The 6 Best Places To Live In Indonesia

Trying to figure out where the best places to live in Indonesia are? Then you’re in the right place!

With over 17,000 islands (yes, you heard that right), Indonesia is a diverse nation with something for everyone. From gorgeous beach resort towns to lush jungle villages to bustling cosmopolitans, Indonesia is a top choice if you’re considering living in Asia.

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Like many other parts of Asia, life in Indonesia is much cheaper than in the western world. Thus, many remote workers head here to enjoy a greater quality of life and spend their free time exploring the many nature spots, beaches, and temples.

Although there are many Indonesian islands, almost all the expats and digital nomads base themselves across Bali and Java. So read on to discover the six best places to live in Indonesia for foreigners looking to settle down in this tropical paradise.

Indonesia Flag

Canggu, Bali

Canggu is Bali’s biggest digital nomad hotspot right now and one of the best cities to live in Indonesia for anyone looking for a laidback beach lifestyle. Located on the south coast of Bali, the resort town is known for its surf culture, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. It’s the #1 place to live in Bali.

Over recent years, digital nomads have flocked to this dreamy coastal town to live out the dream of working directly on the beach. As a result, Canguu caters incredibly well to digital nomads and remote workers with an influx of fabulous co-working spaces, decent internet, and trendy western-style cafes and coffee shops.

Canggu offers the perfect blend of western comforts and Asian living. You can top up your tan, catch a wave, or watch the sunset at one of the many hip beach clubs during your free time.

However, Canggu is definitely most attractive to the younger crowd, so if you’re looking to settle down somewhere with kids, this may not be the place for you.

Like elsewhere in Bali, you can find accommodation across different price ranges, depending on the comfort and luxury level you’re looking for.

For example, a one-bedroom house can range from $300 to $600 monthly.

Canggu

Ubud, Bali 

Ubud is another of the trendiest towns in Bali and one of the best places to live in Indonesia for young expats. Although it’s equally popular with digital nomads, Ubud has a very different vibe from Canggu.

Located in the middle of the island, Ubud doesn’t have a beach. Still, it is close to the mountains and surrounded by lush tropical greenery, making it a nature lover’s haven.

Ubud also has more Balinese culture than Canggu and is known as the island’s cultural hub. You’ll never get bored of stunning temples, art stores, galleries, and Balinese spas here. 

Ubud is also renowned for its spiritual and wellness offerings. It has some excellent yoga studios, meditation centers, reiki healing, and other alternative therapies.

However, one downside to this blissful town is that it can get crowded with tourists, sometimes dampening its tranquil vibe. 

Still, you’ll likely find cheaper accommodation here than in the coastal towns. Plus, the tourists and expats here are more laid back than party animals.

What’s more, Ubud is one of the safest towns in Bali and Indonesia. 

Ubud

Jakarta City, Java

To the west of Bali is the much larger and less touristy island of Java. You’ll find Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city and a vast economic hub on the northwest coast.

This fast-paced, vibrant city feels like another world compared to the smaller Indonesian islands. Still, it’s the best place to live if you want to climb the career ladder.

As Jakarta is an enormous city, knowing where to live here can be a minefield. However, Kemang, in the south, is one of the most popular districts among expats as there are many international schools and plenty of luxurious residential properties.

In addition, Kemang gives easy access to the business district and all of Jakarta’s best entertainment offerings. Of course, as a bustling metropolis, there are some downsides to Jakarta.

For example, it is incredibly crowded with frequent traffic jams. Still, if you thrive in big cities, you’ll have the time of your life here. 

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Groceries and transportation are noticeably cheaper in Jakarta compared to Bali. However, rent and other consumer prices are pretty similar.

In addition, you can find all levels of accommodation, from basic to luxurious. Thus a one-bedroom apartment ranges from $300 to $500, and a larger place can cost anything from $600 to $1100. 

Jakarta City

Yogyakarta, Java

Yogyakarta (also called “Jogja”) in Java is a truly unique place and one of the best cities in Indonesia for those who want to experience true Javanese art and culture. In addition, Yogyakarta is the only monarchy in Indonesia and has a significant history.

Despite being an ancient city, Yogyakarta now has a youthful vibe, mainly because of the enormous student population. Because of the numerous world-class universities here, Yogyakarta is a top choice if you work in the education sector.

The expat community in Yogyakarta is small compared to Jakarta and Bali, and most foreigners here are here for the long run. Thus, it’s not a spot where digital nomads pass through. 

Still, it’s an excellent place for families as it’s quiet and serene and has plenty of international schools. Note that there is no beach here, but you can reach the coast in just over an hour’s drive.

Another pro of the picturesque town is the low living costs. Yogyakarta is one of the cheaper Indonesian cities, with rental prices almost half that of Jakarta.

For example, you can rent a one-bedroom house for around $200 or a 3-bedroom place for as little as $400. 

yogyakarta

Sanur, Bali

If you don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of big cities and want to be by the beach but away from the tourist crowds, check out Sanur. This lesser-known Balinese town is a quiet part of Denpasar, uniquely away from the tourist crowds yet close enough to all the action should you want it. 

Sanur is a favored spot among families living and working in Indonesia and everyone who loves Bali but prefers peace and quiet.

Sanur has many beautiful beaches on its doorstep and is a stone’s throw from numerous international schools and hospitals. It’s also just a 30-minute drive to the airport.

As there is a large expat community here, you’ll find settling in super easy. There is also a great mix of western and local eateries and cozy drinking spots.

What’s more, a range of jobs is available in Denpasar for foreigners with in-demand skills. 

Sanur

Bandung, Java

Finally, the city of Bandung in Java is well worth mentioning. It is the third-largest city in the nation, located 2.5 hours outside Jakarta.

It is a huge shopping hub, so it is the best place to live in Indonesia for fashion enthusiasts. 

Bandung may not be as vibrant as Jakarta or as trendy as Bali, but it has many perks. For example, the city boasts a milder climate, cheap public transport, and stunning heritage architecture and art deco buildings.

What’s more, the creative city has many fantastic boutique stores and cute cafes. 

Like Yogyakarta, Bandung has super affordable rental costs, ranging from $150 to $500 a month, depending on size and modernity. Eating out is also incredibly cheap here, so it is a fab spot for remote workers to live while building their savings.

However, some downsides include heavy traffic, a lack of English speakers, and a smaller expat community. Thus you may not find it as easy to fit in here as in the other best Indonesian cities. 

bandung city

Final Thoughts On Best Places To Live In Indonesia

Whether you dream of working from a beach in Bali or fancy an exciting, fast-paced lifestyle in one of Indonesia’s biggest cities, you’ll find your perfect fit on this list.

Moreover, as all these six best places to live in Indonesia are no strangers to tourists, they are relatively safe options. Still, petty crimes like pickpocketing are common across Indonesia, so always be cautious. 

Not sure if Indonesia is the right place for you? Read one of the following guides:

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