Best Places to Live in Indonesia | 10 Cities Where Expats Stay

Indonesia undoubtedly has some of the most amazing places for tourists, from the white sandy beaches and hikes to the volcanoes and beautiful architecture of the temples. Consisting of more than 17,000 islands offering different activities and sights to see, this paradise definitely has something to offer for everyone.

But for those planning a more permanent move, so many options to choose from can turn planning your move to paradise into an absolute nightmare.

So to help you narrow down your search, here’s a list of the best places to stay in Indonesia.

Next Read: See if Indonesia made it into our list of the best places to live in Asia.

Best Places to live in Indonesia for…

  1. Expats:  Jakarta City
  2. Digital Nomads: Canggu
  3. Solo Travelers: Ubud
  4. English Speakers: Kemang
  5. Couples: Sanur
  6. Groups: Yogyakarta

Top 10 Places to Live in Indonesia

1.    Jakarta

 Best City for Expats

Cost of living:  $$

If you are not put off by the hustle and bustle of living in a big city, then the capital city of Jakarta is the place for you.  This city is Indonesia’s economic and cultural hub, with lively nightlife and plenty of shopping malls.

Tip: Download a traffic app like Waze to avoid getting stuck in heavy traffic jams.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats and digital nomads


  • Good public transportation
  • Huge variety of shopping malls close by
  • Great nightlife


  • Awful traffic
  • Pollution
  • Overcrowded city

2. Canggu

Best City for Digital Nomads

Cost of living: $$

Canggu is a popular destination located on the south coast of Bali. This town is known for great beachside living as well as surfing. Here you will find plenty of restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian foods as well as accommodation for different price ranges. The co-working spaces and working cafes have attracted many expats and digital nomads.

Tip: Dojo is one of the best places to go if you’re seeking a good co-working space as it offers a scenic view over Echo beach.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital nomads


  • Growing digital nomad community to mingle with.
  • Variety of co-working spaces
  • Many restaurant options


  • Can get very busy during peak seasons
  • Internet speeds can be slow
  • Need a scooter to get around

3. Ubud

Best City for Solo Travelers

Temple near Ubud

Cost of living: $$

Landlocked in the center of Bali is Ubud, so if you’re looking for a place close to the beach, this may not be for you. But, if you want to experience Balinese culture at its best, then a trip here is a must.

The town is the cultural heart of Bali, and you will find many arts and craft shops here. For those on a more spiritual journey, there are meditation classes, reiki healing, temples, and yoga classes to keep you busy.

Tip: Always be friendly to the tour guides and taxi drivers as they will look out for you

Who would like to live there: Solo travelers and groups


  • Cheaper accommodation
  • Alternative therapies
  • One of the safest towns in Bali


  • Need a scooter to get around
  • No beach
  • Tourist hotspot

4. Sanur

Best City for Couples

Boat on Sanur Beach

Cost of living: $$

This town, located on the east coast of Bali, is perfect for those looking for a quiet and peaceful place to live. It is surrounded by beaches and has international schools for children. Due to its tranquil atmosphere and affordable living costs, many expats have decided to settle here.

Tip: For a taste of the nightlife and cheap street food, Pasar Sindhu Night Market is the place to go.

Who would like to live there: Couples and expats


  • Affordable cost of living
  • Quiet and peaceful area
  • Community of expats to socialize with


  • Not much to do
  • It may be too quiet for some

5. Kemang

Best City for English Speakers

Jakarta highway at night

Cost of living: $$

Located in the South of Jakarta is the city of Kemang. It has many international schools and various high-end residential properties to choose from. The area is strategically located close to business districts, but the prices of residential accommodation are much lower compared to other neighborhoods in Jakarta.

The area is only 20 minutes away from malls, restaurants, and bars, which are sure to keep you entertained on a night out with friends or family.

Tip: The Golden Triangle is a must-visit for entertainment

Who would like to live there: English speakers and expats


  • Easy access to the business district
  • Numerous international schools nearby
  • Near entertainment areas


  • Traffic congestion
  • Cost of living can get expensive

6. Yogyakarta

Best City for Groups

Rickshaw driver in Yogyakarta

Cost of living: $

On the island of Java lies Yogyakarta,  the only monarchy in Indonesia. The city is an important center for Javanese arts and culture with a large student population. The accommodation and restaurants in this laid-back town are also cheaper than in other parts of Indonesia.

Tip: Go see the sunrise at Borobudur temple

Who would like to live there: Groups, couples, and solo travelers


  • Close to educational facilities
  • Lower cost of living
  • Rich in arts and culture


  • Close to an active volcano
  • Not the best public transport system

7.    Menteng

Best City for Affluent Expats

Selamat Datang monument in Menteng

Cost of living: $$$

This affluent neighborhood in the center of Jakarta is home to diplomats and wealthy business people. Strategically located, it provides easy access to the business district, malls, markets, and embassies.

Tip: Plaza Menteng is the closest mall with banks and coffee shops

Who would like to live there: Affluent expats and English speakers


  • Close to the business district
  • Nearby malls and eateries
  • Central location


  • Terrible traffic
  • High cost of living
  • The area is prone to flooding during the rainy season.

8. Bandung

Best City for Fashion

Cost of living: $

Located in West Java, Bandung is the third-largest city in Indonesia and is only 2.5 hours outside of Jakarta. It is well known for its cooler climate and art deco architecture. Bandung is also a great shopping destination attracting bargain-hunting visitors from countries like Singapore which is also one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia

Tip: Most expats live in northern Bandung or Lembang

Who would like to live there: Expats, digital nomads, fashionistas


  • Cooler climate
  • Shopping destination
  • Public transport is cheap


  • Traffic congestion
  • The Internet can be slow
  • It can get crowded over weekends

9. Surabaya

Best City for Business

Ship in Tanjung Perak harbour

Cost of living: $

Surabaya is a port of entry located in East Java and has a booming business and industrial hub. It is one of the cleanest cities in Indonesia, with very low crime rates. The city is well known for its friendly people and delicious Javanese food, and the cost of living is also very low.

Tip: It gets very hot and sunny during the day, so make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen

Who would like to live there: Solo travelers, business people, and families


  • Low cost of living
  • Friendly people
  • Very safe


  • Slow internet speeds
  • Not a tourist hotspot
  • Not much to do

10. Uluwatu

Best City for Surfing

Cliff in Uluwatu

Cost of living: $$

On the south coast of Bali lies Uluwatu; this laid-back town offers an escape from the crowds that frequent the more “touristy” parts of the island. The area is surrounded by beaches and beautiful cliffside views and is a trendy spot for surfing.

Tip: Get an international driver’s license to avoid any trouble with the police when riding your scooter

Who would like to live here: Solo travelers and digital nomads


  • Surfing
  • Not overflowing with tourists
  • Fantastic beaches and cliffside views


  • Not a lot of places for entertainment
  • Locals don’t speak English well
  • Need a scooter to get around

Final Thought

We are finally at the end of our list.

Indonesia has a variety of suitable places to accommodate different tastes and budgets but if you are still undecided about this country, consider visiting some of the other countries in Asia before settling.

Safe Travels!






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