Tips & Tricks to travel cheap around Indonesia

Some things can be done cheaper or easier ...

  • Get some smartphone and use GPS. If you do not have an active 4G connection, install the Galileo Offline Maps app and pre-download maps of the country you going to. In these maps, you will find all the necessary details, and you will have some notion of traveled distances (which is good when negotiating the transport price). Labeled streets with their names practically do not exist throughout Asia.

  • You can book your train tickets in advance online via Commissions are low, and occasionally you can find some attractive discounts (Jogja - Jakarta, executive class for 150K). Tiket accepts international credit cards. Before the departure time, head to the counter at the station where you will be issued a regular paper ticket.

  • It's wise to purchase sim cards and 4G internet add-ons directly in authorized stores. For a sim card Telkomsel loaded with 1.5GB we paid 80K. At the street markets, vendors normally charge twice the regular price up to dizzying 400K, right Majkl? :). Activation will be done for you instantly in the store. See details on current 4G Telkomsel Internet tariffs here: Read more about the 4G LTE Internet in Bali here.

  • If you're an adventurous soul, look for the accommodation on the spot, no reservations are really needed. In Lonely Planet look up a low-cost hotel zone and explore it personally. Keep asking until you find suitable and affordable accommodation. If you have no idea what would be the price range for a cheap room in that location, check out first. Sometimes we managed to negotiate a half price per room compared to the regular online price. However, the exception proves the rule. E.g., in Kuta in Bali, you can find a lovely guesthouse online starting at 100,000 IDR.

  • Don't be afraid to ask the hotel staff for a clean towel and a new toilet paper. It's all included, and they tend to forget.

  • Do handwashing whenever you can. Washing powder is inexpensive, and in the end, you will save some nice money (10K per kg is the laundry cost).

  • If you take surfing seriously, I would recommend purchasing a new board in Kuta and selling it later on before your departure. This way you can choose a model that perfectly suits your preferences and avoid any potential scams with broken boards.

  • The best way of exploring the area is on the scooter. It usually costs 40-50K per day, and you can get absolutely everywhere. Regular gas costs 7.4K/l.

  • In Indonesia, you can buy almost everything  (except for electronics). You can get here cosmetics, clothes or medicines literally for a few bucks. It's unnecessary to travel around with big backpacks.

  • Avoid moneychangers in Kuta. Every second street clothes shop has a tall table with a plastic shield in the darkest corner of the room. Exchange rates are tempting, but the hands of scammy sellers are even faster. You will never receive the expected amount. Either you get ripped off straight away, or if you catch them doing that, they will threaten you first and then eventually return your original currency if you insist. You will never get Indonesian rupees at this attractive exchange rate. Guaranteed!

  • The Bluebird taxi rate in Bali is approximately 7K (start) and 6K per kilometer. Keep your eyes on the taximeter.

  • The best at the end:

Travel locally, don't book any buses or tours in advance. Take it easy and travel on your own using local bemos or buses. More about local transport here.