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6 Essential Tips To Backpack Indonesia On A Budget

Most of my trips have been with my family or friends, but I always wanted to solo travel. After a long 33 years, I managed to plan my solo trip to backpack Indonesia. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’m here to share my tips on how to plan a similar trip.

backpack indonesia

Essential tips to backpack Indonesia

Book flights when it is cheapest

Start monitoring the ticket price from your location to Indonesian Airports, one to two months before your desired time. There are almost 23 International Airports in Indonesia, so often, the one you decide to fly to will be based on the available deals.

You can allocate a schedule on kayak.co.in or www.google.com/flights to get the cheapest deal on a flexible dates. Generally, in peak season (July, August, November, December, and January) the price of the flights will be higher than the Off-Peak season. During off-peak, the weather is either dry or wet. During April, May, June and September (just before and after the season) the flight tickets are cheaper. Plan you Visa as applicable.

Book Forex

Indonesia’s Currency is IDR. With the exchange of $1USD, you should get approx. 13.300 IDR. Yes, you have to handle a lot of money while travelling Indonesia.

It is advisable to get the exchange from the local market than at the airport. You will get a better rate in an established shop in most of the cities. However, if you plan to travel to remote and small islands (e.g. Gilli Islands/ Nusa Penida etc.), then it is better to get the exchange from the airport, as there will not be any currency exchange shops on those islands. On some of the islands, there are very few ATM options, so if you are planning to visit those islands, take the required cash with you. The desired denominations are 100.000 IDR, 50.000 IDR, 1000.000IDR and 500.000IDR.

backpack indonesia

Book Hotel/Hostel

For backpackers, there are many budget hostels available in every Indonesian city. Try to stay in less crowded places as the hotels and hostels are cheaper in there.

Travelling solo to Bali, I prefer to stay in Jimbaran in Bali as it is less crowded than popular places like Kuta, and Nusa Dua. I only had to pay Rp. 95.000 per day for bed and breakfast in Jimbaran. You can book a hotel/hostel and homestays at www.Airbnb.com or www.booking.com. It’s always a good idea to interact with your host before you arrive to get tips on how to reach the accommodation in the cheapest way.

Pack Light 

For a backpacker’s trip, packing light is a very important aspect particularly if travelling solo. The lighter it is, the better it is for you.

Apart from easy to wear clothing, there are some essential items I like to pack. My mobile phone and tablet with a charger, GoPro for underwater video, kindle/ereader, camera and additional memory card are always essential tech items. There’s also my sunglasses, sunscreen, a scarf and light full slip cloth and a good pair of hiking shoes. I used my 70L Wildcraft Backpack while travelling and can highly recommend it.

Eat like local

Indonesian food can be very spicy, but being an Asian myself, I loved their foods. Mostly rice and noodles based foods are available, but I found that if you eat the local food, the cost of food will be an average of around 100.000 IDR/day (approx. $-5-$7) for three meals a day. Some of my favourite dishes were:

  1. Soto Ayam: This is an egg & chicken soup taken mostly with rice. Price: 15K
  2. Bakso Bakar: Meatballs which are grilled along with spices and hot chilli. There is various size of the meatballs, and the price will vary depending on the size. Price : 3-10K
  3. Mi Ayam: A soup with noodles, vegetables and chicken. Price : 10K
  4. Nasi Goreng: A type of fried rice with chicken & egg. Price: 10-12K
  5. Mi Goreng: Fried flat noodles with chicken. It is a little spicy. Price: 10K.
  6. Mi Gudek: A kind of noodle soup with cabbage, chicken and scrambled egg.

I loved the taste of soupy noodles in Indonesia; I tried all of them. Eating local food is safe, and you can get these foods in any restaurant.

Move Around with Public transport/hire two- wheeler

If you want to see the popular places in Indonesia but don’t want to spend much on transport, the solution is either public transport or a two-wheeler.

In most of the tourist places, you will get the option of hiring two-wheeler with a budget of Rp.40.000/day- Rp. 75.000/day. The rates may vary depending on the location. Read my post about how I used public transport in Jakarta and did the one-day city tour on less than USD 3.

I hope these tips will help you plan to backpack Indonesia on a budget and have fun!

To learn more about places to visit in Central Java, click here.

To learn more about Nusa Penda, a small island where no one will be around to bother you, click here.

perjalanan aman!

Sudeshna Goswami
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