Long-Term Housing in Indonesia

Foreigners planning a long-term stay in Indonesia have a few options. The price of losmen and wisma are so low that it’s almost not worth the bother to find a place of your own. The added bonus of staying in a losmen over a long period is convenience and the chance to hook up with other Westerners. On the other hand, if you’d rather have more independence, houses or apartments are available to rent, though you may face major hurdles when trying to arrange one. In cities with large permanent expatriate communities, probably the only hassle will be cost or deposits. In the smaller villages, however, you’ll be held up to scrutiny by the locals.

One woman had this to say about the hunt for housing:

    “I lived in a house, but just acquiring my own residence was a major hassle. It’s a long process – you have to meet the village elders and agree to live by their standards. The school doesn’t have much to do with housing; you’re pretty much on your own. I paid US$300 for a year in my house, but getting it was a whole new ball game.

    “You’ll probably have to outfit your entire house, from cooking utensils to pillows.”

See “Entertainment and Shopping” for advice on how to acquire these furnishings.


This type of student housing is certainly cheap but it also has its hassles – shared bathrooms, small rooms, curfews (a real drag!), etc. One teacher we know of lived in a kost for the first two or three months of her stay. At first she liked it and was able to meet a lot of people.

But the curfews were inconvenient and she felt that she never had any privacy. This is one concept that is not well understood in Asia: Westerners’ need for private time.


A step up from losmen, wisma are larger and more hotel-like, usually with private bathrooms and a dining room. Clean and efficiently run, wisma are often a good choice for long-term visitors.

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