Imagine this: glittering Bali shore while you sip a $40 cocktail on the beach bench. What a life, right? But all these entail a hefty price tag, a not-so-practical situation of you’re visiting Indonesia on a budget. Still, you shouldn’t shy away from having a vacation with a humble wallet. There are affordable activities that you can add to your plan to save money but still experience the beauty of the Asian country.
1. Surf all you want
If there’s one luxurious activity you can do without spending a lot of dough, it would be surfing. Indonesia is dotted with the best surfing destinations in Asia like Kuta, Canggu, Nias, and Lombok. All you have to pay for is your fare and the rental of the surfing board. The bonus part is you’ll go home with a nice tan.
You don’t always have to head to Bali just to experience the glamorous waters and the pristine beaches.
2. Visit temples
It’s for sure that you don’t have the money to splurge on expensive tour packages so take time to walk and explore the temples by yourself. Most of these attractions are free to visit. If you’re staying in Central Java, never miss the Borobodur Temple that serves as the culmination of every tourist’s visit in the country. About an hour away is the Prambanan temple where you’ll have a glimpse of the towering stupas.
There are also the likes of Tanah Lot, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, and more.
3. Have a taste of street foods
One of the biggest money-saver when visiting Indonesia on a budget is eating cheap. As much as you can, avoid French and Italian as the prices are as fancy as their food. You can stick to Warungs or streetside stalls that sell local delights. These are relatively safe and sometimes even yummier than those you can buy from upscale places. Your $0.80 can give you a hearty noodle soup, fried rice, or nasi goreng.
Night markets are also good options as it has more stalls that sell a variety of stomach goods.
4. Watch life as it unfolds
Indonesia is known for its rich culture and undeniably busy streets. You can take time to relax and watch as the people go bustling in their daily lives. Go jogging in the morning and witness ambulant vendors kick-start their day while pulling their wheeled stalls. Immersing yourself in these little things is somewhat satisfying and a cathartic for a tourist who’s pulling off the plug from the usual city life.
Take pictures, walk, and talk to the locals if you wish so.
5. A chunk of your budget for a decent room
Visiting Indonesia on a budget doesn’t mean that you’re going to deprive yourself a decent place to stay. There are modest inns around Indonesia that you can choose from. You don’t have to choose an upscale room since you’ll be staying outside to visit places. What’s important is you have a secure place to leave your baggage and sleep. This will save you a lot of money that you can spend on food and other leisure activities.
6. Take public transportation
As a tourist, your first instinct is to hail a cab whenever you’re going somewhere. But as a tip, try taking the public transportation. Ride trains, rent a motorcycle, or take bus rides if you can as the fares are very cheap. Just make sure that you wear a helmet and practice caution when braving the streets with a motorbike. You can hire a becak or three-wheeled carts if you’re going around the inner streets.
But if all else fails, a metered taxi would be the only choice.
7. Avoid the peak season
Hotel rates and other expenses in Indonesia tend to soar high during peak season. This includes accommodation, food, leisure activities, and tour package prices. If you’re planning a vacation, you can consider visiting during the months of February, March, October, and November. You can negotiate room rates during these months as the guests are scarce.
Still, keep in mind that the islands of Java and Flores tend to have constant prices even during offseason. You might want to go to some other tourist destinations when visiting Indonesia on a budget.
8. Say no to scams
Yes, you’ll have a budget-friendly plan, but scams can easily wipe-out your pocket money. Beware of scammers that will welcome you the moment you stepped outside the airplane. It can be overcharging taxi drivers or fraudulent money changers that milk their way through tourists’ pockets.
Before heading to Indonesia, research about the usual tricks these people do. Bluebird Taxis are recommendable to hire as they are less likely to rip off their passengers. Also, have your money exchanged on stalls accredited by the Bank of Indonesia.
9. Cheap nightlife
You can still experience the nightlife of Indonesia even on a small budget. If you’re in Bali, go to sunset bars like The Boardwalk, Capil Beach and Grill, or Champlung. These places won’t break your bank but will still give you a cozy spot by the beach while sipping cheap beer. Skip the upscale bars and lounges as you’ll only spend your money on atmosphere and added noise. Sticking to the beach would actually save you more money than what you imagined.
10. Bargain, the buy
The good thing about Indonesia is you can bargain almost anything in the night and wet markets. Although you should proceed courteously, displaying a strong resolve will land you a few dollars of discount for your souvenirs and other purchases. Don’t miss night markets where intense haggling is happening.
Visiting Indonesia on a budget is not all a problem. It can still be an enjoyable trip where you get to focus on priceless things instead of indulging in material experiences. The prices in this country are cheap but you should be alert to some locals that have unscrupulous motives. Are you heading to Indonesia anytime soon? Share your plans with us!