Indonesia can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. In terms of accommodation, fancy hotels are abound, but so are simpler ‘losmens’ or ‘rooms to rent’ that are a fraction of the price.
Here are some examples of our expenses during our visits to Indonesia. Hopefully this will give you an idea how much things cost in Indonesia.
Living and Necessities
- Accommodation in Jakarta — FREE (staying with Jill’s parents)
- A room at a 4-start hotel in Bandung, West Java — $80/night
We stayed at Carrcadin Hotel. Cute hotel, not-so-cute location next to a busy, grid-locked street.
- A room at a 4-star hotel in Yogyakarta — $87/night
We stayed at Ibis Hotel on Malioboro. A very convenient hotel located right on the strip and is attached to a shopping mall. We paid high-season price since we stayed there the week of Christmas.
- A room to rent at Parangtritis Beach — $5/day.
Note: we didn’t actually do this, but saw signs all over the place. BTW, Parangtritis Beach is just ‘eh’. I wouldn’t recommend it due to price gouging and the dirty condition of the beach. Go to Ujung Genteng instead.
- 14 day unlimited 3G internet and text messages SIM card — $6.
We used Telkomsel SIM card and were pretty happy with the coverage all over Java.
- Had my teeth checked and cleaned — $12
Along with other beauty regimes, this is something I do every time I visit. It’s cheaper than my co-pay back at the states.
- Gas – 50 cents/liter
- A becak ride around the Sultan Palace and Malioboro in Jogjakarta – $1.
Highly recommended. We had such a great (and sometimes scary) time during this 1.5 hr jaunt.
- Motorbike rental in Jogjakarta – $5/day
- Renting a car with a driver — $37/day
If you get a weekly rate, it’d be even cheaper.
- Public transportation in Jakarta— from 30 cents to $1.50
See this post for different ways to get around Jakarta and the cost.
- Jakarta – Bali flight — $100
Food And Misc
- Chicken noodle — $1
Jack’s favorite meal in Indonesia after Pizza Hut.
- Nasi gudeg sans chicken — $1.5
While in Jogja, the best gudeg we’ve had was from Wijilen Rd, right outside the Sultan’s palace (there are 3 of them side-by-side, they’re all good, but the middle one is my personal fave).
- Teh botol — 40 cents
There are plenty of competitions, but Teh Botol is downright our favorite.
- Use of public restroom — 10 cents
- Movie theatre — $2 ($4 for 3D movies)
We watched Tron 3D while we were there. Awesome!
- A souvenir T-shirt — $3
- Hair cut – $1
- Manicure and pedicure – $1
- 1.5 hr massage – $6
This is how much we paid to have someone come to our place for the massage. At this rate we could afford to have someone come every other day (and we pretty much did)
In general, we found that non-consumable goods (electronics, gadgets, and what not) are not particularly cheap. You get what you pay for, basically. The same thing is true for accommodations — then again we tend to stay in larger cities. I’m sure things are cheaper as you go into the more rural areas. Food, drinks, and services are a bargain.
Friendly smiles and brushes with fame (Jack’s gotten plenty of requests to be in pics by strangers) — priceless.
Wonderful little insight into how much things cost in Indonesia, very helpful!
$1 for a 1.5 hour becak ride. Wow! That's really cheap.
I'm going to Indonesia in about 6 weeks and am curious as to how much a decent hotel in Jakarta costs near the embassy and taxi rides. Also, a round trip flight from Jakarta to Solo and a hotel in Solo and renting a car for a week in Solo. And a trip to the beach from Solo to whichever beach is the best to visit near there. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Ok, so I'm in Bali now and am looking to get one of the Telkomsel 14 day unlimited 3G internet and text messages SIM cards. Is it possible to get one of these anywhere, or do I need to find a Telkomsel dealer? I'm also trying to figure out if I can use one in my wireless modem or if it's just for cell phones…
We got ours from a non-Telkomsel desk in a grocery store – so it's possible. But I don't know how common it is (or whether or not it's still being offered). It's probably easier to get them directly a Telkomsel office.
hey!!!!so how much really when you buy food there?
I have a friend who is traveling to Indonesia soon. I saw that the exchange rate is $1 American=9069 Rupiah. When you bought Chicken Noodle for $1 does that mean the restaurant charged you 9069 Rupiah?
I am curious to know if the exchange rate looks great but actually isn't, like in Japan where $1=100 yen looks like a big deal but they charge 100 yen for a soda. Or is it more like China where $1=7 yuan and they charge 1 yuan for a soda.
Quick question on the SIM card. Can you pretty much just get these cards anywhere and is the $6 for unlimited 3G and text messages a standard price at all of the places? How about phone calls and do you get a generic phone # then? I'm flying to Indonesia today and am definitely curious about this. Thanks for any help you can provide in advance!
Hi Alex, I'll email the answer too to you. You can get these cards anywhere in Indonesia. There are so many brands, each with its own restrictions it gets complicated real quick. You do get a generic phone # but the SIM card that we got as-is does not allow for phone calls. For that, you can add more money to the card and 'activate' the phone calls package. But there are other SIM cards that allow you to make phone calls right away. The options are truly bewildering so be sure to know what you need before going to the counter.
When did you guys visit Indonesia? It's one of my favorite places in the world so far. We got by on $25-$30 bucks a day in Bali and that included daily massages! Also the best $5 massages I've ever had.
Hi Christy, my parents and little brother still live in Indonesia so we try to visit every year. Last time we were there was winter 2010. Glad you enjoyed your visit to Indonesia so much. Bali is pretty special indeed.
How fast and how reliable was the 3G internet coverage? Did you use a USB modem?
The 3G internet was all over the Java island (we found a small dead spot near the Dieng plateau) and the speed was pretty good. We used Google Map on our Android phone to navigate quite reliably. No, no USB modem… it was all off the SIM card.
Nice job on this…great info! Just one question. How much do the 3-star rooms tend to cost and are they decent/clean? (OK, that's two questions.) 🙂 Thanks!
i really love indonesia and $20 is more than achievable if you're broke and on the way to Australia to make some cash again (i.e me!). It has sooo much to offer, nice food, cool people, amazing temples, volcanoes, you can taste the tourist market or get off the beaten track – great country!
Isn't it? There's so much to see and I've barely scratched it surface.
Those hotels are expensive… but then you get 4 stars.
Nice review about Teh Botol Sosro, and of course that's also our choice. We like it better than the newer/fancier stuff, with fruit etc. Just the good 'ol Teh Botol Sosro 😀
Lol, yeah — we're staying with parents and they helped out. Or else, we wouldn't be able to afford those nice hotels. And yup on Teh Botol! Dude, I just found out that Teh Botol is like the generic name now. Couple of times we asked specifically for Teh Botol and they'd give us the Teh Botol wannabe… not cool!
Nice! How did you get the 14 day unlimited txt and 3G on Simpati? I was only able to figure how to buy the internet pakets with 300/800mb when I was in Bali last time. And texts weren't included in that!