Indonesia is an amazing country for budget travelers. Last year we spent a month exploring Indonesia: 2 weeks in the Java region, a week in Bali, a few days in Lombok, and another week in the Flores. We spent time in Indonesia’s big cities, explored its famous temples, volcanoes, tea plantations, off the beaten path beaches, and got to eat a lot of really good Indonesian food!
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And here is the kicker! Our amazing adventure cost us just about $25-30/per person/per day.
Now keep in mind that we were traveling on a budget, so if your style of traveling is closer to flashbacking than you might need to budget a bit more.
To help you with the planning, we have broken down our expenses by relevant categories:
We spent on average $20/night on our accommodation in Indonesia, generally staying in the cheapest decently rated private rooms we could find online. Some of these had shared bathrooms, others included ensuites. We found it easier to book hotels the night before arriving in a city rather than look for accommodation the day of, as prices online were typically the same as in person. The cheapest room we stayed in was “Together Homestay” in Kuta, Lombok, which set us back by only $13/night for a private room with ensuite. From time to time, we also splurged on slightly nicer hotels, like the Exotic Komodo Hotel in Labuan Bajo which cost us $35/night.
If you are traveling solo and are happy to stay in hostels, simple hotel rooms, and homestays, you’ll easily find accommodation for $5-10/night. But if you want to splurge, $35-50 a night will have you sleeping in 4-star hotels.
Our Money Saving Tip: For the best rates and the biggest selection of hotels in Indonesia, we recommend booking accommodation on Agoda.
Buses and trains were our choice of transportation in Java, but at times flying with the local low-cost airline, Lion Air was just as cheap. Our flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta cost us only $40, a train ride from Yogyakarta to Solo was $20, and an overnight train ride from Solo to Malang set us back by $35. When traveling between islands, we flew, typically paying anywhere between $40-60/flight.
When getting around cities, we saved on transportation costs by walking where we could. For longer distances, we rented a scooter for $10/day.
Our transportation costs added up to about $10-15/day.
Our money saving tip: Flight aggregators like Google Flights and Skyscanner do not search up low-cost airlines in Indonesia, so use the local website tiket.com (also available in English) to buy flights as well as train tickets throughout Indonesia.
The cost of activities and tours in Indonesia can quickly add up and eat away at your daily budget. Here is a list of popular activities you might come across in Indonesia and their relevant costs.
- Prambanan Sunset Tour = 85.000 IDR ($7/pp)
- Borobudur Sunrise Tour – 350,000 IDR ($26/pp)
- Borobudur + Prambanan Park Admission = 420,000 IDR ($32)
- Mountain Bromo – Ijen Crater 3D/2N Tour = 850.000 IDR /person ($64) min 4 people
- Mt Bromo Entrance Fee = 217,500 IDR ($16)
- Diving in Komodo National Park – $120-175/pp (Day trip vs Liveaboard experience)
In order to stick to our budget, we tried to avoid tours and do as much as possible on our own. In Yogyakarta, we took our one and only organized tour to visit Prambanan at sunset but after paying to be herded around with 20 other people, we refused to do it again. So the next day we hired a scooter and explored Borobudur at sunrise on our own and loved it! We did our own exploring in Solo, Malang, in Kuta Lombok and in Labuan Bajo, and even found our own local driver/guide to take us to Mt Bromo for a fraction of a price we would’ve had to pay for a tour. We once again opted for a tour when visiting Ijen Crater and for safety reasons we recommend that you do the same.
On average, activities only cost us $10/day (in some cases this cost was inclusive of transportation)
Our money saving tip: Skip the tours and try to do as many activities as possible on your own. This will not only allow your Indonesia budget to go further but exploring without a tour can often be a lot more fun than being herded around with 30-40 others.
Food & Drink
Food in Indonesia is amazing (Indonesian cuisine is one of our favourites) and it’s also incredibly cheap! We managed to eat 3 meals a day for only $10/person TOTAL!
A lot of hotels and even homestays will include free breakfast in the price of the room. For lunch and dinner, local specialties like Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng, and Cap Cay often cost just 11,000 IDR ($0.85) at local restaurants (known as Warungs). So we’d order 3 dishes, 2 cups of their delicious iced tea and walk away paying less than $5 between both of us.
Of course, Western food, especially in popular tourist hubs will cost more (budget around $10/meal without drinks). Alcoholic beverages vary from just 10,000IDR (less than $1) for a local Bintang beer to 20,000 – 50,000 IDR ($2-5) for mixed drinks at bars and clubs in Kuta/Seminyak in Bali.
Our money saving tip: Eat at local Warungs (i.e. street side restaurants) and avoid restaurants that cater to tourists. When in doubt, choose restaurants with a lot of locals rather than relying on suggestions on Tripadvisor or a guide book. They will almost always point you in the direction of higher prices establishments that cater to tourists.
Can your budget stretch further?
Absolutely! The slower you travel the cheaper it becomes! If you are looking to stay in Indonesia for more than a month and are happy to travel slower, traveling by train and bus will help you save even more on transportation costs.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If you are only spending 2 weeks in Indonesia and planning to visit Java, Bali, Lombok, and the Flores, you’ll have to budget more than $25/day. You won’t have the time to get around by bus/train and have to rely on flights to get you from one destination to another. To squeeze as many sights and activities into your itinerary as possible, you’ll probably also opt for organized tours (they are more efficient for those on a tight schedule), which will further add to your costs.
At the end of the day, no matter how long you plan on spending in Indonesia and how you choose to spend your time exploring the country, it’s still one of the best budget destination in the world and one that we recommend to every traveler looking for an amazing trip that won’t break the bank!
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