1. Learn and Embrace the Traffic
Jakarta is very famous for it’s beloved macet (traffic). It can break people in less than a week. Despite a lot of people saying it’s very hard to predict, if you pay close attention you will soon see patterns on the roads that you regularly use. Use these patterns to your advantage and avoid the worst of the traffic. However, when you are inevitably stuck in traffic, use the time constructively. Provided you’re not driving, get the laptop out, read a book, listen to an audiobook or my personal favourite is to learn Bahasa Indonesia with the driver. He or she will speak the ‘normal’ language compared to that of a Bahasa teacher.
2. Join Some Groups, Build a Network
Building some business and social networks can really start making you feel at home in Jakarta. There’s loads going on this city. When it comes to business you have many chamber of commerce such Britcham and Amcham who hold regular gatherings with food and drinks. On a more social level, you can enjoy events from Internations and Couchsurfing who also do similar events with much less emphasis on business.
3. Ensure You are Prepared in Case of Emergencies
Once you’re in your accommodation, check where the nearest hospital is, go have a look and check the route. More often than not, it’s better to make your own way to hospitals rather than waiting for ambulances as you only have to make a one-way trip. Make sure you have adequate health insurance, don’t just assume because your employer gave you free insurance that it will be good quality insurance. It’s your life at stake, do your own research and have peace of mind that you’re covered.
4. Yes Often Means No
Many expatriates from western countries get very frustrated working in Jakarta. Often a yes actually turns out to be a no. This is often the case in such contexts as knowing the way or being able to carry out some duty. This part of the culture can clash significantly with western culture but the sooner you can accept it, the sooner you can get around and resolve it by using follow up questions and other methods of clarification.
5. Be Patient
Most things would appear to move a lot slower in Jakarta compared to western cities. This is also due to various cultural differences and the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can begin applying for things sooner, leaving sooner and telling people you’ll meet them 20 minutes before you actually intend on meeting them the sooner you will begin to enjoy this one of a kind, fantastic, Southeast Asian city that many expats love to call home.