Why Travel to Indonesia

Indonesia is a nation of 17,000 islands. The diversity of these islands is unparalleled and is reason enough to travel to Indonesia. Following this Indonesia itinerary, you will see turquoise Bali beaches, Komodo Dragons, 1000-year old Balinese Hindu temples, world’s largest Buddhist monument, active volcanoes, ancient Toraja burial rites, Manta Rays and colorful coral reefs, all in two weeks. And you will be charmed by the hospitality of the locals. The people alone will make you want to stay. And the best part is that you can experience all this at an affordable cost. The prices are almost comparable to prices in India and you can easily spend two weeks in Indonesia for under INR 70,000 (US$ 1000).

Indonesia Visa Requirements

Citizens of over 140 countries, including India, get FREE Visa on Arrival at any international airport. For a full list of 140 countries – Visa on Arrival (VOA) Countries. The free visa on arrival is valid for 30 days from the day of the arrival. It can be extended for another 30 days at a cost of US$ 35. The extension can be done in Indonesia.

Where is Indonesia

17,000 Indonesian islands (8,000 inhibited) straddle the Equator between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is south and east of Malaysia and north of Australia. It is world’s largest island country, 14thlargest in the world, and 4th most populous country in the world.

Indonesian Currency

Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) Comparison Table


How to Get Here

Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, and Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Java are the two main international airports in Indonesia. Thus, international flights to these two airports are usually cheaper. It is sometimes possible to find cheap flights to Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, Sulawesi.

Hot Tip: If you are flying from India to Bali or Jakarta then it usually cheaper to fly from Kochi, Chennai, and Kolkatta

How to travel between islands

You will be doing some island hopping in Indonesia. Flights between the major islands can be reserved for cheap in advance. Therefore, Indonesia is one place where some advance planning is necessary to keep the costs down.

Unless of course, you plan to take the Pelni ships. Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia (Persero) is national shipping companies that provide sea transportation service to travelers looking to travel between islands. Pelni ships are cheap, comfortable, and a very authentic way to experience Indonesia life and culture. They are a good alternative to flying. Of course, they take a lot longer than jets. You can book online or at the port. Sometimes the ferry tickets for popular routes are sold out. So, it helps to check in advance.


How to travel within an island

Finding reliable public transportation on different islands is quite a challenge. If you plan to return to the origin then renting a scooter or car is the best way to explore and experience the islands. Of course, you should be comfortable riding a scooter and/or driving a car in Indonesia. If you have past experience of riding/driving in South or South-East Asia you should be okay.

Here are different rental options:

  • Scooter/Motorcycle Rental: Ideal for solo travelers with limited luggage. Cheapest way to explore an island costing about 80,000 IDR (US$ 6/ INR 400) per day + fuel,
  • Self Drive Car Rental: Ideal for two to four Travelers. Car rentals start at about 250,000 IDR (US$ 19/ INR 1200) per day + fuel for hatchbacks and Toyota or Suzuki SUVs,
  • Car Rental with Driver: If you are not comfortable driving then you can hire a car with a driver. It will cost you approximately 1,500,000 IDR (US$ 112/ INR 7,000) per day including fuel and driver charges

If you are more than two people then renting a car will cost you more or less the same as a bus. Albeit, buses are infrequent and take longer. Although, buses were my preferred choice when doing an overnight journey. Reserving a bus online is difficult, nigh non-existence. In most cases, you will have to go to the bus station to reserve bus tickets.

I have mentioned bus, car, and scooter rental options for each island in their respective detailed itinerary post.


How to travel within a city or town

Local ridesharing options such as Grab and Go-Jek are the cheapest way to get around a city. Uberalso exists but is slightly pricier. Downloading and setting up an account is straight forward for both Grab and Go-Jek. The process to book a ride is the same as other ridesharing apps. You can pay in cash so you don’t need a credit or debit card to register. Both Grab and Go-Jek have motorcycle ride options which are cheaper than cars, ideal for solo travelers.


Two Weeks Indonesia Itinerary under US$ 1000 (Rs. 70,000)

All rates are best approximations. Of course, slight deviations can be found from one island to another.

Accommodation

Agoda, Bookings, and Hostelworld are the best websites to reserve accommodation

  • Double Bed in 3-star hotel: IDR 250,000 (US$ 19/ INR 1,200) per night
  • Hostel Dorm Bed: IDR 100,000 (US$ 8 / INR 500) per night
  • Homestay Double Bed: IDR 200,000 (US$ 15/ INR 950) per night

Food

Widely available vegetarian entrees are Gado-Gado, Veg Fried Rice, and Veg Noodles

  • Vegetarian Entrée: IDR 30,000 (US$ 2.25/ INR 150)
  • Pizza: IDR 40,000 (US$ 3/ INR 200)
  • Pasta: IDR 50,000 (US$ 3.75/ INR 240)

Beverages

  • Tea/Coffee: IDR 4,000 (US$ 0.50/ INR 20)
  • Bottled Water 1L: IDR 3,000 (US$ 0.40/ INR 15)
  • Bintang Beer 650ml: IDR 25,000 (US$ 2/ INR 120)
  • Local Arak: IDR 20,000 (US$ 1.50/ INR 100)
  • Bottled Arak 750ml: IDR 150,000 (US$ 11/ INR 700)

Transportation

  • Bus Ticket (8 hours journey): IDR 250,000 (US$19 / INR 1200)
  • Scooter Rental (per day): IDR 80,000 (US$ 6/ INR 400) + fuel
  • Car Rental Self Drive (per day): IDR 250,000 (US$19 / INR 1200) + fuel
  • Car Rental with Driver: IDR 250,000 (US$19 / INR 1200) base + IDR 55,000 per hour (US$ 4/ INR 250)

Average Tourist Attraction Entrance Fee

IDR 100,000 per person (US$ 7.50/ INR 500)


Two Week Indonesia Itinerary

Rather than a traditional two-week itinerary, I will give you a one-week itinerary for each of the four islands I visited namely – Bali, Java, Flores, and Sulawesi. Any two of the four islands can be visited with each other on a two-week travel of Indonesia. Therefore you can combine these individual itineraries and create your own two-week itinerary for Indonesia.

One Week Bali Itinerary

Bratan Temple, Bali Indonesia

Bali is the prime tourist destination of Indonesia. And, it’s the first place that comes to many people’s mind when you say ‘Indonesia’. It deserves the title with numerous turquoise beaches, ancient Balinese Hindu temples, green and gold rice fields, and a tranquil vibe emanating from smiling faces of friendly locals. Being the tourist capital of Indonesia, it feels a bit too crowded. But, it is well worth your time since you won’t get to see 1000-year old picturesque Balinese Hindu temples elsewhere in the world. And, this is coming from an Indian who has seen his fair share of temples.

For accommodation, transportation, attraction, and restaurant recommendations read the Detailed Bali Itinerary

Here is a brief Bali Itinerary:

Day 1: Land in Denpasar and check-in to your hotel in Denpasar or Kuta

Day 2: Uluwatu Temple in the morning. Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple. Traditional Kecak dance at Tanah Lot. Night stay in Denpasar or Kuta

Day 3: Check-out. Denpasar/Kuta to Besakih Temple (62 km, 2 hours). Besakih Temple is the Mother Temple for all Balinese temples, a must visit. Besakih Temple to Ubud (42 km, 1.30 hours). Night stay in Ubud

Day 4: Explore boutique shops, rustic cafes, aromatic restaurants, and lively streets of Ubud. Visit Goa Gajah Cave Temple and Pura Taman Saraswati Temples, both within 5 km from downtown Ubud. Night stay in Ubud

Day 5: Check-out. Ubud to floating Pura Bratan temple (45 km, 1.30 hours). Pura Bratan temple to UNESCO acclaimed Jatiluwih Rice Terraces (22 km, 45 minutes). Night stay in Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Day 6: Check-out. Jatiluwih Rice Terraces to Denpasar/Kuta (55 km, 2 hours). Beach activities and water sports on postcard perfect Kuta beaches

Day 7: Onto your next destination

One Week Java Itinerary

The island of Java is home to 55% of Indonesia’s population making it the most populous island in the world. Yet it has enough space to house active volcanoes, world’s biggest Buddhist monument, world’s largest acidic lake, and Southeast Asia’s largest city Jakarta. Java has a wide array of places that boggles one’s mind. It is a true heritage of Indonesia.

Mount Bromo, Java Indonesia

For accommodation, transportation, attraction, and restaurant recommendations read the Detailed Java Itinerary.

Here is a brief Java Itinerary (Coming Soon)

Day 1: If you are starting your Indonesian endeavor in Java then you will be most likely flying into Jakarta. From Jakarta, take a flight or train to Yogyakarta.

If you are coming from another Indonesia island then you can choose to fly into Yogyakarta or Surabaya. I will share the itinerary for both scenarios.

4 Day Sulawesi Itinerary

The highlands of Sulawesi harbor houses built in the shape of boats. One Game of Thrones phrase that comes to mind is ‘What is dead may never die’. Yes, the dead refuse to go away. They are housed, cared, and fed for at least a year after they have taken their last breath. The burial ceremonies celebrate the dead and the afterlife. The burial sites and post burial rituals are awestruck. Toraja culture of the Sulawesi highlands is a Pandora’s Box for a culture vulture.

Tana Toraja Indonesia

The ancient Torajan burial ceremonies take place from June to August. Although there are smaller ceremonies year round, June to August is the best time to visit if you want to witness the elaborate burial ceremonies.

For accommodation, transportation, attraction, and restaurant recommendations read the Detailed Sulawesi Itinerary (Coming Soon)

Here is a brief Sulawesi Itinerary.

Day 1: Arrive in Makassar and take the overnight bus to Rante Pao

Day 2: Arrive in Rantepao. Visit burial ceremony, Ke’te’ Kesu’ boat shaped houses and Lemo cliff graves

Day 3: Visit Londa cave graves, Kambira tree graves, and Bori megalithic stones. Take the overnight bus from Rantepao to Makassar

Day 4: Makassar to your next destination

3 Day Komodo Itinerary

You go to Labuan Bajo, Flores to see the cold blooded creatures from the days of the dinosaur. Where the continental plates collide, lies the domain of the Dragons. Komodo Dragons are the largest lizards in the world. And in the wild, they are only found on the islands of Komodo and Rinca, both accessible from Labuan Bajo.

Detailed Komodo Island Itinerary for accommodation, transportation, attraction, and restaurant recommendations

Komodo Dragons, Rinca Island Indonesia

Here is a brief Komodo Island Itinerary

Day 1: Land in Labuan Bajo, check-in to your hotel, and book a ‘Komodo Island’ day tour for the following day

Day 2: Komodo Island Tour – snorkeling amidst colorful corals, visiting Pink Beach, swimming with Manta Rays – the angels of the underwater, and of course experiencing the feisty fire of Komodo Dragons

Day 3: Labuan Bajo to your next destination.


That sums up the brief two week Indonesia itinerary. Two weeks will give you a good exposure to the tip of the Indonesian iceberg. Here are the detailed itineraries

Bali One Week Itinerary

How to visit Komodo Island to see the Dragons

1 Week in Java amongst active volcanoes, largest Buddhist monument, and mythical Crater Lake (Coming Soon)

4 Days with the Walking Dead of Sulawesi (Coming Soon)

The  blog is originally published on Winds of Travel

Published in Asia, Destination
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