Cost of Living in Indonesia

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The cost of living in Indonesia differs greatly between rural and urban areas, and also when comparing Jakarta and other cities. However, generally speaking, Indonesia can be considered as a country with a lower cost of living compared to Western countries.
Expats in Indonesia working for large organisations often receive international salaries and extensive compensation for their basic expenses, including housing, schooling and transportation. These expats may consider the cost of living in Jakarta to be relatively low and their lives will be much more luxurious than the lives of most locals. They can often live in spacious serviced apartments or houses in areas such as Jakarta’s suburbs of Menteng, Kemang and Pondok Indah.
As an expat, accommodation will most likely take the biggest portion of one's salary. Education, medical care and utilities (electricity, gas, etc.) are also relatively expensive. Groceries in supermarkets are relatively cheap and even cheaper in small shops and at local ‘wet’ markets. Imported products are much more expensive, especially wine and liquor.
Expats, particularly those from Western countries, are often perceived to be wealthy, no matter how they dress or how ‘local’ they may act. This often results in situations where expats pay a higher price than locals at shops and restaurants that do not have fixed prices. This can be frustrating, but the advantage is that expats may find themselves sometimes not having to wait in a queue as they are thought to be a ‘preferred’ customer, due to the assumption that they will pay a higher tip.

Cost of accommodation in Indonesia

The cost of accommodation in Indonesia and within its different cities is highly variable. In general, foreigners with an expat salary will be able to rent a luxurious apartment or house in the "best" neighborhoods in Jakarta, while expats with a lower budget will be able to rent a simple apartment in a decent and safe neighbourhood.

Cost of food and other essentials in Indonesia

Food and clothing will probably not monopolise a great portion of an expat's salary, as long as they do not buy a lot of imported products and internationally branded clothing.
Local food, clothing and personal care products are cheap compared to their imported equivalents, so it’s often worth trying local products instead of ‘trusted’ Western products and brands.
Of all the imported products, alcohol is the most expensive and hardest to find (especially outside Jakarta).
Eating out in Indonesia can also be relatively inexpensive.
Electronics are relatively cheap in small shops and outside Jakarta. In larger shops and malls, the prices of electronics are comparable to prices in Western countries. 

Cost of transportation in Indonesia

Transportation will also not constitute a great portion of an expat's salary in Indonesia, even if they regularly take a taxi or have their own driver.
Car prices are comparable to prices in other countries. Japanese cars are cheaper than European cars. Fuel prices are very low compared to other countries, but rising quickly. 
Public transportation is much cheaper, but also much less comfortable and not very safe. Buses and mini-buses can be really crowded, often do not have air conditioning and are relatively unsafe, especially for expat women. 
If looking for cheap transportation, an ojek (motorbike driver) or a bajaj (tuk-tuk) are other options. It is best to negotiate about the price, and if unable to speak Bahasa Indonesia, expats will probably pay almost as much as they would pay for a taxi, so it's useful to learn some key phrases in Bahasa Indonesia for situations like this.

Cost of schooling and education in Jakarta

International schools are relatively expensive in Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta. However, the quality of international schools is most often significantly higher than the quality of local schools. Most schools also have additional charges for extracurricular activities.

Cost of healthcare in Jakarta

Healthcare services are relatively expensive in Jakarta and highly variable. It is therefore important to find a good hospital with affordable rates as soon as possible (before really needing it). 
Expats should also ensure that they familiarise themselves with the medical coverage that their company will provide for medical concerns, major medical situations (like surgery or baby delivery) and medical evacuation to another country, before moving to Indonesia.

Cost of living in Indonesia chart (Prices for Jakarta, 2014)

(Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider and the list below shows average prices)

1 litre milk
15,000 IDR
Loaf of white read
10,000 IDR
Rice (5kg)
70,000 IDR
Dozen eggs
20,000 IDR
Chicken breasts (1kg)
42,000 IDR
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) 19,000 IDR
Mobile call rate (per minute - mobile to mobile)
1,270 IDR
Internet (6 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)) 420,000 IDR
Electricity 500,000 – 1 000 000 IDR
Eating out
Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant
65,000 - 120,000 IDR
Take-away meal (e.g. McDonalds) 25,000 – 50.000 IDR
Coffee in café
10,000 – 30.000 IDR
Beer in bar
20,000 – 35,000 IDR
Coca-cola (330ml) 6,280 IDR
Taxi rate (per km)
3,600 IDR
City centre train fare
3,500 IDR
Petrol (per litre) 10,000 IDR (high quality)

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