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  • Writer's pictureSotirios Seridis

Cost of Living in Indonesia

The southeastern Asian country of Indonesia is an attractive destination for tourists, ex-pats, retirees, digital nomads, and all kinds of travelers. It's the place to enjoy its many wonders, from beautiful landscapes, beaches, climate food, and a chill lifestyle. Not only is it an amazing destination but it is also affordable, making it a good option to live in the short or the long term. According to Numbeo, Indonesia ranks 105/137 on the cost of living index. However, this can change depending on whether you live in bigger cities or rural areas. That’s why we will discuss all the costs of living in Indonesia, including food, rent, transport, health, and more. Before we start, keep in mind that the costs listed in this article are the average and the prices and exchange rate listed is as of 2022.



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Why Move to Indonesia?


There are many reasons to call Indonesia your home. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  1. Unique weather: Indonesia’s humid climate provides idyllic tropical retreats. Throughout the year, average monthly temperatures range from about 22°C (72°F) to 33°C (91°F). There are approximately 12 hours of daylight per day and the water is always warm for a nice bath.

  2. Welcoming locals: If you prefer to be surrounded by happy people, then Indonesia is the place for you. You'll be greeted with a genuine smile. Indonesians are polite, respectful, helpful, humble, generous, and inclusive.

  3. Affordability: We have already mentioned this and will expand it throughout the article, but the cost of living in Indonesia is quite low compared to many countries, especially those in North America and Europe.

  4. Diverse population: Among the country's many ethnic groups, there are dozens of cultures. Ancient Hindu temples, spiritual and agricultural traditions, ritual dances, and many more cultural traditions coexist in the same country.

  5. Natural landscapes: Indonesia is not only a cultural draw. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with immaculately terraced lush rice fields, volcanoes, temples, the turquoise sea, dense jungles, and mountainous vistas.

  6. Social and nightlife: there is always something to do in Indonesia. Particularly in Jakarta and large student cities such as Bandung, the nightlife is vibrant with a thriving music scene.

  7. Sports activities: Bali, Java, and Sumatra have some of the best surf spots in the world. Kitesurfing has grown in popularity in recent years and is a fun alternative to surfing. Indonesia also houses many fantastic diving spots throughout its islands.

  8. A safe place to live: Aside from the usual precautions you would take in any country/city to avoid mishaps, Indonesia is quite safe. Your visit or stay will most likely be trouble-free if you avoid illegal activities and use common sense. Violence is generally low in the streets so no extra precautions are necessary.

  9. Fantastic food: Coffee, drinks, tropical fruit, everything tastes delicious in Indonesia. Its cultural heritage has resulted in a stunning array of delectable dishes. Street food is a great option as well, with fancy options for big spenders also widely available.

  10. Animals not seen elsewhere: Indonesia has some of the world's most diverse wildlife. Komodo dragons, Sumatran orangutans, maleos, and pygmy tarsiers are just some of the species you will only see in this country.


If the reasons above have convinced you to take a trip to Indonesia, then let's see how much it actually costs to stay in the country!





Cost of Accommodation in Indonesia


Renting a place to live in Indonesia will be the most expensive part of moving to the country. Accommodation costs largely depend on the location of the property, its size, and the amenities available. Depending on where you choose to settle in Indonesia, you will have a variety of options to choose from; there are shared coliving places, hostels, hotels, apartments, villas, and all sorts of lodgings offered here for every kind of budget. Based on Numbeo, here’s a rough estimate of how much you will be paying for each type of accommodation in major Indonesian cities:


  • Apartments:

    • 1 bedroom in City Centre: USD264 per month

    • 1 bedroom outside of the City Centre: USD160 per month

    • 3 bedrooms in City Centre: USD 614 per month

    • 3 bedrooms outside of the City Centre: USD 367 per month



  • Airbnb:

    • Average cost for a shared room in Indonesia: USD 35 per night

    • Average cost for a private room in Indonesia: USD 57 per night

    • Average cost for an entire place in Indonesia: USD 396 per night


Take this as just a general guideline and average prices in Indonesia, as prices vary largely in each place. For instance, living in an apartment in Jakarta is way more expensive than living in a smaller city in Indonesia. Rent prices in Bali are 9.90% higher than in Jakarta, whilst rent prices in Yogyakarta are 35.27% lower than in Jakarta. Please also note that some places may or may not include utilities such as water, electricity, and internet in the rent prices, so be sure to check this when renting a place.





Cost of Utilities in Indonesia


Speaking of utilities, as some accommodation options may charge them separately, let’s break down the costs of utilities in Indonesia. As usual, the cost of utilities largely depends on the individual's usage and other members of the household. Here’s the general rule/average for each:


  • Apartment:

    • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): USD 57 per month

  • Home:

    • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): USD 96 per month

  • Others:

    • Internet (60+ Mbps, Unlimited Data): USD 29 per month

    • Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local: USD 0.10 per minute


If you plan to stay somewhere far from the major cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya, or Yogyakarta, remember that some remote locations may not have amenities such as air conditioning and good internet access (or access at all). Be sure to double-check before booking.





Cost of Food and Beverage in Indonesia


Moving on, another important price to keep in mind is the food. Generally, eating and drinking are not expensive in Indonesia, but, just like everything else, costs are wide and variable. Indonesia offers food and beverages for everyone. From street food and 'warungs' to 5-star restaurants, there are plenty of dining options.


Eating out at local ‘warungs’ (small family-owned businesses that usually work as outdoor restaurants) will come with cheap dishes such as rice with chicken which cost anywhere from USD 1 to USD 3 per meal. International food (Western, Japanese, Indian, etc) is marked up considerably starting from USD 6 per meal, though there are many that 'duplicate' the flavors at cheaper prices.


Also, Indonesians now rely a lot on GoFood, GrabFood, and ShopeeFood (apps where you can order food like Uber Eats), and they tend to have a large selection of budget meals and plenty of discounts and offers. If you plan to enjoy a good drink, alcohol is more expensive in Indonesia than overseas due to tax imports, but there are some local beers that are more affordable.





Here are some estimated costs:

  • Inexpensive Restaurant (warungs, street stalls): USD 1.60 per meal

  • Mid-range Restaurant (malls, restaurants): USD 16 per meal

  • Mcdonald's meal (or Equivalent Combo Meal): USD 3.20 per meal

  • Domestic Beer (1-pint draught): USD 2.24

  • Imported Beer (small bottle): USD 5.5

  • Cocktails: USD 7.6

  • Coffee: USD 1.8

  • Wine (bottle, mid-range): USD 25 to USD 89

  • Water: USD 0.3


Keep in mind that you cannot drink water from the tap in Indonesia so you have to purchase mineral water in restaurants.





Cost of Groceries in Indonesia


So, you are already starting to feel like a local. You booked your own place, you already have your favorite 'warung' right around the corner. Yet, you need to mind your budget and do some cooking at home. In terms of Indonesia’s cost of groceries, the country has excellent traditional markets that sell fresh meats, fish, and vegetables, and there are also more modern markets and supermarkets where you can get affordable groceries. However, there are also more upscale groceries that sell imported fruits, meats, and cheese, which will cost substantially more than the average prices listed but may be an option if you long for a product from your country.


  • Milk (regular), (1 liter): USD 1.2

  • Loaf of Bread: USD 1

  • Rice (white), (1 lb): USD 0.4

  • Eggs (regular) (12): USD 1.5

  • Chicken Filets (1 lb): USD 1.4

  • Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Red Meat): USD 3.6

  • Fruits and Vegetables (from Indonesia, non-imported) (1 lb): USD 0.3 to USD 1.6





Cost of Transportation in Indonesia


Moving around Indonesia is possible, with multiple means to do so. Of course, this really depends on the city you're planning to stay in. For instance, Jakarta is very large, but the public transport has not reached every place and they may be slightly unsafe despite being the cheapest option. You might want to consider the idea of leasing/buying a car or motorcycle to get around. However, if you haven't stayed long, driving in Indonesia is challenging due to the number of bikes and cars on the road, the general unsafe driving habits of Indonesians, and plenty of unknown small roads/paths. It is advisable to use ride-hailing apps such as Gojek, Grab, or a taxi if you're still new to the country.


Here is a list of the average costs of transportation:

  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport): USD 0.3

  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price): USD 9.5

  • Taxi Normal Tariff per mile: USD 0.5





If you're planning to stay longer and feel confident about your driving abilities or are capable of getting a driver, you might want to get a car. Although the price of buying one in Indonesia is high, for many, not having a vehicle gives you less freedom. Here are the prices you can expect to pay as a car owner in Indonesia:

  • Gasoline (1 liter): USD 0.86

  • Honda HRV (new): USD 23,334

  • Toyota Agya (new): USD 10,580

  • Driver Salary (1 month): USD 242





Cost of Healthcare in Indonesia


Needless to say, having some sort of medical insurance in a foreign country is always a must. Of course, Indonesia has its own healthcare services and medical facilities. However, the quality and availability of healthcare can vary substantially. The hospitals and medical facilities in the larger cities are modern and more reliable compared to rural areas. The private hospitals tend to be of better quality but significantly more expensive, whilst the public hospitals are often understaffed and underfunded.


If you are a non-resident living in Indonesia and depending on your visa situation, you might not have access to government-funded healthcare and will need to pay for your care. Expats should familiarize themselves with the medical coverage provided by the companies, or purchase private health insurance to ensure access to the best facilities and can afford medical bills. Though there is standardized pricing for medicine across the board and you can easily get some medicine off the counter, for some others you will still require a prescription. Regular medicines are quite affordable (like cough syrups, paracetamol, and ibuprofen), but some specialized medicines (like anti-cholesterols) are more expensive and may not be covered by insurance.


Here is a quick look at average health-related prices in Indonesia:

  • Standard consultation at a hospital/medical office/facility: USD 22 to USD 53

  • Home visit: USD96 to USD 230





Cost of Education and Childcare in Indonesia


Education


If you are planning to move to Indonesia with children, you should quickly review some of the costs of education and childcare in the country. In terms of the schooling system, there are three types of institutions in Indonesia: public, private, and international. Prices differ depending on the curriculum, age, and location.


This is a small description of Indonesia’s types of schools:

  • Public schooling: they are the most inexpensive option, but the quality of the education given can vary enormously, and the majority only teach in the Indonesian language, posing a strong language barrier.

  • Private schools: less budget-friendly, these types of schools usually define their own curriculum, which tends to differ from those of public schools. Some might also adopt an international curriculum, an interesting draw for some parents or tutors. Private schools are usually aimed at local students, with foreign pupils making up a small part of the student body. The advantage is that English is generally part of the curriculum in said institutions.

  • International schools: this is the most expensive option and also the most common choice for expats’ kids and wealthy locals. Their curriculums are defined by different countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, or Australia, with common curriculums being International Baccalaureate and IGCSE.





In terms of costs, schools in Indonesia often charge the following prices (on average):

  • Public Schools:

    • Primary (years 1 to 6): USD 6 - USD 38 per month

    • Junior High (years 7 to 9): USD 10 - USD 64 per month

    • High school (years 9 to 10): USD 10 - USD 320 per month

  • Private Schools:

    • Primary (years 1 to 6): USD 96 - USD 140 per month

    • Junior High (years 7 to 9): USD 140 - USD 287 per month

    • High school (years 9 to 10): USD 160 - USD 640 per month

  • International Schools:

    • USD 3,200 - USD 32,000 per year



Childcare


Childcare in general is affordable in Indonesia. You will find good prices at professional centers that can take care of your young ones. Here is a rough estimate:

  • Childcare centers: USD 128 - USD 320 per month

  • Pre-schools: USD 45 - USD 109 per month





Cost of Entertainment, Sports, and Leisure in Indonesia


Your kids are in school, your fridge is full, and you have a nice dinner reservation at your favorite 5-star Indonesian restaurant. Yet, you want the whole experience and do something nice for the soirée! There are plenty of things to do in Indonesia to have fun, and Indonesia has options for everyone. Clearly, the options differ based on cities. Whereas some offer some more outdoorsy activities, others have many indoor activities to enjoy. Among the many options, you can:

  • ride ATVs

  • go offroads

  • enjoy some hiking

  • surfing and diving if you're near beaches

  • visit mountains and volcanoes

  • learn about the culture and traditional crafts such as 'tenun' (weaving) or 'batik'

  • take traditional dance lessons if you're near villages

  • do more day-to-day activities like going to the gym, yoga, rock climbing, cooking classes, roller skating, ice skating, and golf in big cities.





Take a look at the average costs of these leisure activities:

  • Gym membership: USD 25 per month

  • Tennis Court Rent: USD 8 per hour

  • Cinema: USD 4 per seat/ticket

  • Cooking Class: USD 19 per class

  • Yoga Class: USD 10 per class

  • Surfing Class: USD 10 per class

  • Scuba Diving: from USD135 per 5 swim classes

  • Guided Walking Tours: USD 16 - USD 60 per trip





Top 10 Most Expensive Cities to Live in Indonesia


It’s time for you to choose which city will better suit your needs. If you're thinking of coming to Indonesia but want to avoid the most expensive cities to live in, here is the list of the top 10 most expensive Indonesian cities to live in based on data from Badan Pusat Statistik (Indonesia’s official statistics agency) corresponding to the year 2019. The result is based on the average expenditure per household per capita for a month by city and type of expenditure.


  1. Jakarta

  2. Surabaya

  3. Bekasi

  4. Depok

  5. Semarang

  6. Tangerang

  7. Makassar

  8. Metro

  9. Serang

  10. Banjarmasin




Closing Thoughts on Costs of Living in Indonesia


Indonesia has a lot to offer: from budget to luxury, you can indulge in various lifestyles in the same country. In general, you should be able to enjoy a good lifestyle even under a tight budget in this country. Starting at USD 1,000, you should be able to fend for yourself and enjoy the place in shorter stays. For longer ones, everything above should come in handy in terms of your lifestyle’s needs. If you are sincerely interested in moving to Indonesia, you should check out if you are eligible for the Indonesia 10-Year Visa Program.






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