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Tips From The Banker: The Real Cost Of Travel In Indonesia


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Rhodia Desmond



Indonesia, with its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, has become a popular destination for travelers from around the world. From the vibrant streets of Jakarta to the serene beaches of Bali, this archipelago offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler.


Before embarking on your journey to Indonesia, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the costs associated with travel in this beautiful country. While Indonesia is known for its affordability, it’s crucial to plan your budget wisely to make the most of your trip.


In this article, we will explore the various aspects that contribute to the overall cost of travel in Indonesia, including currency exchange rates, accommodation costs, transportation expenses, food and dining, sightseeing and activities, shopping, and additional costs to consider. By gaining insights into these factors, you can effectively plan and budget for your Indonesian adventure.


Whether you’re a budget traveler or seeking luxury experiences, understanding the real cost of travel in Indonesia will help you make informed decisions and ensure an unforgettable experience.


Understanding Currency Exchange Rates

When traveling to Indonesia, it’s essential to be familiar with currency exchange rates to accurately estimate your expenses. The local currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). As currency exchange rates fluctuate, it’s crucial to stay updated to get the best value for your money.


One US dollar is approximately equivalent to 14,000 IDR, but rates may vary depending on where you exchange your currency. It’s advisable to exchange your money at authorized money changers or banks to avoid scams or getting unfavorable rates. While credit cards are widely accepted in tourist areas and hotels, it’s always helpful to carry some cash for small vendors or remote areas where card payments may not be available.


It’s important to keep in mind that the cost of living in Indonesia may differ significantly depending on the region. Major tourist destinations like Bali and Jakarta tend to be slightly more expensive compared to other parts of the country. However, even in these areas, costs of accommodations, transportation, food, and activities are generally more affordable compared to many Western countries.


As a traveler, it’s recommended to monitor currency exchange rates before your trip to get an idea of the current exchange rate and how it may impact your budget. This will help you plan and allocate your funds accordingly, ensuring a smooth and stress-free travel experience.


Accommodation Costs

Accommodation costs in Indonesia can vary widely depending on the type of accommodation, location, and season. From budget guesthouses and hostels to luxury resorts, there are options to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget.


In popular tourist areas like Bali and Jakarta, you can find a range of accommodation options catering to different budgets. Budget travelers can opt for affordable guesthouses or hostels where prices can start as low as $10 per night. These accommodations provide basic amenities, shared facilities, and a chance to meet fellow travelers.


If you prefer more comfort and privacy, mid-range hotels and boutique resorts are available at prices ranging from $30 to $100 per night. These accommodations often offer additional amenities like swimming pools, on-site restaurants, and convenient locations near popular attractions.


For those seeking luxury and indulgence, 5-star resorts and villas can cost upwards of $200 per night. These high-end accommodations boast luxurious amenities, private pools, breathtaking views, and exceptional service.


It’s important to note that accommodation prices can surge during peak tourist seasons, such as during holidays or certain events. Booking in advance or traveling during off-peak seasons can help you secure better rates.


Apart from traditional accommodation options, Indonesia also offers unique experiences like homestays and eco-lodges. These options provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture and support sustainable tourism practices. Prices for such accommodations can vary, but they often offer a more authentic and enriching experience.


Remember to factor in additional costs such as taxes, service charges, and gratuities when calculating your overall accommodation budget. Additionally, consider the location of your accommodation as it can impact transportation costs and access to nearby attractions.


By researching and comparing different accommodation options, you can find the perfect balance between comfort, convenience, and affordability during your stay in Indonesia.


Transportation Expenses

Getting around in Indonesia can be an adventure in itself, with various transportation options available to suit different budgets and preferences. Understanding the transportation expenses can help you plan and allocate your funds accordingly.


One of the most common and affordable modes of transportation in Indonesia is the public bus system. Most cities and towns have local buses that provide budget-friendly transportation within the area. However, it’s important to note that these buses may not always be the most comfortable or efficient option, especially during peak hours.


For longer distances, domestic flights are a popular choice, especially for traveling between different islands in the archipelago. Airlines such as Garuda Indonesia and AirAsia offer regular flights at reasonable prices, especially when booked in advance. It’s worth keeping an eye out for promotions or discounted fares to save even more on your air travel expenses.


Taxis are another convenient mode of transportation in cities like Jakarta and Bali. The Blue Bird Group is a reputable taxi company that operates in major cities and provides a reliable and metered service. Alternatively, ride-hailing apps like Gojek and Grab offer competitive prices and a variety of transport options, including cars and motorcycles.


If you’re looking for a more leisurely and scenic way to explore Indonesia, consider renting a scooter or motorbike. This option is popular among travelers, especially in areas with well-developed tourism infrastructure like Bali and Lombok. However, be sure to check if you require an international driver’s license and familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and regulations.


Lastly, if you prefer the convenience and flexibility of having your own private transportation, renting a car is a viable option. Rental car prices can vary depending on the duration of your rental, the type of vehicle, and any additional extras like insurance. It’s recommended to book through a reputable rental agency and carefully read the terms and conditions before confirming your reservation.


Keep in mind that transportation expenses can add up, so it’s important to factor them into your overall budget. Consider the distance between attractions and the frequency of your travels to estimate your transportation costs accurately. Additionally, be prepared for unforeseen expenses like toll fees, parking fees, and fuel costs.


By assessing your transportation needs and exploring various options, you can navigate Indonesia’s vast landscape in a cost-effective and convenient manner that suits your travel style.


Food and Dining Expenses

Indonesia is a paradise for food lovers, with its rich and diverse culinary heritage. From street food vendors to upscale restaurants, the country offers a wide range of dining options to suit various tastes and budgets.


One of the highlights of Indonesian cuisine is its street food. You can find delicious and mouthwatering local delicacies at affordable prices from street-side food stalls and small eateries called “warungs.” Nasi goreng (fried rice), satay, gado-gado (vegetable salad with peanut sauce), and bakso (meatball soup) are just a few examples of the flavorful street food you can enjoy without breaking the bank.


If you prefer a more formal dining experience, larger cities like Jakarta and Bali offer a variety of restaurants serving both local and international cuisine. Prices can range from affordable to high-end, depending on the establishment and its location. Local Indonesian restaurants, known as “rumah makan,” are a great option for experiencing authentic flavors at reasonable prices.


When dining out, it’s worth noting that some restaurants may charge an additional service charge or tax. It’s customary to leave a small tip for good service, but it’s not mandatory. Use your discretion when deciding whether to tip.


For those on a tight budget, local markets and supermarkets are excellent options for affordable groceries and snacks. You can find a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, snacks, and even ready-to-eat meals. This is a great way to save money if you’re planning on preparing your own meals or enjoying a picnic in one of Indonesia’s scenic spots.


As with any travel destination, dining expenses can vary depending on the type of food and restaurant you choose. It’s helpful to set aside a separate budget for meals and plan your dining experiences accordingly. Consider splurging on a few special meals or indulging in local delicacies while keeping other meals more budget-friendly.


Exploring the local cuisine is an essential part of any trip to Indonesia. Whether you’re savoring street food flavors, dining at local eateries, or treating yourself to a fine dining experience, Indonesia’s diverse culinary scene offers something for every palate and budget.


Sightseeing and Activities

Indonesia is a treasure trove of natural wonders, cultural landmarks, and thrilling activities. From exploring ancient temples to diving in vibrant coral reefs, there’s no shortage of sights to see and activities to engage in.


One of the most popular attractions in Indonesia is Bali, known for its beautiful beaches, lush rice terraces, and vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re visiting iconic landmarks like the Uluwatu Temple, exploring the Ubud Monkey Forest, or indulging in water activities like surfing or snorkeling, there is something to suit every interest and budget.


The Komodo National Park is another must-visit destination, famous for its mesmerizing landscapes and the rare Komodo dragons. Guided tours and boat trips to the islands offer a chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, as well as snorkel in pristine waters filled with colorful marine life.


The cultural heart of Indonesia, Yogyakarta, is home to ancient temples such as Borobudur and Prambanan. These magnificent religious sites are UNESCO World Heritage sites and provide a glimpse into the country’s rich history and architectural marvels. Exploring these temples and learning about their significance can be a captivating and educational experience.


For nature lovers, Indonesia offers enchanting experiences such as hiking Mount Bromo in East Java, exploring the magical landscapes of the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Bali, or encountering orangutans in their natural habitat at Sumatra’s Gunung Leuser National Park. These activities allow you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of the country.


When planning your sightseeing and activities budget, consider the entrance fees to attractions, tour costs, and any additional expenses such as transportation or equipment rentals. Some attractions offer discounts for students or special package deals, so it’s worth researching and comparing options to get the best value for your money.


Don’t forget to allocate some funds for spontaneous activities and local experiences. Exploring markets, attending traditional performances, or participating in cooking classes can add a unique touch to your Indonesian adventure.


With so much to see and do, Indonesia offers a wide range of sightseeing and activity options for every traveler. By planning ahead and considering your interests, you can make the most of your time and budget to create unforgettable memories in this diverse and captivating country.


Shopping Tips

Indonesia is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of unique and affordable products. Whether you’re looking for traditional handicrafts, fashionable clothing, or souvenirs to bring back home, here are some shopping tips to enhance your retail therapy experience.


1. Bargaining: Bargaining is a common practice in markets and small stores in Indonesia. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price, as it’s a part of the shopping culture. Start by offering a lower price and be prepared to meet somewhere in the middle. Remember to maintain a friendly and respectful attitude during the bargaining process.


2. Local Markets: Explore local markets like Pasar Senen in Jakarta or Ubud Art Market in Bali for a wide selection of goods. These markets offer a vibrant atmosphere where you can find everything from fresh produce to clothing, artwork, and handicrafts. Be sure to arrive early to avoid crowds and have a better chance of finding unique items.


3. Authenticity: When purchasing traditional handicrafts or souvenirs, be mindful of their authenticity. Some items may be mass-produced or imported, so it’s worth doing some research beforehand to ensure you’re supporting local artisans and buying genuine products.


4. Quality and Durability: While affordability is a perk of shopping in Indonesia, don’t compromise on quality. Inspect items carefully before purchasing, especially clothing, accessories, or electronics. It’s better to invest in durable products that will last longer than buying something cheap that may need frequent replacements.


5. Cash vs. Credit Cards: While major credit cards are accepted in many establishments, it’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller vendors or local markets where card payments may not be available. Be cautious when using your credit card and keep an eye on it during transactions to avoid any potential fraud or misuse of your card details.


6. Tax Refunds: Tourists are eligible for a tax refund on certain purchases in Indonesia. Look for “Tax-Free Shopping” signs in stores and ask for a Tax Refund Cheque when making eligible purchases. Keep your receipts and present them at the airport’s Tax Refund Counter before leaving the country to claim your refund.


7. Shipping Options: If you find yourself purchasing bulky or fragile items, consider shipping them back home instead of carrying them throughout your trip. Many shops and markets offer shipping services or can recommend trusted shipping companies to ensure your purchases reach their destination safely.


8. Cultural Sensitivity: When buying cultural or religious items, such as traditional clothing or religious artifacts, be respectful of their cultural significance. Understand the meaning behind the items and use them appropriately and respectfully.


Shopping in Indonesia can be a delightful experience, offering a wide variety of products and unique finds. By following these shopping tips, you can make the most of your shopping adventures and bring back cherished souvenirs and keepsakes from your Indonesian journey.


Additional Costs to Consider

When budgeting for your trip to Indonesia, it’s important to factor in additional costs that may arise during your travels. These expenses can vary depending on your travel style and the activities you plan to engage in. Here are some additional costs to consider when planning your budget:


1. Visa Fees: Depending on your nationality, you may need to pay for a visa to enter Indonesia. Check the visa requirements for your country and determine if you’ll need to budget for visa fees in advance or on arrival.


2. Travel Insurance: It’s highly recommended to have travel insurance when visiting Indonesia. Travel insurance can cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations or interruptions, and lost or stolen belongings. Be sure to budget for travel insurance premiums to ensure you’re adequately covered during your trip.


3. Entrance Fees: Many attractions and sites in Indonesia require an entrance fee. From national parks to temples and cultural landmarks, these fees can add up, especially if you plan to visit multiple attractions. Research the entrance fees beforehand and factor them into your budget.


4. Tour Guides and Activities: If you’re considering guided tours or participating in specific activities, plan for the associated costs. Whether it’s hiring a local guide to explore a national park or joining a diving excursion, these additional expenses should be budgeted for in advance.


5. Communication and Internet: Staying connected while traveling is essential for many travelers. If you plan to use your mobile phone for calls, texts, or internet access, consider purchasing a local SIM card or budgeting for international roaming charges. Additionally, some accommodations may charge for in-room Wi-Fi or internet access, so factor in these costs if necessary.


6. Tips and Gratuities: While not mandatory, tipping is a common practice in Indonesia to show appreciation for good service. Budget for tipping hotel staff, tour guides, and drivers based on your satisfaction and the level of service provided.


7. Souvenirs and Gifts: Don’t forget to account for expenses related to buying souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. Whether it’s traditional crafts, artwork, or locally made products, budgeting for these purchases will ensure you can bring home meaningful reminders of your trip.


8. Medical and Health Expenses: While we hope for a healthy and problem-free trip, it’s wise to budget for unexpected medical expenses, such as over-the-counter medications, visits to a doctor or clinic, or any necessary vaccinations or travel medications.


By considering these additional costs, you can ensure that your budget accurately reflects the total expenses of your trip to Indonesia. This will allow you to fully enjoy your journey without any financial surprises along the way.



Traveling to Indonesia can be a transformative experience, offering a rich cultural tapestry, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. By understanding the various costs associated with travel in Indonesia, you can plan your budget effectively and make the most of your journey.


From understanding currency exchange rates to considering accommodation costs, transportation expenses, food and dining, sightseeing, shopping, and additional expenses, being mindful of these factors will help you create a realistic budget and optimize your travel experience.


Remember to research and compare options, as well as take advantage of promotional deals or discounts when available. Keep track of your spending and adjust your budget accordingly to ensure financial peace of mind during your trip.


Indonesia offers a wealth of experiences for every type of traveler, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion. By being mindful of your expenses and making informed choices, you can indulge in the beauty, flavors, and wonders that this fascinating country has to offer.


So, pack your bags, embark on your Indonesian adventure, and embrace the enchanting journey that awaits you in this diverse and captivating destination.