This is a summary of all our travel expenses for the 28 nights / 29 days we spent in Indonesia during May / June 2016. We flew into Jakarta, Java and out of Denpasar, Bali (these flights are not included in this report) and we ended up travelling a fair distance across the islands of Java, Bali and two of the Gili Islands over these 28 nights.
We had a fantastic time in Indonesia, particularly observing the diversity of the various islands and regions that make up Indonesia. Considered to be their dry months and high season, the weather was good for the most of it although also blisteringly hot at times!
We would consider Indonesia to be a fairly good budget destination, with some areas being significantly cheaper than others. If you can travel slower, you should be able to reduce your expenses by up to 20-25% by getting long stay discounts, preparing food for yourself and reducing your overall travel expenses. If you stay away from the tourist hot spot areas and travel to more remote undiscovered areas, this will also reduce your spending significantly. Some of these areas are also absolute gems and well worth exploring. Travelling around and between the many islands of Indonesia does tend to add up quickly.
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(Note that the following spending does not include flights to and from Indonesia.)
We found that the best site to use when searching for and booking accommodation in Indonesia was by far Booking.com. Although we also always check on Agoda, for this trip we ended up using Booking.com almost exclusively. We did not book all our accommodation beforehand and simply booked online a few nights in advance, or sometimes only once we arrived at the destination (yes, it was often cheaper for us to book online while using the free wifi in the lobby of some accommodations)! There is plenty of accommodation available and even in high season, you will almost be sure to find something suitable last minute.
We stayed in most places for 2 - 3 night before moving on. We tried to look for a smaller “home-stay villa” type of accommodation and almost always had a swimming pool where we stayed. In comparison to our other travels around Southeast Asia, we found the accommodation in Indonesia to be of a high standard, very competitive and excellent value for money. We would highly recommend the following stays:
We generally try to eat like and with the locals. In Indonesia, this was an absolute treat as the food is both affordable and delicious. While we did enjoy the odd pizza, we mostly ate local food from small restaurants and street-side vendors. Our food expenses included plenty of sweet snacks (more than 15% of our total food expenses!) such as thin crepe style Nutella pancakes as well as Martabak Manis and the occasional convenience store ice-cream!
We enjoyed the occasional beer while in Bali and the Gili’s - how can you not with those sunsets?! Although not ridiculously expensive, we also did not find the beer to be particularly cheap. Other drinks such as cocktails can quickly add up to increasing your overall spending.
We also bought bottled water throughout the trip, so if you can make use of a water filter this would help to reduce your overall spending. We now make use of the Survivor Pro Water Filter which is very compact, easy to use and which we are very happy with and can highly recommend.
The islands of Indonesia are so vastly spread out and travelling around and between them can easily and quickly add a significant amount to your overall travel expenses. Travelling slower would be one way to reduce your daily average cost of transportation. We recommend using 12Go website or BookAway to view schedules ahead of time and buy tickets. Skyscanner.com is a fantastic tool for finding great flight deals.
Our transport expenses reflected here included the following larger travel tickets in addition to everyday travel expenses:
Air Asia flights from Jakarta to Yogjakarta (IDR 438 750 pp)
Train from Probolingo to Banyuwangi (IDR 123 000 pp)
Train from Solo to Probolingo (IDR 81 000 pp)
Local Ferry from Java to Bali (IDR 8 000 pp)
Scooter rental 3 days Pemuteran (IDR 60 000 pd)
Private Car Transfer from Pemuteran to Tulumben (IDR 500 000)
Express Boat from Tulamben to Gili-T (IDR 350 000 pp)
Boat from Gili-T to Gili Air (IDR 85 000 pp)
Express Boat from Gili Air to Ubud (IDR 350 000 pp)
Scooter Rental 2 days Ubud (IDR 60 000 pd)
Bus Ubud to Sanur (IDR 50 000 pp)
You can look up bus and train schedules and even book and pay for tickets with 12Go.Asia
We also made use of the local Blue Bird Taxi services via cellphone calling or the app and we would highly recommend that you only make use of these as they are the only regulated taxi service currently in Indonesia. Other taxis which you hail down next to the side of the road are very likely to either rip you off or be more expensive.
When renting a scooter in Bali, make sure that you have the necessary international drivers permit and that you carry it with you at all times together with the rental vehicle’s registration documents. There are a few checkpoints where tourists are stopped and the resulting fine can be rather hefty! You can read about our Ubud Fine Experience here.
CELLPHONE & DATA
Being very dependent on data for getting around and rather heavy data user generally, this is one of the first things we investigate when staying in a country for a period of time. We each got a local SIM card from Telkomsel which included 2GB of data each. Most of our accommodations also had free wifi included.
Our "General" category includes everyday expenses like toiletries, medical, laundry & small shopping items.
We generally try to stay away from very touristy places and prefer to explore independently. For this reason, we really enjoyed visiting the island of Java as it is far less touristy in comparison to Bali and the Gili Islands. You can read about our first quick stop in Jakarta, Java where the locals are immediately wonderfully welcoming. In Indonesia, there were a few “tourist activities” which we did spend money on. These included the following:
Prambanan Temple Complex (IDR 234 000 pp)
Borobudur Temple Complex (IDR 270 000 pp)
Kraton Palace (IDR 15 000 pp)
Sunrise guided hike of Mount Ijen to see the blue flames (IDR 300 000 pp including park fee and tip)
Renting Bicycles & Snorkelling Gili Air (IDR 70 000 pp)
Monkey Forest Ubud (IDR 40 000 pp)
Shadow Puppet Show Ubud (IDR 100 000 pp) - you can give this one a skip!
Visiting the Chocolate Factory Ubud (IDR 40 000 pp)
Mt Batur Conservation Fee (IDR 31 000 pp)
Exploring the smoking Mount Bromo (IDR 0 - read how here!)