Ah, Indonesia – the first leg of our Nomadic Existence travels. A country close to home, where English is widely spoken, with jungles, temples, ruins, beaches and islands – it was going to be the perfect first destination.
Our 6.5 weeks through Indonesia were in no way as easy or as cheap as we had hoped. Visiting during Ramadan meant a change in plans in Sumatra, Bali’s prices are forever increasing due to the tourist numbers and Java was physically exhausting.
Indonesia was definitely a country that tested our patience, drained our wallets, yet provided us with some incredible, cannot-be-found-anywhere-else experiences that we will treasure forever.
Cities We’ve Visited to DateBali: Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Ubud, Uluwatu, Nusa DuaJava: Yogyakarta, Borobudur, Surakarta, Sempol (Kiawah Ijen), Bondowoso, Cemoro Lawang (Mt Bromo), Probolinggo, SurabayaSumatra: Medan, Banda Aceh, Pulau Weh, Danau Toba
INDONESIA FACT FILE
Indonesia is relatively cheap to travel, except for the island of Bali which sees the most tourists and therefore hikes its prices up. Street food and accommodation is always fairly well priced, but attractions and activities and organised tours can catch you out so its worth exploring whether they can be done independently to save you money.
Staying connected in Indonesia is easy, with most accommodation and restaurants and cafes offering free wi-fi. You can also pick up a SIM card from vendors in most tourist areas, 7/11 as well as counters in department stores, often on the lower level. We purchased a Telkomsel Sim Card which included 4.5GB of data for 90 000 RP, with coverage across all of Indonesia’s islands.
You won’t have any trouble speaking English with the locals in Bali, however in the more off the beaten path destinations in Sumatra and Java you could struggle. Pick up some handy phrases and numbers in Indonesian (pronunciation is fairly easy) to get by.
READ more about our adventures in Indonesia!
Visiting Pulau Weh in Sumatra? Check out this article for our advice on what to do and how to get there – and why you shouldn’t visit during Ramadan!
Never experienced a massage in Asia before? This article will enlighten you about what to expect – but don’t let it put you off!
A specific how-to guide for renewing your Indonesian visa. The particulars pertain to the island of Bali, but the process is the same no matter where you are in Indonesia.
Advice for visiting the temples of Borobudur in central Java, and whether forking out for the sunrise ticket was really worth it – check out the Java Jaunt video below to see what we mean about the crowds!
Want to trek the famous Ijen crater? We trekked at sunset as opposed to sunrise – read about our experience and how to get the most out of your visit.