Travel Money: How much to budget for your Indonesian adventure?

traditional indonesian village

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Indonesia is known to be a more budget-friendly holiday destination, even considering the cost of flying there. But how affordable is it when you stay longer than the customary one to two weeks and explore the country beyond Bali? We recently travelled around the islands of Indonesia for two months, trying different foods, learning about the country’s rich cultural tapestry, climbing mountains, and travelling by plane, train, (mini)bus, boat, car and scooter. In this article, we share our actual travel cost and key learnings – to help you explore the country affordably and responsibly.

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First of all: What currency is used in Indonesia?

For those of you who’ve never been to Indonesia: The official currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. The official currency code is IDR, though you may also find it abbreviated to Rp. It was formally introduced as the national currency in 1950, a year after Indonesia gained independence.

During your travels, you might come across

  • Coins in denominations of IDR50/100/200/500/1,000, though during our time in Indonesia, we only ever saw the 500 and 1,000 coins (perhaps unsurprisingly, because even IDR1,000 were only about USD0.065-USD0.066 when we visited).
  • Bank notes in denominations of IDR1,000/2,000/5,000/10,000/20,000/50,000/100,000.

Since 2010, the federal government has been debating whether to redenominate and remove the last three 000s, but this idea/plan has not (yet) eventuated.

indonesia currency

Ever wanted to be a billionaire? Come to Indonesia, where less than USD70 makes you one

Travel Cost Assumptions

When reading this article, please keep the following in mind:

  • Our travel costs are based upon a couple travelling together.
  • We are independent travellers, researching and organising our own itinerary using our go-to travel planning tools.
  • Our travel style is reasonably consistent wherever we go, which is great when you want to compare travel costs between countries:
    • Accommodation: We usually stay in self-catered accommodation (homestays, locally owned guesthouses, hostels and short-term rentals) - in our own room with (preferably) our own bathroom, though the kitchen may be shared.
    • Dining and Groceries: We have at least two meals a day at home. We like to eat out once a day to every few days (and prefer locally owned restaurants and small eateries away from the tourist hotspots).
    • Transportation: We walk a lot, and wherever possible, we travel by public transport. Only occasionally do we hire a vehicle.
    • Experiences: Many of the activities we do are free of charge or cost very little. When we pay for attractions or activities, we are selective as our funds are limited (just like everyone elses).
  • In addition to above expense categories, we include in our total daily costs our mail scanning and forwarding service, mobile phone plans and travel insurance - though only for the period we are in the country.
  • We use a multi-currency personal account with Wise to manage our currencies XE to transfer money as required.
  • Not included are the costs for entry or exit transportation into/out of the country.

How much did it cost us to explore Indonesia?

Considering the above assumptions, we spent on average IDR819,697/USD54.19 per person per day.

Below is the summary table of the Accommodation, Groceries and Dining, Transportation, Experiences and Miscellaneous expenses we incurred for the 59 full nights we stayed in Indonesia, exploring the main islands of Java, Lombok, Flores and Bali (and a few smaller ones).

CategoryIDR Cost Per Person Per DayUSD Cost Per Person Per DayPercentage of total
Accommodation148,6249.3618%
Groceries and Dining144,3379.0918%
Transportation161,87310.2020%
Experiences177,87211.2122%
Travel Insurance146,5039.2318%
Miscellaneous40,4882.554%
Total per person per dayIDR819,697USD54.19
IDR to USD exchange rate as at the date of spending. The Accommodation category includes laundry services and bag storage. The Miscellaneous category includes Indonesia Visa fees, Indonesia Data SIM cards as well as hygiene items (like a haircut, manicure/pedicure or massage).

Map of Accommodation, Points of Interest, Eateries and Transport

Below is a map of the recommended accommodation, points of interest, eateries and transport terminals/stops mentioned in this article.

How much to budget for Accommodation in Indonesia?

During our two months in Indonesia, our accommodation costs averaged IDR262,905/USD16.56 per room per night. We stayed mostly in locally owned guesthouses and homestays, where we would have our own bedroom and bathroom.

The table lists ALL accommodations we stayed at, including places we wouldn’t choose to stay again. The accommodations all provided free Wi-Fi (some faster than others) and most provided air-conditioning. Where provided, breakfast is included in the below price.

NameProperty FeaturesLocationTypeIDR Cost per nightNumber of NightsBook Now
Asta House Clean rooms
Central yet quiet location
Walking distance to airport
KutaGuesthouse229,5002Book Now
Teras Alkid HomestayWetroom-style bathroom without basin
Transactional hosts
Opposite mosque
YogyakartaHomestay226,9095Book Now
Griyo Jagalan Close to Borobudur Temple
Friendly hosts
Offers bicycle rental and private tours
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
BorobudurGuesthouse225,3872Book Now
Algira HomestayHosts don't live on-site
Basic kitchen
Not clean
Basic bicycles available to use free of charge
PrambananHoliday house210,0002Book Now
Delvia Bromo Clean rooms with beautiful valley views
Friendly hosts
Close to National Park entrance
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
BromoGuesthouse226,9252Book Now
Griyo Sultan Agung Guest HouseClose to Malang train station
Small rooms
Large courtyard
MalangGuesthouse280,0002Book Now
Dewi Sri Guesthouse Outdoor swimming pool
Walking distance from Immigration Office and Lombok's largest mosque
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
MataramGuesthouse231,6603Book Now
Green Rinjani Lodge Clean rooms with beautiful views
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
SenaruGuesthouse235,5361Book Now
Mysha Guest House Friendly hosts
On-site restaurant
Offers private tours
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
TetebatuGuesthouse169,8943Book Now
Kristal Garden Clean rooms
Outdoor swimming pool
On-site restaurant
SekotongGuesthouse382,1994Book Now
Maja House Penida Friendly hosts
Clean rooms
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
PenidaGuesthouse243,6905Book Now
Nusa Garden Homestay Clean rooms
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
Nusa LembonganHomestay300,0002Book Now
Golo Tango HomestayWalking distance to airportLabuan BajoHomestay293,0841Book Now
Ragos Homestay Airport transfer available
Friendly hosts
Certain documented environmental practices implemented at property.
MoniHomestay277,5874Book Now
Dagalos Homestay Friendly hosts
Very basic room
Shared bathroom
Central location
BajawaHomestay200,0003Book Now
Mamas Homestay Friendly hosts
Clean rooms
Shared bathrooms
RutangHomestay300,0003Book Now
Mehara Hotel Clean rooms
Central yet quiet location
Labuan BajoHotel350,0003Book Now
Nyoman Guesthouse Berawa CangguCentral yet quiet location
Outdoor swimming pool
CangguGuesthouse300,0002Book Now
Gosela Homestay Friendly hosts
Clean rooms
Vehicle required
GoblegHomestay242,0023Book Now
Gerhana Sara Friendly hosts
Clean rooms
Outdoor swimming pool
Central yet quiet location
UbudGuesthouse292,5012Book Now
Loka Amertha Friendly hosts
Clean rooms
Vehicle required
SidemanHomestay337,5392Book Now
IDR262,905
Sustainability Certification included as appropriate, but not validated. $ is USD50 and below. $$$$ is USD150 and above. A marks where we stayed and would highly recommend to our friends and family.

Our most expensive accommodation was at Kristal Garden in Sekotong, Lombok – at IDR382,199/USD25.23 per night for a modern, clean, airconditioned, stand-alone bungalow, with (shared) swimming pool and breakfast, only 500 metres from Kemos Beach where the boats departed for the Secret Gillis.

swing at gili anyaran

Our most expensive accommodation was 500 metres from the beach (and a boat ride away from this tranquil spot) in the south-west of Lombok

At just IDR169,894/USD11.21 per night, our most affordable accommodation was a stay at Mysha Guest House in Tetebatu, Lombok – for a semi-detached bamboo bungalow without aircon (at 400 metres above sea level, a fan was more than sufficient) but including breakfast (and a lovely host family).

Mysha Guest House in Tetebatu

Our most affordable accommodation was a guesthouse on the southern slopes of Mt Rinjani, also in Lombok

Our accommodation cost bucket also includes the costs of utilities (including laundry, luggage storage and washroom use). 

Laundry

Over the two months in Indonesia, we used laundromats/laundry services nine times, costing us an average of IDR62,389/USD4.12 per use:

  • At IDR160,000/USD10.56, our most expensive laundry service was MaeMae Laundry [Google Maps location] in Ubud, Bali when we needed an express laundry service (in a very touristy area) before leaving the country that very same night.
  • Our cheapest service was at M.Ricky Laundry [Google Maps location] in the non-touristy Kraton district of Yogyakarta, where we paid IDR19,000/USD1.25 (also for same-day service).

Luggage Storage and Washroom Use

Only once in Indonesia did we need to store our travel packs for any period (and pay for washroom use). Before boarding the Yogyakarta to Malang midnight train, we left our travel packs at Shower & Locker [Google Maps location] while we explored the downtown area of Yogyakarta. When we returned, we had a shower there as well. We paid

  • IDR90,000/USD5.94 for a locker large enough to fit both our travel packs (up to 12 hours), and
  • IDR80,000/USD5.28 for two super-clean bathrooms (which we could use for up to 45 minutes) – each equipped with a shower cubicle, wash basin and toilet.

We paid for the lockers in cash and the showers by credit card.

Shower and Locker Yogyakarta

Shower & Locker offers the opportunity to explore Malioboro luggage-free and have a refreshing shower at the end of a hot and humid day

How much to budget for Dining and Groceries in Indonesia?

Unlike our recent trip to Japan, almost none of the accommodations we stayed in had kitchen facilities to allow us to cook a meal or even prepare a basic breakfast. We therefore ate out a lot more than we normally would. 85% of our dining and groceries expenses went towards dining out or having food prepared for us at our accommodation.

Our daily costs for Dining and Groceries in Indonesia averaged IDR144,337/USD9.53 per person, with our most expensive dining experience costing IDR328,949/USD21.71 per person for a delicious dinner (and drinks) at The Blaze [Google Maps location] in Canggu, Bali with my son Matt (who happened to holiday in the area). Our most affordable dining experience was a meal from a street food cart near the airport in Labuan Bajo, Flores for IDR7,500/USD0.50 per person.

Paul and Matt at The Blaze Restaurant

Our dining costs ranged from USD0.50 for street food on Flores to USD22 for a restaurant meal (and drinks) in touristy Canggu, Bali

Below is a list of standard grocery items (averaged across several islands and grocery shop sizes).

ItemSizeIDR Price
UHT Milk1 litre23,229
White Rice1 kilogram
14,728
Chicken Fillet1 kilogram
50,000
Bananas1 kilogram20,000
Fresh White Bread125 grams4,412
Eggs1 dozen25,052
Cheese1 kilogram121,750
Tomatoes1 kilogram12,000
Plain Biscuits300 grams5,000
Dry Macaroni340 grams5,000
Olive Oil1 litre130,000
Oatmeal1 kilogram38,800
Muesli1 kilogram128,000
Juice1 litre23,000
Water1.5 litres5,000

How much to budget for Transportation in Indonesia?

Air Travel

While 66% of all air travellers enter Indonesia via Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on the island of Java, New Zealand and Australian travellers tend to fly into I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. The latter is serviced by a whopping 41 airlines – among them Garuda Indonesia, the national carrier (which ranked 30th in the World Airline Awards 2023 List) and its low-cost off-spring Citilink (in 94th position).

What We Did

Coming from Sydney, Australia, we flew into I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport Denpasar (DPS) – on Jetstar with a flight time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. The price for the flight is not included in our Indonesia travel costs as everyone travels from different places.

Given Indonesia is an archipelago with some 18,000 islands spread further than the full width of the United States or Australia, it’s hard to avoid flying domestically (particularly if you want to see more than Bali and/or Java and have limited time). We took five internal flights, all requiring our (usual) carry-on travel packs to be checked in due to 7kg weight limitations for cabin baggage. All payments were made by credit card.

Before we book any flight (domestic or international), we always consider our carbon footprint and give preference to lower carbon alternatives where feasible.

FromToAirlineIDR Cost Per PersonClass / Fare Basis
Denpasar, BaliYogyakarta, JavaLion Air669,600Ticket Refund and Exchanges are permitted with payment of fee and fare difference (if any) and within a defined deadline / TOW
Surabaya, JavaLombokLion Air632,580Ticket Refund and Exchanges are permitted with payment of fee and fare difference (if any) and within a defined deadline. / MOW
Denpasar, BaliLabuan Bajo, FloresCitilink669,600Ticket Refund and Exchanges are permitted with payment of fee and fare difference (if any) and within a defined deadline / TOW
Labuan Bajo, FloresEnde, FloresLion Air1,119,000Y / YIWOW
Labuan Bajo, FloresDenpasar, BaliBatik Air1,043,900SIDOW
Getting on Lion Air aeroplane

Domestic flights and boats/ferries are your main transport options to travel between the many islands of Indonesia

Train Travel

When we started our research on Indonesia, we soon learned that the islands of Java and Sumatra had a (reasonably) reliable rail network, operated by Kereta Api Indonesia (or short KAI), the national carrier. The entire rail network spans just over 7,000km.

On Java, the network stretches the whole island – from Merak in Banten Province in the West (for the ferry to Sumatra) to Ketapang in East Java (for the ferry to Bali), linking all the major cities in between, including Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo, Malang and Surabaya.

While the train operator’s website is www.kai.id, we weren’t able to purchase tickets there (nor on the KAI app) using our Australian credit cards. Instead, we either purchased tickets in person at the train station or through the Tiket website.

Wherever you buy your tickets: Be aware that train capacity in Indonesia is limited (based on the number of seats available). Thus, we recommend that you purchase your tickets (well) in advance (or risk being stranded – from a few hours to a few days). Another benefit: The further in advance you book the cheaper are the tickets.

What We Did

We travelled with KAI twice:

  • First, we took the Malabar overnight train from Yogyakarta to Malang. We booked our tickets 23 days before departure via the Tiket website at a cost of IDR406,000/USD26.80 per person (including the booking fee).
  • A few days later, we took the early morning Tumapel train from Malang to Waru (Surabaya) for IDR2,000/USD0.13 per person (purchased in person at Malang Station the day before), and then the DAMRI bus from Terminal Bungurasih (a 10-minute walk from Waru Station) to Juanda International Airport, Surabaya (SUB).
Kai train carriage

Bus Travel

And speaking of which: DAMRI is an Indonesian state-owned bus operator with set schedules, clean vehicles and friendly drivers. Finding the schedule and booking tickets though was a whole mission in itself – the (Indonesian-only) website directs passengers to the DAMRI app, which is not accessible to non-Indonesian mobile phone users (at least, it wasn’t when we travelled).

What We Did

We used DAMRI a total of six times (on Java and Lombok):

  • Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) to the city centre – at a cost of IDR80,000/USD5.28 per person,
  • Yogyakarta city centre to Borobudur (and back) – at IDR20,000/USD1.32 per person per trip,
  • Wonokitri to Malang – at IDR35,000/USD2.31 per person,
  • Terminal Bungurasih to Juanda International Airport, Surabaya (SUB) at a cost of IDR35,000/USD2.31 per person, and
  • Lombok International Airport (LOP) to Mataram – at IDR35,000/USD2.31 per person.

Most of the time, we just turned up at the bus stop and were able to buy our tickets on the spot. However, in one instance (from Malang to Wonokitri), the minibus was booked out (and the next one was not scheduled for another 12 hours). Thus, to not miss out again on our return journey, we asked our host in Wonokitri to book the tickets for us via the DAMRI app.

Apart from DAMRI, we also used local buses in Yogyakarta – at a cost of IDR3,600/USD0.24 per person per trip.

DAMRI minbuses at Borobudur Bus Terminal

DAMRI was our prefered bus operator in Indonesia with set schedules, super-affordable fares, clean vehicles and friendly drivers

Boat Travel

Being an archipelago, you are bound to use a boat at some point when travelling around Indonesia. Some islands are connected by large (multi-storey) ferries, others by regular speed boats and others again by water taxis.

What We Did

We took a boat a total of six times – twice on day excursions (on Lombok and Flores) and four times to cross from island to island:

  • Private water taxi from Tembowong Harbour to Gili Gede Ferry Terminal – at IDR200,000/USD13.20 for both of us including luggage
  • Speed boat from Gili Gede to Buyuk Harbour, Nusa Penida with Gili Getaway – at IDR900,000/USD59.40 per person
  • Public ferry from Toya Pakeh Harbour, Nusa Penida to Nusa Lembongan – at IDR50,000/USD3.30 per person
  • Speed boat from Mushroom Bay, Nusa Lembongan to Sanur, Bali with Dream Beach Express – at IDR160,000/USD10.56 per person.

Island crossings, especially between Lombok, the Nusas and Bali, and between Flores and the islands of the Komodo National Park are surprisingly bumpy (even on a calm day). So, if you get seasick easily, take tablets to make the ride more comfortable.

boat service on demand between indonesian islands

Being a country made up of islands, you are bound to use a boat at some point when travelling around Indonesia

Rideshares

Gojek and Grab are the Indonesian equivalents of Uber. Both rideshare apps are also among the few apps that work with a non-Indonesian mobile device. You can download the Grab app (available for Apple and Android phones), add your credit card details (don’t worry, we found it to be secure and easier than trying to pay in cash) and then proceed to book your ride (you can even order a take-out meal delivered to your doorsteps). Gojek works the same way, but we didn’t end up using them.

What We Did

We usually walk or use public transport. As you can see from the table below though, we used rideshares a few times in Indonesia:

Service NameFromToDistance travelledIDR Cost per rideIDR Price per kilometre
Grab TransportPrambanan AccommodationPrambanan Open Air Theatre3.5km50,000 (see below)14,286
Grab TransportPrambanan Open Air TheatrePrambanan Accommodation2.5km24,0009,600
Grab TransportPrambanan AccommodationPrambanan Bus Stop2km20,00010,000
Malang TaxiMalang Train StationDelvia Bromo69km550,000 (shared with three other travellers)7,971
Grab TransportDAMRI Bus Terminal MataramDewi Sri Guesthouse5.5km38,5007,000
Blue Bird TaxiMysha Guest houseKristal Garden Guesthouse83km466,7755,624
Private CarKristal Garden GuesthouseTembowong Harbour10.5km60,0005,714
Grab TransportSanurI Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar16.5km136,0008,242
Private TransferH. Hasan Aroeboesman Airport, EndeRagos Homestay52km450,0008,654
Private Car shareRagos HomestayDagalos Homestay176km400,0002,273
Grab TransportI Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, DenpasarNyoman Guest House Tibubeneng18km134,0007,444
Grab TransportNyoman Guest House TibubenengI Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar17km127,0007,471

Our most expensive ride overall was a Bluebird Taxi from Tetebatu to Sekotong (though not on a per-kilometre basis). Travel between the two destinations would have required taking multiple (mini)buses (with no guarantee that we would arrive the same day). It was easy to install the Bluebird app on our Android mobile phones (there’s an Apple version too), and the ride was significantly cheaper than a private transfer (you are charged based on the taxi meter). Bluebird Taxis on Lombok only serve major towns/longer distances. So, if you booked a taxi via the app and didn’t hear from the driver before your ride, chances are you’ve got no ride (as happened to us once).

Our most expensive ride on a per kilometre basis was the 3.5km ride from our Prambanan accommodation to the Ramayana Ballet Prambanan. Though, that was our own fault: We hadn’t set up our credit card in the Grab app before we jumped in the car (and couldn’t add it during the ride when we realised we only had a 50,000 Rupiah note). Of course, the driver didn’t have change (one of the frequent scams in Indonesia and in fact, around the world).

Our cheapest ride (on a per kilometre basis) was sharing a car with two locals on the island of Flores (more on that below).

gojek in traffic

Gojek and Grab are the most common rideshare options in Indonesia - you can even order food to be delivered to your doorsteps

Rental Vehicles

Of course, you can also hire cars and scooters in Indonesia. To be able to do so, you are (officially) required to provide both your country’s driver’s licence AND an International Driving Permit (IDP). While many rental shops may not ask you for your licence/s, it will become an issue if you are pulled over by the police or are involved in a vehicle accident and need to claim against your travel insurance policy.

And speaking of insurance: Rental vehicles in Indonesia don’t usually have insurance, thus if you are involved in an accident, repair/replacement costs are all on you/your travel insurance.

Given the volume of traffic in the major cities and how Indonesians drive, hiring a car (without a driver) is not advisable unless you are an experienced driver (in predominately Asian countries). Likewise, if you plan to rent a scooter, you should be very confident in your abilities – tourists who don’t ride confidently are a risk to themselves and other road users.

What We Did

We rented a scooter five times – with Paul as the driver and Sandra as the passenger – at an average daily cost of IDR102,222/USD6.75.

CompanyLocationNumber of DaysIDR Daily Rate
Kristal Gardens Guest HouseSekotong, Lombok325,000
Nozy PenidaPed, Nusa Penida460,000
Ragos HomestayMoni, Flores2100,000
Kopi ManeRuteng, Flores250,000
Puru Bali Bike RentalCanggu, Bali7175,000
Average Daily RateIDR102,222
Paul on scooter in Moni

Hire a scooter only if you are a confident rider (especially on busier islands like Bali or Java)

The scooters rarely came with much petrol in the tank, and you are generally not required to return them with much. In total, we paid IDR228,000/USD15.05 for petrol. Depending on whether we were in a bigger city/town or a small village, the price fluctuated – for reference: on Bali, we paid IDR11,234/USD0.74 per litre (IDR42,523/USD2.81 per US Gallon).

There were times when we needed to park our scooter and walk to where we needed to go. Parking at scooter parks with attendants present averaged out to cost IDR4,857/USD0.32 each time.

Twice we rented bicycles:

  • Our accommodation at Griyo Jagalan in Borobudur, Java rented their bicycles for IDR25,000/USD1.65 per day, and
  • Sandra hired a bike for IDR60,000/USD3.96 per day from Nusa Lembongan Cycle Hire.
Sandra on bicycle in Borobudur

If you're not a confident scooter rider, hiring a bicycle might be an alternative where public transport options are limited

How much to budget for Experiences in Indonesia?

While many overseas tourists never see more than the tourist hot spots in Bali, each Indonesian island is unique and worth visiting. From hiking/trekking and diving/snorkelling to a plethora of cultural and culinary experiences, there is a ton to do in Indonesia (for all budgets).

Many tourist attractions in Indonesia cost more for foreigners than for the country’s citizens (sometimes a lot more), and very few experiences accept payment by credit card.

What We Did

All our experiences added up to IDR21,569,216/USD1,423.57 for the two of us – on average, IDR250,805/USD15.77 per person per experience or IDR185,942/USD12.27 per person per day.

With so many experiences on offer, we only list those below that we would do again and/or are happy to recommend.

ExperienceLocationTypePurposeIDR Price per adult
Sonobudoyo MuseumYogyakarta, JavaMuseumEntry Fee10,000
Yogyakarta Royal PalaceYogyakarta, JavaHistorical LandmarkEntry Fee12,500
Sunrise experience with Griyo JagalanBorobudur, JavaSightseeingGuide/Transport Fee25,000
Borobudur TempleBorobudur, JavaHistorical LandmarkEntry Fee (included guided tour)455,000
Ramayana Open Air TheatrePrambanan, JavaCultural PerformanceClass 1 Tickets201,800
Prambanan Temple ComplexPrambanan, JavaHistorical LandmarkEntry Fee375,000
Blue and Rainbow VillagesMalang, JavaSightseeingEntry Fee (only charged by Kampung Warna Warni)5,000
Anggrek Putih Cooking ClassMataram, LombokCooking ClassIncluding transfer, garden tour, staff wages, instructions, ingredients, beverages412,000
Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep WaterfallsSenaru, LombokSightseeingEntry Fee (included guided tour)10,000
3D/2N Private Trek with Green RinjaniMt Rinjani, LombokHiking/ TrekkingMulti-day trek including accommodation, one guide, three porters, tips for guide/porters, food/beverages and National Park entry fees5,041,500
Kelimutu National ParkKelimutu, FloresSightseeingNational Park entry fee152,500
Wologai Adat Traditional VillageWologai, FloresSightseeingEntry Fee (included guided tour)35,000
Day Tour with Ryan Soi RadjoBajawa, FloresSightseeingDay tour including two scooters, guide fees, donations (and lunch) at traditional villages, hot spring and look-out point entry fees475,000
Day Tour of Komodo National Park with Red Whale Dive CentreLabuan Bajo, FloresSightseeingDay tour including speed boat, snorkelling equipment, guide fees, lunch/snacks, National Park entry fees and GoPro hire1,986,250
Golden Valley Waterfalls, Red Coral Munduk Waterfall and Labuhan Kebo WaterfallsMunduk/ Gobleg, BaliSightseeingEntry Fee40,000
Setia Darma House of Mask and PuppetsUbud, BaliMuseumEntry Fee50,000
Goa GajahUbud, BaliHistorical LandmarkEntry Fee50,000
Samsara Living MuseumBebandem, BaliMuseumEntry Fee (included guided tour)100,000

Mt Rinjani Trek

As expected, our most expensive experience (by far) was our private, multi-day Mt Rinjani Trek – at IDR5,041,500/USD332.74 per person. But boy, was it worth it. The memory will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

break stop hiking mt rinjani

Hiking Mt Rinjani over 3 days/2 nights was our most expensive but also one of our favourite experiences in Indonesia

Komodo Island One-Day Tour

While we booked our Mt Rinjani Trek months in advance, we arrived in Labuan Bajo – the entry point to the Komodo Island National Park [Google Maps location] – without booking an excursion to the famous park. We wanted to speak with tour operators on the ground and understand how sustainable their tours were before making a booking. Like most visitors to Labuan Bajo, we wanted to observe the amazing creatures of the park (from Komodo Dragons to turtles and manta rays) in their natural habitat, but we also wanted to do it with an operator whose values were aligned with ours.

After speaking to a few, we chose Red Whale Dive Centre [Official website, Google Maps location] and opted for a one-day tour rather than staying on a boat for multiple days to experience the same destinations at a slower pace. The one-day tour cost us IDR1,486,250/USD98.09 per person (plus National Park entry fees of IDR300,000/USD19.80 each). We also paid IDR400,000/USD26.40 to hire a GoPro for the day (which we wouldn’t do again).

You can read more about our Komodo Island experience with Red Whale Dive Centre in our in-depth review.

Green Sea Turtle

Komodo National Park is not only worthwhile visiting for the famous Dragons - it's also home to turtles, manta rays and other sea creatures

Private Day Tour in Flores

Another very worthwhile experience was enlisting a private guide for a day on the island of Flores.

We met local guide and musician Ryan Soi Radjo by chance (when looking for a ride to Bajawa in a bar in Moni). While his stories made our long, windy trip much more interesting, his music provided a beautiful soundtrack to our journey. So, enlisting Ryan for a full-day tour the next morning was a no-brainer.

Turning up as promised with two scooters (and a fellow guide friend on his day off), the four of us visited the traditional villages of Tololela [Google Maps location] and Bela [Google Maps location] (home to the Ngada people, including Ryan’s family), swam in the Malanage Hot Spring [Google Maps location] and watched the sunset in the presence of majestic Mt Inerie from the Wolobobo viewpoint [Google Maps location].

The full-day tour cost us IDR475,000/USD31.35 per person. Would we recommend it? Absolutely – another experience that will stay with us forever. We also knew the money we spent on guide fees, tips and food during the day would help support the local community.

If you want to hire Ryan for a private tour, contact him on WhatsApp.

girl and mother in indonesian village

Visiting traditional villages and learning more about the Ngada people from a local guide was one of many memorable experiences on the island of Flores

What other costs should you budget for when planning a trip to Indonesia?

Tourist Visa

We travelled to Indonesia on our New Zealand (Paul) and Australian passports (Sandra) and booked our 30-day electronic Visa on Arrival (eVOA) online via the official visa website. This also allowed us to process the 30-day extension online (saving us a trip and lengthy wait at a physical Immigration Office). The 30-day eVOA cost us IDR519,500/USD34.29 per person (and the same again for the extension).

Tourist Taxes and Levies

Since July 2019, tourists have to pay an Entrance Fee when visiting Nusa Penida – in our case, that was of IDR25,000/USD1.65 per person. The entrance fee is charged whether you’re a day visitor or stay on the island for a few days and collected in cash upon arrival on the island as you get off the boat. Since July 2023, it is also mandatory to pay an additional Retribution Tax if you dive, snorkel or swim in the Nusa Penida Marine Protection Area.

In February 2024, Bali also introduced an International Tourist Levy, requiring foreign visitors to pay IDR150,000/USD9.90 per person per visit. We recommend you pay the Bali Tourist Levy via the official Bali Government website before arrival.

Nusa Penida Boat Transport

Tourists visiting Nusa Penida are charged an entrance fee (and a retribution fee if they swim, snorkel or dive in the Marine Protection Area)

Communication

As usual, Paul did all the research on data SIM cards for our phones. So, he knew there would be plenty of options when we landed at Denpasar Airport. We ended up paying IDR450,000/USD29.70 each for a physical SIM card from Telkomsel, including 51GB of data for 30 days. After installing the Telkomsel app, we could add IDR100,000/USD6.60 to the account and purchase additional data packs as needed/after the initial 30 days – which we did three times.

Using the Wi-Fi at our accommodation where sufficient and (tethering off) our mobile phones elsewhere, our communication costs during our 60 days in Indonesia averaged IDR10,345/USD0.68 per person per day. We paid for all the SIM card transactions by credit card.

If you want to buy a SIM card as a tourist (whether in Indonesia, Morocco or elsewhere), proof of ID is required (and a copy might be taken at the point of sale).

Denpasar Airport Buying SIM Card

If you require mobile data in Indonesia, you can purchase a physical SIM card upon arrival at Denpasar Airport (as you walk out after collecting your luggage)

Travel Insurance

We never travel overseas without travel insurance. Key factors we assess when deciding which travel insurance to buy are:

  • Medical cover: This should be a no-brainer given the costs of medical treatments in many countries and the expenses incurred in the case of repatriation/medical evacuation - the more is included the better. Be aware though that pre-existing conditions (PECs) need to be declared upon purchasing the insurance to be covered under the policy (and may incur a loading/extra premium).
  • Personal effects cover: If you are like us and travel and work on the road, the cover for valuable items such as laptops and phones may also be important, as would be the total benefit paid if all your luggage was lost or stolen. If the limits for unspecified items don't cover the replacement cost of your valuables, you may want to specify them (and pay a loading/extra premium).
  • Activities covered: Many insurers specifically exclude certain activities (including volunteering). Others charge a loading/extra premium for certain activities (including hiking above 3,000 metres, skiing, zip-lining, cave tubing - all activities we have done travelling). Best are policies that don't mention any activities specifically/don't have a blanket exclusion of adventure activities.

As with any other insurance, reading the fine print before you buy is critical.

SafetyWing

What We Did

For this trip, we went with a Cover-More Travel Insurance Single Trip Policy, covering two people for 60 days in Indonesia and costing us AUD1,683 – equating to IDR146,504/USD9.67 per person per day.

paul in belgrade hospital

We never travel overseas without travel insurance - you just never know, and the cost of getting sick can add up quickly

Subscription Form - Travel Risk Register

Download our comprehensive Travel Risk Register

First designed to assist us on a three-month South America trip, this travel risk register will open your eyes to what you need to do about the various risks you may encounter. Easy to follow and update.

What else is worth knowing?

Should I tip in Indonesia?

I am from New Zealand, and the custom of tipping for services is foreign to me. The service provided would have to be outstanding for me to warrant a tip. That said, I feel a stronger desire to tip in developing countries.

Tipping is not a MUST in Indonesia but is appreciated where staff may not be well rewarded, such as in restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels and serviced apartments, spas and massage salons. We would also add a small tip to the Grab ride fee when we felt that the driver did a good job.

Restaurants/bars in touristy areas may automatically add a tip/service charge to your bill. So, always check the menu before you enter (or at least check your bill/invoice before you pay).

How much cash do you need in Indonesia?

In short: A lot. Almost 80% of all our transactions were cash (only 20% of the businesses we frequented accepted credit cards). We prefer to use our credit cards when paying for transactions, so it meant we had to withdraw money more often or take the risk of having greater amounts of cash on us when travelling.

And speaking of ATM withdrawals: ATMs in Indonesia dispense IDR50,000 or IDR100,000 notes (sometimes, there is a sticker on the machine to indicate which ones). Most ATMs allow a maximum withdrawal per transaction of IDR1,250,000 (IDR50,000 note machines) or IDR3,000,000 (IDR100,000 note machines), with a total maximum withdrawal amount of IDR6,000,000 per day. In Indonesia, we used Maybank, Bank Mandiri and CIMB ATMs – none of which charged ATM withdrawal fees using our Australian Bankwest debit card or Wise card.

Have you explored Indonesia recently?

Do you have any questions I haven’t answered about the cost to explore Indonesia? Please let me know. I’m happy to help.

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Travel Money: How much to budget for your Indonesian adventure?
Author: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulryken/" target="_blank">Paul Ryken</a>

Author: Paul Ryken

Paul Ryken is a goal-setter and goal achiever, never tell him he can't do anything. kinda guy..a grandfather, a husband, and a practicing minimalist who makes sustainable, ethical purchasing decisions. He lives a values-based, quality over quantity lifestyle. For fitness and mental health, he runs six days a week and is on a mission to complete a marathon on every continent before the age of 60. As a digital nomad with carry-on luggage only, he chooses experiences over material items. He primarily writes about sports, travel finances and technology.