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January 19, 2024
Lifestyle Insights

Where Do Most Expats Live in Indonesia in 2024? Best Expat-Friendly Areas

Have you found yourself asking, "Where do most expats live in Indonesia?" If the thought of relocating to this beautiful country appeals to you but the multitude of options is causing a sense of overwhelm, then this article is just what you need.

Indonesia, with its diverse cultural landscape, breathtaking scenic beauty, and tropical climate, caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. 

Through this post, we aim to simplify your decision-making process by providing an in-depth analysis of where to live in Bali and the greater Indonesia.

Canggu, Bali

Canggu, situated on the sun-drenched southern coast of Bali, exemplifies the ideal beach town lifestyle that the Island of the Gods is famous for. 

With a unique blend of local culture and international appeal, it's no surprise that this bohemian enclave has experienced an exponential rise in popularity among expats. 

Its vibrant community, offering a fusion of Balinese tradition and a modern nomadic lifestyle, makes Canggu an attractive option if you are asking the question of "Where do most expats live in Bali?"

Canggu is famous for its luxurious villas, tasteful apartments, and a variety of different accommodation options making it a great choice when deciding on living in Indonesia.

Canggu is known for its premier surf breaks and dark sand beaches. This flourishing town has come a long way from being a mere fishing village and rice production site to becoming a hotspot for digital nomads, thanks to some of the best co-working spaces in Bali, surfers, and yogis from around the globe.

Things To Do In Canggu

Canggu is a playground for surfers, with several beaches offering perfect waves for both novices and seasoned surfers. Echo Beach, in particular, is renowned worldwide for its impressive surf breaks.

But Canggu is not only about surf and sand. It's also a foodie paradise. The town is dotted with trendy cafes and health-conscious restaurants serving global cuisine and local Balinese dishes, making it a food lover's haven.

The town is also a wellness hub. From the internationally recognized Desa Seni to the local Samadi Bali, there's no shortage of yoga studios offering classes for all levels. For the spiritually inclined, various holistic healing and wellness retreats provide a sanctuary to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul amidst the town's lively atmosphere.

Pros And Cons Of Canggu

Living in Canggu presents a myriad of advantages. The laid-back lifestyle, combined with the warmth of a multicultural community, creates an environment that’s both welcoming and exciting. You'll never run out of food options here, with a plethora of eateries serving everything from Indonesian cuisine to vegan delights. 

The town also has a thriving nightlife, with beach clubs and bars offering entertainment well into the night.

However, the increasing popularity of Canggu also means that it is gradually becoming busier. The tranquil rice fields are slowly giving way to construction sites, contributing to traffic and noise pollution. 

The cost of living, although still affordable compared to Western standards, is on the rise due to the influx of tourists and expats. As a result, those seeking a quieter and more traditional Balinese lifestyle may find other regions of Bali more suitable.

For a more comprehensive understanding of life in Canggu, reach out to our expert real estate agents and check out our property listings in Canggu.

Ubud, Bali

Living in Bali is always a good idea and Ubud, located in the uplands of Bali, is a town steeped in history, culture, and natural beauty that is appealing to all.

Known as the cultural core of Bali, it is a haven for artists, spiritual seekers, and nature lovers alike. 

Over the years, it has emerged as a preferred destination for expats who wish to immerse themselves in the island's deep-rooted traditions and spirituality. It offers a peaceful retreat, far from the beach party scenes of southern Bali, where the sights and sounds of nature take centre stage.

In Ubud, Bali, one can find a myriad of property options ranging from traditional Balinese villas and modern apartments to expansive plots of land for sale, all set against the backdrop of lush rice terraces and tranquil jungles.

From attending age-old ceremonies and rituals to witnessing local artisans at work, life in Ubud is a continuous exploration of the island’s rich heritage.

Things To Do In Ubud

Ubud offers a plethora of experiences that cater to various interests. For wellness enthusiasts, the town is a hub for yoga and meditation retreats. Studios like Yoga Barn  offer a variety of classes amidst serene natural settings, ensuring a holistic wellness experience.

When it comes to dining, Ubud's health-conscious restaurants are a delight. Places like Alchemy and Zest serve nutritious, organic meals that don't compromise on taste, providing a unique dining experience.

Nature lovers can explore the Sacred Monkey Forest, a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex that is home to hundreds of long-tailed macaques. The picturesque Tegalalang Rice Terrace, a short drive from the town centre, provides a glimpse into the island’s agricultural traditions and stunning landscapes.

For a dose of local culture, Ubud Art Market is a must-visit. This bustling market is filled with stalls selling traditional handicrafts, textiles, and jewellery, perfect for those looking for unique souvenirs or gifts.

Pros And Cons Of Ubud

Ubud is characterized by its slower pace of life, which is a significant draw for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The town's natural beauty, from its lush landscapes to its serene rivers, is a daily source of inspiration. 

Ubud also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with numerous art galleries, workshops, and cultural performances taking place throughout the year making it one of the best areas in Bali for family and kids.

However, Ubud's tranquillity may be a bit too much for those who crave the vibrancy and energy of city life. The town’s focus on wellness and spirituality might not appeal to everyone, and the damp, tropical climate can lead to frequent bouts of rainfall, particularly during the monsoon season.

Moreover, as the town gains popularity the quiet streets are starting to get busier, resulting in more traffic and noisier streets. 

Feel free to browse our list property listings in Ubud.

Yogyakarta, Java

Yogyakarta, fondly known as Jogja, is a vibrant city on the island of Java. Renowned as the cultural and artistic hub of Indonesia, it offers a captivating blend of traditional Javanese culture, historical significance, and dynamic city life. 

This, coupled with the city's open-hearted people, makes Yogyakarta a compelling destination for expats seeking to immerse themselves in Indonesia's diverse culture.

From its royal heritage, symbolized by the grand Kraton complex, to its thriving arts scene, Yogyakarta is a city that proudly showcases the country’s rich history and traditions. 

Alongside this, the city is home to numerous higher education institutions, earning it the moniker 'the city of students'.

Things To Do In Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta brims with an array of cultural and historical attractions. It is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Borobudur and Prambanan, Buddhist and Hindu temples respectively, that draw visitors with their grandeur and architectural beauty.

The heart of the city houses the Sultan’s Palace or Kraton, a splendid example of traditional Javanese architecture that also serves as a cultural repository with its numerous museums and art performances.

Jogja is also a paradise for shoppers and foodies. Malioboro Street, the city's main commercial avenue, is alive day and night with vendors selling everything from traditional batik clothing and handicrafts to street food stalls offering local delicacies like Gudeg, a traditional Javanese jackfruit curry.

Pros And Cons Of Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta offers an enriching lifestyle with its deep-rooted culture, historic landmarks, and friendly local community. The city is known for its affordable cost of living, particularly when it comes to food and housing, which is significantly lower than in Bali or Jakarta.

However, Yogyakarta's bustling atmosphere and densely populated areas might not be appealing to those craving serenity and spaciousness. The city's traffic can be challenging, and although the public transportation network is quite extensive, it can be confusing for newcomers.

Also, while the city is relatively safe, petty crime such as pickpocketing can be a concern, particularly in crowded areas like markets or bus stations.

For more on living in Yogyakarta, get in touch with our expert real estate agents.


Jakarta, the sprawling capital of Indonesia, stands as a testament to the country's economic dynamism. As the largest city in Southeast Asia, it is the epicentre of Indonesia's commerce, finance, and industry.

The city’s robust growth, coupled with its cultural diversity, draws expats from around the globe seeking professional opportunities and vibrant urban life.

Jakarta is a city of contrasts, where high-rise skyscrapers coexist with historical sites, and luxury shopping malls are situated just a stone's throw away from traditional markets. It's a place where a multitude of cultures converge, creating an exciting and ever-evolving landscape that reflects the nation's diverse heritage and future aspirations.

Things To Do In Jakarta

Jakarta offers a myriad of activities and experiences. Food enthusiasts can explore the city's culinary scene, which is as diverse as its population. From high-end restaurants offering international cuisine to street food stalls serving local dishes like Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), the city caters to all taste buds.

Shopping enthusiasts are in for a treat as Jakarta is renowned for its shopping malls offering an array of international and local brands.

Historical landmarks like the iconic National Monument, also known as Monas, provide insights into the country's history and are worth a visit. 

After sundown, the city comes alive with a vibrant nightlife, featuring numerous bars, nightclubs, and entertainment venues.

Pros And Cons Of Jakarta

Living in Jakarta comes with a set of advantages and challenges. On the positive side, the city offers a wealth of employment opportunities, particularly in sectors like finance, IT, and manufacturing. 

Jakarta is also a social hub, with a dynamic expat community, countless dining and entertainment options, and an array of cultural and recreational activities.

On the downside, Jakarta is infamous for its congested traffic, which is often considered among the worst globally.


Air quality is also a concern due to pollution. Moreover, Jakarta has a higher cost of living compared to other Indonesian cities. Rent in central areas can be steep, and imported goods are often expensive.

For a deeper dive into what life in Jakarta entails, get in touch with our team of knowledgable real estate agents.


Lombok, an island located east of Bali, is a hidden gem of Indonesia. Offering a blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, Lombok is an attractive option for expats seeking a more laid-back and genuine Indonesian lifestyle. 

With its less crowded environment, spectacular landscapes, and authentic local culture, Lombok provides a tranquil contrast to the bustling tourist hotspots of its neighbouring island.

Lombok is well-known for its pristine beaches, verdant forests, and the towering Rinjani Volcano. It's an ideal place for those who love outdoor activities or simply want to immerse themselves in nature's beauty. 

The island is also home to the indigenous Sasak people, whose rich culture and friendly demeanour add to Lombok's unique charm.

Things To Do In Lombok

Lombok offers a variety of natural attractions and activities. Kuta Lombok, often compared to Bali's Kuta 20 years ago, is a renowned destination for surfers due to its high-quality waves. Surfing enthusiasts, both beginners and professionals, will find it a true paradise.

Adventurous souls can embark on a trek to Mount Rinjani, Indonesia's second-highest volcano. This challenging hike rewards climbers with breathtaking panoramic views of the crater lake and surrounding landscapes.

For those seeking relaxation, Lombok is dotted with serene beaches. From the popular Senggigi Beach to the secluded beaches in the South like Tanjung Aan and Selong Belanak, you can always find a tranquil spot to unwind and soak in the island's natural beauty.

Pros And Cons Of Lombok

Life in Lombok comes with its own set of pros and cons. On the upside, Lombok offers a tranquil lifestyle away from crowded tourist centres. Its stunning natural beauty, from sun-kissed beaches to lush mountain landscapes, provides an idyllic setting for those seeking a slower pace of life. 

Furthermore, the cost of living in Lombok is generally lower than in Bali or Jakarta, making it an affordable place to reside.

On the downside, Lombok has fewer Western amenities compared to Bali or Jakarta. This means that some familiar comforts may not be readily available, and it can take longer to source certain products or services. 

Moreover, while there are local healthcare facilities, they are not as advanced or well-equipped as those in the larger cities. Serious medical conditions may require travel to receive healthcare Bali or Jakarta for treatment.


Where do retired expats live in Indonesia?

The big question of the best places to retire in Indonesia is common. Many retired expats choose to live in the serene and scenic locales of Bali, particularly Ubud and Canggu. These areas offer a tranquil environment, a vibrant expat community, and a range of lifestyle activities that make retirement enjoyable and fulfilling.


Indonesia's wide range of locales, from the beach town of Canggu to the cultural heartland of Yogyakarta, offers diverse experiences for expats. 

The best fit for you depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and budget. No matter which area you choose, the rich culture and warm hospitality of Indonesia are bound to make you feel at home. 

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