Indonesia has the Indonesian Rupiah (RP or IDR) which you can obtain from local ATMs. 1 Euro is equal to 17,000 IDR and 1 US Dollar is equal to 14,500 IDR.
Indonesia generally has a wet season from November to March and a dry season from April to October although this varies depending on where in Indonesia you’re going.
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 has a population of more than 270 million people making it the fourth largest country in the entire world. It’s estimated to have around 17,000 islands which includes popular tourist hotspots like Bali and Lombok. Indonesia is very popular among backpackers and other travellers but much of the country is actually not very touristy at all. Most international visitors tend to mainly visit Java and its neighbouring islands so if you’re trying to escape the crowds maybe avoid this area. However, for digital nomads or long term travellers Bali is an absolute paradise and a place where many actually choose to stay long term.
Budget and Prices
2-week budget trip (2 people, without flights) – 10,5Mil. IDR/600€/720$
2-week mid-range trip (2 people, without flights) – 19,2Mil. IDR/1100€/1320$
0.5-liter local beer in a supermarket – 25k IDR/1.40€/1.70$
Bottle of wine in liquor store – 260k IDR/15€/18$
Pack of 20 cigarettes – 25k IDR/1.40€/1.70$
0.5 liter local beer in a bar – 40k IDR/2.30€/2.80$
Meal in a budget restaurant (warung) – 15k IDR/0.90€/1$
Meal in a nicer restaurant – 75k IDR/4.30€/5.10$
Coke in a restaurant – 10k IDR/0.60€/0.7$
15-minute Uber/Grab ride – 105k IDR/6€/7$
Hotel room for 1 night – 435k IDR/25€/30$
Resort room for 1 night – 1Mil. IDR/60€/72$
Hostel room for 1 night – 140k IDR/8€/10$
1-day Snorkelling Tour – 350k IDR/20€/24$
Gas price per liter – 7k IDR/0.40€/0.5$
Coffee in a local warung – 5k IDR/0.30€/0.40$
Rent for 1-bedroom apartment – 2,6Mil. IDR/150€/180$
Utilities per month – 870k IDR/50€/60$
Laundry washed and dried per kg – 4k IDR/0.30€/0.35$
Basic phone plan per month – 170k IDR/10€/12$
Public transport ticket – 7k IDR/0,40€/0.5$
Scooter rent for 1 week – 200k/11€/14$
Car and driver for 8-hours (including petrol and parking) – 350k/20€/24$
When to go
Indonesia is large and experiences different types of weather so it’s hard to generalize 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 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 during this time. This doesn’t apply for 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
Indonesia is very large and consist 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 and still get 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. We’d highly recommend 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 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 center of tourism in Indonesia. You’ll find an incredible expat community here and an almost westernised culture which has benefits but of course 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 beautiful beaches, hiking and relaxing.
How to get around
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 is also 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.
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. 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
Selamat Pagi – Good Morning
Apa Kabar? – How are you?
Nasi – Rice
Mi – 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.
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