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Fitness and Sport for Expats in Indonesia

Submitted: October 2014


There are many gyms across Indonesia, mainly in the urban areas. The best-equipped of these will generally be found in the upmarket hotels, which have sprawling exercise facilities that will often include swimming pools, saunas and massage therapists. Some will cater only to hotel guests, but many offer monthly or annual memberships for citizens. However, these facilities cater to the executive, and as such command executive prices, for example, the Four Seasons in Jakarta offers annual gym memberships for Rp23,000,000 (£1180). If you are living in one of the housing complexes in Jakarta, these will often have well-equipped recreation and fitness centres for residents; however these will generally be very busy at peak times. Other from these, there are also many ordinary gyms around the country at more realistic prices, from Gold’s Gym to Fitness First.

Fitness clubs and gyms in Indonesia are fairly expensive across the board, however, and cheaper clubs may not have the equipment you want, especially if you specialize in resistance/strength training. As such, it is a good idea to look at Groupon Indonesia, as there are often excellent deals of up to 90% off on gym memberships. Finally, the sweltering heat of Indonesia at lunchtime means that it is a bad idea to work out during the early afternoon, as you risk heatstroke or the particular embarrassment of dropping a weight on yourself due to excess sweat. Instead, try and exercise in the mornings or evenings.

Cycling is very popular in Indonesia both for recreation and travel, as motor traffic is something that has to be seen to be believed. A good bike can be bought for Rp10,000,000 IDR (approx. £500) upwards, but beware of buying online as there is a proliferation of scamsters selling bikes and bike parts for below market prices from Indonesian websites, which will then never arrive. Rather than sift through the Internet to find a trustworthy site, you are better off buying from a local dealer or taking a good bike with you to Indonesia.

The many cycle tours available throughout Indonesia (especially on Bali) will allow you to experience the beauty of the landscape from the seat of your bike. Cycle Indonesia has an excellent repertoire of trips, and Bali Cycling offers tours around the beautiful island. If you fancy yourself as more of a competitive cycler, the Tour de Bintan is held in late autumn each year and is open to the public, with three different levels of difficulty from 82km to 250km.



The most popular sports in Indonesia are badminton, association football, basketball and the national martial art pencak silat. Indonesians are incredibly successful at badminton, having won gold medals in every Olympic Games bar 2012. Indonesia holds some of the most famous tournaments in the world, including the Über Cup and Indonesian Open. If you wish to take part, most fitness centres and sports clubs around the country have some form of badminton courts or training facilities; one particularly well-renowned facility is the International Sports Club of Indonesia in Jakarta.

Football is probably the most popular sport in the country, and is played across all age and income groups. Again, most sports clubs in Indonesia will have some form of football program, and it is an excellent way for you or your children to make new friends (or rivals). The largest football academy in the country is the Asian Soccer Academy, which provides coaching and development programmes for all age levels. Living In Indonesia provides a useful list of sports and clubs across Jakarta available here.

Pencak silat is a multi-disciplinary martial art, covering striking, agile kicks, intricate grappling and the use of weapons, all while keeping the environment and economy of effort in mind. If you have an interest in self-defence, fitness or even just the stoic discipline required to perform Asian martial arts, pencak silat is certainly one of the more comprehensive and rewarding of those on offer. Taman Mini park in eastern Jakarta contains a recreation centre where pencak silat displays are held each Saturday morning, if you wish to see this graceful art in action before signing up. There are many schools around the country, from the Inti Ombak schools in Yogyakarta and Jakarta to the international Suwana Academy, but you are just as likely to find smaller-scale instructors across the country.




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