Between the sublime beaches of Kuta, the waterfalls, and the volcanoes, we bet that you will quickly want to travel to Indonesia, and Lombok in particular! We take you with us!
Our travel guide to Backpacking Indonesia
Indonesia, is a real paradise destination! It is the largest archipelago in the world with more than 13,000 islands! Needless to say, there would not be enough of a lifetime to visit them all.... Some of them are even desert islands. ;) The best Indonesian islands known for tourism are undoubtedly Bali, Java, Lombok, Flores, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Borneo.
Indonesia travel Map
Would you like to see all our articles on Indonesia on a map and quickly access the content?
Here is the map with all our articles on Indonesia:
Travel budget for backpackers in Indonesia
This is what we spent during our trip to Indonesia.
|Expense Item||daily budget / person|
|Food & Beverage||6,6€|
That is a total budget of about 23€ per day and per person.
These numbers are of course given for information purpose only and correspond to what we spent during our stay. The above budget includes absolutely all our "on-the-spot" expenses (including the tourist visa made on arrival) but excludes the price of air tickets, any vaccinations made before departure or travel insurance.
In terms of accomodation, we have, most of the time, searched for hostels directly on site. Looking for accommodation on the spot often allows you to find good deals, but we were in low season. If you are looking for accommodation in Indonesia it is recommended that you compare rates online. To do so you can use the map below to see the different hotels or apartments available. We recommend you use the filters to refine your search and zoom in to the specific area you wish to stay.
If you are still looking for insurance for your stay we recommend you to come and have a look at our backpacker insurance comparison table here (we did all the heavy work to help you chose the right travel insurance for your trip)
Date of our travel: April 2014
More details on our travel budget blog post below:
Climate in Indonesia: When should you travel to Indonesia?
Indonesia is a very large country and therefore the climate can vary between different regions. However, the country's tropical climate also means that there is a so-called "dry" season as well as a "rainy" season.
Overall the dry season extends from May to October. During these months it rains only very little and rarely. This is certainly an advantage for activities such as the beach, but it should not be forgotten that it means that the landscapes will also be "drier" and less green.
The rainy season extends from November to April. The volume of rainfall varies by region (it rains more in the mountains than on the coast). In our case, we came to Indonesia in April and enjoyed very much traveling at this season! The temperature is very pleasant (this is generally valid all year round) ;) and it didn't rain much anymore (often the rain fell for 1-2 hours at the end of the day).
After that, it is obvious that conditions can vary from one year to another, but overall Indonesia has a fairly mild climate throughout the year!
Useful information before you go backpacking Indonesia
General information - Safety in Indonesia
Indonesia is a generally safe country for travelers. There is some minor crime, but overall there are few major risks for travelers. The most important risks can come from natural events such as earthquakes or tsunamis.
Earthquakes are frequent and volcanic eruptions are not uncommon either. Indonesia is at the convergence of 3 plates, which explains the high volcanic and seismic activity. It is important to remain vigilant and keep in an eye on the news while there. In case of an incident, follow the instructions given by locals and, if possible, move away from the seaside and climb to altitude.
Other practical information to backpack in Indonesia
The Indonesian currency is the Indonesian rupee. 1€ is equivalent to about 16'000 rupees. For the latest figures, it is best to consult the website xe.com
In terms of time zone, Indonesia is located in 3 different time zones (from GMT +7 to +9). For example, between Java and France there is a 5 to 6 hour delay (depending on whether we are in winter or summer time). So, when it is 10am in France it is 3pm in Java in summer and 4pm in winter.
Indonesia uses C / F type plugs, so we don't need an adapter with French or Swiss devices (except for Swiss devices that have a 3 branch output... but the Swiss are used to carrying an adapter because of that). ;) For other nationalities you want to make sure to bring a travel adapter. You don't have one yet??? Find one here for exemple
Visas for Indonesia
|Stay Duration||Visa Type||Price||Can be extended?||Where to do it|
|Less than 30 days||Visa Waiver||free||no||on arrival|
|30 days||visa on arrival||35$||yes||on arrival|
|60 days||tourism visa||55€||no||to be done in advance|
If you want to stay more than 60 days, it seems that the best solution is to take the 60-day visa and then do what is called a visa run. A visa run consists of leaving the country for a few days (or just hours) and returning later to get a Visa extension.
For Switzerland: it seems that for Swiss people the 60-day tourist visa which costs 65 CHF can be extended (maximum 4 extensions of 30 days).
Getting to Indonesia
The main airports in Indonesia for tourism are Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Lombok, and Surabaya. If you come from Europe, it is likely that you will stop in Jakarta, Bangkok or Singapore before reaching your destination.
To find the cheapest flights to Indonesia the best way is to compare on Skyscanner and use the price alert system to stay informed when the price drops.
The price of flights departing from France generally varies between 400€ (a good price which can generally be obtained during a slightly off-season trip) and 800€ (average price in high season). Afterwards, as usual, the more flexible you are about travel dates and your departure city, the more likely you will find a good offer. Feel free to compare prices between the different departure and arrival airports! Note: you can simply put an entire country as the starting and ending point to maximize your chances!
Getting around Indonesia
In Indonesia you will have plenty of choices with means of transportation like buses, trains and boats to get around. The good thing is that unlike the time of our round the world trip, it is now possible to buy your tickets online on platforms like Bookaway or 12Go. It can save you time and negotiations ;)
See trips in Indonesia on Bookaway
See trips in Indonesia on 12Go
Religion in Indonesia
Indonesia is a country where several religions coexist and where freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution. However, even if there are therefore several religions that are represented on the Indonesian islands, the most widespread is undoubtedly Islam. Almost 87% of the population declares itself Muslim, making Indonesia the largest Muslim country in the world.
We have (at least I had) the impression that Hinduism is also very present... So Hinduism is indeed present on Bali, but it is almost the only island where this religion can be found.
For visitors, religion is by no means a barrier, although it is important to always respect local customs and habits. Indonesia is a seaside destination and the swimsuit is not a problem on tourist beaches, but it is important to remember to cover your shoulders and neckline (for ladies) when walking in the street. Personally I had decided to opt for long but light pants and the wearing of the T-Shirt with small sleeves (no small tops with straps) and I always felt 100% comfortable with this outfit.
It may also be useful to include a small pareo or scarf in your backpack to cover your shoulders more when visiting religious places.
A few words of Indonesian to startIndonesian is a relatively easy language to learn, at least some basic words... Then it should be known that Indonesian is actually much more complex in the sense that the country has more than 740 different languages but what is often called Indonesian is the language called Malay de Riau or Bahasa Indonesia.
The huge advantage of Indonesian is that the language uses the Latin alphabet, so it is relatively easy for travelers to find their way around the signs and read the menus. We are not going to give you a detailed Indonesian course here, but here are some polite words that might be very useful to you!
|Hello||Selamat pagi||Good evening||Selamat malam|
|Thank you||Terima kasih||Goodbye||Selamat tinggal|
|My name is||Nama saya...||Yes/No||Ya/Tidak|
|Eat||Makan||bus station||stasiun de bus|
|I am looking for...||Saya mencari||hotel||hotel|
|city centre||pusat kota||Cheers!||tepuk tangan|
Travel itinerary to backpack Indonesia
Indonesia is a very large and especially a very long country! When planning your itinerary it is therefore really important not to "think too big" in terms of distance! For a first trip to Indonesia, the islands of Java and Bali are often the most popular options.
We think it takes a minimum of 2 to 3 weeks just for these 2 islands!
Do you have more time? Then you can start to consider adding additional stops to your itinerary. For our part, we stayed in Indonesia for 1 month. We arrived in Lombok and left from Jakarta. Doing so has allowed us not to travel twice between Lombok and Jakarta (if you have to leave from the same airport as the one you arrived at, it is important to calculate the longer travel time for the round trip).
Our favorites in Indonesia:
- The ascent of the Rinjani volcano on the island of Lombok! See our article
- North Bali by motorbike: a great week between the rice fields and the Batur volcano. See the article
- Our experience of Ijen and Bromo with a former miner as a guide. See the article
Backpacking Indonesia: Some last essentials
Here are some accessories and readings that could be useful to you if you are planning your trip:
- Lonely Planet about Indonesia: A good guide throughout the territory. It goes less into detail but covers most of each region
- Lonely Planet Bali and Lombok: More complete on these 2 destinations in particular.