Cost of Living in Indonesia

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 is considered to have a low cost of living when compared to many 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 far more luxurious than the lives of most locals.

As an expat, accommodation will most likely take the biggest portion of one's salary. Education, medical care and utilities are also relatively expensive. Groceries in supermarkets are relatively cheap and even cheaper in small shops and at local ‘wet’ markets. Imported products are generally 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 which 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 better 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 neighbourhoods in Jakarta, while expats with a lower budget will be able to rent a simple apartment in a decent and safe neighbourhood. 


Cost of groceries and clothing in Indonesia

Food and clothing will probably not use a great portion of an expat's salary, provided expats 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. Eating out in Indonesia can be relatively inexpensive.


Cost of transportation in Indonesia

Transportation will 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 generally cheaper than European cars. Fuel prices are very low compared to other countries, but rising quickly. 

Public transportation is much cheaper, but also far less comfortable and not very safe. Buses and mini-buses can be really crowded, often do not have air conditioning and are relatively unsafe, particularly 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 the price, and if unable to speak Bahasa Indonesia, expats will probably pay almost as much as they would pay for a taxi. It's therefore useful to learn some key phrases in Bahasa Indonesia for situations like this. 


Cost of schooling and education in Jakarta

International schools are 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 extra-curricular activities. 


Cost of healthcare in Jakarta

Healthcare services are relatively expensive in Jakarta and vary significantly in quality. It is therefore important for expats to find a good local hospital with affordable rates as soon as possible. 

Expats should also familiarise themselves with the medical coverage provided by their company and ensure that it will provide for medical concerns, major emergencies and medical evacuation to another country.


Cost of living in Indonesia chart

Prices vary across Indonesia – these are average costs for Jakarta in September 2018. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

13,500 000 IDR

Two-bedroom apartment in city centre

25,000 000 IDR

Groceries

Milk (1 litre)

20,000 IDR

Loaf of white bread

16,000 IDR

Rice (1kg)

13,000 IDR

Dozen eggs

25,000 IDR

Chicken breasts (1kg)

46,000 IDR

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

25,000 IDR

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

1,300 IDR

Internet (cable/ADSL)

435,000 IDR

Basic utilities for average household per month (electricity, water, gas)

900,000 - 1 500,000 IDR

Eating out

Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant

200,000 IDR

Big Mac Meal

50,000 IDR

Coffee in café

35,000 IDR

Imported beer

58,000 IDR

Coca-Cola (330ml)

7,500 IDR

Transportation

Taxi rate (per km)

4,000 IDR

City centre train fare

3,800 IDR

Petrol (per litre)

8,600 IDR