It does depend on where you are from of course as to what to bring! I noticed someone said said bring pet food...many pet shops here around Kemang who sell amazing array of good quality pet food...so maybe don't worry with that one.
Panadol a good move to bring your own...especially the liquid form if you have little ones.
To the women in your household, if they use tampons bring a ton...they are not readily available, no choice and not easily found.
Apart from country specific things, the other things we miss are mainly perishables...real, unsweetened bread, ham, bacon, good quality meat...hard to pack in a shipping container!!
ham and bacon = you can get it here. Good quality meat : well, it depends on your requirement. My husband now survives on local beef. Cheaper and tastier, he said. I personally can't tell the difference in taste. I know a very good halal butcher that supplies good quality beef that we consume. PM me for details.
Real, unsweetened bread, I baked them myself. Please PM for details.
Tampons are NOT easily available everywhere...and there is one brand that the chemist sells, and come they in a box of 8...not going to last very long!! And I forget how much for too. I did see some "ob" ones (from Canada) at Grand Lucky the other day, but they are not something that is easily found everywhere!!
Price is a pain for sure, but not all of us have "channels" to get things brought back into the country regularly...so paying through he nose does become a necessary evil, and it does get a little easier - it is proportionate to how long you have been here and you do become more immune to the inflated prices for the imported stuff!! Combined with the cheaper milk, fruit and vegetables, and I think at times meat too...I think it probably all evens out somewhat in the end.
There are bakers around who do great bread...we have found a French Bakery (Le Croissant Francais) who home delivers, and makes awesome bread. (Not all of us have time to make our own all the time!) and Slaney's Butcher have an amazing home delivery service for great beef, pork, veal, duck, turkey, some seafood and the best (Australian-like) sausages we've found yet.
You need to sort of hit the ground running, and while staying at the hotel (generally this is what seems to happen) visit all the supermarkets around you to get a feel for what they all have and what the differences are that they offer. It is a slow process overall, and just trying to work out what is in everything is incredibly time consuming!! Labelling here is also not great...so beware. It took me about an hour one day to just go through all the small tetra-pak juices to find out which ones had no sugar in them for my kids' lunches!! So do not forget your translator app/dictionary/phrase book!! Good luck!!
i've been here (Surabaya) for three years and have my friend ship a few bottles of good red wine every month and haven't had any problems yet.
unless the law has changed, i think you can bring TWO bottles per person from duty free.
if you like nice feather pillows, bring the ones you like from home. pillows are expensive and poor quality here.
i actually found some good dental floss at a japanese grocery store, but it is otherwise nonexistent here.
tampons seem to be unavailable here - women use pads.
i disagree with the previous comment about electronics. i find that they are cheaper here than in the U.S., but electronic superstores are in abundance in Surabaya. I even had a new hard drive installed in my macbook pro and was shocked at how cheap it was.
after three years, here's my most missed or shopping wish list:
English language books and magazines.
REAL Levi's jeans.
crackers and corn chips that don't have sugar and MSG.
REAL Guiness beer, not the fake stuff they have here.
high quality spare parts for my motorcycle
at the end of the day though, the previous poster was right: the MOST IMPORTANT thing to bring is an open mind. it is the 3rd world after all...