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Entertainment, Media and Television for Expats in Indonesia

Submitted: October 2014

Entertainment and Nightlife

Indonesian cooking is colourful and flavourful, with influences that draw on a diverse range of cuisines from Chinese to Indian and Middle Eastern. It emphasizes complex flavours and mixes. Some of the best dishes to be had while in Indonesia are nasi bakar (literally ‘rice grilled’), a spicy rice dish, satay (sate) sauce with any meat, or ayam goreng sambal mangga (‘chicken fried spice mango’), a dish combining fried chicken with shredded sweet and sour mango. Best of all, dining is very cheap across the whole country.

Jakarta offers a range of cuisines from the Spanish Plan B to the Asian and international Satoo, or the vegetarian and vegan Burgreens. If you want to experience native Indonesian cuisine while in Jakarta, try Lara Djonggrang or Namaaz Dining. Finally, if you just want to get a good steak, make sure to visit Meat Me Jakarta. If you are in Bali, try Pearl for fine French cuisine or Restaurant Locavore. Tripadvisor has 14,000 Indonesian restaurants around the country rated and ranked  here.

If you are looking for a good bar in Jakarta, try the Blok M quarter. Here, you can find a large number of bars and clubs, from the popular expat bar Top Gun, which puts on a live band almost every night, to Everest, offering sports match showings and competitive prices. Bali boasts the excellent Hu’u with live DJs and decadent surroundings, Metis’s fine restaurant and cocktail lounge, or Ku De Ta, a popular expat bar that markets itself as having one of the finest sunset views in Bali. Asia Bars offers a further list of the best bars in Indonesia here.


Sightseeing and Tours

The number one sightseeing destination in Indonesia is undeniably Bali, the picturesque tropical island that boasts clear seas, golden sands and beautiful attractions like the Tanah Lot and Tirta Empul temples or the famous Kuta Beach. There are many tours available across Bali, including volcano tours such as Kintamani, dolphin tours, or activity tours. Try Bali Golden, Bali Adventure Tours or Bali Discovery who all offer a wide range of tours.

There are also many other sights across Indonesia to take in, including the thousand-year old Borobudur Buddhist stupa in Java and Bunaken, one of the best diving spots in Southeast Asia. Scuba divers in Bunaken can expect to see up to 70% of all the species of fish in the Indo-Pacific ocean, wonderful stretches of coral and occasionally even dugongs. Alternatively, take a trip to Tanjung Puting national park in southwest Kalimatan to see orang-utans, leopards, civets, and Malaysian sun bears. There are also hundreds of different tours available across the country, such as Adventure Indonesia, Peregrine Adventures, and Gecko Tours, which offers tours encompassing volcanoes, snorkeling, waterfalls and mountains. Lonely Planet offers a whole list of tours at different price points.


Media and Television

There are many different newspapers across Jakarta, the largest being Kompas with a daily circulation of 500,000 papers. However, most are in Indonesian, and as such you may be better off with one of the English language papers. The largest of these is the Jakarta Post, which costs Rp7,500 (£0.40) and also runs an excellent website covering news from the local to global levels. Alternatively, there is also the Jakarta Globe for Rp8,500 (£0.43).

Most television and radio in Indonesia is broadcast exclusively in Indonesian, so until you begin to pick up the language you will be limited to Metro TV’s Indonesia Now and World News segments, which are broadcast in English, and Berita Satu’s English-language news segments.

If you do understand Indonesian, however, you can tune into many terrestrial channels with any TV equipped with a normal UHF/VHF antenna. Your TV will then receive twelve national stations  and some of the hundreds of local channels for specific areas. Indonesia is in the process of switching to digital TV, but as of the moment the only broadcasts are by Berita Satu and the state-owned TVRI. If you want to receive these broadcasts, all you need is a set-top box for your TV.




Moving to Indonesia

If you are considering moving to Indonesia or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Indonesian section including; details of immigration and visas, Indonesian forums, Indonesian event listings and service providers in Indonesia.


Living in Indonesia

From your safety to shoppingliving in Indonesia can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Indonesia with relevant news and up-to-date information.


Working in Indonesia

Working in Indonesia can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Indonesia, and general Indonesian culture of the labour market.



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