Indonesia: What a Dollar Can Buy You

Indonesia used to be one of the cheapest places in Southeast Asia. But in recent years, prices in the large archipelago have caught up with those of other countries in the region. Especially areas such as Kalimantan, eastern Nusa Tenggara as well as Papua can be painfully expensive, with transportation and accommodation often being the main culprits.

I know, I must sound like a broken record. Haven’t I complained about rising costs in every other country? The fact is that prices in the developing world are shooting up at lightning speed which makes backpacking on a budget increasingly challenging. And Indonesia is the poster child for such change.

One interesting oddity is the price ratio between Coke and gasoline. Indonesia has the most expensive Coca Cola but the cheapest gas we have seen anywhere in Asia. You would think that the low gas prices would be reflected in transportation costs – but as I mentioned above, this is not always so. In addition to that, Tony’s Coke addiction has set us back quite a bit (as we all know, Coke is to Tony what gas is to a car).

Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable things to go around. Here’s what you can get for 9,000 rupiah or around a buck:

  • 1 load of laundry (about 3.5 kg)
  • 1 creamy avocado shake
  • 2 km taxi ride
  • 4 liters (1 gal.) of drinking water
  • 1 pre-cut pineapple on touristy Seminyak beach, Bali
  • 1 hour of Internet access
  • 1 vegetarian meal in a typical warung
  • 2 liters of gasoline
  • 0.5 liter of Coca Cola
  • 3 packs of local cigarettes
  • 1 mandatory donation to enter traditional Sasak village, Lombok
  • 7 Yakult probiotic yogurt drinks
  • 4 angkot rides (public minibus covering city routes)
  • 1 sleeping mat rental on overnight ferry

5 responses to “Indonesia: What a Dollar Can Buy You”

  1. avatar Isaiah says:

    Great info on a dollar. How many American dollars would I need to buy a Daihatsu ?

  2. Just letting you know that these prices are now inaccurate. In Jakarta, 9000 rupiah won’t give you much. Even an average raw chicken in the traditional markets costs around 50 000 rupiahs, while tiny ones cost around 20 000. (FYI, Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia so the prices are relatively higher than other cities.)

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Hi, we are well aware that prices have changed since we went to Indonesia. We decided not to update our $1 list above to the most current prices because we wanted to document the prices in a historical context. I find it interesting to see what prices were like in 2011/2012 in comparison to today. Thanks for giving us a few examples of the current prices in your country. (As of today, 1$ equals 13,800 rupiah).

  3. avatar romanovskym says:

    Here’s what you can get for 14,500 (2018) rupiah or around a buck:

    1 load of laundry (about 3 kg)
    1 creamy avocado shake, changes rp. 3000
    3 km taxi ride
    4 liters (1 gal.) of drinking water non aqua.
    1 pre-cut pineapple on touristy Seminyak beach, Bali
    2 hour of Internet access
    1 vegetarian meal in a typical warung plus egg.
    2 liters of solar diesel. 1.9 litres petrol
    1 liter of Coca Cola
    1.5 packs of local cigarettes
    3 national museum entrance ticket
    8 Yakult probiotic yogurt drinks
    5 angkot rides (public minibus covering city routes)

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