Indonesia Budget Guide – How Much Does It Really Cost To Travel In Indonesia?

Green rice terraces and palm trees in Ubud, Bali.  

Welcome to Indonesia, the largest archipelago and fourth most populous country in the world. Made up of over 17,000 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited, Indonesia offers something for everyone. Whether it’s chilling out on the beach, diving with whale sharks, trekking through the jungle or climbing volcanos, you’ll find exactly what you are looking for!

But how much does it cost to travel in Indonesia?

According to our readers, Indonesia is the third cheapest country to visit in Southeast Asia, coming in behind only Cambodia and Vietnam! It is worth being aware that due to the layout of the country, the cost of travelling in Indonesia can vary quite a lot depending on where you are visiting. For example, prices in Bali or Jakarta will be significantly higher than in less popular spots like The Togean Islands.

Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta Indonesia
Indonesia has been voted one of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia to travel!

Cost Of Backpacking In Indonesia – Quick Answers!

  • Cost of Street Food: 7,500Rp – 60,000Rp (50 cents – $4USD)
  • Cost of Local Food in a Restaurant: 25,000Rp – 100,000Rp ($1.60-$6.50USD)
  • Cost of Western Food in a Restaurant: 100,000Rp – 160,000Rp ($6.50-$11USD)
  • Cost of Bottled Water: 5,000Rp – 30,000Rp (30 cents – $2USD)
  • Cost of Beer: 15,000Rp – 90,000Rp ($1-$6USD)
  • Cost of a Hostel Bed: 37,000Rp – 300,000Rp ($2.50-$20USD)
  • Cost of a Private Room: 60,000Rp – 600,000+Rp ($4-$40+USD)
  • Cost of Scooter Hire: 50,000Rp – 150,000Rp ($3.30 – $10USD) per day
  • Cost of Long Distance Buses: 50,000Rp – 300,000Rp ($3.30-$20USD)

Suggested Budgets For Travelling In Indonesia

Shoestring Backpacker: $25-$35USD per day

A real shoestring backpacker will very rarely need to exceed $25USD per day in Indonesia. Eat cheap street food, stay in big dorms and avoid the booze in this Muslim country for the most cost-effective trip. You’ll still be able to jump on the popular tours without having to worry about destroying your frugal budget too much!

Bean bag seating area at La Boheme, Mentigi, Lombok
La Boheme Hostel in Lombok has dorms for $9 US per night.

Living It Large Backpacker: $35-$50USD per day

A mix of dorms and private rooms beckon the living it large backpacker to Indonesia. With this budget, you’ll be able to afford mainly street food but with the odd restaurant meal thrown in. You’ll be able to indulge in a tipple from time to time as well as have no issue paying for trips, tours and transportation costs!

The Living it Large Backpacker can explore Indonesia to the max, with amazing boat trips like this one!

Flashpacker: $50-$75USD per day

The flashpackers out there will be pleased to hear, as long as you avoid the super expensive resorts, there will be very little out of your price range in Indonesia. Tours, private rooms and as much food and alcohol as you could want will be right at your fingertips!

Hotels like the Living Asia Resort and Spa, Lombok (pictured) cost around $50 US per night.

Currency In Indonesia

The Indonesian Rupiah, abbreviated to Rp, has been in circulation since 1946, just a year after the Japanese WW2 occupation of the country ended. It wasn’t the only currency vying for influence at the time though. The Dutch were desperately trying to reclaim their lost colony after the expulsion of the Japanese and a part of this was to reintroduce their old currency, the Netherlands Indies Gulden. 

Thankfully for the Indonesians, by 1949 the Dutch had recognised Indonesia’s independence and removed the last of their forces from the country. With them, left the gulden which is now just a footnote in Indonesian history.  

Indonesian currency
The Indonesian Rupiah is the official currency of the country.

Indonesia Currency Conversions

Today, the Indonesian Rupiah has the second-worst exchange rate against the US dollar of any currency in the world. While this is bad news for Indonesians wanting to travel abroad, it’s great news for backpackers visiting this wonderful country!

All conversions correct as of August 2020. Unless something terrible happens, these conversions will give you a good idea what your money is worth in Indonesia!

  • $1USD = 14,900Rp
  • £1GBP = 19,300Rp
  • €1EUR = 17,600Rp

How Much Does a Trip to Indonesia Cost?

Cost of Street Food in Indonesia

7,500Rp – 60,000Rp (50 cents – $4USD)

When it comes to street food in Southeast Asia, Indonesia never fails to impress. A simple plate of rice or noodles will set you back as little as 7,500Rp (50 cents), while an impressive platter of more food than you could ever need will be around 20,000Rp ($1.30USD). If you are feeling particularly fancy, a whole grilled fish costs about 60,000Rp ($4USD).

Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei.

Cost of Restaurant Food in Indonesia

25,000Rp – 160,000Rp ($1.60-$11USD)

Although it’s more expensive than street food, restaurant food in Indonesia won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You can pick up a decent meal in a low-cost restaurant for the low end of this estimate but if you fancy something a bit classier you’ll be looking at around 100,000Rp ($6.50USD). Western food will set you back a little more and easily reaches the high end of this range.

Rendang dish
Rendang curry is one of Indonesia’s most popular dishes.

Cost of Water in Indonesia

5,000Rp – 30,000Rp (30 cents – $2USD) per litre

Indonesian tap water is purified at the source which should make it perfectly safe to drink. However, the pipework delivering water from the treatment plant to your tap has certainly seen better days. A huge percentage of good water is lost to leaks in Indonesia but these holes also allow pathogens into the water. If you are going to drink it, make sure you boil it for a few minutes first!

Those of you not wanting to take the risk will be pleased to hear that bottled water is easy to find in Indonesia! Depending on where you are, you may be able to find water for less than 50 cents per litre! In more popular locations, you’ll be looking at between $1-$2 per litre.

However, as always when travelling, we should try to reduce our impact on the environment. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to stop buying single-use plastics before they destroy this wonderful world we live in. Instead, get yourself a filtered water bottle so you can drink the tap water without worrying about all those little nasties!

Plastic cup on the beach in Southeast Asia.
Unfortunately, Indonesia really suffers from plastic pollution.

Cost of Beer in Indonesia

15,000Rp – 90,000Rp ($1-$6USD)

Being the largest Muslim country in the world, you’d think alcohol would be hard to come by in Indonesia. This is very rarely the case. Even though alcohol consumption among locals is the lowest of any country in Southeast Asia, you can still find locally produced beer for very little money! 

A bottle of Bintang Beer is usually a dollar or two while imported beers will be upwards of $5 a bottle! If you get your beer from local shops you’ll pay about 50% of what it would cost in a bar and buying beer in a club will cost even more! Stick to the local brand and get your beer from shops to make the most of your budget!

Bintang Beer is the backpacker’s beer of choice in Indonesia.

Remember that Islam has a lot of rules surrounding alcohol and you will not be allowed to visit any mosques or holy sites if you have had a drink recently!

Cost of Accommodation in Indonesia

  • Hostel Dorm (per night)

37,000Rp – 300,000Rp ($2.50-$20USD)

Sure it’s not on the Banana Pancake Trail but Indonesia always ranks highly when it comes to great hostels! Even in Ubud, you can find a dorm bed in a popular hostel for $2-$5USD a night! There will always be more expensive options, some of which can get close to $20USD per night but unless you’re really stuck, you shouldn’t need to consider spending that much on your bed!

Hostel in Bali with a swimming pool
Kosta Hostel in Bali costs $20 US a night.

Also see – The 50 Best Hostels in Bali!

  • Hostel Double Room (per night)

60,000Rp – 450,000Rp ($4-$30USD)

If you’re fed up with loud, cramped dorms then consider grabbing a private room for a couple of nights. On the cheap end, you can get yourself an economy room with a fan and shared bathroom for less than $5USD a night! 

Of course, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, you can pay anywhere between $15-$30USD for a room with air conditioning and a private bathroom. These higher priced rooms often come with breakfast included!

Serenity Eco retreat swimming pool
Serenity Eco Guesthouse has double rooms for $15 USD.
  • Double Hotel Room

60,000Rp – 600,000+Rp ($4-$40+USD)

Indonesia is a haven for great hotels at low prices. Even some of the most beautiful spots you can imagine really won’t break the bank. Much like private rooms in hostels, the budget options probably won’t have air conditioning or an en suite bathroom but you’ll be able to get them for less than $5USD per night! 

For a more comfortable stay, expect to be paying the higher end of this price range and know that if you really want to throw your cash about, there are some really amazing high-end resorts throughout the country. We haven’t included them into this price range because realistically, they do not cater to the backpacker crowd!

Cost of Transport in Indonesia

Short Distance Transport

  • Taxis

6,000Rp – 10,000Rp (40 cents – 70 cents USD) pick up fair plus 4,000Rp – 8,000Rp (25 cents – 50 cents) per kilometre

Taxis in Indonesia are generally safe and well priced. There will always be a few scammers out there, trying to pick on unsuspecting tourists but the vast majority of drivers will be friendly and polite. 

The price of taxis will depend on where you are in the country. Some places have higher starting charges with lower costs per kilometre while others will be the opposite way round. Always ask the driver to use the meter and if they refuse, pick another taxi!

You can often use Grab while travelling in Indonesia if you feel more comfortable using ride-hailing apps than sticking out your arm on the street. It is worth noting that Grab vehicles are not allowed to use official taxi ranks at hotels or airports though!

  • Buses

3,000Rp – 15,000Rp (20 cents – $1USD)

Much like everything else we have discussed so far, local bus fares vary from city to city, island to island. Wherever you are, you’ll only ever need to pay a dollar for the bus! In Indonesia, it’s cheaper to buy your ticket on the bus (only for local buses, not long-distance journeys) than from the ticket windows, who will charge you a commission. Just find the bus you want, jump on and sit down. A conductor will come to you and let you know how much the fare will be. 

Be aware, pickpocketing is common on Indonesian buses, especially in large cities or poor areas. Sadly, as a backpacker, you are a prime target for this so keep your wits about you and keep your valuables safely hidden away in your bag or a travel money belt! It is also worth noting that, due to sexual harassment, some buses in Indonesia have female-only sections towards the front. If, as a female traveller, you feel unsure or unsafe travelling on a bus, utilise these sections. Any men entering them should be promptly told to move or kicked off the bus by the conductor.

  • Scooter Hire 

50,000Rp – 150,000Rp ($3.30 – $10USD) per day

Finding a motorcycle to rent in Indonesia is easy a pie. In all the tourist areas you will see rental shops and stalls lining the streets. You can often pick up a scooter for under $5USD per day but if the demand is high then the prices can rise a little.

Indonesian law requires that all foreign riders hold an International Driving Permit or an Indonesian Temporary Permit, which involves spending the morning at a police station doing a written test. The temporary permit lasts three months and will cost around $20USD. Helmets are also required by law. 

Long Distance Transport

  • Buses

50,000Rp – 300,000Rp ($3.30-$20USD)

Getting buses across some of Indonesia’s bigger islands can be a super cost-effective way of travelling. The overall price will depend on where you are, how long the journey is and the class of bus you choose to travel on.

The roads in Indonesia are notoriously dangerous when compared to roads in Europe and the US, so it is worth doing your research, or asking at your accommodation to see which are the more reputable bus companies. Often you will pay a little more for a good quality service but it’s worth a couple of extra dollars to mitigate the risks. You know your mum is only going to be pissed off when she finds out you’ve got two broken legs because you tried to save yourself $2.50!

The reliable bus companies will often run luxury buses with air conditioning, no smoking rules, reclining chairs and potentially even refreshments on board. Again, these luxury buses cost a little more but for some of the longer journeys like Bali to Yogyakarta, a 17-hour trip, it is well worth paying for the comfort!

Indonesia bus
Buses are a budget-friendly way to see the country!
  • Trains

105,000Rp – 1,500,000Rp ($7-$100USD)

The island of Java is very well connected by the train network, which has stations close to most of the main tourist locations but don’t expect to be able to ride the rails on every island. Aside from Java, Sumatra is the only other island with anything resembling a decent passenger train but even that is rudimentary at best! 

Getting around Java by train is a great way to travel between cities. Not only will you get to witness the amazing scenery on offer but trains are also an affordable way to travel! Don’t be put off by the high-end of this price range, the only way you’ll ever reach that is if you are travelling in the most luxurious train carriages. Across Java, you’ll very rarely need to pay more than $15USD for even the longest journeys. Sure the economy carriages can get a little uncomfortable but they are not impossible to deal with for the day. 

If you are going to travel on one of the longer routes, such as the Jakarta to Surabaya which takes up to 15 hours, it is recommended to go one class up from economy. This way you’ll get a chair that reclines, more legroom and easy access to power sockets so you can keep your entertainment devices charged!

  • Planes

270,000Rp – 1,500,000+Rp ($18 – $100+USD)

With vast swathes of water between each island, buses and trains can’t be used everywhere. For the fastest travel between islands, flying is your best bet. The overall cost is comparable to other domestic flights in Southeast Asia but only if you book ahead of time. If you try to get a ticket too close to your chosen departure date, you’ll see the prices soar higher than the planes themselves!

Make sure you do your research before booking with an airline. Some Indonesian airlines have very mixed reviews and patchy safety records. Even though they can be super cheap, they’re probably worth avoiding.

  • Ferries 

7,000Rp – 450,000Rp (50 cents – $30USD)

If flying isn’t your thing but you still want to see more of this wonderful country than just Bali, ferries will be your best friend. The huge majority of them cost less than $10USD but longer journeys or trips spent in your own private cabins will cost more. 

Ferry travel is so affordable in Indonesia that you can get from Bali to Flores, a 30+ hour journey, for just $15USD! This price includes a bed in the 200-bed dorm (bring your earplugs), 6 meals and some form of evening entertainment. If you can’t quite stomach sharing a room with that many people, you can also get smaller cabins of 2-8 beds depending on how much you want to spend. 

Much like on public buses, theft and pickpocketing is commonly reported on ferries, especially in the large dorm rooms and on really busy boats. 


Cost Of Activities In Indonesia

Activities in Indonesia vary as much as the country itself and this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do. These are some of the most popular trips and tours for backpackers in Indonesia and should give you a good idea of how much you’ll be spending on activities during your stay!

Orangutan Trekking – 730,000Rp – 10,300,000Rp ($50-$700USD)Bukit Lawang

Seeing orangutans in their natural habitat is one of the most amazing experiences a backpacker can ask for. The best place to have this experience is the jungle town of Bukit Lawang where you can arrange treks into the jungle to see the orangutans. Prices vary wildly depending on how many nights you plan on going for as well as the quality of the company you choose. Make sure you do your research before booking and pick a company that does things in an ethical manner.

See our full guide to sustainable trekking in Bukit Lawang here.

Orangutan Bukit Lawang
Bukit Lawang is one of the best places in Southeast Asia to spot orangutans.

On the cheap end of this price range, you can book a 1,2 or 3-day tour for around $50-$70USD per day and on the high end, you’ll be able to grab yourself up to 9 days of jungle trekking through prime orangutan territory!

Komodo National Park – 1,100,000Rp – 2,000,000Rp ($75-$135USD) per dayStarting Point = Lombok

Working out how much money to spend visiting the world’s largest lizards is more challenging than trying to save these prehistoric monsters from extinction. There is different pricing depending on which islands you visit, what activities you wish to partake in and how many of you there are in your group. Honestly, trying to narrow it down to an exact figure before you go is super difficult. Throw in the fact that the Indonesian government keep changing the rules on who can enter as well as the pricing and you’re left with a cracking headache. 

The amazing Komodo Dragons are unique to Indonesia.

Budgeting $75-$135USD per day is enough to see you on an organised tour, with reliable boats and amazing staff. Avoid anything cheaper than this as the boats are reportedly constantly breaking down, litter is thrown overboard and the staff are questionable at best. Arguably the most cost-efficient way of seeing the famous Komodo Dragons is to do so as part of a longer cruise. These will set you back somewhere in the region of $750USD but can last up to 9 days! 

Backpacker choice – The legendary Lombok to Flores boat trip costs just $165 USD for a swashbuckling 4-day, 3-night adventure. While the boat is by no means luxury, local company, Wanua Adventure do their best to make this a memorable experience for travellers. Along the journey you’ll visit Komodo National Park to spot the dragons as well as visit several snorkeling spots, amazing viewpoints and even a pink beach!

Group trip Lombok to Flores
Passengers on the 4-day, 3 -night Lombok to Flores trip.

Unlike the Galapagos in South America, a DIY tour is almost impossible when visiting Komodo National Park. Sure, you can charter a private boat but that will set you back even more money than a tour when you include park fees!

It is also worth noting that you’ll need to get near to the park for your tour. Flights into Flores, the best place to set off for Komodo National Park tours, will set you back between $80-$250USD depending on the time of year and how far in advance you book. 

Climb Mount Bromo – 240,000Rp- 5,900,000 ($16-$400USD)Java

Have you ever wanted to climb an active volcano? Or are you just a fan of making your parents worried at any opportunity? Either way, a visit to Indonesia’s Mount Bromo is a must for backpackers visiting the island of Java

Indonesia Mount Bromo, photographed by Flash Parker
Mount Bromo, Indonesia.

An organised tour to the volcano starts at around $100USD. There are options for multi-day trips which are on the higher end of this budget but they allow you to stay close to the volcano and explore more of the national park. 

Of course, there are ways to visit Mount Bromo which are much cheaper than on a tour. It is possible to get to the crater rim by yourself. Providing you are comfortable riding a motorcycle or getting public transport, you can get to the bottom of the volcano easily enough and trek up from there! You don’t need to be fit to climb the volcano, the path isn’t too strenuous and should be easy enough for you average backpacker. There are horses available to take you to the top but they do not look well looked after and the terrain can be pretty rough on them. Unless you get hurt and are in desperate need of a ride to safety, avoid the horses!

No matter which option you pick, you’ll have to pay an entry fee of 240,000Rp (weekday) or 340,000Rp (weekend) to the national park, although some backpackers have reported finding a path into the national park that is unguarded! 

If you’re into climbing volcanoes, you might want to hike up Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok!

Surf Camp – 1,500,000 – 10,300,000 ($100-$700USD) per weekBali

There is no better country in Southeast Asia than Indonesia when it comes to surfing. With beginner breaks to hardcore waves, Indonesia has it all. In Bali, your average surf camps start at around $450 USD per week, including board rental but during low season, you can often find deals making them much cheaper. On the high end of this estimate, expect private en suite rooms, transfers from your hotel to the beach, high-quality meals provided and topnotch instructors to help you make the most of your experience.

Surf lessons in Bali, Indonesia.
Surf lessons in Bali, Indonesia are super fun!

Cheaper deals on surf camps will see you sleeping in shared dorms, making your own way to the beach and finding your own food. Most of the time, board rental is included in the pricing but double-check before booking!

A surf camp in Indonesia may seem expensive, especially if you are a confident surfer who needs no instruction but it is often money well spent. In all but the cheapest surf camps, you will essentially be all-inclusive, meaning you don’t need to worry about spending money on anything for the duration of your stay!

Sacred Monkey Forest, Bali – 80,000Rp – 1,200,000 ($5.50-$85USD)

Located in Ubud, Bali is a Hindu temple surrounded by a lush forest full of monkeys. These monkeys are so used to humans that they will clamber all over you hunting for food or nice shiny things to steal!

Entry to the forest is just 80,000Rp ($5.50USD) and to be honest, that’s essentially all you need to pay. The forest is easily within walking distance from most of Ubud’s hostels and if you are a little further away, a short taxi ride or hiring a motorcycle for the day will not break the bank!

The Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali.
They may look cute, but watch out! – The Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali.

Be aware that monkeys are notorious for climbing on unsuspecting tourists, stealing their phones, cameras or even wallets in search of food. If you try to hide food on your person, I guarantee they will sniff it out!

If you want to throw some cash around, you can join an organised tour of the forest. These usually last all day but are upwards of $50USD per person! You are much better off doing this one yourself!

Further reading:

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After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since the incident, he has travelled in South East Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and is currently backpacking around South America. His first book 'From Paralysis to Santiago' chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident that changed his life and will be released later this year.