How to save money in Indonesia

In Indonesia many foreigners feels like millionaires like here everything counted in thousands and millions. In one hand (comparing with Europe countries or others) in Indonesia you can say that everything is cheap but in another hand – when you live here longer and only from scholarship amount – you need to start to count and make some savings. So here is my recommendations how to save money during the stay in Indonesia. It’s just advices, nothing is mandatory. Even if I mentioned a lot about Darmasiswa scholarship, still everyone can save some money – foreigners students, travelers or employees. Also you will figure out something for yourself as well, after you spend some time in Indonesia.

Notice: all the prices written according 05 2015 information and from Yogyakarta south area.


  • Renting: try to agree to rent the place for first 6 months and then extend renting 3 months more, like in summer you most probably will travel more than staying at home. Your stuff you can ask to keep in other Darmasiswa student’s house. If owner wants to rent for 12 months, try to negotiate to rent only 9 months then you can save some money for travels or other things.
  • Empty place or not enough things that you need:
    • First, asks the owner of the place, maybe she/he have and not use things that you need.
    • Check “Facebook” groups of Darmasiswa students, maybe somebody sells things that you need or put ad what you are searching for.
    • Check second hand shops (for furniture, electrical devices and etc.). You can find there cheaper stuff, but before compare similar stuff prices in regular shops. Maybe the differences of the price between new and second hand won’t be so big and in shop you will get guarantee, second hand shops doesn’t give it.
    • Some of the things you can make by yourself, for example bamboo shelter, you just need idea, measurements, bamboo and ropes. All tools you can borrow from the house owner or neighbors.
    • Sometimes Indonesian people, if doesn’t use things, leaves in front their house – if you will see something that you need, before taking just ask if you can take it for free.
    • If you need just one piece of something (bamboo, rock or whatever else) just ask to take it for free, therefore can bring some cookies.
    • If you would like sometimes to cook but at home don’t have stove, buy small travel stove. You can use it at home and will be useful for the camping or longer trips. If you won’t use it frequently – can rent it for other student’s trips.
  • Drinking water: check in different places the prices of new gallon and refills. Like in some places you can find cheaper than in others. Different brands have distinctively different tastes, so try different and choose that you like best.
  • Electricity:
    • Turn off all equipment that you don’t use for a night (for example water dispenser) or during you are leaving, traveling.
    • If the owner will ask pay monthly agreed sum with old electricity counter, ask to show the counter numbers and pay only for amount that you use (but ask this in the polite way, like such request can be understood like you are not trust the owner, calling them a thief).
    • For the new counter – you can buy at once bigger amount prepaid card (“pulsa”) of electricity.
  • Gas: check in different places the prices of new gallon and refills. Like in some places you can find cheaper than in others. Depends on the size of gallon will be different price.
  • Internet: if near around your place is any free Wi-Fi spot (in coffee places with Wi-Fi enough to order a drink) – go there to use internet instead of buying internet modem (if you are not internet addicted). Before decide to buy modem ask local students which operator they are using. Like some operators have better connection in one area than in another. So don’t take operator that has worst connection in your area. You can ask local students maybe somebody has internet modem that they don’t use. So they can sell you cheaper or give for free. For example I bought internet modem from local student for 150 000 Rp and the same one, new in the shop costs 270 000 Rp. In providers client service offices managers put “pulsa” without fee.
  • Textile: if you want to cover something or to buy curtains and etc. you can make it by yourself – there are places where you can buy textile by kilos or buy material in shops. There are many places that can sew for you what you want. It will cheaper than to buy already sewed stuff in the shop and you will have exactly what you want and need.


  • Cook at home: if you calculate that cheaper to cook at home than eat in “warungs” – do it. The main thing, if you don’t have fridge the food won’t be fresh couple of days. The fruits are fresh in Indonesia, so you need it eat during maximum couple days, otherwise ants and other insects will make their job :D
  • Markets/ small shops: buy food and small stuffs in nearest market (better to visit in early morning till ~8:00 am) or in small shops near your place. For me was surprise that the same stuffs in big supermarkets are more expensive than in small ones. As well check couple of different small shops, sometimes even in the same street different shops sells cheaper the same stuff.
  • Neighbors: if it’s possible buy fruits, vegetables or other stuff from neighbors. It will make stronger relationship with neighbors as well you can get better price.
  • “Warungs”: eat in “warungs” in small streets. Check some streets around your place. Sometimes “warungs” in front of busy streets are more expensive than in small streets. For example “soto” (rice soup) in small street “warung” cost ~ 6 000 Rp, in bigger street ~ 10 000 Rp.
  • Imported food: everywhere imported food will be expensive. If you need some spices for your cooking (like oregano and etc.) ask to send your family from home country – probably in your country it’s more cheaper than here.


  • Misfit: if you have some clothes that not fit you anymore, damage some parts and etc. instead of buying new, you can try to make from it something else. For example from pans – shorts, T-shirt with sleeves – without sleeves and etc.
  • Dislike: if you dislike some of your clothes, you can organize clothes exchange between other students. They will have as well things that they don’t wear anymore – so you can just change, instead of buying new ones.


  • KITAS (“Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas” – temporary stay permit card): to most of the visiting places you will get bigger discount with KITAS than with student card. So be patient and visit for example Borobudur after you will get KITAS.
  • during the travels stay in “couchsurfing” members places.
  • Local friends: ask you Indonesian friends maybe they have relatives of friends in place where you are planning to go, so maybe you could stay in their place, rent cheaper a motorbike and etc.
  • Time: go to trips during rainy season – the prices will be cheaper and in different islands rainy season is different. For example in January, when in Java was raining a lot, in Lombok island 3 weeks during my trip – wasn’t any rain.


    • Ask local students which operator they are using, like mostly they are using the cheapest one and that has good connection in the exact area. But the cheapest one – sometimes means not the best quality of connection and sometimes can’t be reachable in some areas.
    • Before choosing operator answer yourself what you need mostly – write SMS, use internet in mobile and something else? Compare some operators prices by your requirements and then choose,
    • Instead of writing SMS you can use “Watsapp”, “Viber” like Indonesians use this programs more often that writes SMS and also it will be cheaper.
    • Put at once bigger amount of prepaid sum “pulsa” – like every time to put “pulsa” (for service) will cost.
    • Talk with local peoples/neighbors: usually they knows someone who can help you, knows someone who have something and etc. – so you can get things a bit cheaper.
  • Fuel for motorbikes: put the fuel in petrol stations it will be cheaper around ~500 – 1 500 Rp per liter than buy in the streets from bottles. In the evening the petrol stations can be closed, so take care to put fuel before, because at night people who are selling fuel in bottles asks more money than during the day time.
  • Natural products: instead of buying some chemicals product you can try to use naturals ones.
    • For example if your home floor is made from cement and it dusty, use coconut cutting – it will make your floor darker and the dust won’t stuck.
    • From coconut milk you can make some products for your skin, hairs (in internet there is many recipes).
    • To clean oily hands you can use plant (in bahasa Indonesian) “kemangi”.
    • Instead of buying air fresher for bathroom – use coffee, it will observe all bad smells in bathroom.
    • Talk with elder neighbors – they will give you many advices for what to use natural products.
  • Before buying anything: spend some time to check some different places and compare the prices of the same stuff. It can help you to save some money especially when you will just arrive and will need to buy some stuff as well for things that you are planning to buy quite often.
  • Laundry: if you don’t want to pay for laundry service – clean your stuff by yourself. To dry it during the rainy season will be a bit more difficult but possible.
  • Parking: usually the motorbike parking cost 1 000 – 2 000 Rp (other places and 3 000). If you are going somewhere with a friend with 1 motorbike (for example shopping in supermarket) the friend can stay on motorbike and you take all stuffs that needed – in such case the parking guys won’t charge you for parking fee.


The main tip how to save money – negotiate the price anywhere, anytime.

  • If you know that some things you will buy all the time, try to buy in the same seller to show your locality and ask to get those things cheaper.
  • Barge the price in second hand shops, markets. Like first price will be given like for foreigner, better even go with local friend, ask him to barge the price.
  • Ask a discount in transport and any other places – like you are student can show your student card.
  • If in the shop there are no price tags – you can negotiate the price.

Do you know other ways how to save money in Indonesia? Share your advice and help others! :)

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How to find a place to live in Indonesia

It’s my recommendations how to find a place to live in Indonesia. Mostly this information useful for Darmasiswa scholarship students but as well some parts for those who are planning to come to Indonesia longer than for 1 month and want to stay not in the hotels.

Each island, each city has their own nuance for searching a place to live. My recommendations are based on the experience living in south of Yogyakarta city (Bantul area).

Before I choose the place to live I saw many houses, visited other students places. “Big tent” is my 2nd place where I live in Yogyakarta.

What you need to know about places to live in Indonesia

  • Hot water: very rare house has it (I haven’t seen any house that would have hot water, only in hotels). Cold water mostly is taken from borehole by automatic pump. In some village houses you can need to use well if you will need water for daily use. The water is the low quality of tap water. It is treated with chemicals (absolutely not drink it)
  • Toilet style: mostly of the places has “Turkish style” (squat) toilet, you can find sitting style as well but don’t expect that it will be everywhere :).
    Furniture: mostly rented places will be fully empty – without any furniture, kitchen equipment (stove, fridge), washing machine and etc. Places with some furniture, air conditioning, and other additional benefits will cost more. If you will live in previous Darmasiswa scholarship students’ houses, probably they will leave some items after they will go back home.
  • Internet: rare house has internet access – so you will need to take care about it by yourself (for example buy local Wi-Fi USB modem). If near your place to live will be any free Wi-Fi hot spot – maybe you don’t need to have internet at home?
  • Price: don’t be surprised that the price for renting place can be different for foreigners (higher) and local people. In this case you can’t change anything just try to negotiate as much as possible, make some deals – for example if you moved to empty house, try to agree that you will leave in the house everything that you will buy (after you will go home), so they could give less rental price and etc.
  • Location: where you want to live – in the city center, village, near university, far away from civilization and etc. From location sometimes depends and place rental price – in village will be cheaper, near university mostly cheapest places already will be booked by local students, city center – can be quite expensive.
  • Living place: in what kind of place you want to live – dormitory (“kos putri” – girl’s dormitory, “kos putra” – boy’s dormitory, not so often you can find mixed dormitory), boarding house, separate house and etc.
  • Sharing the place: with whom you want to live – alone, with other students, local people or family, how many people maximum you would like to live with and etc.
  • Equipment: what minimum equipment you need to be in a house – if you have enough time to search the place to live, don’t want to buy some things by yourself, some of the stuff you really need and can’t live without it – you can try to find your “dream place”. It will take much more time, also can be difficult to find other housemates (like everyone will be in a hurry to find a place to live) and can cost more. My advice – try to find suitable place for yourself and then try to find the way to get things that is really necessary for you (for example instead of air conditioning you can buy more powerful fan :)).
  • Price: how much maximum money you can afford to pay for the place to live – if one house will rent more people, one room price for you will be cheaper, the dormitory can be cheaper as well.

And any other things that for you are important – for example, do you want to have a garden? Should the house be far for neighbors and etc. Each additional requirement means longer time to find your “dream place”, can cost more money.

How to find a place to live

  • Current students place: in the end of Darmasiswa scholarship period, before coming new students, usually the current program students put some ads about free rooms, houses and etc. to Darmasiswa program “Facebook” pages, informs their university program coordinator, writes to their countries new students e-mails and etc. So you can get some information about free places already before coming to Indonesia. If nobody put any information – you can always ask previous students in the same “Facebook” pages and etc. My advice – agree to meet and look this places when you will be in your study city, like sometimes the pictures looks a bit different from reality, also you will see by your eyes the surrounding, meet the people with whom you will live and etc. There is no reason to take the first seen place from the pictures :).
  • if you are a member of “couchsurfing” before you will come you can write the post in the exact Indonesian city forum about searching place to live, your requirements and etc. Can be that some Indonesian members will have free place or will know who is renting a place. You can agree to see that place when you will be in Indonesia, can compare between some places that you will visit.
  • University “buddies”: each university should help you to find a place to live when you will arrive. Depends on the each university how they will manage that help but usually they have appoint some Indonesian students from their university to assist you in searching the place during of your first days of living. If you already have some places to see you can ask their help to drive you there or explain how to get there. Also if they know that there are some empty houses that before lived students, they will show you as well. But mostly of the times the place searching looks like this – you with local student just pass the streets near university or other area and asking people living there if they know who is renting the places. Usually they show the direction, gives the contact and you go to see. And you will go from one place to another, till you find what is satisfies you. Also the “buddies” can search some free places in local website renting places and suggest you to go there. The main thing that you won’t have too much time for searching – like many Indonesian students will come to search the places at the same time like Darmasiswa students. You won’t be the only one searching for the place – other foreigner students will search it as well. If you won’t find “perfect place” where to live so quickly and will be lucky enough – you can rent other place for couple of months and during it search for the place that really suits you and move there. In worst case maybe you could live in student’s places who already found the place and during couple of days search still for a house.
    My advice – even if “buddies” can get some benefits from university to helping you, you always can thank them inviting for a dinner and paying for them or etc. like “buddies” will help you in a future as well and its nice polite sign :).
    Dormitory: some of universities have their own dormitories and can suggest living there (mostly NOT for free). But there will be some rules; you will need to share bathroom, kitchen and etc. with many students, mostly Indonesian ones. The good thing that dormitories usually is near universities and can be cheaper that rent a room in a house.

Important notes that you need to be attention before choosing the place

Notice: all the prices written according 05 2015 information.
  • Place visiting time: If it’s possible check the house in early morning (till ~12:00 pm) then you will see if every day in the morning will be noisy. Like Indonesians morning persons and usually after the first praying (~4:00 am) they start to make their daily works around their houses. During lunch – people usually have some rest, so will be very quiet around and can give you wrong impression about surrounding.
  • Neighbors: ask the owner of the place who is the neighbors, what they do in life, maybe the owner have some comments about them. It’s important because you will know what to expect – if they don’t work daily, most probably they will usually be interested in your house, walking around it, coming to speak and etc. If you want to have some privacy such neighbors not the best ones. Check if neighbors don’t have cocks – otherwise every morning you will be waked up if not because of praying then because of cocks – but you can use to it after some time.
  • Surrounding:
  • Trash hole: ask the owner where they put trash (in the villages is very common that they just have a big hole for trashes which is burning every week, so evaluate if such hole is not around your place, like the smell of burning trashes is very awful).
  • Water pond: check if around your place there is no water pond – like in rainy season you will have a lot of mosquitoes, frogs “orchestra” and other flies. Also during rainy season can be more humid than in other places without water pond around. My recommendations what to do during the rainy season in Indonesia.
  • Mosque: look around if there are any mosques near place. Probably you won’t find a place without mosques somewhere near but sometimes the mosques can be in front of the place and during all praying it will be very noisy as well many people will pass your street. Usually people used to praying sound after some time, but better if the mosques is a bit further from the place.
  • Owners living place: ask where the owner lives. If owner lives near your place, first months it can be you will have “visitors” quite often, just checking how you are doing, what you did inside and etc. I know example when the owner was coming to take a shower in the rented house without any warning, like lived very near. But in this case also sometimes you can get breakfast, some sweets for free, invitations to participate in family celebrations.
  • Kids: check if in neighborhood lives kids. In one hand it’s very nice to spend time with them, play, teach English and etc. but in other hand they can be very curious and not polite – coming inside, playing and damaging your stuff, steering all the time, making noises and etc.
  • Street: see if around there is any main street where many people are passing. In this case from early morning will be a lot of noise.
      • Inside/outside the place:
      • Roof: try to evaluate the condition of tilling – if it’s look like old, maybe during the rainy season it can be licking in some parts. Ask the owner about this. Also if it’s bamboo roof, ask to cover it from inside, like during rainy season it can be liking a lot.
      • Ceiling: during dry season place without ceiling will be quite dusty. Also during rainy season ceiling can absorb some drops from the roof. If there is no ceiling – ask owner to make it. In worst case – you can buy stronger textile and cover the space between roof and rooms (I did like this).
      • Fence: if the place has any fence or territory marking – only better. It means that people won’t come inside place territory without invitation, otherwise – you will get many local visitors. It’s not bad – they are just curious, because not all the time they have foreigners living around, just sometime it can be annoying when they are sitting in your place terrace, speaking, gossiping, sometimes cooking and etc.
              • Local community: groups of houses belong to different “RT” – the smallest unit of governmental system to manage the living area. Each “RT” has their own community leader that makes decisions, solves the problems. Usually when new people moves to the place in “RT”, the owner goes to community leader to inform about new residents, gives their passport copy. It’s very important to know what are the rules of “RT” that you want to move in, for example till what time can be guests in your place, can anybody live during the night and etc. Before decide to move ask all the rules. In each “RT” can be different rules.
                If you are a couple: in Indonesia if you are not marriage couple can be a bit difficult to find a place to live. Like locals doesn’t accept living together female and male without marriage. Some of the “RT” is more open to foreigner’s couples but some of them can ask proves (documents) that you are married. My advice, tell owner and you are married but don’t have paper with you, don’t forget to wear a rings. But in public, in community don’t behave too much intimate. I understand that lying is not the best way, but otherwise it can take much more time for you to find a place where community will accept you like a living couple without marriage.
              • Period of renting: most of the people want to rent their place for 1 year, try to negation at least renting first for 6 months, if everything will be ok, you will live other 6 months (better to agree about rest 3 months, like during the summer you will be probably mostly traveling, so your place will be empty). If not, you will move out. Some of the places you can rent for 6 months, even find monthly renting (but this is quite rear).
              • Fixing the place: if before moving to the place you asked owner to fix some parts or make it, they can ask additional money for this things.
              • Trash: can be that around your place won’t be any trash can. Possible that there will be trash taking service. Or you can put it to the public trash canes, but usually it’s only several spot in town (in Yogyakarta) and not near.
                Can be as well other exceptions, for what the owner can ask you to pay.
              • Contract: after you will agree that you are renting the place ask the contract written in bahasa Indonesian and English language. Don’t forget to put the information how much you gave money, for which period you will rent a place, if you will decide to move they will return all the money for months that you won’t live there. Maybe you will agree that some parts of the pace they will fix – put this information to the contract as well and other information what you agreed. All contracts counted legal if you putting the stamp on it – stamp you can buy in shops, even in eating places – just ask the owner where you can find it.
              • Price: the prices for renting in different cities, the same city districts can be very different. For example in Yogyakarta in north more expensive than in south, as well the price depends for how long you are renting, is it furnished place or not and etc. For example prices from Yogyakarta south area:
    • Dormitory for 1 year (very small room with only bed, shared kitchen, bathroom with 6 or more people) – ~1 200 000 Rp/per year.
    • A room in the house for monthly rent (without internet, shared kitchen, bathroom with 2 and more people) – ~ 300 000 Rp/per month.
    • A room in the 5 room house for monthly rent (with internet, laundry, cleaning the place, shared kitchen, bathroom) – ~ 700 000 Rp/per month.
    • A brick house without furniture for 1 year can start from ~7 000 000 Rp/per year , with furniture ~21 000 000 Rp/per year and more.
    • A traditional house (with bamboo cover, water from well, without furniture) for 1 year can cost ~ 2 500 000 Rp/per year.

Truly to say, the prices can be different according how lucky you are to find the cheap place, how many people will live with you and etc.

What is usually not included to the place renting price:

  • Drinking water: you should buy water gallons for drinking water, like drink from sink forbidden.
  • Gas: if you will use stove with gas, you should buy gas gallons and then refill it after it finished.
  • Electricity: sometimes the houses have old electricity counters, in this case the owner each month will say how much you need to pay. Other places have new counters, where you need to put prepaid (“pulsa”) cards. Every time the electricity will finish you will need to buy new prepaid card and put the code.

Good luck to find the place that you really like!


Recommendations after you will move in

                  • Present yourself: go to nearest neighbors, say who you are, where you are from and what are you studying. This will help for neighbors think that you are not arrogant foreigner, neighbors will be more helpful for you in a future. If there are some old neighbors, kids – bring them some sweats, vitamins, maybe some souvenirs from your country.
                  • Be polite with all people: smile to everyone that you will meet on the way, say “hello”, if they speaking with you, try to explain that you don’t understand. Don’t be rude if they will ask very personal questions.
                    Participate in community activities: if neighbors invited you to a celebration – join it. It will help to find more about Indonesian culture also you will be polite sign from your side.
                  • Suggest your help: if you have time – suggest teach neighbors kids English language or make some activities with them and etc.
                  • Accept gifts: if neighbors, owner will suggest you some food or something else – accept it. If you don’t like the food that they gave – next time just say in polite way that you already eat, you are full. Accept if they will invite you for a tea – find couple of minutes for it.
                  • Rules: keep following the community rules if they presented them to you.
                  • Keep your stuff inside
      • Shoes: don’t leave your shoes outside during the night – even if owner will say that surrounding is safe. Some of the people think that foreigner’s shoes can be much better than locals and can take it, later sell in second hand markets.
      • Transport: keep your transport (motorbike, bicycle) inside the house during the night.
                  • Turn on the light outside: if your place has outside lamp, keep it on when becomes dark outside till morning. If during the day you are leaving and know that will come back late or during the travels – turn it on before you leave. Those lights are like “street” lightning, helps to see the way for drivers.
                  • Cleaning: keep your place surrounding clean.
                  • Close the windows and doors: when you are leaving (even during the daytime) close all windows and doors. If windows have curtains – close them.
                  • Home wear: if you are going outside with home wear don’t use too short shorts, skirts or too open T-shirts. Probably nobody will say you anything if they see you in such clothes but you can get more attention and staring from locals.
                  • Follow good manners in Indonesia.

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What to take before coming to Indonesia

It’s my recommendations what to take before coming to Indonesia. Mostly this information useful for Darmasiswa scholarship students but as well some parts for those who are planning to come to Indonesia longer than for 1 month or just for short period.
It’s just advices, nothing is mandatory. Only you know what you can need during living abroad.


Don’t take too much clothes, in Indonesia you can find second hand shops, other cheap clothes shops as well very known brands. Also don’t take clothes that are expensive, have some meaning for you, a lot of white ones and etc. like in laundry sometimes soon those clothes will change color,  white will become grey, can be damaged or lost. With the shoes the same – during rainy season will be very humid, so your shoes can be damaged by mushrooms.

In Indonesia, people are more discreet than in Europe or other countries. Usually girls wear a T-shirt, rarely a low-cut or a sleeveless T-shirt. Nobody will criticize you because of your clothes, nobody will do or but don’t feel harassed when you get stares. In most universities it’s forbidden to come with the flip-flops (called sandals in Indonesia). At university or any institution, public or religious building, proper clothes are a must
Large sized men and women may not easily find ready-to-wear clothing to fit them. However tailors and seamstresses can easily make custom clothing to fit any size individual. Large shoe sizes are also not available, the exception being sports shoes at the factory outlet stores. Indonesia generally uses the European shoe size system, making up to size 38.

My suggested list for girls:

  • T-shirts (that covers shoulders, with straps, long ones)
  • Shorts (till knees, short ones)
  • Skirts (till knees or long ones)
  • Dress (casual till knees, nice one till knees to wear in official ceremonies for example weddings if you will be invited, meeting with important community people and etc.)
  • Pans (for trekking, for evenings – like during rainy season will be a bit colder, as well going with the scooter in the evenings the wind can be cold)
  • Leggings (longer, shorter – very good for daily activities, going with scooter. But in Indonesia you can buy it as well with batik patter and etc. :))
  • Sweater or jacket (for trekking, colder evenings/ going with scooter and light one for very sunny days not to get burn your skin, which covers all arms)
  • Shoes (sling back, slippers, sneakers, trekking shoes (if you like to trekking), suitable for rainy weather – for me was very good – “Crocs”)
  • Swimsuit (better to take couple – one-piece for those beaches that’s comes not a lot of tourist or just swim with shorts and T-shirt – like it’s common between local people and second – separate for touristic beaches)
  • Raincoat (if you have your favorite take it with you (if you like trekking you can take warmer one as well), if not – during rainy season you can buy in Indonesia very cheap and choose from many kinds :)
  • Sleeping clothes (if you wear it during the night ;))
  • Home clothes – where at home (if you changed them after coming from outside)
  • Underwear (for the girls with more curvy hips, you must know that most underwear is not available in your size, except for the international, expensive brands)
  • Scarf (for entering some visiting places, cover in the beach)
  • Hat (if you have your favorite, take it – if not, you can buy it in Indonesia)
  • Belts (if you need for pans, your dress or other clothes)
  • Socks (for trekking, wearing at home during rainy season because can we quite cold walk on the ceramic pavement)
  • Clothes for your studies (if you choose dances, ceramic and etc.)

And any other clothes that you think you can need or you like to wear :).

Hygiene stuff:

  • Cream for face (everybody told me not to take it, like it’s humid and the skin becomes very quick oily, but for me it helped during the trips on the road, like it was easy  to remove the dust from face and it’s not stay straight on the skin, the cream observe it)
  • Ears pick (just for the beginning, like later you can easily find it in Indonesia)
  • Shampoo (travel size – the empty bottle will be useful for the trips in Indonesia and later you can easily buy here, except if you use some specific shampoo then take bigger amount). Notice: most girls in Indonesia experience hair fall, lack of shine and less smoothness. A reason for this is the low quality of tap water. It is highly treated with chemicals (absolutely not drink it) but it also affects the skin and hair.
  • Comb (take your favorite from home)
  • Tooth paste (travel size – till you will find nearest shop where to buy normal size, except if you use some specific toothpaste, then take bigger amount)
  • Toothbrush (just for beginning, later you can easily find new one)
  • Dental floss (if you use it, it helps to keep tooth clean after all Indonesian food and I didn’t find in Yogyakarta, where to buy it)
  • Sun cream (you can easily find here but only till ~30 SPV, if you use specific one or stronger, take with you from home)
  • Bath gel (travel size – the empty bottle will be useful for the trips in Indonesia and later you can easily buy here, except if you use some specific shampoo then take bigger amount). Better to take antibacterial – like the water in some places not so clean, so you can get allergy, acne (but in Indonesia you can easily find soap “Asepso” – for me helped a lot)
  • Body lotion (even if in Indonesia quite humid, still sometimes skin needs some “help”)
  • Scrub (for face and body if you use separate products, it helps to remove the dust after driving, walking)
  • Shaving tools (take more recharge, like in Indonesia hard to have opportunities to choose from different brands and find it, as well it’s quite expensive comparing with Darmasiswa scholarship amount). Also take shaver cream, if you use – epilator (for me it was the best solution). Waxing is mostly not available in Indonesia, so if you like it – take with you enough tools.
  • Tampons (if you use it, take enough, like here it’s very hard to find, if you are lucky it will be very expensive for small amount (compering with Darmasiswa program money) or better take menstrual cup – water to clean you will find everywhere)
  • Pads (if you have your favorite, take enough, if not – in Indonesia you can buy easily in bigger supermarkets. There are many brands of normal pads, night pads, day pads, etc.
  • Manicure tools (everything that you use, if like – take some colors, remover you can buy in Indonesia)
  • Pumice for foots (if you use that, like after trips, walking without shoes it’s very useful)
  • Perfume (take if you have your favorite smell, but I almost didn’t use it, like on sweaty body (and during dry season you will sweat a lot :D, take a shower probably couple times per day) it doesn’t smell nice :()
  • Deodorant (take if you use it, I took ball it was much better than spray)
  • Make up tools  and remover (if you use make up, take your favorite tools and colors)
  • Eyebrows tools
  • Wet napkins for cleaning (just for the trip) if you will need later – you can easily find in Indonesia as well as disinfection liquid for hands
  • Spry from mosquitoes (strong one, like during the trips and at home, you will have them. And mosquitoes can cause Dengue fever)

And any other stuff that you think you can need or you used to use :).


  • If you use some medicine by recipe – take the recipe with you and enough amount of medicine because possible that you won’t find exactly medicine in Indonesia. Also if you usually use some medicine at home – just write on the list their name and if you will need, you can show for doctor (for example almost nobody in Indonesia use probiotics, like the expenses of them insurance here doesn’t cover – when I asked to give me some – they asked me what kind of brand I usually use – I didn’t remember and they give me whatever they found in the medicine list :). Medicine you can buy here as well but you may not find exact brands that you used to use and also the same brand medicine for Indonesian people can be modified by their health condition (like usually health condition of different nations are different).
  • Antibiotics (if you can’t get them before coming in Indonesia, take it – it will be helpful during rainy season, like weather will be windy, sometimes cold and humid, easily to get flue and similar disease)
  • Plaster (for the trips and till your foots will adapt hot weather, sweating foots and disappear calluses )
  • Bandage (especially useful for the trips)
  • Deodorant or powered for foots (useful for trips and first months till foots adapt for hot weather)
  • Disinfection liquid or cream (useful from scratches, like fly can bring you easily infection on it)
  • Cream from mussels paint, tension, bruise
  • From the paint (head, muscles, stomach)
  • From diarrhea (especially can be during first months till stomach adapt for the new food)
  • From nausea (especially can be during first months till stomach adapt for the new food)
  • From fever
  • From throat paint (will be very useful during rainy season or during the hot days, drinking cold drinks and the going to air conditional room)
  • From the flue (by accident you can get it even during dry season because of temperature differences between outside (hot) and air conditional rooms (in shops, university and etc.)
  • Drops for eyes  (if you have contact lenses it will help your eyes to keep not so dry, as well because of big air pollution even those that not use lenses can feel dry eyes, so it useful)
  • From acne (if you use some medicine at home, take with you, also good to have some preparation from it because of sweating, air pollution and not quality water you can get it easily)
  • Vitamins for immunity system
  • Contact lenses and liquid for cleaning it (if you use it, I suggest to take enough pairs for all Darmasiswa scholarship period)
  • For girls: contraception pills or other medicine that you use (if you use it take enough for your scholarship period and take the recipe as well. Can be that you won’t found exactly the same that you use, as well in some pharmacy (especially in smaller towns, villages) they can ask you to show marriage paper before selling it (not allowed to have sex before marriage and if you are not married it means you don’t need such pills ;)) It’s difficult to find the morning-after pill.
  • Condoms: you can find to buy them in Indonesia in pharmacy or supermarkets. You can find international brands and local production. But don’t expect to have such big variety like in Europe, so if you have some favorite ones – just take it with you from home.

And any other medicine that you think you can need or you used to use :).

Other stuff:

  • Passport
  • Plain tickets
  • International driving license (if you have. In Bali only with international driving license you won‘t be stopped by police)
  • Vaccination book (if you will take any vaccinations before coming to Indonesia)
  • Insurance document copy (if you will have it, in a case if you will need to use it immediately)
  • Laptop
  • Mobile (take with you and your country SIM card, like sometimes it’s cheaper to contact with your family in emergency case)
  • Photo camera
  • Hard disk (to put pictures from laptop, to download movies, make a copy of your laptop documents)
  • USB (good for files that you can need to be printed)
  • Chargers (for mobile, photo camera, computer and other devices that you will take). Your device system should work in Indonesia with a transformer, if necessary, to adjust to voltage differences.
  • Scissors (moved to new house you never know what you can need to cut and first weeks you may not know where to find what)
  • Strong glue (in a case you will need to glue your shoes, furniture and etc.)
  • Towel
  • Mirror (at least small one, like you don’t know if in a house will be any)
  • Sun glasses
  • Earplug (if you are sensitive for sounds, in the beginning you will need it because of loud callings from mosques for praying and etc.)
  • At least one time fork, spoon, knife (you never know what will be in a house for first days)
  • Stuff for trips (if you like travel so you will need some usual things that you take with you. Sleeping bag – you can buy here quite cheap, mattress for trips or tent as well)
  • Flash (for trips and if electricity will be gone)
  • Books (at least couple of them, later you will find some places where you can change your books, rent it or buy-but in English language it will be more expensive)
  • Souvenirs from your country (sweets, some traditional cookies, postcards, magnets – whatever small, like you will visit some places, also can be organizes international evening where you will need to present your country)
  • Jewellery (if you use it)
  • Bag, purse (for daily use) – but in Indonesia you can find really colorful and beautiful ones.
  • Money (enough for first months when you will need to pay for rent, buy some things for a house)
  • Catadioptre (if you will walk in the evenings in the streets without light, here nobody use it – so if you would like to buy, I don‘t think so that will be easy to find)
  • Mosquitoes protection (net to cover the bed – here you can find but can be not good size, not good material, so better take what you usually use during the trips) also can bring electrical tool from mosquitoes, like during rainy season there will be a lot of them.
  • E-bank facility (if you use take with you security codes or other things that you need to log in to your e-bank)
    Passwords: in safe place write the passwords to log in your e-mails, e-bank, mobile. If you won‘t use it frequently you can just forget it.

And any other stuff that you think you can need or you used to use :).


All imported food in Indonesia is expensive (comparing with Darmasiswa scholarship amount) and not in every shop you can find known food brands. So if you like to cook, I suggest to bring from your country:

  • Olive oil (even small plastic bottle)
  • Spices (oregano, pepper, tarragon and other that you usually use)
  • Chocolate (Indonesian one doesn’t taste like real one)
  • Alcohol (just in a case wine bottle or something stronger, like here in shops you won’t find a lot, mainly can drink in restaurants that is orientated to a tourists)

And any other products that can last long, doesn’t take much space and weight, is specific from your country.

Maybe you have other suggestions what to take more? Share your ideas :)

Useful? Great! :) You might also like these:

What to do before going to Indonesia
Vaccinations for Indonesia
1 EUR “power” in Indonesia