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
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.
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
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.
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?