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  • Medan

    Hi I am new to the forum. My husband is from North Sumatra and I am Aussie. WE have lived in Australia most of our 15 years of marriage but we are now considering spending a year or two in Medan. We have 2 primary school aged children who love their trips to Indonesia every year and are very keen to also spend some extended time there so I am hoping to get some advise about a few aspects of living there.
    Firstly the housing issue. Can anyone recommend a reputable agent who handles rentals in the Medan area? We are looking for a house in a secure complex, furnished if possible. I have done a bit of googling and Rp50 juta per annum seems to be the going rate for a nice house with A/C, is that about right??
    On to schooling. I am thinking of getting the kids home schooled yet also allowing them to attend a local public school as they are 1/2 Indo and we want them to learn the language, culture etc. Has anyone else had experience with putting English only speaking kids into local schools with a tutor? I think the cost of an international school would be rather high for possibly only 12 months. Any advice on this would be much appreciated!
    Lastly(for now) is living costs. Can anyone give a ball park on costs per month for utilities, internet, fuel, groceries? We will not be living a complete expat lifestyle (as my husband is Indo), so in some ways we will live a fairly modest existence but with a few western luxuries from time to time. Just a rough idea of costs is all I'm really after.
    Any and all advise would be helpful......Thanks ;-)

  • #2
    Hey Talking Tess,for housing kompleks tasbih (taman setiabudi indah) would be good, its a child friendly neighborhood with good rep since I was a little bambino. for school there are many private school there, my little cousin are in prime one school http://www.pos.sch.id/, great facilities, good teachers, good security, teachers talking in english and bahasa. about housing maybe you can ask for your inlaws to help you with that, anyways welcome to Medan!
    If people say something bad against you, donít be offended. Remember: "A dog doesnít bark if he knows the person!"

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    • #3
      H Talking Tess. I'm at work at the moment but will try and come up with a nice long answer this evening, when I have more time to think.... In general, people don't bother with agents here for renting accommodation. Will go into all that later.....

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      • #4
        Oh ****!!! I know I promised... but got in really late.... and now it is gone midnight. I promise I will post tomorrow! Honest....!!

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        • #5
          Has anyone else had experience with putting English only speaking kids into local schools with a tutor? I think the cost of an international school would be rather high for possibly only 12 months. Any advice on this would be much appreciated!
          Medan International School is not that high a cost....and having English speaking friends and half indonesian friends from the start may help them settle better. But your idea is not without merit, my parents did that years back in Semarang with my 2 brothers and sister, and they enjoyed it.

          I have done a bit of googling and Rp50 juta per annum seems to be the going rate for a nice house with A/C, is that about right??
          Sounds a bit high to me, for medan. Unless it is a 3-4 bedroom house with pool. There are places in the outskirts of Jakarta less than that, BSD and Serpong come to mind.

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          • #6
            Housing: Finding a house is so easy that few people bother using an agency. Book into a hotel for a week when you first arrive, then rent a car and driver (the driver will know the places to look for re housing) for a day and have him drive around the various housing complexes. When you see something you like from the outside, call the number displayed... either the owner will turn up almost immediately, or he/she will tell you that the keys are being held close by. If you like what you see inside, then start negotiating. Owners quite often have more than one property, so asking if he/she has something else to show, may well throw up an unexpected jewel! Drop into the administration office as well, as they may know some of the owners.

            As a previous poster said, theTASBI(H) complex is a good starting point... but go for TASBI 1 (just off Jalan Setia Budi, as TASBI 2 is way outside the city and travelling back and forth will probably drive you crazy. There are loads of other complexes too, which a hired driver will know about. Another one that comes to mind is CEMARA ASLI.

            Housing prices in Medan have risen sharply over the past few years. However, they are still quite reasonable and range from as little as Rp10 million per year for quite a small place up to way over your price. They tend to be cheaper on the complexes outside the city centre and more expensive in the centre of the city. Having said that, I pay Rp20 million for mine and it is very central and quite big (5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms etc.... no air con, but I prefer ceiling fans anyway). In the same street there is a similar house which went recently for Rp60 million... so as you can see, it is all down to negotiating. As your husband is Indonesian, he will have a better chance of negotiating a good price. BTW, houses here are usually rented unfurnished, but furnished ones do exist, it is just harder to find them! You can also furnish a house at quite a reasonable price as long as you are not going for high-range furniture... shop in the local shops rather than the big shopping malls or brand name stores.

            Wow, this is getting a bit long-winded! Let me take a break and come back to you with living costs etc!!

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            • #7
              @ vin.vierge.....thanks for your input. I had a look at the link to the school, the website has very little info but I will try to check it out when we are there next.
              My inlaws are not from Medan, they live a few hours north of Medan in a small town and very rarely visit the city area, so they aren't much help with Medan info.

              @ Kingwilly....glad to hear someone else who has tried the alternative to international schooling and been happy, it is really just an option we are looking into at the moment and yes you are right that having a school that would help the kids settle better and more quickly is the best way as it is one of our biggest concerns.

              @phiss.....I am looking forward to the rest of your post, thankyou so much for taking the time to go into so much detail. My husband actually spoke to a friend in Medan last night and he suggested Cemara Asri( I think mostly as it is closer to his house) but it seems to have a good reputation. Do you know much about the Chandra Kusuma School in Cemara Asri? I have looked at their website and emailed them for extra info but I have not had a response as yet. Thanks for the tip on furnishing, will def look at both furnished and unfurnished in that case. Very glad to hear that good housing in within our budget. We are planning on a taking a trip over earlier before the move to check things out properly but it is great to get all this info now so we can work out a financial plan. Keep it coming, any info is much appreciated

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              • #8
                Am preparing to go to work now... part 2 soon!! Just a couple of questions to help me plan out relevant info....Are you planning to work here? And how do you plan to travel around Medan... own car, buses, becaks, etc.? BTW, the Chandra Kusuma School has a good reputation...

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                • #9
                  Hi phiss......I am not 'planning' to work but once the kids are settled I will probably need/want to do something. My husband has a few business ventures that he is hoping to get off the ground, but we do not need to live in any particular area for work. We will have our own car, but will also use becak (the kids think it's a treat) when possible......

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Talking Tess View Post
                    Do you know much about the Chandra Kusuma School in Cemara Asri?
                    My wife taught there a few years ago, PM me with any questions.

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                    • #11
                      I've got a friend working at Chandra Kusuma. He send his daughter there too. The school population seems to mostly be made up of Indonesian Chinese so your children are very likely to end up learning Hokien (local chinese dialect) there too.

                      Other schools you might want to look at are Singapore Piaget Academy (Piaget), Singapore International School or Dewita. These all use English as the main language of instruction.

                      Cemara Asri complek is quite far out of the centre but still near enough to travel to and from work if you are working in the centre. There is also lots of nice restaurants on the Complek even if they are more expensive than other places. There also used to be a nice bakers there (not sure if it's still there) ran by a Bule that mades proper bread!

                      There are quite a few compleks on the ring road that runs around Medan. I used to live in Complek Bumi Seroja which is a bit further around the ring road from Tasbi. It was a nice quiet complek with a pool however not alot of greenery. I rented a 3 bedroom house there 2 years ago for 10million. There were fully furnished houses and bigger houses going for around 20million. There is another complek further round which has much more green space. As Phiss said the best bet is just to hire a taxi driver and drive around the different complexes. Ask the Sat Pams they generally know what is up for rent.

                      For all your western food go to Bastagi Supermarket it's much nicer than Carrefour IMHO.
                      The challenge is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Talking Tess View Post
                        @ vin.vierge.....thanks for your input. I had a look at the link to the school, the website has very little info but I will try to check it out when we are there next.
                        My inlaws are not from Medan, they live a few hours north of Medan in a small town and very rarely visit the city area, so they aren't much help with Medan info.
                        no wories girl, I'll talk to my sister if she knows any houses for rent, shes just bought a house this year after moving back to Medan. will get back to you asap
                        If people say something bad against you, donít be offended. Remember: "A dog doesnít bark if he knows the person!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Whoops travellingchez... I didn't say hire a 'taxi driver'!!... it would cost an arm and a leg!!... and taxi drivers tend not to be very helpful anyway! I said rent a 'car and driver' for a day... there are several car hire companies in Medan, and the prices are quite reasonable. I used to do this when I wanted to visit several different places in one day and where a certain amount of bulk buying 'might' have been involved.. it beat the hell out of jumping on and off buses, or trying to load up a becak, only to find there was no space left for me!!!!

                          Anyway, back to part 2.... Living costs: household expenses such as electricity, gas, bottled water, etc. are quite cheap:
                          My last monthly electricity bill was Rp220,000 - my highest bill in the past year was about Rp400,000 (don't know what I was doing that month!). I use approx. a bottle of gas/month Rp75,000; 5 x 19 litre bottles of drinking water Rp62,500; tap water varies but usually between Rp30,000 - Rp50,000 - if it ever shoots above Rp100,000 there is a leak somewhere, and I get it fixed ASAP!. I rarely use the house phone, so an average bill is about Rp60,000.

                          Travel expenses: I use 'motorised' becaks (as opposed to the bike ones) all the time. The same guy drives me everywhere and we have our own system of: 'short journeys' Rp5,000, 'medium' Rp10,000, 'longer' Rp15,000, anything above that Rp20,000. You get a feel for what constitutes each journey, taking into account intensity of traffic, etc., so no need to measure exact kms! I would say getting into centre from TASBI or Cemara Asri would be between Rp20,000 - Rp25,000, depending on the becak driver and your negotiating skills! Last time I used a bus it was about Rp3,5000 to most places within the city, but I don't know if the price has gone up again. Taxis are a ripoff here, and I usually avoid them as much as possible. WARNING: Both taxis and becaks outside Medan Fair (Carrefour) are the worst offenders regarding ripoff fares - I stopped even trying to negotiate with them some time ago. If my regular becak isn't available, I never go to Medan Fair to shop! My total/monthly expenditure on travel, including work and leisure, is probably around Rp1 million.

                          Food and Sundries: This can range from 'very cheap' if you shop in local markets and shops, to 'very expensive' if you shop in the supermarkets in the shopping malls, with lots of intermediate places in between. My personal favourites are: sending the maid to the local market to buy day to day staples such as fruit and veg (if I show up myself the prices seems to zoom up spontaneously!); BERASTAGI SUPERMARKET in Jl Gatot Subroto for my weekly shopping list (they usually carry Bega cheese, a reasonable selection of meat products that don't look as if they have been there a week, my favourite 'O'% fat cranberry yoghurt, a good selection of mustards, mayonaisse, vinegars etc. I hate vegemite, but I think I have seen it in Carrefour (Medan Fair, also in Gatot Subroto); MR BEN'S (just of Jl Cik Ditirio) when you just crave that special food item from home!! They are rather expensive but well worth an occasional visit for a special treat. If you can't see it, ASK! They will either produce it from somewhere within the bowels of the shop, or may even order it in for you. This is the only place I know that sells 'wholemeal flour' - which is fantastic when I am making my own bread. TIMES BOOKSTORE in Medan Fair for English novels (although their selection is quite small, and I am rapidly running out...). Medan has changed a lot re. shopping malls, etc. and it is possible to find almost everything you need, or simply 'want'.

                          Whoops - another long post: bear with me, I am almost finished:

                          My luxury items (because we all need to spoil ourselves sometimes!): A full package from Indovision cable tv: (Rp364,000/month). However, their basic packages of programmes are quite reasonable. English books: Until recently I used to have to make special trips to Penang or KL (don't mention Jakarta to me!!) to get these, as there were no English book stores in Medan. Obviously this increased the cost even more. Recently Times Bookstore have opened a small outlet in Medan Mall. I buy about 7-8 books at a time, and this can cost about Rp600,000 at time (including discount on member's card). I try not to read all 7-8 books in a couple of weeks, but this is hard!!! Unlimited Internet access: This isn't really a luxury item, but I forgot to mention it before. I pay Rp125,000/month (Indosat Broom Unlimited). other people have told me about cheaper programmes, but I like this one. Connection speeds are fast and it is more than adequate for my needs! Of course you have to pay for the initial package, but I don't recall this being expensive (sorry, can't remember the initial cost).

                          Wow! I think that's all for now. If you want any more info. just let me know.

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                          • #14
                            Addition comment: I wouldn't consider either the Piaget school or Singapore International School. They both have a bad rep amongst teachers, which is a surefire indication of something wrong... this sort of thing always filters down into the quality of teaching and learning (or more exactly, the absence of quality...).
                            Last edited by phiss; 20-10-10, 12:54.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by phiss View Post


                              Wow! I think that's all for now. If you want any more info. just let me know.
                              Wow all right!! Thanks so much phiss...your awesome!
                              We are a family of four so I guess i need to up these costs a little as I am assuming you don't have as many in your house. Glad you mentioned the internet and indovision as these will be a must have, also relieved to hear internet connection is fast.
                              So glad to also hear that western food items are now more easily available, 10 or so years ago I had a lot of trouble finding even the most basic items.
                              In regards to schools....I am still not sure the best way to go. I have contacted by email all of the above mentioned schools and have not had any response from any as yet. We might have to cross that bridge when we are next in Medan as it is probably our most important decision so I have to make sure I get it right!!
                              Thanks again....I will no doubt have more questions down the track

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