My Cost of Living in Jakarta ~$1200/month
I feel like I have let the fans down cuz I did an awful job with this budget break down. I know how much I spent, and I know exactly what I spent on certain things but not others.
The whole 1.3 million rupiah per $100 thing really threw me off and I just got lazy to track my total expenses. Still I can give a good break down of how much things cost here, and overall I found it a very interesting city when it comes to a budget.
For instance there are more expensive meals around Jakarta then I have seen anywhere else. Not only is there a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (I don’t even know how much it costs, but I am sure it is A LOT) but other places can be quite expensive as well.
My first day here I went to some small mall, the first restaurant menu I looked at was for the ‘American Grill’ and I saw some meal prices in the 300k-450k rupiah range.
$30 for a meal? I have never seen that at any menu I have looked at in Asia. I saw some $15-$20 meals at Greenbelt in Makati and some similar in Bangkok and Pattaya, but never $30.
I am sure they exist somewhere in Manila and Bangkok but I certainly wasn’t expecting to see that at some small crappy mall. As time went on I realized this place was an outlier (and read that it wasn’t even good food on another site) but the fact that it is even around is odd.
As mentioned it is 1.3million ish rupiah per $100. The easiest way for me to break this down was to think of 100k rupiah as $8ish and 10,000 as .80 cents. Not exact but close enough.
Travel hotel sex club
This was by far the most expensive place I have rented in Asia (2nd most was $475ish) but I knew Jakarta traffic sucked so I wanted to be in a good location. I got the place off AirBnb and it was alright in some ways and not in others.
The location was fine, I was walking distance from 3 malls and under $2 away on a motorbike from the main mall Grand Indonesia. In future stays I would hope to be a little closer to Grand Indo, but I can’t complain about the location.
It came with free water and electric like all places on AirBnb do and also had its own internet. But the dude forgot to pay his internet bill and a week into my stay it was turned off for 5 days.
Considering I work online and specifically chose this place that was quite annoying, but my mobile data got me through it. The mobile data in Jakarta can get to 4g, but in my place it never got a 4g signal.
My first night here I went to bed and realized there was no blanket or sheet on the bed. I looked all around, nothing. So I slept with a towel over me and emailed the guy the next day and he picked up the comforter from the dry cleaners. Dude really wasn’t on his A game here.
Quick side note: why has every place I have stayed since I left the Philippines (3/3 sample size) had some thick ass comforter on the bed with no sheet? Thailand and Indonesia are hot climates…… I don’t need a winter blanket, give me a sheet and I am good.
Oh ya there were roaches too and there was nothing I could do about them. In the walls and I am guessing they were throughout the whole building. After being in Asia so long I am used to it and all it means really is you gotta wash your dishes before you use them.
Would prefer they weren’t there but not a huge deal. On the other hand when you pay for the most expensive place you have stayed at in years you would rather not have to deal with them.
If living here long term I would hope to knock $100 off this cost. When asking most visitors how much they thought my apartment costs a month they would usually guess around 7 million so I didn’t overpay to much when you factor in free electric and no lease.
Indonesian fast food
This is where my exact numbers go away. In Thailand it was easy to remember ’90 baht’ for a meal. Remember 58,200 and 5,600 for a coke and 22,800 for groceries not near as easy. I guess I coulda rounded.
I am quite certain that I ended up paying more here on food then I have paid in other places. I have been traveling for 2 months now and have been way under budget both times do didn’t mind spending more.
I never ate the street food and don’t even know how much it costs but after seeing how they wash the dishes I didn’t want to try it. Plus I just don’t have any idea what Indonesian food is.
Even at nicer restaurants I would walk up and look at a menu and it was pretty much always in the local language. It all looked the same and sounded the same and I generally just walked away and found some western food.
It seems pretty similar to Thai food with lots of noodle dishes close to pad thai, but the ones I had were not as good. The main place I ate was ‘The Goods Cafe’ connected to the Goods Department Store at a few of the malls.
At the mall
This place had the best burger I have had in Asia bar none. It was pretty pricey at 95k rupiah (after tax, sucks they have tax here) so about $7.50. That was my daily food budget in Angeles 2 years ago.
I probably had this 8 or 9 times because it had been so long since I had such a legit burger. The spaghetti at the Goods Diner was probably my 2nd favorite meal and it was about $5.
It was a big enough portion for 2 meals when you do it for take out and buy some bread to go with it. Side note: the bread and pastries here are like the ones in the Philippines and that isn’t a good thing. Thailand is the only place in SEA that knows how to make breads apparently.
That was a good way to get some cheap meals, $3.25ish per meal and as mentioned my 2nd favorite food I found. There was also a pretty good General Tsao’s chicken at the Goods for a little under $5.
Another common meal I had was pizza at Popolamama and this very well may have been the best pizza I had in Asia as well. It was roughly $6.50 for a 6 slicer that was good for 1 meal.
What I noticed about Jakarta food was that there wasn’t all that much western food around, but the Western food I did try was generally quite good.
I had some of the local noodle dishes a few times and they were a step down from Thai food and I was generally paying more for them ($4ish) then a better Thai dish costs in BKK or Pattaya.
Long term I would probably find some ways to knock $20ish off the food costs here, but the prices for the western food would make it hard. At least the food was worth it.
This is probably my least favorite parts about Jakarta and it has nothing to do with the $80. Actually I would have spent more on transport but I got lazy the last week or so and just walked to the nearby mall everyday.
The traffic here is sooooo bad and the only way to get around it is to take the motorbikes (called ojek) to get anywhere. Not because they are cheaper then a taxi, but because they don’t get stuck in traffic.
This is how roads work in Jakarta. Cars park in the middle and right lane and slowly creep forward for hours. Then on the left lane, shoulder, and sidewalk motorbikes just keep going and going.
When you are getting a ride from an ojek and there is traffic its not that bad. You are moving slow and not really risking your life. But when he decides to hop on the hiway…….
I had one super crazy driver on the highway and a few other times I wasn’t really comfortable even though the guy wasn’t really doing anything bad. I really wouldn’t want to have to ride these day after day, at some point something bad may happen.
But are you really going to sit in a taxi for 5 times as long? Or not go anywhere. Again this is the worst part about Jakarta.
Ordering a Gojek
They are very cheap though and can be even cheaper if you sign up for the ‘Gojek’ or ‘Grab’ apps. I didn’t get the apps because I felt it was worth an extra 40ish cents to not have to answer a phone call from a ojek driver that didn’t speak English.
If you just walk up to a driver in a ‘Gojek’ or ‘Grab’ green jacket (why are they both the same color?) they will charge you a bit more but its not that big of a deal. If I lived there long term I would probably get the app.
Anyways 20k-30k should take you to most nearby places. For instance a taxi to Grand Indonesia was about 25k and ojeks were 20k-25k. One time in the rain I had to overpay 50k because I didn’t want to go find another and none were around.
All in all though the taxis and ojeks are probably even cheaper here then anywhere else I have been. The fare starts at fifty cents instead of a dollar and I had one fare that cost under a dollar.
If I lived here I would hope to spend under the amount I spent not because I wanted to save money but because I wanted to risk death less often.
Spa hot tubs in Malio sex club
I only went to the sex clubs once on my first trip to Jakarta so that has these costs down. If I lived here longer I expect I would be there more often. They were a lot of fun and I will be back on return trips for sure.
Each time you go you have to expect to spend a minimum of $40 so that would increase this initial budget. However since it is easy to find casual hook ups off Indonesia Cupid I wouldn’t be there all to much.
Each casual hook up was pretty cheap. The only girl I met who was costly lived quite far away and I paid her taxi both ways. She never asked me to and even tried to refuse the money but she was my favorite girl I met there…… the ex virgin hehe……. and I wanted return visits.
I gave her 200k rupiah each time she came and usually bought her a meal. Quick side note that probably should have gone on the food part but one time she ordered a drink that cost as much as her meal.
Definitely try to have the dates at your place or avoid eating at restaurants on them because drink prices were awful at Jakarta restos. Many don’t even have Coke just tea or expensive fancy drinks.
Most of the time girls came over their taxi fare was cheap and a few refused taxi money. Entertainment could be done very cheap here, or it could get very expensive quickly if you frequent the sex clubs or go on a lot of nice dates.
Total Cost of Living In Jakarta – $1200
This is the most I have spent in a month in a long time and far more then I spend in Cebu, Angeles, or even Bangkok.
I might be able to shave $50 or $100 off it but $1200 seems about right. The other cost I didn’t mention that would factor in long term is the visa.
I’ve written other post about the visa but at a minimum it will add a little money, and at a maximum it will add a big chunk. It requires you to go to immigration three days each month or pay the immigration charge plus the $75ish (haven’t done much research on this but one guy told me about 1 million rupiah) fee to have someone take care of it for you.
The higher cost of living in Jakarta won’t keep me away. The shitty visa might.