Finding cheap accommodation in Indonesia

I have just moved to Indonesia and spent a bit of time looking for a place to live. I am staying in Medan, which is the third largest cities in Indonesia. Medan doesn’t have any large skyscrapers or apartment blocks, so I was wondering where I could find a decent place to live.

Having lived in Tokyo for many years, I am used to living in small apartments. My only requirements were a hot shower, western toilet, AC and some kind of internet access.

There are some big, beautiful homes here, but they are expensive and you would probably need to have a small staff to maintain the place. Fortunately wages are low here, so it wouldn’t be unusual for a wealthy family to have maids, a cook, driver, gardener…

There don’t seem to be any western style apartments here in Medan like other major cities. Then I found “kosts”, which I suppose translates as boarding house in English. I only looked at a couple of places which I found advertised in a local newspaper. I did spend some time searching on the internet, but could only find a place which was out of my budget.

The first place I looked at was a room in a large house, which was in a secure compound. The area was pretty nice with lots of greeenery and big western style houses. The room was 1.5 million rupiah a month (US$126). The room was furnished, but a little bit scruffy and didn’t have internet. The next place I looked at was a little more expensive at 2.2 million rupiah (US$185)indonesian-apartment a month, but included internet and cable television.

The 2.2 million includes all bills and they even have staff to do your laundry. It is just a single room, with attached bathroom, but it has been newly renovated. It also has hot water and air conditioning. I had a friend help me contact the owner, but it turns out he speaks fluent English and has relatives in Australia.

I really wonder if there is anywhere else in the world that you could rent such a room so cheaply.

Unfortunately, this picture is not my room, but somewhere I would like to live one day!


  1. elkythedogsperson Said,

    March 1, 2009 @ 12:12 am

    I am in Bandung, have been for a month now. I’m paying 2 juta for a good room, modern and clean, basically furnished with bed, desk, wardrobe and tv. Have cable and internet hookup (I don’t have a laptop right now, so a trip to the warnet it is), There’s a western bath with a shower with all the hot water I want (we’re directly above a restaurant, so have their boiler to draw on.) Secure with a gated outside door to which I have the combination so no curfew or need to wake someone up if I come in late at night so I can come or go as I please. Laundry services are provided, and a common cooking area and fridge is available. No a/c, but in Bandung you really don’t need it.

    I’d looked at other less expensive places, but found them all lacking in one area or another. This one fits all my basic needs.

  2. admin Said,

    March 3, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

    Sounds like a nice place. If more of these kinds of places spring up around Indonesia, it’s going to make it a bit more comfortable living here, especially if you are not on a bit expat salary.

  3. Rob Said,

    March 5, 2009 @ 1:14 am

    It doesn’t really matter where you live. Each city or town has options across the board in terms of cost.

    Houses are affordable depending on how far you are prepared to live form your place of employment. I live about 35-40 minutes from my office and enjoy a front and back yard and pay about IDR 1.3 per month.

    I do not have hot water, but I gotta say that I do not miss it. It is not like when I get out of bed in the morning it is a chilly 5 degrees or anything.

    I could live closer to my office, maybe 10-15 minutes in travel time. The flip side is that it would be a single room with a few amenities and a cost of about IDR 2 million per month.

    Where and how you live while in Indonesia really is a case of “to each their own.”

  4. admin Said,

    March 5, 2009 @ 1:21 am

    Thanks for sharing. Free wifi made this place attractive to me. I know even though it is always warm here, but I always struggle with cold showers, especially first thing in the morning. It’s also hard having a shave with cold water.

  5. Chris Said,

    April 5, 2009 @ 9:05 am

    My mother in law rents a three bedroom house in a quiet suburb in Medan, pays Rp9 million a year. My sister-in-law’s kost costs Rp400,000 a month just to put things in perspective,as a foreigner in Medan you are unlikely to pay Indonesian prices.

  6. adenova Said,

    April 11, 2009 @ 10:12 am

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