Indonesia Travel Guide
Indonesia is a land of contrasts. This country offers a chance to go shopping in a concrete jungle of large cities or meet the primeval tribes in remote villages, visit tropical rainforests of Sumatra or hit its numerous stunning beaches. Indonesia is one of the most densely populated countries in the world located in Southeast Asia on both sides of the equator. Also known as the Land of Thousand Islands, there are more than 16,000 islands to visit, each of them has its own history and traditions. With more than a hundred of ethnic groups living here, the main reasons to visit Indonesia are its cultural heritage, virgin nature and great opportunities for practicing water sports practically at any time of the year. Some Indonesian islands still have their nature as it was a millennium ago. The number of wild animals is steadily declining, however. Malayan sun bears got their last refuge on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Sumatra is also home to black gibbon, jaguars, rhinoceroses and tigers. The island of Komodo is the only place on the planet to see Komodo monitor. Indonesia is an ultimate destination for budget travelers with cheap food and affordable accommodation prices. In this guide I have put together all the beautiful places and islands I visited during my trip to Indonesia and that I’d be really happy to visit again.
Getting Around Indonesia
Buses are the main means of transport that allow to reach almost any corner within the country. Given that Indonesia is an island country, ferry services are usually included in the price of a ticket if your route involves sea crossing. Prices for the buses and minivans depend on the region and road condition. Day buses are the cheapest option, but be ready to meet some chickens, pigs and smoking passengers. Safety here leaves a lot to be desired due to pickpockets and careless driving. Long-distance buses will start at around 5-6 USD. Overnight buses will set you back around 10 USD depending on the region. Sometimes coaches provide air conditioning and TV. Minibuses (bemos) are really popular, they travel a short distance and are very cheap. In major cities like Jakarta and Surabaya you can find dokar or horse-drawn, two-wheeled carriages that run for short distances. Trains are available on the islands of Java and Sumatra and connect all major cities. First class and business class cars provide A/C, power sockets and soft seats. Economy class cars have wooden seats, no A/C, usually opened windows and smoking passengers. Train tickets are much more expensive than buses. Flights are really cheap and can get you virtually everywhere in Indonesia.
Accomodation in Indonesia
Expect to pay around 8-9 USD for a dorm room in a hostel. This price will usually include free breakfast and Wi-Fi. Budget hotels provide double rooms from 16 USD. Chain hotels set their prices from 30 USD per night. Airbnb is great, providing options from 35 USD for a studio apartment. It might be really tough to find proper accommodation during the New Year, Christmas holidays and after the holy month of Ramadan, so you should book it in advance. Some hotels may hold a deposit, which is removed after checkout.
Food in Indonesia
Food is really cheap in Indonesia, so you can get a meal from street vendors for less than 2 USD. Try to check vendor maintains good personal hygiene when handling food, however. The fastest way to get some food is to find Kaki Lima or five feet, mobile kiosks or stalls, which are proficiently maneuver in any Indonesian city, town or village. Generally, they serve cheap rice, noodles and porridge. A bit more prestigious are Warung eateries offering quite the same menu as kaki lima, but providing plastic chairs and a canopy to their customers. Rumah Makan, the eating houses provide indoor dining. Expect to pay around 2-4 USD in such eateries. Local food like meatballs, fried rice or noodles in EsTeler 77 or Bakmi Gajah Mada (GM) is around 2-3 USD. For fast food combo meal expect to pay as much as 4-5 USD. Since street food is so cheap, basically there is no need to cook your own food, however, you may expect week’s worth of groceries cost between 25-35 USD.