Indonesia On A Budget: 5 Essential Tips

Indonesia is one of the five largest countries in the world, behind only China, India, and the United States. With more than 275 million people, Indonesia has a wide range of cultures to experience while also being the 15th-largest country by area. Surprisingly, though, Indonesia barely ranks inside the top 10 in terms of international tourist visits in the Asia-Pacific region with around 15.5 million visitors per year.

There are many people who are missing out, though, as Indonesia offers some of the most stunning visuals for nature fans. Indonesia also happens to be one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world, so there really should be more people who make the trip. While Indonesia is already great for budget travelers, let’s take a look at five essential tips that will make your Indonesian vacation even cheaper.

Getting to Indonesia

In most major countries, the cheapest airport to fly into is going to be the busiest or largest one. Without a doubt, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta is the largest with around three times as many passengers as any other airport in the country. With that said it’s also going to be the cheapest option by a longshot. Ngurah Rai International (Denpasar) and Juanda International (Surabaya) airports offer affordable options, but Soekarno-Hatta will be the target for any budget travelers.

Now that you have the airport picked out, you’ll want to visit during the cheaper times of the year. October is the start of the cheap season for travel, and it runs all the way through April. Out of all of those months, though, January and February are going to be the cheapest. This is because the likelihood of rain is much higher while temperatures hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Enjoy Natural Beauty

In a lot of countries, people want to visit because there are a lot of things to do in the cities throughout the day, and that can end up costing a lot of money. When it comes to Indonesia, though, much of the allure is the natural beauty that you can take in without spending a dime. There are five main islands in Indonesia and a total of over 18,000 smaller islands and inlets that make up the country.

Instead of spending all of your time inside, try getting out and walking around so that you can see places like Bali, Yogyakarta, and Lombok. While you might have to spend some money to take ferries from one island to another, it’s certainly going to be worth it. Thankfully, these ferries often run for just a couple of dollars, especially if you’re taking tha trip from Bali to Lombok for under $4.

Getting Around Indonesia

It seems that whenever someone on a budget is looking to visit another country, they plan on taking as much public transportation as possible because the cost of renting a car can be exorbitant. However, there are some countries where the reverse is the opposite, and Indonesia is one of them. Many experienced drivers opt to rent a scooter while in one of the larger cities, which only costs around $3 per day.

Driving around on a scooter in the middle of a busy city where traffic laws are much different can be a bit overwhelming, though. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, cars are still a cheap option compared to most countries. On average, it’s around $10 to $15 per day, which can end up being cheaper than public transportation depending on fuel costs. 

Eat Local

There are a lot of international visitors to Thailand, many of whom are business executives that end up in some of the finer restaurants in cities like Bangkok. While those restaurants are amongst the highest rated in all of Asia, they are also going to be the most expensive. If you want to save a lot of money, eat like the locals would and seek out the smaller stands and restaurants that aren’t in the heart of downtown areas.

These types of meals are going to be incredibly cheap. If you’re a fan of noodles or rice, you can get meals for under $1. Even local buffets only cost around $2 to $3, meaning that you can chow down for an entire week for less than $40. Just make sure to stay away from alcohol, though, as it’s more expensive than in other countries.

Learn to Haggle

Indonesia is one of those countries where price tags don’t mean much, and that’s even if items even have a price tag. Indonesia has a haggling culture, so make sure that you’re not paying full price for something at a market. Instead, try to talk with a merchant to see if you can get the price knocked down by a few dollars.

Always show respect when you’re haggling prices with a merchant, though. You don’t want to insult them, especially if you’re a tourist. Saying that you don’t have much money is a good start when haggling, and won’t make you a target.

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