Debating Indonesia vs Philippines for Long Term Living

Clearly I really love the Philippines and I could be very happy spending the rest of my life there. But after 3 years I wanted to travel around and make sure I really was in the best place. Lately I’ve been trying out Jakarta, Indonesia.

I have been to Pattaya and Bangkok neither of which worked great for me. Though I gotta say knowing you can get a very good $20 bj at any time still has me thinking Bangkok wouldn’t be so bad….. those damn visas though.

Halfway through my month in Jakarta I have to say I like it quite a bit. The people are kind and friendly like most Filipinos, they don’t speak as much English but I have encountered zero rudeness yet unlike in Thailand.

Indo girls are also very hungry for foreigners just like Pinays. I wouldn’t really need to go with hookers here, like the Philippines.

There is a whole lot going for Jakarta, but there is also a whole lot going against it. Let me start with the positives and then come back to the negatives.

Pros of Living in Jakarta

Chicks

I only have a 2 week sample size so I may be off on this, but I don’t think I am. The girls here don’t seem to play anywhere near as many of the silly games that Pinays play.

Not saying they are never going to lie or flake, I am sure they will, but it seems to be at a much lower level. I love Pinays, but they put me through so many games. This is a huge plus in favor of Jakarta as I hate the games after awhile.

The sex clubs are also a great option. For $30 I can go watch a hot girl dance topless on stage and then get a bj plus sex, where as in the Philippines the girly bars are lame.

Food

The food seems better here. Even though there is less western food around I have already found the best burger I have had in Asia, and quite a few good places to eat. But it is a bit pricier which I’ll get into later.

It is also nice just being somewhere different. I have already handed out my number to damn near every 7 or better in Cebu, and many of the girls I have approached multiple times.

My textback rate plummeted in my last 6 months there and I think word had gotten out. In fact I know it had cuz I saw my note on plenty of girls’ facebook pages.

I am getting a great textback rate in Jakarta, incredible in fact. But most of the girls I have handed my number to have been girls working at the mall and they all work long hours 6 or 7 days a week. Hard to get them over when they have so little free time.

I don’t really like Manila, though I need to give it another shot and will at some point. I want to try Davao but girls are more conservative there and may not be as down for friends with benefits. I’m sure I wouldn’t go without, but I would go with less.

So pretty much when it all comes down to it the main positive of Jakarta is that I wouldn’t have to put up with as many silly games. I wouldn’t be at the sex clubs often, and the food isn’t THAT much better, and I also think with less options the good food would get boring quicker.

What Has Me Questioning Jakarta

Visas

I think the biggest thing has to be the visas. The Philippines is super easy. Show up and you can stay for 3 years. At most you head to immigration once every 2 months, though at first you can do a 6 month extension.

Indonesia don’t play like that. Your first visit you need to get a visa on arrival at the airport, then you can extend 1 month, and then they kick you out.

And extending one month involves THREE trips to immigration that can take up to two hours each. Add in the horrible traffic (I’ll be getting to that soon) and this is a major investment.

And what if you are like me and hate to do visa runs every 2 months? Well you can get a ‘social visa’ that allows you to stay for 6 months at a time, but this involves going to an embassy when you are out of the country, and still doing the monthly 3x trips to immigration when you are there.

You can get around the 3x trips by paying someone to do your visa but I have been told this costs around 1 million rupiah or $75-$80. That is almost 10% of my monthly budget in Cebu.

So the visa is clearly far worse, and next lets get to price. Living in Jakarta is similar to living in Manila. You MUST be centrally located because of the awful traffic (that’s still coming don’t worry) which means you have to pay a lot for your apartment.

Some people live in ‘kosts’ that are cheap rooms with no kitchen. I spend 90% of my time at home, I need a nice room. I don’t want a shared kitchen, I don’t want neighbors so close that I have to be friendly with them. I need my own space.

For a month to month furnished place in a decent location you are looking at $500 a month at a minimum, probably more. I paid more for my one month here but I just randomly picked a place off AirBnb. It is a fine place, but it still had roaches sneaking in.

I already mentioned the food is more expensive for western food. I would probably spend $300 a month on food here instead of $240ish in Cebu. Not a huge increase, but when everything is increasing…..

The extra $80 a month to pay the visa fixer guy, plus every 6 months having to pay for flights out of the country. Visas would be a lot more costly. Or you could handle them yourself which sounds awful.

Traffic

Next comes the traffic, have I mentioned that yet? I think it is actually even worse then Manila. There is a way to kind of get around it though: just risk life and limb and ride on the motorbike taxis (ojeks) any time you go out.

Your trip will be 1/3rd the time quicker (or more) then if you took a taxi, but every once in awhile you get some crazy driver who acts like he is in some motocross rally race and darts in and out of traffic on the hiway.

Take these ojeks for a month and you probably (knocking on wood) won’t have anything bad happen. Live here long term and take them all the time and the odds increase a lot.

My life schedule here is basically wake up and work a few hours, head to a mall for a few hours, and make sure I am on my way back home before 4pm to avoid rush hour. Then invite girls over and make them put up with the traffic.

It does give you a good excuse for why you don’t want to go out and meet them though so that’s a plus :). With the traffic of course comes the pollution and the suckyness of living in a major city, I would much rather be in a 2nd tier city like Cebu is to Manila.

So why don’t I do that? Well the main reason is that for the 6 month social visa you have to get a letter from an Indonesian resident saying you are staying with them. The immigration you visit must be in that persons home district.

If I wanted to randomly pick a 2nd tier city off a map (there is limited info online on Indonesia, I would have no clue what 2nd tier city I would want to be in) then I would have to come back to Jakarta to do the visa every month.

Maybe a visa fixer could handle that, I am not sure. There is also much less English spoken here than the Philippines. It isn’t that big of a deal, but at times it can be frustrating. Once again though at least the people here are kind all the time unlike the Thais I just dealt with.

One other thing is that the malls here are about 20% as crowded as the malls in the Philippines. Even the one that seems to be the busiest (Grand Indonesia) is like a ghost town compared to a big Philippines mall, and the smaller ones are pretty close to ghost towns.

So outside of the sales girls there aren’t many options at all. Every time you see an attractive non sales girl it is a super high pressure thing because you don’t get many opportunities.

This is not really good long term because A) I have land mines all over the malls with girls I am texting with who I can’t walk past and B) there aren’t that many sales girls so eventually I am just walking malls to do nothing.

There are lots of girls on Indonesian Cupid and Tinder, but I prefer meeting girls in person if possible.

So What To Do?

I am really struggling over this situation to be honest. I think there is very good potential here, and that life could be marginally better than in the Philippines.

However is that very marginal difference worth all of the negatives? If I moved back to Cebu I would probably up my budget from $850 to around $1100 a month. This would get me a nicer condo and I would spend a bit more on Filipinas that visited me to insure repeat visits.

In Jakarta I think I would probably be spending $1500 a month. I would be risking my life on motorbikes and in a huge city with awful pollution. That is a pretty big increase in my budget, an extra $4800 a year would look nice in my bank account.

That 2 years worth of saving $9600 could pay for another year of my life that was similar to 2015. My budget wasn’t huge in 2015, but I could live like that forever and be fine.

If Filipina girls could just be honest and not play games this wouldn’t even be a consideration, but when they are so cute how can you get mad at em?

48 Responses

  1. abcdeffff says:

    Do you get as much “white guy” attention from the women in indonesia as the philippines ? Or is it still just very good . How do you compare the 2 places in crimes and safety? and what percentage did the text back thing from the notes drop 2 ? It used to be 3 percent and now it is ? Good report as usual by the way

    • kick2dantekick2dante says:

      i would say there are far fewer girls here that are attracted to white guys but the ones that are were better to deal with

      textback rate was equal, bangs from textbacks was awful rate, more on that coming

      i find both to be safe

  2. Cam says:

    Haha “Data entry operator”. Is that some new sneaky code word? Also “It is a fine place, but it still had roaches sneaking in.” was the funniest thing I’ve read all day. I have not been to either, but traffic, pollution, and car accidents can take a real toll on the length and quality of one’s. Keep up the great content, Dante!

    PS: Does Jakarta have those noisy 5x call to prayer singing?

  3. southernallstars says:

    great write-up, I can relate to most things you said. Horrible traffic and smog, very polite people and friendly girls, who may look half a notch better than pinays in average. Food is definitely better than PI. Very few foreigners compared to BKK and I guess also fewer than Manila. Especially not so many chinks!

    Does anyone know a cheap gym here, I could only find gyms for 15 bucks a session so far, that’s close to what I pay for my room!

  4. Leo says:

    I already live in a Muslim country. “No, thanks!”

    I would choose Philippines 🙂

    • jspilljspill says:

      It’s weird, If no one had told me Indonesia was a Muslim country then I’d have never known from just walking around, it didn’t feel like one.

      Even though it’s supposed to have the highest Muslim population of any country, it has huge sex clubs full of hookers, freelancers on the streets, regular girls on dating sites / apps ready to hook up with us infidel foreigners for one night stands, nightclubs where everyone is on ecstasy, and you don’t see many girls in Burkas. It felt like anywhere else in SE Asia.

      I’d only have realised when attempting to buy alcohol in 7/11. But then you can usually buy it on the street and in every bar/club.

      I’m sure there are some dangerous spots in Indo you should avoid related to Islam, but that’s the same for the Philippines (Abu Sayyaf beheadings in areas like Mindanao) and Thailand (Muslim separatist bombings in the deep South, areas like Pattani).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everything you write is spot on,esp. about the visa for foreigners whom like to stay longer..As for 2nd/3rd tier city to live,like Davao,I am sure you can find better infrastructure city and cheaper in terms of accommodation and food..

    PS. Grand Indo Mall is a bit high class Mall,don’t expect crowded on weekdays, usually weekend..

  6. nella says:

    hahaha…Nella is a freelancer who live in central jakarta. fotos available if you want

  7. SouthernAdventurer says:

    I still don’t know how you live in Cebu for less then $1000. You must never give your girls anything lol.

  8. Tyler Durden says:

    I lived in Davao for almost 2 years. Great foreigner value there as there aren’t many tourist. You can go a day or so without seeing any. The prior mayor, now the president, fucked up the bar/club scene. They close before midnight. Anyway, girls aren’t especially conservative as compared to any other places in the Philippines. you wouldn’t have any problem getting companionship, pay or no pay. They go as cheap as Php 500 at central bank (freelancers). I’d give it a go. People are nice, plenty of malls, and less foreigner competition.

    Just don’t get kidnapped.

  9. SouthernAdventurer says:

    By the way if you want me too. I’ll do a write up on Calyx. I also stayed at the other Calyx (Residences) which is within walking distance of Ayala (about 10 min walk) they also have a shuttle that will take you there for free. It was expensive as hell though (not Western exp but for here it was)

    • jspilljspill says:

      That’d be awesome

      I’m staying at one late January too will get pics. The Ayala one

      • Anonymous says:

        The pool there is freaking awesome. The view is intense, best view in the city probably 360 deg of the whole city. There is nothing to eat aside from jolibee nearby and its two blocks away. I choose the one in IT park because there are a dozen restaurants, a 7-11, and a drug store within a block.

  10. RumandCokeMan says:

    J Spill
    If Dantes spending around 1k/month to live in SEA and you guys joke around back and forth about how Dantes a cheap skate and you’re the posh English gentleman(not disagreeing lol)-

    what do you spend on average for cost of living/month in each of the main SEA countries?

    • jspilljspill says:

      Used to average about 1.5k few years ago, now it’s more like 2.5k. More on months where I have to do a visa run.

      I think like Dante I end up spending approx the same amount in each country, there’s not a huge amount of difference

    • SouthernAdventurer says:

      Speaking of rum and coke lol just drank made up some last night. Rum is cheap as hell here (though obviously its not any name brand).

      Jspill’s not posh lol, 1k is crazy low though. I think dante’s just saying that it can be done not that you’ll want to do it.

  11. harley says:

    I lived 2 years in Jakarta and had just spent a few months in Manila to try it out. I lived in Cebu back in 2010-2011 for 1 year as well.

    I tried Davao out a few months as well… but the girls are too conservative, you’ll get laid once a week or so with a 6/10 or 6.5/10 at most but it’s just a small town. Chances are too high that one girl in Davao u fucked will see u a week later with another girl at the mall and she’ll not want to meet you anymore.

    The main reason why I prefer Indonesia and in particular Jakarta is for the “foreigner advantage”. There aren’t that many foreigners hunting for Indonesian girls online as in Manila or Cebu. I lived in a great location and it always took me less than 30 mins to get pretty much anywhere I wanted. I also had a motorbike and never had an accident or something happen to me, no problem at all. You just need to know at which times to go out.

    I have always found Filipinas to be EXTREMELY flaky. They always act as if they’re busy and they clearly always have tons of options open. I have the feeling that Indonesian girls see us more as human beings and Filipinas just see us an an opportunity or an option.

    In my 2 months time in Manila last month and most of my 1 year stay back in 2010-2011 in Cebu I had never really gotten any gifts or a drink or a dinner paid by a Filipina. There was just this 33 year old Filipina who worked in Singapore for 10 years who would always offer to pay the bill, but she was also flaky as hell when it came to meeting up or planning to do something together.

    I hate the flakiness of Filipinas, which I never really had a problem with in Jakarta and Indonesia in general. I do remember some girls being as flaky as Filipinas but they were just whores, but in the Philippines even a callcentre girl or a receptionist or something would be as flaky as a whore would be in Jakarta.

    Overall… I prefer Indonesia for now because for a caucasian guy like me we have a foreigner advantage. There’s many Indo chicks who really like younger guys only but there just aren’t that many young westerners in Jakarta so it’s so much easier to find a girl who really likes you for who you are.

    Unlike in the Philippines where they all just want a “westerner” so if there’s no young guys available they’ll just go for the 55 year old dude that’s in her city. So basically if i’m nearing 40 or 50 and i’m still single I might go back to the Phils, for now, I prefer Indonesia and even Thailand (even though there’s more competition there).

    I’m in Vietnam now and this country BY FAR has the hottest chicks in the whole of South East Asia (but also the most difficult) and immediately what I noticed after arriving from Manila is how generous the girls are, they’ll offer to pay the bill or something, same as many Indonesian girls would, even though they don’t have a big salary. That just doesn’t happen much in the Phils.

    For a Filipina it doesn’t matter if you’re a 27 year old caucasian guy or a 50 year old guy. To them, you’re just a foreigner. An opportunity and an option. In Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia I have less this feeling of competition with guys the same age as my father.

    • Tyler Durden says:

      I agree that in the Philippines all the girls just want a westerner. I don’t feel like I get more or better pussy than any other foreigner here, yet I’m just 32, have money and am good looking. I’ve had pinays ditch me for and old guy willing to drop serious coin on then. They do fuck for free tho, as long as they can get away with it without their old guy finding out. So I guess I have a slight advantage. But in the Philippines, the highest bidder usually wins vs the young handsome guy (for relationships). But for anonymous sex you have the advantage. That’s just biology.

  12. harley says:

    With rent included I was spending 1600$-2000$ per month in Jakarta by the way. The visa option isn’t that bad…. just get a 1 year business visa (I know agents who will do all the paperwork for 200$) then go to an Indonesian embassy to apply for it. You’ll have to leave every 2 months but tickets to Malaysia or Singapore are like 35$ one way. Always nice to go to Kuala Lumpur sometimes to pick up some cheap bottles of alcohol at the airport and eat some good Indian and Arab foods.

    • kick2dantekick2dante says:

      what is the point of getting it if you still have to fly out every 2 months?

      • harley says:

        You can extend it every 2 months for 1.5jt if you want via agents in Bali but have never found one who does it in Jakarta. I knew some guys who sent their passport to the agent 1 week before expiry and they would get it back a few days later with a full 2 months extension.

        However, I never did that. I would just leave the country every 2 months and stroll around Kuala Lumpur for a few days. That never really bothered me much though.

        • kick2dantekick2dante says:

          doesnt seem to add much value though, what i gather from what you are saying is the only real difference is you dont have to go to the every other month immigration trip? better than nothing i suppose

          fwiw i agree with your lengthy post above, vietnamese girls are the hottest and are coming up on here soon

  13. harley says:

    Another rather expensive option (but would cost the same in Thailand actually for a work permit) is to pay 2400$ to an agent, you pick a company name from a list he has, and he’ll arrange a work permit + KITAS (temporary residence permit) for you which is valid for 1 year.

    It’s expensive and not exactly on the legal side of things but still it’s possible for the guy who makes enough money and really wants to stay in Indonesia without the hassle. I nearly did it… but then decided against it and just got the business visa invitation letter from the same agent.

    Then after 2 KITAS extensions of 1 year you can apply for a KITAP (permanent residence permit) which is valid for 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years.

    So there are options for the ones who really want to live in Indonesia. It’s more expensive, but it’s there.

  14. harley says:

    Filipina women are the ugliest in the whole of Asia. Everyone knows that… only the guy who just wants to have sex will say the oposite. Most Filipina women look like digustig human beings…. I just want to fuck them from behind or else they will think I like them. There are 1000000 more other beautiful women in Asia who are not Filipino and who don’t need to work as a maid or whatever degrading job but are still willing to meet a cool and nice Western guy.

    • jspilljspill says:

      Cambodian chicks worse imo

    • kick2dantekick2dante says:

      it is all personal preference, personally i dont think thai girls faces are attractive at all 97/100 times, only thing they have going for them is that there are more that have in shape stomachs

      really though filipinas, thais, indos, cambo…. hard to find really hot girls in any of those countries

  15. Blue says:

    Curious.. Might Indonesia be a good place for a white-ish looking guy with a muslim background to find a hot wife?

  16. Mark says:

    Nice write up but I feel you haven’t spent enough time in Jakarta yet. I’d point out the following:
    – Traffic in Jakarta has no comparison. Nothing in the whole world comes close. Yes you can use ojek but that will often make you sweat or wet or both. Not good before a date
    – Jakarta is also the worst place I’ve seen for pedestrians
    – 5am prayers is not something you can easily get used to depending on location. I once had 4 within 200m radius and I swore a lot everyday
    – Indo girls are more educated than others in SEA. Pinays are plain dumb, that’s what makes them play silly games. You won’t get much of that in Jakarta and girls will also expect more from you. Foreigner value is high but human white trash won’t be as lucky as in Thailand or Philippines.
    – Food is defo better than in Philies but it’s pricey too.
    – Indo girls are keen to visit but they are not kinky. For 3somes the Philippines are much better place.
    – The Muslim character of the place is reflected in alcohol prices which are extraordinary. Thailand and especially the Philippines are MUCH(!!!) cheaper.
    – Probably the biggest point for anyone older than early 20s is that Jakarta has no vibe. There is not much going on and people (your girls included) spend time mostly working and resting. On the weekend they sometimes go to clubs and (often) take drugs to knock their socks off. During the week hardly anything happens. Even expat groups are not lively. Manila is better and Bangkok obviously hugely excels here. This is the main reason for me not consider living in Jakarta for more than a month ever again.

    • kick2dantekick2dante says:

      i heard that it was really hard to walk in jakarta before i went, but at least in the area i was staying that wasnt the case

      not sure about kinky, but i would say indo girls are more into the sex then phils girls are

    • harley says:

      When I first moved permanently to Jakarta I kinda missed the Bangkok nightlife… but once you start to get to know the city there’s plenty of places to hang out… what I never got over though were the insanely high alcohol prices in clubs and bars. Most expats work in embassies, oil and gas, or for Lazada or something… The expat friends I have in Jakarta are totally different from the ones I met in Manila or Bangkok… I didn’t really have much friends in Jakarta actually… I had not met any digital partying nomad like myself there.

      then Bali is totally different. It’s like Phuket but without the girly bars. However I found the Indonesian girls in Bali (who are all from elsewhere in Indonesia) to be a lot more difficult than in Jakarta. It felt like being in a different country.

  17. southernallstars says:

    Indos (girls and guys) keep staring at me, some virtually eye-locking me, not many white guys around here. I would say altogether Jakarta is somewhat cheaper than Manila, but not like BKK or Ho Chi Minh.
    Filipinas are somewhat uglier, mainly because many of them are downright ugly, while some are hot. Here the difference between hot and ugly isn’t as big, you don’t see as many of the fat islander meatball type with big round faces.

    Altogether I would see Indonesia as a worthy and underestimated rival to PI or Thailand for long-staying westerners.

  18. Harley says:

    Its not a big deal at all flying out every 2 months to KL or Malaysia if you can afford it. You come back in and smack boom get 2 months business visa again… with tourist or social visas you have to go to immigration every month 2 times and then go back to an embassy to apply again.

    Then theres this guy who for 2400$ gets you a workpermit and kitas for 1 year…

    The best thing about Jakarta is the availability of hi so chicks. I dated a chick who drove a new 80.000$ BMW, and a girl once paid for my visa run to Singapore (3 days, flight, 5 star hotel, food, and really expensive drinks), another girl who bought me a Yves Saint Laurant perfume in Lotte Avenue for like 150$ and a Samsung A56 when it just came out for like 500$… I never asked for anything.

    Those kind of girls are usually not interested in foreigners in Bangkok or Manila…

    Yes theres many golddigers mainly from Java but the hi so chicks are actually available. Just gave me a good feeling to be treated like I was important to them…. not just seeing me just another stupid foreigner.

  19. Harley says:

    but be sure you stay around Mega Kuningan or the Epicentrum areas. When I first went to Jakarta I made the mistake of staying in north Jakarta and had a really shitty impression of the place.

    Epicentrum is a little paradise inside Jakarta. Cheap and good western food, sport bars, easily accessible, good supermarket, 2 cheap and big food courts and close to all the major malls

  20. Tyler Durden says:

    As I sit here in Cebu airport, and look at fat western chicks, I realize the girls in the country are 1000 times more beautiful. Indo girls may be more beautiful. Maybe Thai girls are or viet girls. But one things for sure, all of those girls are way better looking, and have a way better attitude than your average western white chick. That will never be up for debate.

    Ride on, fellas…

  21. southernallstars says:

    The visa is a real pain since you have to go to the immigration three times! I didn’t have to wait at all though, I was the only one applying.

    The cost is 35 USD on arrival plus another 25 USD at the office and it’s for a single month only. The 35 USD for the on arrival visa must be paid at the airport, they have a counter for that on the way to the immigration.

    Unlike what some websites tell you, you DON’T need a letter from a sponsor anymore and they take a digital picture at the office so you don’t need a photo either. You need a copy of your onward or return ticket and passport only.

    I went to the immigration office in Kota hear the train station, walking distance from bus line no.1 station kota.

  22. RAH says:

    To me this is a no brainier. (I don’t at all mean that offensively) But I stopped reading and just scrolled to the end after reading all that shit you go through with visas. You have to remember I think to myself THIS IS ALL ABOUT GETTING LAID. The mind games of Filipino girls and all their shit with tardiness and all I will take any day over the bullshit of immigration bureaucracy. AND “FOR ME” I think the filipinas look better and probably better in bed. I really don’t want to train someone on how to kiss?

    The two month trip although I don’t actually hate doing I am always afraid I will FORfuckingGET AND HAVE TO PAY THE STUPID FINE. But, I never had problem. Was always the first there in the morning was in and out within 20 minutes. This is Negros Oriental. I did hate when being in Siquijor for a year the stupid boat ride each time. That was 3 hours min and you had to deal with schedules and a whole lot of shit BUT still so what; I got in the country with little fanfare and the country has given me the best nights of my life. And with pinays its night, morning, afternoon, they are always horny if they like what you got. Heehe.

  23. Davidson says:

    The games can drive a guy insane. Constant never ending games with so many of them. They almost never mean what they say. Once you do finally find one that is straight with you and does come and keeps coming without issues and excuses, then just stick with that one. Everything else becomes an exhausting head trip. I think so many of them just do this intentionally just because they can’t say ‘no’ so they lie and try to have you chase them around everywhere making excuses or trying to bring friends, nonsense. I think even more than the money issues they really do get off on the game of it, just to twist you up in knots.

  24. CJS says:

    Maybe there’s an article on this already, what are the main differences between Cebu, Malina, Angeles City, Subic (feel free to mention other cities I’ve might of missed) as far as easy access to women, safety, things to do. Where is it “best” if you’re gonna be in only one of the cities.

    • CJS says:

      Also, how big of a difference is it in cost of living (buying food in supermarket, rent etc..)

      • kick2dantekick2dante says:

        manila is most expensive, others will all cost about the same, subic sucks you dont want to live there

        angeles is best if you want hookers, manila is good for a mix (though the hookers are more stuck up) and cebu is best for non pros (manila is fine for that as well)

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