Indonesia

Currency

Indonesia has the Indonesian Rupiah (RP or IDR) which you can obtain from local ATMs. 1 Euro or 1 US Dollar are equal to 15,000 IDR.

Weather

Indonesia generally has a wet season that lasts from November to March and a dry season from April to October although this varies depending on where in Indonesia you’re going.

Language

The official language of Indonesia is Bahasa Indonesia (sometimes referred to as just Bahasa). There are also a variety of regional languages such as Javanese and Balinese.

Indonesia Quick Facts

Indonesia has a population of more than 270 million people, 85% of which are Muslims, making it the fourth largest country in the world. It’s estimated to have around 17,000 islands, including popular tourist hotspots like Bali, Komodo and Lombok. While Indonesia is very popular among backpackers and other travellers, much of the country is actually not very touristy at all and sees few international visitors. Most tourists tend to mainly visit Bali, parts of Java and other nearby islands, leaving plenty of other incredible destinations unexplored. For digital nomads or long-term travellers, Bali is an absolute paradise, enticing more and more people to move there permanently and make Indonesia their home.

Budget and Prices

2-week budget trip (2 people, without flights) – IDR 10,5 mil (~ €710)

2-week mid-range trip (2 people, without flights) – IDR 19,2 mil (~ €1300)

0.33-liter local beer in a supermarket – IDR 22,000 (~ €1.50)

Bottle of wine in liquor store – IDR 260,000 (~ €17.50)

Pack of 20 cigarettes – IDR 30,000 (~ €2)

0.33 litre local beer in a bar – IDR 30,000 (~ €2)

Meal in a budget restaurant (warung) – IDR 20,000 (~ €1.35)

Meal in a nicer restaurant – IDR 80,000 (~ €5.40)

Soft drink in a restaurant – IDR 10,000 (~ €0.70)

10-minute Grab/Gojek scooter ride – IDR 15,000 (~ €1)

Gas price per litre – IDR 10,000 (~ €0.70)

Coffee in a local warung – IDR 8,000 (~ €0.50)

Laundry washed and dried per kg – IDR 8,000 (~ €0.50)

Basic phone plan per month – IDR 100,000 (~ €7)

Public transport ticket – IDR 8,000 (~ €0.50)

Favourite places in Indonesia

When to go to Indonesia

Indonesia experiences different climates so it’s difficult to generalise when the best time to go is. Typically, the year can be divided into a distinct wet and dry season. For Java, Bali, Lombok and other southern parts of the country, the dry season lasts from approximately May to September while it tends to rain a lot from October to April. Indonesia is actually one of the few countries in South East Asia that has its dry season during these months making it very popular to visit. This doesn’t apply to all of Indonesia though, especially when it comes to the more northern regions. Although it is hot and humid year-round in Indonesia it actually tends to cool down slightly at night which makes it a lot more comfortable. Even the wet season can be beautiful in Indonesia and prices will be far more affordable which could be an added benefit.

Where to stay in Indonesia

Indonesia is very large and consists of many different islands, so picking where to go can be really difficult. Of course, the obvious answer is Bali, which is a fantastic option for travellers who want to avoid moving around too much while still getting a taste of Indonesia. However, Bali is definitely very different from the rest of the country and not really representative of what Indonesia is truly like since it’s quite touristy. Definitely add Bali to your bucket list but don’t just leave it at that if possible. A great choice is Yogyakarta where you’ll encounter far fewer tourists and will most likely have a more authentic experience. Jakarta is worth seeing for a day or two, but it shouldn’t be your first priority when you come to Indonesia.

For incredible beaches without all the tourists head to the Maluku Islands, the Kai Islands or Raja Ampat. These are some of the most beautiful places in the country although they can be tricky to reach, and it might take a couple of flights and ferries.

If you’re not that adventurous sticking to Java, Bali, Lombok and Flores with the incredible Komodo National Park might be a better choice. These islands essentially have everything you need, and you can easily get from one to the other. Bali is, of course, the centre of tourism in Indonesia. You’ll find an incredible expat community here and an almost westernised culture which has benefits but might also disappoint you if your expectations aren’t adjusted.

Don’t miss out on the famous Gili Islands where you can swim with sea turtles and party the night away at the beach. Lombok is a lot quieter than Bali so you can come here to escape the crowds without having to go on a two-day boat adventure. Flores is the best access point for Komodo National Park which is definitely touristy but still an incredible experience. Come here for world-class pink beaches, hiking and relaxing on a boat.

How to get around in Indonesia?

Indonesia consists of lots of different islands of varying sizes so you’ll eventually have to figure out how to get from one to the other. The easiest way is, of course, to fly which is usually quite affordable if you choose a popular route, however, if you’re trying to get to more remote places you might end up paying a lot more than expected. You can also take ferries which are a great choice for small distances but not the best for longer trips.

Once you’re on an Indonesian island the best way to get around is almost always by scooter. You can rent one for very little money although driving can take some getting used to. Indonesia also has a number of ride-sharing apps such as Grab or Gojek which are always affordable and reliable, especially in larger cities.

For long over-land trips, you should consider taking a train especially if you’re in Java. The Indonesian train system is safe, easy to navigate and very affordable. You’ll get to see the beautiful landscape and enjoy your trip more. Most larger cities also have a bus system which will be incredibly affordable although it might be a bit tricky to navigate for foreigners initially. If you’re on a budget this is probably a fantastic choice though so why not give it a go?

Lastly, you can always hire a driver to take you around while you’re in Indonesia. Prices will vary but tend to be very reasonable. Don’t forget to tip your driver at the end of the day.

Padar Island sunrise hike pink beach white beach black beach viewpoint

How to get to Indonesia

The main airports in Indonesia are located in Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali) and Surabaya. Most tourists either fly directly to Bali or to Jakarta and then get another regional flight to a smaller destination. Bali is definitely a great starting point for a trip to Indonesia. You can see the island for as long as you like and then catch another flight or ferry to your next destination. Another option is to fly to a larger city in South East Asia such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok and then catch a connecting flight to your final destination. There are also options for cruises taking you around Indonesia although these tend to be less common and more upscale.

Must know words in Bahasa Indonesia

Selamat pagi – Good morning

Apa kabar? – How are you?

Nasi – Rice

Mie – Noodles

Kopi – Coffee

Teh manis – Sweet tea

Air – Water

Satu - One

Dua - Two

Tiga – Three

Maaf – Sorry

Selamat tinggal – Goodbye

Terima kasih – Thank you

Permisi – Excuse me

Nama saya… - My name is...

Ya – Yes

Tidak – No

Sama-sama – You’re welcome

Berapa harganya – How much is it?

Hi, I'm Victoria

I’m 24 years old and grew up in Germany. Right now I’m studying at a university in Scotland and am about to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Full-time travel is my dream and I’ve spent the last few years slowly building my online business. Guide your Travel is technically a travel blog, but I also write about photography, social media and how you can start blogging. Don’t forget to check out my destination guides and travel tips.

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