Indonesia Inquiry

Social Life in Jakarta & Beyond

August 3, 2012 Communities and Cultures Travel & Living Abroad Travel Advice 0

What is there to do in Jakarta and elsewhere? Where can I go to be entertained, get fit, or make new friends? Read the following tips for answers to these questions.



  • Most major towns have movie theaters. There are generally discounts on Mondays (referred to as “NOMAT”). In addition or as an alternative, you can purchase or rent VCDs (like DVDs) on the street or from small shops. Be sure to find “original” copies since others are less quality (think of a guy in a movie theater illegally taping a film with a camcorder).
  • See “Music and Dance” section below.
  • Most major towns also have bookshops catering to many different literary genres. Texts are usually in Indonesian, but sometimes in English and other languages.
  • Meetup helps groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in local communities around the world: The site has yet to gain huge popularity among expats in Indonesia, but it can (and should!) as it’s successful in other countries.
  • If you are a member of “Couchsurfing,” you can connect with travelers, expats, residents, etc. for coffee or an outing:


  • Jakarta has fitness options ranging from gyms (e.g., Celebrity Fitness and Gold’s Gym) to special classes (e.g., yoga) to martial arts to club sports. Ask around for details. More information is available at
  • In many towns, you can get daily, weekly, or monthly passes from hotels to use their gyms and/or pools. Just ask staff members at their front desks for more information.
  • Some places have public pools, but these are generally for families with children.
  • Some towns and universities have hiking clubs. There may or may not be membership fees.
  • Coastal cities provide access to beaches. Just beware of potentially dangerous rip tides, certain ocean wildlife (e.g., jellyfish, sharks, stingrays, and some fish bite!), and harassment from onlookers or passersby (e.g., wear conservative clothing to avoid problems).

 Music & Dance

  • Most cities and villages have music and dance performances throughout the year. Sometimes the performances are just for fun, but they can also be for rituals and holidays.
  • Ask around in the community for music and dance classes or groups. There may be joining/membership fees, but occasionally the classes and groups are free of charge.


“Founded in 2001, the JICC has become a hub of art, culture and learning in Jakarta for expatriates and locals alike, providing a comfortable retreat from the city with various classes, coffee mornings and dinner evenings among other events. It also plays an important role in helping recently arrived expatriates adjust to life in the city by offering a number of facilities from language and cultural orientation and staff referral services to networking events.”


  • Jakarta:

— List of Expatriate Sports Clubs and Groups:


Suggested sites in Jakarta:

— National Monument (a.k.a. Monas):

— National Museum:

— Seaworld: