Costs & Useful Info – Indonesia

Indonesia has so much to offer, we spent 30 days in the country and only scratched the surface. Central Java has some of the worlds most impressive temples while East Java has untouched volcanic landscapes. The island of Bali is the perfect place to unwind after hectic Java.

Our daily costs worked out at £45 between both of us, that includes all trains, ferries and buses as well as accommodation.

Getting Around: Java is the most organised and easiest place for getting around, public transport is a bit more hit and miss on Bali but drivers are inexpensive. See our “Getting Around Indonesia” post by clicking HERE.

Accommodation: We were in Indonesia for 29 nights and spent an average of £22/night staying in a mixture of basic B&B’s and hotels. I booked everything on Hotels.com.

Visa: UK Passport holders do not currently need a visa to enter Indonesia providing that your visit is less than 30 days. We weren’t asked for any proof of onward travel.

Vaccinations: At the time of writing (November 2017) there are no vaccinations required. Anti-malaria medication will be needed for certain areas. See fitfortravel.nhs for a malaria high risk area map. Java and Bali are both Malaria free.

Dress Code: Although you won’t be the only tourist in Java, I did feel uncomfortable in shorts, I got stared at A LOT, everywhere else was perfectly fine. Most religious sites will give you a sarong to borrow if your knees are on show.

Money: The currency in the Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. ATM’s we’re very easy to find in larger towns and all over Bali, there was no ATM in Bromo. Exchange rates in November 2017 below:

£1 (GBP) = Rp 17,848

$1 (USD) = Rp 13,547

€1 (EUR) = Rp 15,960

Indonesia – Our Itinerary

Indonesia is a hugely diverse country, from the craziness of Jakarta to the peaceful beaches in Bali and the dramatic landscapes of Central Java. It’s a country of contrasts and culture. We spent 29 nights in this amazing place, click on the links below to read detailed posts for each place.

We flew from Singapore to Jakarta with AirAsia and spent 2 nights, which was enough. Then we took an 8 hour train journey to Yogyakarta where we spent 3 nights in the city centre including a visit to Prambanan, then 2 nights in Borobudur then back to the city centre for 1 night.

An early morning train took us to Malang for 6 nights then we took the bus to Mt Bromo. From there we took a train and a ferry to Bali where we spent 2 nights in Lovina and 11 nights with my Mam and Dad in Sanur.

I’ve also done a post on Getting Around and Essential Info, visas, currency etc. to help you plan a trip.

We had planned on visiting Mt Ijen but for ethical reasons we decided to skip it. It didn’t feel right to be standing in a gas mask and protective gear while the sulphur workers who breath in the air every single day have no protection at all. I’m sure the hike and the views would have been amazing, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to find out.

Also, Malang was 6 nights because we were sick, ideally we would have only been there for 2 nights and spent the extra 4 nights in Bali, maybe Ubud.

Sanur (Bali) – Indonesia

Sanur is protected by a reef, giving it the calmest waters in Bali, rubbish for surfers but perfect for swimmers and families. It’s quite westernised but not nearly as much as the likes of Kuta and Seminyak, there are still lots of locally owned shops and restaurants as well as plenty of affordable home stays.

Sanur was my favourite place in Indonesia because we got to meet my Mam and Dad for a week, it had been 4 months since I last saw them, we absolutely loved every second and cried our eyes out at the airport when we had to leave them again.

Things To Do:

Sanur is still quiet compared to other resorts, we were able to get a sun lounger and toilet/shower facilities for Rp50,000 per day, it was completely quiet but there is a building site near by for a massive Hyatt Resort, no doubt when that’s finished it will drive up local prices and bring in the crowds.

The sea front walk goes on for miles, there are plenty of bars along the way to stop for a drink when you get too hot and your legs are tired.

Sanur is on the east coast of Bali, making it perfect for sunrise photo opportunities, we are never the morning people but my Mam and Dad got up early and took a few nice pics.

The calm waters at Sanur beach make it perfect for water sports, we hired a paddle board for 1 hour costing Rp200,000 and jet skis for 15 minutes costing just Rp250,000 with a bit of haggling.

It’s a good base for day trips, if there is a group of you it will probably be cheaper to hire a driver for the whole day. We paid Rp500,000 for 8 hours on 2 different occasions. We spent one day visiting the Tegenungan waterfall and Tegalalang rice fields, and we spent the second day visiting temples, the Taman Ayun temple and the Tanah Lot temple, then finished off in Seminyak for sunset.

Bali is all about relaxing, Sanur is no different, I lost count at the amount of spa’s that line the main road, we went back to Island paradise a few times, they were very clean and professional. A 1 hour massage was only Rp60,000 and a pedicure was Rp50,000.

Where To Eat:

Healthy – Soul in a bowl, really good breakfasts served until 3pm every day, also a full menu of healthy smoothies.

Mexican – Jalapeños, really good nachos and fajitas, they also do take away.

Italian – Massimo, gets busy so you might need to wait for a table, it’s proper Italian quality food, we ate here 3 times during our 11 night stay, It was just perfect. Also,the home made gelato bar at the front of the restaurant was amazing, a cup cost Rp20,000 and there was a massive selection of flavours.

Getting There:

A taxi from the airport will cost around Rp150,000 to Rp200,000 if pre organised with your hotel or home stay.

Where To Stay:

I can’t rave about the Duyung Home Stay enough, it was absolutely perfect, rooms were immaculate and had everything you need, the wifi was fast and reliable and staff were really helpful. We booked on Booking.com for about £23 per night including breakfast.

Malang – Indonesia

I hadn’t planned on writing a post for Malang because we were both sick so we were quite boring and didn’t do much for the first few days, but I couldn’t miss an opportunity to recommend our hotel there, it was absolutely perfect, probably the best hotel we had in Indonesia, and also the cheapest!

On day 4 we ventured out to the painted town of Kapung Tridi, there’s a tiny fee to enter but it’s worth it. It was previously a slum in Malang and was the project of 8 art students in the area who wrote to all the major paint companies asking for free paint to cheer up the area. Their idea was absolute genius and work has already started on the neighbouring slum.

By day 5 were were completely recovered and took a local mini bus (Angkot) to the hillside town of Batu. It took about an hour from our hotel and we got some great views of the volcanic countryside. The transport museum was also quite good.

Some people choose to stay in Malang and visit Mt Bromo as a day trip, we decided to stay in Bromo for 2 nights, it is a really long way for just the day. Click HERE to read our separate post.

Where To Stay:

I’ve already mentioned that our hotel was amazing, it was the Balava Hotel next door to the Kota Lama station in Malang, the train will only stop there if your coming from the Yogyakarta direction, if your coming the other way it’s about a 30 minute walk from Malang Central. We booked through Hotels.com for just £14 per night.

Where To Eat:

We weren’t adventurous at all in Malang, we mainly ate from the hotel rooftop restaurant or ordered room service, both were very affordable and delicious.

Lovina (Bali) – Indonesia

Lovina is supposedly what Bali used to be 20 years ago, it’s peaceful and relaxing, the food options are great and prices aren’t as high as the rest of Bali yet. It’s famous black beaches are made from volcanic rock which make for some interesting photos.

Things To Do:

Lovina really is super laid back, there isn’t a massive amount to do other than relax and recharge. There are dozens of massage places and spas along the main road, we had massages and pedicures for pennies.

If you’re feeling restless and need to do something more exiting, daily snorkelling trips start at around Rp75,000 and there is an inflatable ocean park just off shore which costs Rp350,000.

Where To Eat:

We arrived in Lovina really late at night so we ate at the hotel the first night, we were pleasantly surprised at just how fantastic the food was, even if your not staying at the hotel I would recommend visiting their restaurant at least once.

The LovinaLife cafe was just a few doors down, their fruit smoothies and green curry are an absolute must. It’s made it into Sean’s top 3 meals of this year so far, need I say more.

Getting There:

A Ferry to Bali leaves Java (Katapang Ferry Terminal) every 30 minutes, it costs Rp6,500 and takes around 45 minutes. From Gilimanuk ferry terminal we took a 2 hour taxi to Lavina for Rp500,000, we were lucky and got talking to an Australian couple and a German lady on the ferry who were also headed our way, we split the cost between the 5 of us. If your coming from the airport, a taxi would cost around Rp400,000.

Where To Stay:

We spent 2 nights at the Lovina Beach Hotel, the rooms were quite dated but we’re fine for what we needed, the pool was nice and breakfast was amazing. We booked through Hotels.com for £21 per night.

Mt Bromo – Indonesia

ount Bromo is probably one of the most iconic places in Java, and even Indonesia. Tourists flock there for sunrise views then they are gone again before lunch time, we spent 2 nights in Bromo and were surprised at how non touristy it was.

Climbing The Volcano For Free:

If you visit Bromo with a guide or take a taxi etc, you will be charged at Rp320,000 entrance fee at the base of Mt Bromo. But if you walk, you can miss out the ticket booths and visit absolutely free.

The walk from our hotel took about 1 hour and we cut across the sea of sands. Wouldn’t recommend it in the dark because it would probably be too easy to get lost, but during the day it was perfectly safe and saved us a fortune.

The Best Look Out Point:

It took us 1 hour to climb to the top of Mt Penanjakan, there are 3 look out spots, all with similar views. It gets really busy at sunrise but we aren’t early birds at all, by the time we left at about 10am, we practically had the place to ourselves. There is a lady selling coffee etc at the first stop.

I had read online that the entrance fee was Rp10,000 but there was nobody there to take any money from us at that time.

Where To Eat:

The cafe lava hostel has a buffet breakfast, it will cost you Rp40,000 if your not staying at the hotel. They also had a great evening menu.

Getting There:

We took an Angkot (local mini bus) to Arjosari station in Malang, from there we took the first bus to Probolinggo, it took around 3 hours and 30 minutes. When you arrive at Probolinggo you need to leave the main bus station, on the right hand side there will be a mini bus waiting to take tourists to Bromo.

The mini bus usually costs Rp35,000 when full, but if there isn’t enough passengers you can opt to split the cost of a full bus between whoever is on the bus. There were only 5 of us on the bus and we ended up paying Rp100,000 each after waiting an hour and a half and nobody else showing up. The journey is about 90 minutes.

A private taxi from Probolinggo train station will cost you about Rp400,000.

Where To Stay:

I really would recommend spending a little bit extra to be as close to the top of the mountain as possible. We stayed at the Hotel Vila Condani, I was expecting just a room but we got a whole house to ourselves. It cost £39 per night on Booking.com.

Important Stuff:

There is no ATM in the village, make sure you have plenty of cash with you to last the whole trip, not many places accept credit card.

Getting Around Indonesia

Indonesia is a fairly easy country to get around, especially the main island of Java, I’ve given a short overview of the public transport in Indonesia but remember to ask someone for directions if you get lost, the people of Indonesia are very friendly and always willing to help, usually for the price of a selfie so that they can show everyone their new friend.

Train

The rail network in Java is fantastic, the services are cheap and reliable and run regularly. The executive coaches are the only cabins with air conditioning and the food served onboard is quite good and reasonably priced.

To pre-book, see www.tiket.com there is no booking fee, use your booking code to check yourself in using the self service kiosks at the station.

Bus

Long distance buses are slow and generally don’t have a toilet. We traveled for 3 and a half hours to Bromo with no toilet break, although they are much cheaper than the train. Long distance bus stations are not always in the city centre.

Local mini buses are called Angkot’s, they are very regular and super cheap, there are no dedicated bus stops so you’ll just need to flag one down. We stood on a street corner for less than a minute and 5 Angkot’s pulled over for us. If the driver isn’t headed your way then he will tell you which bus to flag.

Car

A car with driver can be hired for a full day for around Rp500,000 in Bali, less in the rest of Indonesia.

Ferry

Indonesia is made up of around 17,000 islands, its inevitable that you will be taking at least 1 ferry during your time there.

There are overnight ferries and short ferries depending on where you are going. The ferry from Java to Bali only takes 45 minutes. From certain points in Indonesia the ferry to Singapore is only a few hours.

Plane

Their are a few budget airlines operating in Indonesia, for the latest prices and schedules, check out sky scanner.com.

Let me know if you have any questions

Ashleigh

Yogyakarta – Indonesia

Yogyakarta is a beautiful little city in Central Java, it’s popular with tourists and has a very welcoming feeling, much friendlier than Jakarta and the pace is much slower.

Things To Do:

Yogyakarta makes every single Indonesia itinerary because of it’s perfect location to Borobudur and Prambanan temples. I’ve written details posts about both, click the links below for more info:

Borobudur

Prambanan

Yogyakarta itself is also a nice place to spend the day exploring, most of the activity is on Malioboro road. The market is open every night and generally full of tourists.

Getting There:

From Jakarta the train takes around 8 hours, and it’s about the same from Malang. See out ‘Getting Around Indonesia’ post for more info about the rail service, click HERE to read.

Getting Around:

Yogyakarta has a vey good bus network. Bus stops are painted yellow and on raised platforms so they are easy to spot. You buy a ticket at the stop before getting onto the bus, it costs Rp3,500 no matter how far you are traveling. All bus stops have 2 or 3 members of staff who can help if you need any assistance.

Where To Stay:

We spent 3 nights in the best city hotel and absolutely loved it, the rooms were new and clean and it was within walking distance to everything. We booked on Hotels.com for just under £15 per night.

We also stayed at the Mataram Hotel on our second visit to Yogyakarta because the best city hotel was fully booked. It wasn’t as nice but perfectly located if you have an early morning train. also booked on Hotels.com for £18 per night.

Where To Eat:

Indonesian – Solemate Cafe, we actually ate here twice it was so good, it’s a tiny cafe and they aren’t on TripAdvisor or Google Maps, if you search for ‘Bee Laundry’ they are right next door. (The laundry place was also good value.)

Western – Roaster and Bear, we loved this when we were craving a little taste of home, the desserts are to die for.

Prabanan Temple – Indonesia

Indonesia’s oldest Hindu temple, the beautiful Prabanan temple is over 1,200 years old and is built up of nearly 300 smaller shrines. Located just outside Yogyakarta, it’s a must for any Indonesia itinerary.

There are plenty of tours leaving from Yogyakarta every day but they are expensive and it’s so easy to get there from the city centre that the tours are completely unnecessary, not to mention that you’ll need to save every penny you can considering entrance tickets are a whopping Rp325,000 per person.

Getting There:

The A1 bus leaves Yogyakarta every 15 minutes, it can be found on either Margo Utomo Road or Malioboro Road, bus stops are painted yellow and are on raised platforms so they are really easy to spot. Tickets cost Rp3,500 each way and take just under an hour. (The bus also stops at the airport on route to the temple.) It gets quite busy, don’t expect to get a seat, luckily all the buses are fully air conditioned.

Prabanan is the last stop so you can’t miss it, when you come out of the bus station turn left then walk 4-5 minutes then cross over the main road. You can’t miss it, you’ll pass the exit first, keep going till you get to the pedestrian entrance then cross the car park and the ticket booth is easily sign posted.

When to Visit:

The temple is beautiful at sunset, google what time it will be that day then catch the bus about 2.5 hours before that, that gives you 1 hour on the bus then 1 hour in full daylight to have a proper look around the temple, and the final half hour is when the sky is at its prettiest, make sure your camera is fully charged!

FYI, the entrance gates close at 5pm but the exit gates stay open way longer, we left at 5:45 and there were still quite a few other tourists hanging around.

Dress Code:

There isn’t one, the temple is no longer a place of worship so there’s no need to be covered up, shorts and t-shirts are absolutely fine.

The Geeky Bit:

There is a lack of information at the site, so here’s a few things I found out on Wikipedia.

Originally built around 850AD by Rakai Pikatan, the temple was abandoned when the Mataram Dynasty moved its court to East Java, and the site became swallowed up by the jungle.

In 1811 it was rediscovered by a British survivor but proper restoration didn’t begin until 1930. The temple was awarded UNESCO status in 1991.

The complex was originally built with 240 shrines, smallest on the outside and getting bigger the closer to the centre they get. The majority of the outer shrines are rubble but work is in progress to repair and restore a handful of the outer shrines.

The inner shrines are surrounded by a wall with gates and have been fully restored.

Total Cost:

Entrance Fee: Rp325,000

Return Bus Ticket: Rp7,000

Total Cost: 332,000

This seems expensive but it’s really a great experience and well worth the money.

I hope you found this interesting 🙂