The cost of living in Indonesia makes the country a very attractive destination for English teachers and expats from around the world. Most everyday essentials are reasonably priced in the local currency and substantially cheaper than most western countries and some Asian countries. While teaching English in Indonesia, you will find the low cost of living will allow you to afford other luxuries that you may not usually indulge in at home. Massages, day trips to beautiful beaches and drinks after work are all affordable on your competitive local salary.
Cost of living: Eating Out
Indonesian food typically consists of rice accompanied with either fish, meat, vegetables and sometimes soup. Indonesian cuisine is colorful, vibrant and packed with flavor, and thanks to locally sourced produce, very affordable.
- Rice or noodle dish at street stall = IDR 20,000 (USD 1.5) to 26,000 (USD 2)
- Meal at simple restaurant = IDR 33,000 (USD 2.5)
- Meal at western restaurant with a bottle of beer = IDR 100,000 (USD7.5) – IDR 200,000 (USD 15)
- Fast food restaurant combo meal = IDR 40,000 (USD 3)
- Pizza delivery = IDR 93,000 (USD 7)
- Coffee in café (Starbucks) = IDR 46,000 (USD 3.5)
- A large bottle of beer (660ml) in a cafe or restaurant = IDR 40,000 – IDR 66,000(USD 3-5)
Common Supermarket Items
Like in most Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia has a mix of both traditional markets and larger supermarkets. The local markets and stores offer low-cost products that will make it easier to budget and save money on a home cooked meal. The bigger supermarkets are also a great place to go to find more western items such as pasta, sauces and drinks.
- A loaf of bread = IDR 20,000 (USD 1.5)
- Packet of pasta = IDR 26,000 (USD 2)
- Chicken breast = IDR 20,000 (USD 1.5)
- Rice (1kg) = IDR 10,000 (USD 0.75)
- Eggs (12) = IDR 20,000 (USD 1.5)
- Potatoes (1kg) = IDR 12,000 (USD 0.90)
- Big bottle of beer (660ml) = IDR 26,000 (USD 2)
Leisure Activities in Indonesia
In Indonesia, you can always find something to do. After a heavy workout in the gym, you could take away the aches and pains with a relaxing massage, or take in a movie. Hotels, hostels and transportation are also affordable in Indonesia, so you can take short breaks away from the city you’re teaching in without breaking the bank.
- Gym and pool membership (1 month) = IDR 260,000 – 400,000 (USD 20-30)
- Swimming pool (1 day) = IDR 40,000 – IDR 60,000 (USD 3 – USD 4.5)
- Movie ticket = IDR 40,000 (USD 3
- Spa/Reflexology Massage (1 hour) = IDR 60,000 – 100,000 (USD 4.5 – USD 7.5)
- Budget hotel (AC/Hot water) = IDR 130,000 – 260,000 (USD 10 – USD 20)
Transportation in Indonesia
Travelling around a city in Indonesia can be done effectively and cheaply. Buses will take you to most of the places that you need to go to, but if you’re looking to make a short trip, it’s easy to hail a taxi or an auto rickshaw (bajaj) to take you to where you need to be.
- Short taxi trip (20 minutes) = IDR 30,000 (USD 2.25)
- Long taxi trip (45 minutes) = IDR 90,000 (USD 7)
- Motor taxi trip starts from IDR 13,000 (USD 1)
- Motorbike rental (1 month) = IDR 460,000 (USD 35)
- Gasoline (1 litre) = IDR 8,000 (USD 0.6)
Sample teacher monthly budget in Indonesia
To give you an idea of how EF English First teachers spend their money in Indonesia, here is a sample weekly budget.
- Breakfast (Coffee, eggs/cereal/fruit) = IDR 105,000 (USD 8) per week
- Lunch (Eating out/take away local food) = IDR 130,000 (USD 10) per week
- Dinner (Eating out/take away local food) = IDR 260,000 (USD 20) per week
- Snacks and sweet things = IDR 100,000 (USD 7.5) per week
- Transport (taxi to work) = IDR 320,000 (USD 24) per week
- Toiletries = IDR 130,000 (USD 10) per month
- Internet and cable TV = IDR 130,000 (USD 10) per month
- Mobile and telephone bill = IDR 130,000 (USD 10) per month
Basic food and essentials USD 320 monthly (4.34 weeks) around 30% of monthly salary, it can be less if you live within walking distance of your center.