Costs and Kosts: Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta

~~This is the second post in a series of on kosts. Kebayoran Baru: What’s in It for You? is the first~~

A post at Living in Indonesia forum a few months ago said, “Three merciless days beating the streets and nothing.”

Right, because that’s how it feels, even though you come away with a much clearer idea of what you’re looking for – and maybe it’s a house or office location, not a kost – and what’s out there.

It took S. and me a lot longer than three days. A couple weeks and, yea, some exhausting footwork. We ended up going with the very first place we saw and we found that one by asking the very first guy we saw on the street corner outside target location (where I would be every day for work).

He wasn’t wearing shoes, which suggested to me that he was pretty much localized. Three hours later I was still skipping merrily along behind him, soaked in sweat, reminding myself every five minutes that a workout is a workout and I wouldn’t have to go to gym the next day.

From Senopati to Bangka, he knows every house and what the story is. Turns out he’s supports a large family repairing shoes. Which would explain why he did his best to wear holes in mine. He was pleased when I finally gave him Rp 10,000 and collapsed into a taxi. I think I know where to find him, so holler if you must.

So yes, it helps to use an agent. Just watch your costs. On follow-up trips we chartered a BBG-model “new Bajaj” and traveled by scooter. The right Bajaj guy knows his way around, including who’s got what for rent. On another occasion a neighborhood unit chief (AKA the “Pak RT”) took us for a spin around his block. House hunting goes a lot faster that way. But eventually you have start over by hunting down a new place to hunt and new hunting partners.

So here’s what we were looking for in a Kebayoran Baru kost and here’s what we found.

Our target Kebayoran Baru kost:

• Rp 2 mil/month
• Max freedom of movement
• AC
• Suitable for working at home
• Internet or some good reason for not having it
• Can park a motorbike; don’t have to squeeze past a bunch of cars to get in

And the table below shows more or less what we’ve found, decisions made, and why.

(Sorry, we entirely failed to keep track of addresses. Just kind of going on feel. Post a comment to request add’l info. I’ll do my best.)

Kost type

Look & feel 





The General

A high-ranking dude ends up with more land than money and turns a good 25% of a massive house into very solid little rental units

Despite being a kost, still looks like one of those chunky, wrap-around-the-block Kebayoran Baru houses. Totally swish neighborhood. Suitable for Silver Bird pick up/drop off.  

Fast broad-band/wifi; really crappy bed;great closets/ shelves; un-hot hot water; laundry done by the front gate security (sucked bad)


Rp 4 mil

(but they have rooms that are (much) smaller for Rp 3 mil).

Yes. This turned out to be one big-ass studio with fast wifi across the street from work. So we doubled our budget and moved in (after two weeks of trying to find something better). And after one month we moved out. Why? Well, it turns out kost culture matters a tiny bit.  Cops were nice, but not fitting in – even for those few minutes when you’re coming and going — is a drag. But I can recommend this place for short term kost near Blok M.

The Auntie

A friendly, quirky  Indonesian woman spends most of the time in Holland. Her old-school, one-storey house has two or three bath/rooms rented out. No communal area. Retail focus: No matter how long you plan to stay, they always do things the same.

Fortunately, there are two larger units with private entrance (i.e, pavilion/paviliun  mother-in-law, etc). This is minutes from SCBD and stays full. Best part is the attractive semi-antique wooden furniture carefully assembled over the years.  Bars on the windows but light coming in. Nice

You get a key. Aunty scoffed at the idea of installing Internet.  “Kitchen” an unfunny joke. House dingy except for rental units.  

Rp 2 mil

No. It fell through. Management is as funky as the furniture. We tried. Deal breaker: You have to pay a surcharge for running the AC during the day. Which smacks of unwritten rules and hassles. Auntie spends most of the time in Amsterdam; too bad Holland isn’t further from Jakarta.

Road house

A commercial commuter kost located precisely at one of Jakarta’s worst traffic bottlenecks. In a way strategic: bad traffic, but at least you’re “home”

Minimalist,  urban, thing ( raw, corrugated cement with a splash of red paint). Pretty much what most commercial, commuter kosts look like. Private entrance.

Things are bound to work, including laundry and wifi.  They have to at commercial kosts like this. Otherwise, the  itinerant office folk take their rupiah next door.

Rp 2 mil (see if you can get Rp 1.8)

No. It was full. Plus, didn’t like the front yard carpark look, an uncomfortable echo of the choice to live all stacked up in cement boxes.

The Mates

A normal one-storey house has been aptly remodeled as a kost (by someone who’s lived in one). Located on a narrower lane in an otherwise “good” area and looks like a house on the outside. Friendly, young live-in owner/manager. Brochure available.  

 The gang was chilling at the kitchen table when we walked in. A bunch of (Indonesian) guys/girls who probably share a lot in common in terms of career, interests etc. It all made sense.  No private entrance.

Hot water. Large bed and bath in each room – like a hotel. Broadband, wifi, kitchen, and TV area very much in evidence.  Obviously they want the place to work. Likely it does.

Rp 3.5 mil

No. Didn’t fit in. Culture was friendly but a bit overwhelming (like the cigarette smoke). This gang would be happy to have you move in. And you’d probably find commonalities. But you’d have to pay your social dues, learn how to hang with the gang, maybe learn to smoke. A good way to learn Indonesian. Proves that you can’t judge a kost from the outside.  

Most Kost

Built to share, the husband/wife owner/managers know kosts. A relatively small structure but with a comfortable apartment feel, in the sense that everything has been thought out.

An unexciting but solid-looking building on a narrower but typically lovely, green Kebayoran Baru street with great gardens and a mix of older and remodeled. houses. Quite  a few kosts, too. 

No windows to speak of, but excellent use of space. Tons of storage. Very well- thought out furniture, most of it purpose-built. No Internet

Rp 4 mil for singles (surcharge for couples)

No. Too expensive. And why no Internet? Doesn’t make sense. Guess I’m not the target market. Plus, here was offhand comment of a kost resident (encountered lounging curb-side during previous visit): Yes, this is a kost for Islam only.  Random comment, random dude, maybe. Not representative of our experience. What he probably meant was: No, you can’t live here with your girlfriend [sic]. Whatever, though. Just tell them you’re married.

The Out Back

No matter how  developed and overdeveloped Jak becomes, scattered throughout there’s always going to be dirt roads leading to a vacant lots with little frontier homesteads. So around the corner from the ambassador, here’s a woman with a dozen babies, running desktop publishing outfit and renting rooms.

It was relaxed. I don’t specifically remember poultry, but I don’t think they’d really mind if you came home with a couple chickens. Plenty of space back there.

You get a fan

Rp 2 mil, firm

No. We needed AC. Rp 2 mil for a fan? This must be Kabayoran Baru. She was willing to install AC, but it was going to take time and would have increased the price. The open space was nice. We would have done it.

Wanna Be Apt

Featuring all the downsides of an apartment, and none of the advantages. Works great for whoever owns it, I bet, with a truly impressive body count/m2 ratio. Nice part of Kebayoran Baru with security, parking, brochure, whole thing.

Like an apartment on the outside, wardrobe on the inside. Think Indonesian university dorms.

Convenient motorbike parking. You get to smoke all you want

Rp 3.5, if I’m not mistaken

Never. Rooms were too small. May well be locally popular. Doesn’t translate cross culturally.

 O my, Oma

Oma (Granny) is probably a widow. Her two-storey  house is potentially funky in a good way, but alas, falling apart all over. Grandma is very nice, lucid, and apparently a good cook. (Padang food). She’d probably look out for your ass all right.

The Indonesian version of one of those places you lived as an undergraduate for like two months before taking out more student loans.

The water goes down the drain (sometimes), if you take the hair out

Rp 2 mil

Not. And this place was nearly full, too. Just goes to show that it’s not that easy to find good kosts in Kebayoran Baru. (One place we saw was even more unlikely –you had to walk down a nasty dark hall to a tiny dark room at the end – also Jt 2) 


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