air‑conditioned
theater complexes that show subtitled American films, including
first‑run movies. The video system in this country is PAL, and the
format in Surabaya is primarily VCD, followed by DVD. VHS choices
are extremely limited. Most Americans belong to one or another of
the local country clubs and use their golf courses, health clubs and
pools fairly regularly. There are also a variety of mountain-view
golf courses about an hour south of the city, as well as a "Safari
Park" housing exotic animal species.
Recreation and Social Life
Social Activities Last Updated: 3/1/2005 7:00 AM
Social life in Surabaya is centered around the home and generally
informal. Dinner parties at home and at hotel restaurants are the
most common forms of entertainment. Although social obligations are
not normally heavy, the principal officer must attend many official
functions as the Consulate General representative. Several local
firms provide catering services for private parties. The Consulate
has a set of dishes, glasses, and silverware that is available for
borrowing by any staff member to support entertainment needs. Two
international organizations, the Expatriate Women’s Association of
Surabaya (EWAS) and the Women’s International Club (WIC), meet
regularly. The post has no employee recreational association. A
local company prints excellent calling cards and invitations. The
post hosts an annual Fourth of July celebration, which all officers
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:12 AM
The usually traveled route to Indonesia from the U.S. is by air
via the Pacific. This usually involves a stop in Singapore due to
the lack of onward air connections.
Newcomers are met on arrival in Jakarta and assisted through
customs and immigration formalities. Inform the Embassy Management
Section early of your travel plans, including the number of
accompanying dependents, date of arrival, flight number, and
airline. If plans are changed en route, inform the Embassy
immediately. Use official Foreign Service post communication
channels. If you are not met at the airport, call the Embassy’s
Human Resources office at 3435–9021. If you arrive after office
hours, call the Marine Guard at the Embassy at 3435–9221. Take a
Blue Bird or Silver Bird taxi from the airport to the Embassy. It
takes about an hour. Embassy personnel will meet and assist
employees going on to Surabaya.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:15 AM
Both diplomatic and official personnel attached to the Embassy or
Consulate General have free‑entry privileges for airfreight and HHE.
Clearance sometimes is slow but is improving, averaging 21 days for
total import and customs clearance. In order to complete customs
clearance procedures, forward as soon as possible an advance bill of
lading for HHE or an airway bill for unaccompanied baggage and
copies of all packing lists. Accompanied baggage may be brought
right in. Shipments can be cleared and temporarily stored pending
arrival of the employee, except for vehicles. Nondiplomatic civilian
and enlisted personnel are officially limited to 6 months of
duty‑free import. (However, the post normally has no difficulty with
customs clearance even after the 6‑month period has expired). Ensure
packers pack HHE in sturdy liftvans with sheet metal caps. Address
liftvans as follows:
American Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia For (Employee’s Name)
Shipping HHE and vehicles normally takes 6–7 weeks from the U.S.
west coast. Shipping documents and/or bills of lading will normally
be forwarded by your post or the U.S. Despatch Agent.
Airfreight normally takes 2–4 weeks, but vehicles require up to 2
months for clearance, beginning with your arrival. POV
documents—i.e., bills of lading and/ or invoices for receiving
posts—must contain both the serial and engine numbers of the POV’s.
The GOI Vehicle Registration Department (or Traffic Police) does not
accept a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) only. POV documents
that do not contain both serial and engine numbers will delay the
vehicle registration process.
Since the post provides a Welcome Kit with linens and cookware,
delay in clearing airfreight is normally not a problem.
FPO mail does not go through customs and therefore usually
arrives sooner than airfreight. Urgently needed items may be sent
via FPO, insured for the value of items included. Those who opt for
airfreight must pay for shipping via FPO.
All permanently assigned employees are permitted duty-free entry
of one car during their term of assignment.
A locally purchased car may be sold after 2 years or upon
transfer. Motorcycles, motorbikes, and motor scooters are considered
to be “motor vehicles” and may be imported duty free by diplomatic
passport holders only and would be in lieu of, not in addition to, a
sedan, subject to the above limits.
You can use either left‑hand or right‑hand‑drive vehicles;
however, right‑hand drive is recommended. Ship all removable outside
accessories, such as windshield wipers and arms, mirrors,
headlights, hubcaps, and emblems, and cassettes separately.
Indonesian rupiah may not be imported. Since all official
personnel are met on arrival, local currency is not necessary for
immediate expenses. Although Indonesian regulations require that
foreign currency be declared on arrival, persons carrying diplomatic
or official passports are not required to do so and should not
declare any U.S. currency or travelers checks they may have with
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Passage Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:17 AM
Everyone must have an Indonesian visa, which should be applied
for through the Department of State’s Passport Office for those in
Washington, D.C. In case of direct transfers or visits, visas must
be obtained at Indonesian consular offices in other countries. It is
imperative that visas for employees and all accompanying family
members be obtained in advance before arrival. Apply for the maximum
validity available. Entering on the 30‑day airport visa is not an
option. Persons entering using the airport visa must leave the
country to obtain a diplomatic visa and this travel will be at the
employee’s or dependent’s own expense. After arrival, the Embassy
arranges for visa revalidation and obtaining exit and reentry
permits from the Indonesian Foreign Office.
No shots are required for entering Indonesia unless you come from
a country suffering from an outbreak of cholera, smallpox, or yellow
fever. Keep immunization records current for these diseases, as
countries en route may require them and requirements may change. The
Foreign Office issues identification cards to U.S. Government
employees, their spouses, and their children over age 17. Carry this
card at all times, especially when traveling out of town, meeting
new arrivals at the airport, and visiting Indonesian Government
offices. The following number of photographs are needed:
Employee-three passport size; two 1½” by 2” Spouse-two passport
size; two 1½” by 2” Children‑two 1½” by 2” Bring the correct number
and size of photographs so that the arrival note can be sent to the
Foreign Office immediately. Without the arrival note, processing of
HHE, car, and airfreight cannot begin. Photographs are also required
for an identification card, which must be issued before your car can
be released from customs. Additional photographs are needed for club
membership cards, visas for the Philippines and other countries, and
school identification cards.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Pets Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:20 AM
Effective March 5, 2005, the Government of Indonesia will ban the
importation of pets into Java. The Embassy has requested information
regarding either exceptions for diplomatic and administration and
technical staff, or availability of quarantine facilities. At
present, no provisions for either exist.
For employees intending to import a pet into Indonesia prior to
March 5, 2005, the following procedures apply. For employees
contemplating bringing a pet to post after March 5, 2005, please
consult post first.
Except for a prohibition against importing birds, pets are
admissible into Indonesia. All animals must have a certificate of
health issued by a veterinarian. Owners must produce evidence that
within 6 months to 30 days before arrival the pets were inoculated
against rabies. No quarantine is required. There are two ways to
bring pets to Jakarta. The first method is as accompanied baggage
(excess baggage) since the pet travels with you on the same flights.
Your pet can be immediately cleared through Customs if all
documentation is in hand and is valid. The airline determines the
excess baggage costs and these are a personal, non‑reimbursable
The second and often most expensive method of shipping a pet is
as airfreight. In the freight system, the pet is transported
unaccompanied by the owner. Animals are loaded into pressurized
holds along with other cargo. Fees for this type of shipment vary
according to your country of origin, the number of pets, and the
airline handling the transport. You can find airfreight forwarders
through your local yellow pages, the worldwide web or through your
veterinarian. Some airlines limit pet transport to only certain
portions of the year due to high temperatures. Upon arrival in
Jakarta it will take about 3 hours to clear your pet through
Pet owners must notify the post prior to arrival to obtain an
import permit. Do not route your pet (alone or accompanied) via
Australia, where it will be confiscated and destroyed. Personnel
bringing pets through Hong Kong or Singapore must have prior
authorization from those governments to do so. This authorization is
required regardless of the carrying airline and must be obtained
directly from the governments of those countries. Instructions for
applying for this authorization can be obtained at any British (for
Hong Kong) or Singaporean embassy. The desired transit time must be
stated on the authorization. If pets arrive without the
authorization (even if only in transit), they will be quarantined at
your expense or destroyed.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:40 PM
Personal weapons in Indonesia present a problem due to the
difficulty of obtaining import licenses and certificates of
registration. Therefore, the Mission strictly prohibits the
importation of firearms to Indonesia by Mission employees. In no
instance should an employee ship a firearm in his or her HHE. Direct
inquiries concerning this policy to the regional security officer,
American Embassy Jakarta.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
12/14/2004 2:21 AM
The monetary unit is the rupiah. The rate of exchange changes
constantly (as of December 2004, Rp 9,000 = US$1). The international
metric system of weights and measures is used in Indonesia. Gasoline
and other liquids are sold by the liter (1.0567 liquid quarts);
cloth, by the meter (39 inches); and food and other weighted items,
by the kilogram (2.2 pounds). Distance is measured by the kilometer
(0.625 miles); speed, in kilometers per hour (40 kph =25 mph).
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 11/5/2003
U.S Government personnel are exempt from local income and certain
other taxes. Direct consumer taxes and service charges, such as
those imposed on hotel and restaurant bills, gasoline purchases, and
airport departure, are paid. All items imported duty free by U.S.
Government employees must be for the exclusive use of the employee
or dependents. Such property may not be imported for the sole
purpose of sale, barter, or exchange. Personal property imported
with free-entry privileges is not normally authorized for sale to
persons without free-entry privileges until within 90 days of
departure for home leave or transfer. Certain exceptions are listed
in a U.S. Mission regulation furnished to each new employee on
arrival at post. All sales of motor vehicles must be authorized by
the Foreign Office and therefore must be arranged through the
General Services Office of the Administrative Section.
Citibank maintains a cashier at the Embassy. Hours are 8:30 am to
3 pm Monday to Friday. All personnel should establish and maintain a
U.S. checking account. To ensure regular salary payments during
transfer, make a net allotment to the bank before coming to post and
continue it after arrival. Allotments may be initiated after arrival
when the Authority To Pay has been received by FCS Charleston, the
payrolling office for State Department personnel in Indonesia.
Allotments for USAID personnel can be processed by the USAID Finance
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 11/5/2003 2:45 PM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
Prehistoric Indonesia Bellwood, Peter. Man’s Conquest of the
Pacific, The Prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceania. Oxford
University Press: New York, 1971.
Van Oosterzee, Penny Van. Where Worlds Collide, the Wallace Line.
Cornell University Press, 1997.
Indian, Islamic, and Dutch Influence Geertz, Clifford. The
Religion of Java. Free Press of Glencoe: New York, 1960.
Jall, D.G.E. A History of Southeast Asia. 4th ed. Macmillan:
Ricklefs, M.C. A History of Modern Indonesia: C. 1300 to the
Present. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 1981.
Steinberg, David Joel, ed. In Search of Southeast Asia. Praeger:
New York, 1971.
Sutherland, Heather. The Making of a Bureaucratic Elite.
Heinemann Educational Books (Asia): Singapore, 1979.
The Revolution Kahin, George McT. Nationalism and Revolution in
Indonesia. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1962.
Reid, Anthony J.S. Indonesian National Revolution, 1945–50.
Longman: Australia, 1974.
Feith, Herbert. The Decline of Constitutional Democracy in
Indonesia. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1962.
Anderson, Benedict R.O’G. “The Idea of Power in Javanese
Culture.” In Holt, Claire, ed., Culture in Politics in Indonesia.
Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 1972.
Castles, Lance. “Notes on the Islamic School at Gontor.”
Indonesia. No. 1, April 1966.
Feith, Herbert. “Dynamics of Guided Democracy.” In McVey, Ruth
T., ed., Indonesia. Yale University Press: New Haven, 1963.
Hughes, John. Indonesian Upheaval. McKay: New York, 1967.
Jones, Howard. Indonesia: The Possible Dream. Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich: New York, 1971.
Gardner, Paul. Shared Hope, Separate Fears: US‑Indonesian
Relations. Westview Press, 1997.
Baker, Richard et al. Indonesia: The Challenge of Change.
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 1999.
Schwarz, Adam. A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia in the 1990s. Allen
and Unwin (Australia), 1994 and revised edition 1999.
Anderson, Benedict R.O’G. “Cartoons and Monuments; The Evolution
of Political Communications Under the New Order.” In Jackson and
Pye, eds., Political Power and Communications. University of
California Press: Berkeley.
Anderson, Benedict R.O’G., and Kahin, Audrey, eds. Interpreting
Indonesian Politics: Thirteen Contributions to the Debate. Cornell
Modern Indonesia Project, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell
University: Ithaca, 1982.
CIA. Indonesia 1965: The Coup That Backfired
Crouch, Harold. The Army and Politics in Indonesia. Cornell
University Press: Ithaca, 1978.
McDonald, Hamish. Suharto’s Indonesia. Fontana/Collins:
Blackburn, Victoria, Australia, 1980.
Polomka, Peter. Indonesia Since Sukarno. Penguin: 1971.
Sundhaussen, Ulf. The Road to Power: Indonesian Military
Politics, 1945–1967. Oxford University Press: Kuala Lumpur, 1982.
Indonesian Art and Culture Adyatman, Mara. Indonesian Ceramics.
Himpunan Keramik: Jakarta, 1981.
Dumarcay, Jacques. Borobudur. Oxford University Press: Kuala
Gittinger, Mattiebelle. Splendid Symbols: Textiles and Tradition
in Indonesia. The Textile Museum: Washington, D.C., 1982.
Heuken, Adolf. Historical Sites of Jakarta. Cipta Loka Caraka:
Holt, Claire. Art in Indonesia: Continuities and Change. Cornell
University Press: Ithaca, 1967.
Lindsay, Jennifer. Javanese Gamelan. Oxford University Press:
Kuala Lumpur, 1979.
VanNess, Edward and Sita VanNeus. Wayang Kulit. Oxford University
Press: Kuala Lumpur.
Bali Bandem, I. Made and Fredrick Eugene deBoer. Kaja and Kelod:
Balinese Dance in Transition. Oxford University Press: Kuala Lumpur,
1982 (revised edition: 1995).
Covarrubias, Miguel. Island of Bali. Oxford: 1937. (Reprinted by
Oxford: Asia, 1972).
deZoete, Beryl and Walter Spies. Dance and Drama in Bali. London,
1938. (Reprinted by Oxford: Asia, 1978)
Geertz, Clifford. Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth Century
Bali. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1980.
Ramseyer, Urs. The Art and Culture of Bali. Oxford University
Press: Kuala Lumpur, 1977 (reprint: 1986).
Rhodius, Hans and John Darling. Walter Spies and Balinese Art.
Terra Zutphen: Amsterdam, 1980.
Novel and Short Stories Aveling, Harry, ed. and trans. From
Surabaya to Armageddon: Indonesian Short Stories. Heinemann
Educational Books (Asia): Singapore, 1976.
Baum, Vicki. A Tale From Bali. Oxford University Press: London,
Koch, C.J. The Year of Living Dangerously. Sphere Books, Ltd:
Lubis, Mochtar. Twilight in Jakarta.
Multatuli, Max. Havelaar. University of Massachusetts Press:
Toer, Pramoedya Ananta. Buru Quartet. Penguin Books, 1985 and
after. (Fiction; English translation of major Indonesian author.)
This is the full set of books.
Toer, Pramoedya Ananta. A Heap of Ashes. University of Queensland
Press: St. Lucia, Queensland, 1975.
Toer, Pramoedya Ananta. This Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia).
Ringwood, Penguin Books Australia, Ltd: Victoria, 1982.
Travel Guides Bacon, Derek. Culture Shock! Jakarta At Your Door.
Graphic Arts Center Pub. Co, 1999 A thorough, relevant, and highly
entertaining introduction to life in Jakarta, aimed at newcomers
planning to stay long-term.
Dalton, Bill. Indonesia Handbook. Moon Publications, 1995.
Arguably the best “all‑in‑one” travel guide to Indonesia. Especially
good for travel to remote destinations and budget travel.
Turner, Peter. Lonely Planet Guide to Indonesia. Lonely Planet
Smith, Holly. Adventuring in Indonesia: Exploring the Natural
Areas of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire. Sierra Club Books, 1997. Great
information on trekking, biking, and other outdoor pursuits with a
special emphasis on environmentally friendly activities.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 12/14/2004 2:39 AM
The following Indonesian holidays, as well as authorized U.S.
holidays, are observed by the U.S. Mission.
New Year’s Day January 1 Idul Adha January 21 Chinese New Year
February 9 Muslim New Year February 10 Nyepi Day March 11 Good
Friday March 25 Mohammed's Birthday April 22 Independence Day
(Indonesia) August 17 Ascension of Mohammed September 2 Idul Fitri
November 2-3 Christmas Day December 25
Exact dates for these holidays change each year (except for
Independence Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day). Dates given
are for the year 2005. Most stores and offices are closed on these