Local time in Jakarta, Indonesia : Print

Useful Tips

Business Customs

  • When scheduling a visit to Indonesia, one should avoid coming during July and August since school, summer and national holidays fall during these months. Business visitors should check the local holiday schedule before traveling to Indonesia. Also a business visitor should avoid arranging business meetings in Indonesia 2 weeks prior to and 2 weeks following the Idul Fitri holiday. The same is true for the Chinese New Year holiday. Many decision-makers will be away during this period.
  • For your business contacts, please keep the following in mind: Indonesians like to avoid confrontation and disharmony. One should not lose one's temper or show emotion. One should also pay particular attention to certain gestures that Indonesians consider offensive and discourteous.
  • First, do not use the left hand in receiving or eating.
  • Second, under no circumstances should one touch or extend any part of the body over an Indonesian's head; the head is considered the most sacred body part.
  • Third, never allow the bottoms of your feet/shoes to be visible by others.
  • Indonesians do not conduct business contractions or make decisions in the same direct fashion as Americans. Therefore, U.S. business people should be prepared to spend a good deal of time with clients before settling the business transaction. Patience is the key. The word "no" is rarely used. Exchanging small gifts is common practice for business or social visits. During such occasions, tea or coffee is almost always served and should be accepted. It should not be drunk, however, until the host invites you to do so.
  • Most importantly, Indonesians do business with "friends", people whom they know, so developing a rapport is crucial. While quality and price are important, they are secondary to the personal interaction of the business partners.

Business Hours

When making a business trip, do not expect to schedule meetings for Friday afternoons or Saturdays.

  • Commerce
    08:00-17:00 Mondays to Fridays*
    08:00-13:00 Saturdays (some may take Saturday off)
  • Government
    08:00-16:30 Mondays to Fridays*
    *Moslems are released for prayers every Friday from 1200-1300
  • Banks
    09:00-15:00 Mondays to Fridays*
  • Shops
    09:00-22:00 Mondays to Sundays

Visas and Travel Documents

Entrance and Residence Requirements: Tourists and business visitors from the United States may obtain a 60-day short visit pass (visa) upon arrival. All visitors must have at least 6 months validity left in their passports and a round-trip or onward ticket. To extend this pass a trip outside the country is usually required. Visitors departing Indonesia should reserve enough funds to pay the Rp. 100,000 airport departure tax.

A 6-month to 1-year temporary residence visa may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, for either single or multiple entries. When requesting residence visas, one should allow sufficient time to meet whatever requirements may be imposed (e.g. sponsorship letters).

See this website for more information: http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/consular/visitvisa.htm

Employment is not allowed without a work permit from the Ministry of Manpower. In addition, foreign and domestic investors must submit an employment plan to the Capital Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to obtain approval for expatriate employee work permits. Permits are issued only for positions that cannot be filled by Indonesian nationals.

Business travelers interested in engaging in such activities as concluding extensive commercial transactions or performing professional or technical services should obtain a regular business visa, either single or multiple entry, from an Indonesian embassy or consulate. Temporary resident visas are valid for six months to one year and are issued exclusively to experts required for national development. A Non-citizen is not allowed to work in Indonesia unless they have a work permit issued by the Ministry of Manpower.

In addition, foreign and domestic investors must submit a manpower employment plan to BKPM to obtain approval for expatriate employee work permits. Work permits are issued only for positions that cannot be filled by Indonesian nationals. The government issues a list of professions by sectors that are open to expatriate personnel.


The normal business attire is a business suit or white shirt, tie and slacks for men, and a business suit or dress for women. The traditional batik shirt is also commonly worn in the office and is now considered proper business attire. Business cards are commonly used.


Transportation: In Jakarta, taxis are inexpensive and widely available except during morning and evening rush hours and Saturday nights during the peak social season, when they become scarce. In Jakarta, make certain the taximeter is turned on. In other cities, it may be common for drivers to negotiate a price rather than use the meter. However, one should also exercise extreme caution while using taxis. The number of patrons reporting thefts and assaults in taxis has increased in recent months, and has prompted many expatriates to use only the most reputable taxi companies, opting to summon taxis by telephone rather than flagging them down on the street. In Jakarta, the Blue Bird family of taxis (and the sister Silver and Golden Bird luxury taxis) are considered to be the safest and most reliable and they can be summoned by telephone (794-1234).

Business travelers may wish to hire a private car which can be arranged through their hotel prior to arrival. Rates for this exceed $100 per day. Alternatively, arrangements can also be made with a taxi driver. Taxi and private limo drivers may not speak much English or be particularly knowledgeable about the city, and visitors are occasionally taken on roundabout routes. Allow plenty of time between meetings to accommodate Jakarta traffic jams; one half hour between locations in the central city is recommended.

Train and air services are usually used for domestic travel. Domestic flights are the most convenient way to travel to most in-country destinations, with the exception of the highly recommended train from Jakarta to Bandung. For inter-city train service, book a first-class (Eksekutif) seat if available, which can be done by travel agents or at the train station one week in advance. Ferry services for people and vehicles link the major islands and many of the smaller islands.


The national language of Bahasa Indonesia is spoken all over Indonesia, in addition to local dialects/languages. English is widely spoken and understood in Jakarta by most business people, although much less so in other cities. Most of the better hotels have English-speaking staff, as do the shopping centers that cater to expatriates. International telephone operators also speak English. However, the level of English can vary. Indonesian firms hoping to conduct business with foreigners generally try to employ some English speakers.

Travel Advisory

As the capital, the largest as well as the most important city of Indonesia, Jakarta is no different than any other metropolitan cities in the world. Please use your common sense when you walk around the city. Pickpockets and beggars are common in the city.

Please consult U.S. Embassy for the latest travel warnings at

Money and Currency

As with most developing countries, in major cities you will find most established organizations will accept the well known credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express etc.). However you will find many establishments and taxis which accept only cash, the Indonesian Rupiah. Therefore it is best to take a mixture of all three types of currency with you:

Credit Cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, etc.), American Dollars (to be exchanged for Indonesian Rupiah on arrival) and Travelers Checks

An exchange machine and bank counters are located near the baggage carousel in the arrivals hall at the international airport.


Telephone services vary between areas in Jakarta. The quality of service depends largely on the local telephone exchange's capacity to handle traffic. Phone service is good along the main business thoroughfares and the newer residential areas, which are served by fiber optic trunk lines.

In the older residential areas service is less reliable, extra phone lines can be costly, and obtaining them can be time consuming. International direct dial (IDD) lines are available and will allow connection to an AT&T, Sprint or MCI operator, but rates are considerably higher than calling from the United States. Cellular services are readily available but the quality of service varies. Internet is widely used now.


As Indonesia is very near the equator, temperatures run roughly the same all year round: 88-92 degrees Fahrenheit. From October to March, Indonesia enters the "Rainy Season" with each day encountering some form of rain shower, moderate to very heavy. If travelling to Indonesia during this time, be sure to bring or purchase an umbrella. From April to September, Indonesia is in what as known as the "Dry Season". Most days during this period are sunny and breezy, although some showers occasionally take place.

Business meetings usually take place in air-conditioned offices. Therefore, the business traveler will want to take light-weight suits for business meetings.

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