Guesthouses offer an attractive alternative to the more traditional methods of housing for expats. While apartments, townhouses, and single family homes all have their pros and cons, many single expats and couples alike are looking into and choosing a guesthouse for both short and long term stays.

A guesthouse is roughly the Indonesian equivalent to a bed a breakfast. Usually the guesthouse is in a renovated large older Indonesian home where some of the family bedrooms or a new wing of the house are turned into fully furnished guestrooms. Accommodations include breakfast in a shared dining room.
Guesthouse Facilities

Guesthouses vary widely in the facilities that they offer, so don’t assume they’re all the same. Better guesthouses offer full facilities which could include: fully furnished rooms, en suite bathrooms, telephones in each guest’s room, television with cable TV, ensuite refrigerator, air conditioning, and coffee / tea making facilities in the bedroom and/or breakfast area. Internet Wi Fi may be provided as well with paid, limited, or unlimited usage for guests.


Each guesthouse offers a range of services, depending on their management and policies. Some are just strictly bed and breakfast and you’re left on your own for all other services. At the high end of the spectrum, the better guesthouses offer the equivalent of full hotel services.

In these full-service guesthouses, rooms are cleaned daily by housekeeping staff, just like at a hotel. Most guesthouses offer laundry services for a set fee. Some even offer the usage of a fully equipped shared kitchen for those guests who enjoy cooking.

Some guesthouses even offer an on-site Coffee Shop with beverages, light meals, and snacks. Ask about other food/beverage options and the availability of neighboring restaurants when you inquire about a guesthouse’s services.

Security Concerns

Be sure that the guesthouse has a strict security policy, and enquire about their on-site security staffing as well as if they have closed-circuit TV for monitoring the residence.

What benefits can guesthouse living offer me?

The primary benefits of staying in this type of accommodation, as opposed to renting an apartment, is the cost factor. When you rent a house/apartment you have all the additional utility/running costs of electricity bills, water bills, household staff/cleaning service, laundry, garbage collection, internet, security staff, etc.

Of equal benefit is the fact that guesthouse stays can be shorter in term, with no need to sign multi-year contracts or pay large sums of rent money up front. Guesthouses residents enjoy the flexibility of moving in and knowing exactly what their monthly accommodation cost will be Also guests don’t have to worry about purchasing furniture and other furnishings, as you would have when you furnish a household.

Of equal benefit will be the small community of residents in the house. Living in a home-like environment makes it easier to practice Bahasa Indonesia and get to know other people in a more relaxed situation. Many expats also make friends with the other residents of the house.

Some companies hold corporate accounts with guesthouses, as they recognize the flexible benefits for their corporate guests and their employees.

Indonesian Indekos “Kos”

(Indonesian Bed and Breakfast)
An Indonesian indekos is a big step down from a guesthouse, as normally the facilities are very minimal. This is the preferred housing for much of the low-salaried office staff who aren’t able to reside with their families. It often consists of a row of small rooms and a shared bathroom at the rear or side of a house.

However, some nicer kos can provide an excellent option for a lower income expat English teacher, volunteer worker or someone studying on a fellowship in Indonesia.