Hey guys !
Traveling and video-graphy became passion of mine. By the means of this blog I would like to share with you some tips and tricks on how to travel even the most tropical and expensive places in the world, because trust me, it can be done ! And you dont have to die out of hunger or sleep in the dust-busket to make it. In the case muse kicks me, I will try to give you some inspiration or even some courage, too. In time, I will share also video – blogs on how to make travel videos, techniques, post-processing and cutting in Adobe Premiere Pro. There is a lot to come, so stay tunned here:
This post is dedicated specifically to overal travel info about Indonesia, but if I survive my upcoming journey I will reveal how to travel Sri Lanka and Maldives cheaply as well! So here we go, let´s make our dreams come true : )
Before the journey…
Cheap traveling is based primarily on cheap flying ticket. And since Indonesia and Malaysia are becoming cheaper every year, there is a lot of possibilities to choose from. We bought ours 6 months in advance for 440 € via Turkish airlines with one stop over in Istanbul (but I saw them starting from 380 € everywhere in Europe). I have to say, Turkish airlines offer top service – I felt like a king – we were provided with delicious food from rich MENU, rug, sleeping bag, slippers, cosmetics, could listen to a great music or watch good movies – it was really comfortable flight for ridiculously cheap price. So what are the choices?
The cheapest starting points for Indonesia are: Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Milano, Venice or even sometimes Paris. Cheapets places of destination are: Kuala Lumpur, then Jakarta or Denpasar (Bali). You should check the tickets via:
Be aware ! I do not recommend you to buy tickets via these portals as they include more and more less reliable “Third sites” such as Travelgenio or Airtickets, that may offer cheaper tickets than the flying company but there is lower guarantee you will receive it and that everything will proceed as is supposed to. If there is enormous price gap between these portals and flying company and you wanna risk it, try first to find some reviews on the internet and then hope for the best 😀
If you are more flexible and have no spare time to spend whole day every day just searching for some cheap flying tickets, there are experts that will do that gladly for you. I recommend you to like these pages on facebook:
Be aware! There is always some reason for extra cheap price. Before you buy anything, check the season of your visit just to avoid some typhoons. Buy flying ticket with your own credit/debit card that will be brought to airport as they, especially when you fly to countries such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, etc., control your documentation and if your name on ticket does not much the name on the card, you might get into trouble if you dont have any possible document you can think of. So you may be rejected to get on board or you might be pressed to buy those tickets again, which we clearly don´t want to 😀
For the transportation between Indonesian islands we used these companies:
Tickets cost around 30 €, which is relatively cheaper than land long-distanced transportation, and I must admit that even safer. However, avoid Lion Air – unreliability, lower baggage allowance, delays, and complications with buying ticket itself.
People were literally laughing at me for telling them that Indonesia has dry season in summer, and trust me this time, it has ! 😀 And since we are students and can travel mostly during summer months, this is one of the reasons why we chose Indonesia. Before you buy flying ticket, don´t forget to check the weather on Lonelyplanet.com or this nice site: selectiveasia.com
To sum up, Indonesia has dry season from May to September while wet season from October until May. But I recommend you to visit this amazing place at the end or at the start of wet season – prices are even lower, nature is amazingly green and it is actually fun to experience one of their strong but short rains.
Vaccination – or will I die of malaria?!
Another travel myth. No, you will not die of malaria. During the month I spent there I met like 4 moscitos, and half of them on public toilets (really ! :D). So although your doctor will insist on buying antimalatics and to use it as prevention, I do not recommend it at all. In my opinion, it is the worst you can do for your body and for your journey as well – my friend was halucinating, vomitting, got sick, etc.. Moreover, it won´t probably work anyway! Malaria that is spread by moscitos mutates everyday, so even if you use the tablets, it may not function and if you get Malaria in Indonesia, you will have to seek out doctor that will give you different antimalarics anyway. So if you wanna feel safe, I suggest you to buy some antimalarics in Indonesia and consult it there – after all, Indonesians know the best.
Should I get some vaccinations? Well, it is up to you. It is generally recommended to get hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, and typhoid typhus. I emphasize especially, tetanus, as there is relatively high possibility of being biten by a monkey, so it might be a real problem – you would have to run to hospital immediately. However, as I mentioned before it is completely up to you. You can consult it with your doctor or in some communities on the internet.
Insurance is very, very important ! You should therefore decide carefully based on your preferences. Just do not skip it because you would regret it later a big time !
Backpack and what should I pack with me?
You asked me a lot whether you can take classical “holiday” suitcase. Forget it ! These trips are “backpacking style” only. Suitcase would only make you less flexible in every possible way. You should buy rather high-quality bacpack that will resist all kinds of weather. It is generally recommended to buy this one on Amazon .Advantage is, that this company will repair your backpack no matter what reason for free !
There is nothing special that you should take with you, even plug connector is European (but not English type). However, don´t forget some scarf for your face, longer pants or skirt because of their religious customs. Moreover, if you go watch the sunrise over active volcano Bromo, please dress a lot ! I was freazing there, literally! I was laughing at home at people who were wearing winter caps and gloves and then I almost bought those too, so do not underestimate it!
Is it even safe to go there?
Indonesia is, in fact, very safe country. I felt safer than at home sometimes. Indonesia is being recommended even for solo-female travelers. Locals are amazing ! – welcoming, smiling, good-hearted, and will help you anytime. At first it might seem weird and you may suspect them from having some other hidden agenda, but they believe in karma and act according to it. However, don´t be too trustful – it may not pay off sometimes. They are still poor people afterall and might steal something from you if you are not carefull enough (as anywhere in the world). Nevertheless, they are definately not canibals that will eat you along the way as I was warned by my friends ! 😀
Volcano may burst out, of course. But this is actually normal thing and will not affect you in some special way (depending on the situation). It also happened during our journey and we didn´t even know it. And yes, there were some terrorist attacks in Bali, but this may happen anytime and anywhere in the world.
We spent 23 days in Indonesia. We started in Kuala Lumpur (as it was the cheapest way) and flew to Yogyakarta in Java island for 34 €. Then we continued to active volcano Bromo by transfer (app. 13 hours) which cost app. 15 €. We flew from nearby city Surabaya to Bali for 30 €. From Bali you will get to island Lombok by traject for 3 € (4 hours) or by private boat for 25/30 € (1/2 hours). Please, but do not trust the statements from “dock” people that traject has already flown away ! 😀 Then we made 1-day trip to Gili Meno which you can reach by local boat from Lombok for 1 € (20 minutes).
Finally, we got on 5-day cruise to Komodo from Lombok for 230 € (everything included). It was the best experience ever ! I strongly recommend that. You can book your trip on this website: peramatour.com. You will be asked to pay 20 % in advance if booking 1 month before cruise, 100 % if it is less than month – that´s how they do it in Indonesia and since this company is low-cost and well-known they fill up very fast. You should book it as soon as possible. And you don´t have to worry, they are responsible and you can trust them – I paid it via PayPall (safest way) and they sent me voucher and even invoice.
But if you want to know which are the TOP places in Indonesia to visit, try this website with a lot of useful tips from the Crazy Tourist !
What you should know
Indonesia have non-visa entry for a lot of countries now. You have to find out, whether you are lucky or not. If not, you will have to pay 35 dollars at arrival directly at the airport. However, if you would like to spend there more than 30 days, you have to submit for visas in advance which will cost you 50 €.
Predominant religion is islam (mainly Java island and Lombok) and hinduism (Bali). You should therefore addapt to their cultural and religious customs. But don´t worry! Indonesia is not that strict and conservative as, for instance, arabic countries. Yes, you can wear even shorts!
Currency – cca. 1 USD = 13 157 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). Finally, you will be a millionaire ! Exchange offices are around every corner, but ATMs are rather rare. Therefore you should withdraw greater amount of money in advance. A part of it exchange at the airport, and the rest anywhere you find appropriate.
Sim card – if you don´t wanna bankrupt yourself, buy it. It is very cheap. We were stupid, so we didn´t buy it and one minute cost us 4 € !
Monkeys ! Crazy little monkeys! They bite, kick and steal – forget the notion about nice creatures, they are actually beasts!
Don´t ride on the elephants! They, in fact, have a very weak back, so it is very paintful for them, not to mention, the parks that exploit and torture them for the purpose of this business. I will write more comprehensive article about our experience and this important issue in general.
Bargain, bargain, bargain. It is the only way you get decent price. If not, you might end up as my travel buddies that bought postcards for 10 € ! 😀 You should see their faces afterwards.
If you are not a good driver or stupid, avoid riding bikes on Bali and Java island. Number of accidents is relatively high (caused mainly by tourists), corrupted “tourist” policemen are everywhere (mainly on Bali), and traffic is reaaaaally crazy. Trust me, you don´t wanna end up in some of their hospitals 😀
Be aware of jellyfish! For whole my life I have been scared of spiders. How stupid I was. A jellyfish is what you should be worried about. I was attacked by a bunch of them – I could neither breath or move and it hurt like hell. If it had not been the locals and their magical herb there, I would have probably ended up in local hospital. If something like this happens to you, just do not scrape wounded place with salty water as I did, but use sand instead.
The three biggest “eaters”
The prices for Indonesian accomodation are incredibly low. I paid 109 € for the whole stay! (That´s what I paid for 4 nights in Italy). Choose accomodation with included breakfast and if possible also with bike rental – you will save a lot of money and time. Prices I accepted ranged from 5 € to 12 €. You can book it in advance (and also pay later) or directly at the place – depends on what you prefer. I booked everything in advance to secure: good price, nice location and many facilities – and to avoid those fussy situations when you sweat, your heavy bag is killing you, you didn´t eat like 18 hours which results in taking whatever comes your way first and then discover that water is not running 😀
As a result, we booked interesting and comfortable accomodations – e.g. near volcano crater, bungallow surrounded by the nature (as in the picture above) or even nice hotel room for 8 € (as in the picture below):
For booking of accomodation I recommend these websites:
- Booking.com – the greatest variety, the best prices and service
- Agoda.com – very simillar to Booking.com
- Couchsurfing.com – for free, and you will get to know the locals and their culture, what could be better?
- Airbnb.com – beautiful, interesting and very comfortable accomodations
I will talk about our accomodations in more detail in other blog posts dedicated to particular islands : )
Act like locals, pay like locals. Moreover, it is so much funnier. We used local horses, transfers, buses, trajects, jeep, ariplanes, but I fell in love with bikes ♥ the most. We weren´t able to drive them on Java island or Bali as we would surely end up dead, but Lombok was a different case – empty and new roads, something I have never dreamt of (picture below). We rented them for a day two times, and it cost 2,8 €/person/day, including gasoline!
Insist, however, on compulsory equipment (e.g. helmet), insurance and check properly condition of the vehicle with its owner before the ride – make some record about it! It is also very important from WHO you rent the bike/car. The best you can do is to rent it from your accomodation owner (it is safe as they care about reputation a lot, negative feedback on booking or social media is not good for bussiness).
But how did we orientate? We didn´t 😀 We got lost too many times. We asked the locals to advice us – there was no rush, anyway. But then we managed to download some off-line maps which were relatively working – download some of them too, it is better than get lost every 5 kilometres ! 😀
If you are, however, scared or don´t know drive, try shared-ride. You can ask some local or just stand by the road and wait – they will eventually ask you anyway. The price of the ride will depend on your bargaining skills. Another cheapest way of transportation is, as generally, bus, train or traject. Use taxi only in case when you are a group going on a trip for whole day or if you must, use “blue cabs” or taxi with fixed tax – it is much cheaper! Ironically, the cheapest taxi we used was in Kuala Lumpur – 150 km for 18 €, i.e. 4,5 € per person! : D
Besides the fact that it is delicious, it is, again, very cheap! Anew, eat like locals = best food and lowest price. We tried also a lot of restaurants and it did not bankrupt us, too : )
One of my favourites were green pancakes with coconut milk (photo above), green balls with coconut (I forgot the name :/ ), Chicken Satay (chicken meat with peanut sauce), Gado Gado (mix of everything – still don´t know, what that is :D), Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Miu Goreng (fried pasta with meat).
Prices in the shops were reaaally low – for us Slovakians.
There is some price comparison of food in restaurant:
- Java island – classic dinner 0,80 €
- Bali – classic dinner 2 €
- Lombok – classic dinner 3 €
Check this website before the journey to see approximate costs of living: numbeo.com
- Budapest – Kuala Lumpur (flight) = 440 €
- Kuala Lumpur – Yogyakarta (flight) = 34 €
- Yogyakarta – Bromo (transfer) = 15 €
- Surabaya – Bali (flight) = 30 €
- Bali – Lombok (traject) = 3 €
- Lombok – Gili Meno – Lombok (local ship – return ticket) = 2 €
- Lombok – bike rental for 2 days/1 person/with gasoline = 5,60 €
- Lombok – Bali (traject) = 3 €
- Bali – Kuala Lumpur (flight) = 94 € ……………………………………………..together, transportation = 626,60 €
- 18 from /22 nights = 109 € ( 4 nights included in cruise) ………………………together, accomodation = 109 €
Cruise to Komodo
- 5 days – accomodation, food, hygiene, snorkling equipment = 220 €
- 2x entry to national parks = 10 € ……………………………………………………………………..together, cruise = 230 €
Attractions, fun, and entry fees
- Kuala Lumpur – mosque, Batu Cave = 0 €
- Yogyakarta, combo entry to Prambanan and Borobudur temple = 25 € (take your student card !)
- Bromo – jeep, volcano trip = 20 €
- Bali – elephants = 50 €, rafting = 17 €, Kecak dance = 7 €, temples and waterfalls (6x) = 10 €, together= 84 €
- Lombok – beaches= 0€, waterfalls= 2€, guide= 2,5 €/person , together= 4,5 €
- Komodo – already included………………………………………………………………….together, attractions = 133, 50 €
Food, souvenirs and other
- I don´t have precise record of how much I spent
- I think my friend spent around 150 € and I little bit more: 250/300 €
TOGETHER, INDONESIA = 1099,00 € + food, souvenirs
*if you lower your expenditures on flying tickets , accomodation and food, final price will be ridiculous!
** if you compare it to travel agencies you wil find out that: A) they don´t even offer such trip and B) it is almost 3x more expensive (I found similar trip in my country for 2500/3000 €). So what are you waiting for?
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This post was dedicated to general information about country, but I am going to analyze particular places so I would give you much bigger picture about what are MUST see places, what to avoid, and what to be careful about. I wish you a nice day.
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