Guide to Indonesia

Made up of over 13,000 islands with a population of over 260 million Indonesia offers something for every taste and budget. Whether it’s exploring the white sand beaches, diving in the cerulean blue seas, or hiking the active volcanoes in Java or Bali this country has every leisure and thrill seeking activity you could dream of. Indigenous wildlife is vast and widespread, from monkeys and Orangutans in Sumatra to the rare Komodo dragon. Accommodation and food is inexpensive, and it’s a budget travelers dream to travel around and explore some of the lesser known islands!

Accommodation

Dorm rooms  start from 70,000 IDR.  Double rooms in homestays and cheap hotels begin at 130,000 IDR. Wifi and Breakfast is nearly always included and management is friendly and willing to help assist with tours or bookings. Indonesis also has many AirBnB accomodations and if you are travelling with a group can grab some absolute bargains on villas around Bali and in other top destinations. Some of the islands are a little pricier but there is always decent and fairly priced accommodation to find, it gets a fair amount cheaper in the wet season when there are less tourists but obviously you have the heavy monsoon rain to deal with!

Money Saving Tips

Negotiate for everything and I literally mean everything: transport, accommodation, souvenirs, tours, nothing is ever the face value price (unless you are in a shop with prices printed!)

A lot of hostels will have water dispensers, so save money by refilling your water bottle before you head out and spend less money on bottled water and use less plastic! We also recommend buying a Water Filtration Pen if you are a frequent traveler or backpacking long term!

Always keep an eye on where the locals are eating, these are the cheapest spots so don’t be afraid to dine on the street or at a local Warung.

Transportation

Getting around Indonesia is fairly easy; traveling between islands will all be done on ferries, ranging from 7,000 IDR to 50,000IDR. An 8 hour bus ride will cost around 70,000 IDR, overnight buses around 120,000 IDR. Flights around the country can be incredibly cheap if you book in advance and are flexible on dates, internal flights from Bali to Lombok for example are as little as 130,000 IDR. Rent a motorbike or scooter from as little as 40,000 IDR a day, and remember to always negotiate hard for long term rentals

Where to eat

The cheapest places to eat are on the street or at small local restaurants locally known as Warungs. Meals are as cheap as 10,000 IDR on the street and around 20,000 in a local Warung. Be sure to keep an eye on where the locals are eating, you may not be able to get a menu but get a recommendation from the locals and they’ll be sure to set you on the right path to delicious food.

Best time to Visit

Anytime of year is pretty good! With a tropical climate there are two distinct seasons, dry season runs from April to October, when it is hot, humid and generally sunny all day, Wet season November to March brings about some heavy monsoon rain and can make getting to some islands difficult due to the rough seas!

Sim Card

Telkomsel – Simpati – The best 4G coverage across Indonesia – 110,000 IDR for one month with around 6GB of data

Indosat – Cheaper sim cards, good coverage but not as good as Simpati – 60,000 IDR, one month with 6GB of data

Food & Alcohol

Beer – The national beer is Bintang, which is decent but fairly expensive in comparison to other SEA countries as a big bottle (600ml) will set you back 30,000 IDR in the local shops, 50,000 in a bar.

Cocktails – 100,000 IDR in a bar, sometimes 2 for 1 at happy hour deals.

Local Spirits – Arak is the local spirit, it is strong and can be dangerous so be careful where you buy it from, 30,000 IDR for a half litre just make sure the bottle is sealed and don’t buy it in plastic bottles.

Rice Wine – 2 litres for 30,000 IDR – inexpensive but not the best tasting, however it’ll do the trick!

Selamat Pagi – Good morning

Terima Kasih – Thank you

Sama sama – You’re welcome

Apa Kabar – How are you?

Kabar baik – I’m good

Depending on your drinking habits and the amount of activities you do, you can comfortably do Indonesia on $25 a day. Stay in dorms, eat at Warungs or on the street and negotiate hard for everything and you can stick to this budget. In 30 days I spent $700 and never felt I missed out on anything. Here’s a rough daily breakdown:

Hostel: $6 including breakfast

Lunch and Dinner: $3

2 x 1.5 Liters of Water: $1.25

Entrance to Temples & Activities: $5

Moped or Scooter Rental: $4

Misc (beer, snacks, soft drinks etc): $4.75

Indonesia has a diverse demographic with Christians, Catholics, Hindu’s and Buddhists. However over 80% of the country identifies itself as Muslim, and you should try to dress appropriately when visitng temples and places of religion. Bali is the exception as the majority are Balinese Hindu’s.

Indonesian & English

Bali

Indonesia’s premier tourist destination, Bali has it all including a lot of travellers. Relax on the beaches, seek enlightment at one of the incredible Hindu temples and enjoy the local cuising. Bali has a bit of something for everyone.

Gili Islands

A stunning collection of three islands with no motorized vehicles only pure peace and tranquility. With white sand beaches, turquoise seas and palm lined shores this idyllic collection of islands is a perfect relaxation spot.

Jakarta

With a population of over 10 Million this is a city bursting with life, head here for nightlife, fantastic cuisine, great markets and even better people watching.

Komodo Boat Tour

See the famous Komodo Dragons in the East of Indonesia at the UNESCO Heritage Komodo National Park. Explore by day from Lubuan Bajo in Flores, or take it one step further and take the 4 day boat tour from Lombok for a budget cruise experience.

Mount Bromo

A National Park that feels other worldly. Wake up early to catch the sunrise set above the smoldering volcano.

Orangutans Sumatra

One of only two places in the world to see wild Orangutans. These inquisitive and human like creatures are heavily endangered and Sumatra is one of the last regions where these magnificent animals are flourishing.

Yogyakarta

Java’s main tourist city, Yogya for short has an interesting blend of old customers and modern living. Use this as a jump off point for Borobudur a 9th century ancient Buddhist temple complex.