2020 Backpacking Indonesia Itinerary: A Ridiculously In-Depth Guide

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last Updated:
June 25, 2020
Travel Guide
Looking for the ultimate guide on backpacking Indonesia? Then look no further, I've got you covered with this in-depth guide on all you need to know...
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Indonesia is one of the most diverse countries in the world, and of my favourite spots in all of Asia.

It’s full of thousands of islands, probably too many to explore in one lifetime, but that means you’ll never get bored.

We’ve spent a total of 10 weeks in beautiful Indonesia and there is so much to see and do.

If you’re planning a trip to Indonesia, then keep reading our backpacking Indonesia travel guide for absolutely everything you need to know about visiting this awesome country. 

Quick Things To Learn About Indonesia...

how safe is India
Safety

Generally Indonesia is quite safe. There have been terrorist attacks over the years, but you need to follow normal precautions. Try not to gather in large public gatherings, don’t flash the cash, don’t get drunk alone, don’t walk at night on your own, etc. We have never experienced any sort of safety issues when we have visited Indonesia. People are generally very welcoming and friendly.

Injections for India
Travel vaccines

Before backpacking Indonesia, it’s important to ensure your vaccines are up to date. Recommended injections include: Typhoid, Hep A & B, Tetanus, and Rabies. For up to date information, check with your nation's health bureau.

sim cards in India
Sim Cards

There are a few sim card companies in Indonesia. We used XL Axiata which worked well. But you can typically order a sim card online now for convenience with Klook.

ATMs in India
ATMs

Access to ATMs all across Indonesia is quite widespread. You shouldn’t have issues. If you are going somewhere remote, stock up on cash at the nearest town beforehand. As of 2020, there are no bank fees when using Monzo, Starling or Revolut.

Tipping in India
Tipping

It’s always nice to tip! Tipping of 10% is the norm in Indonesia, but if you feel the service has been great then feel free to do more

Indian currency
Currency

In Indonesia they use Indonesian Rupee (IDR). You can get it before you visit or when you land from the ATM.

partying in India
Partying

Indonesia as a whole is a muslim country, so drinking isn’t an integrated part of the culture. However touristy areas do drink, especially on the islands of Bali, Gili islands and parts of Lombok. The main party hub is Bali, but alcohol is heavily taxed, so not as cheap as other Asian countries.

malaria risk in India
Malaria Risk

The risk of Malaria in Indonesia depends on where you are visiting. So in Bali, the risk is quite low. However, all rural areas in Nusa Tenggara Barat, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Eastern Indonesia, and parts of Java, all have a risk. You should take anti-malarials if you’re travelling outside of Bali, and use mosquito sprays to prevent getting bitten.

religions in India
Religion

The main religion of Indonesia is Muslim. However the island of Bali is an exception as it’s main religion is Hinduism. As a predominately Muslim country, respect Ramadan, times of pray and other cultural days.

Language in India
Language

The official language in Indonesia is Indonesian, but in more touristy places such as Bali, or the Gili islands, you’ll often find people speak English.

Power sockets in India
Power Sockets

There are 2 main varieties: type C and type F. Standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. You can pick up a universal travel adapter for convenience.

history of India
History

Best places to visit in Indonesia

If you’re planning on organizing a vacation to Indonesia, you’ve probably realized there is A LOT of islands to visit and discover. Unfortunately you can’t simply do them all in one go. So below I take you through all the best places to visit in Indonesia that Brad and I have visited, and I’ll mention one or two that were on our list, but we had to cut short due to an accident.

All in all, Indonesia is one of the best backpacking destinations in the world, so get ready to be inspired! 

Bali 

Let’s start with the most obvious one. Bali is a great island and it’s very unique in comparison to the rest of Indonesia. Bali is very very westernized, which means for me, it’s not “true” Indonesia. But the island has a lot to offer. Amazing surf, beautiful views, volcanoes to climb, waterfalls to discover and cheap food and accommodation. It’s no wonder backpackers love to visit Bali. 

But what I would like to stress in this backpacking Indonesia guide, is that there is so much more to Indonesia than just Bali. So if you’ve visited Bali before, try a different location and you’ll see just how diverse Indonesia is!

places to visit in bali

Nusa Penida

So, Nusa Penida actually “belongs' ' to Bali, but it’s nowhere near as westernized which means it has a lot of charm. Penida is stunning and offers beautiful blue waters, gorgeous beaches, the chances to swim with manta rays, stunning waterfalls and unique treehouses to sleep in all over the island. Without doubt, one of the best places to visit in Indonesia.

nusa penida

Bandung 

Bandung is located in west Java and it’s one of my favourite places in Indonesia because it’s so undiscovered. It’s a popular spot among Indonesians, but not for the western traveler. That’s why you should visit! Bandung is home to one of the most accessible volcanoes (you can drive right up), amazing tea fields, (that reminded me of Sri Lanka) and the coolest floating market (better than the ones in Bangkok, in my humble opinion). 

Read: Top Things To Do In Bandung, Indonesia 

bandung

Jakarta 

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and it’s typically used as a base to fly in and out off. But Jakarta is buzzing with culture, and honestly, it’s a shoppers dream. It’s got some amazing shopping malls and if you want to splash the cash, this is the place to do it. Typically I’m not a fan of Asian capital cities, they tend to be overcrowded and the air pollution is always high, but I liked Jakarta.

Malang 

Malang is another awesome place to go when backpacking Indonesia. It’s most famous for “Rainbow village” which is truly awesome. But venture outside on a moped and you’ll come across the most amazing waterfalls. Oh, it’s also the perfect spot to start your Mount Bromo tour which is the best volcano sunrise I’ve ever done. 

Read: Top Things to do in Malang, Indonesia 

blue village jodipan

Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is located in East Java and it’s probably the most “backpacker” place in Java. It’s brimming with beautiful sights to discover including two iconic temples, Pranamanan temple and Borobudur temple. 

Read: Top things to do in Yogyakarta, Indonesia 

temples in java

Gili islands 

The Gili islands are located just off of the island of Lombok. There are 3 main “popular” Gili islands which are Gili Trawagan (the biggest), Gili Air (the smallest) and Gili Memo. These islands are small little paradises with beautiful blue waters and amazing snorkelling opportunities. If you want a mini beach holiday where you can relax, and spend lots of time in the water, then a trip to the Gili islands should be on your Indonesian travel itinerary. 

the gili islands

Nusa Lembongan

Nusa Lembongan is located just off Bali and it’s easily accessible via boat. Again it’s an up and coming island and it’s got amazing snorkeling. Bali island itself doesn’t have the best snorkel, but head of to Lembongan and you’ll be greeted with lots of fishing and beautiful blue, clear waters. 

I just want to mention a few places we had our own list but had to cancel due to the fact we had a moped accident when in Nusa Penida. These include: 

  • Lombok: it’s famous for its volcanoes, and many many amazing waterfalls dotted all over the island. It’s also great for diving and surfing. 
  • Komodo islands: Famous for the Komodo dragon, really wished we had made it, but it will definitely be on my list to visit when I return to backpack Indonesia once more! 
  • Raja Ampat: a divers dream, absolute dream 
  • Flores island: this was on our list too, it looks beyond beautiful and still very undiscovered. 
  • Padar island: part of the Komodo islands, but famous for its stunning beaches and iconic landscapes. Famous for those pink beaches too!
nusa lembgoan attractions

Our 18 favourite things to do in Indonesia 

There are hundreds of amazing things to do in Indonesia, too many for me to possibly list in one lifetime. So, I’m going to round it off to 18 awesome things you can place on your Indonesia itinerary. 

1. Sunrise at Mount Bromo 

This is one of my fondest memories of visiting Indonesia. I’ve done quite a few sunrise adventures over the years, but the sunrise at Mount Bromo surpassed all my expectations and the beauty that unfolded in front of my eyes was unbelievable. Was also cool that you could fly a drone! 

I’ve done a whole guide on doing a Mount Bromo tour that you can check out here, but this should be number one on any Indonesia bucket list. 

views of mount bromo

2. Dance around the tea fields of Bandung 

If you haven’t been to Sri Lanka and visited the amazing tea fields there, then you’re going to love Bandung. As it sits a little “higher” the climate is a little cooler which means it’s perfect for growing tea plants. Tea fields are super pretty and they're a great place to visit. You can fly your drone, have a picnic, or just simply enjoy the views.

bandung tea fields

3. Drive up to the active volcano of Tangkuban Perahu

If you’ve always wanted to visit an active volcano, without the effort of actually climbing the volcano, then I’ve found you the perfect option. You can literally drive all the way up to Tangkuban Perahu volcano. Actually when Brad and I drove the whole way up there, it was not possible for visitors to reach the top, as it had just erupted like 3 days before...whoops, should have checked the news. But we did get to visit the control room and look at the volcanic activity and how they track it etc. 

4. Visit the rainbow village of Jodipan 

Ah, this is definitely one of the best things to do when backpacking Indonesia. The colourful rainbow village of Jodipan was created as a way to bring tourism to an underdeveloped area of Malang. It was an idea by the university students and it’s really cool! Right beside there is a blue village which looks like the one from Morocco, but the two side by side, make for an amazing drone shot...as you can see!

rainbow village malang

5. Explore the most beautiful waterfall in Indonesia: Tumpak Sewu

East Java is home to many incredible waterfalls, but perhaps the most famous and inspiring is Tumpak Sewu. It's located around an hours moped drive outside of Malang and it’s without doubt the best waterfall I have seen in all of Indonesia (so far).

Not only is it powerful, you can hike down underneath it to feel the power, you can also fly a drone and get some amazing pics. At certain times of the day, when it’s not cloudy you can see an awesome volcano as the backdrop of a waterfall which makes for an amazing shot! 

Plus the drive out here is nice, you go through some local villages. 

waterfalls

6. Catch sunrise at the stunning Borobudur temple 

This is one of the most unique temples I’ve come across. After you’ve backpacked a lot of Asia, temples begin to look similar, but not this one. It’s unique, beautiful and it makes for an awesome sunrise (if you can wake up...cough). 

temples in yogkarata

7. Visit the most beautiful temple in Indonesia: Prambanan Temple 

This is my favorite temple in all of Indonesia. The texture, shape, sheer size and beauty all leads to such a cool temple. It’s actually quite a big complex and you can view 3 sets of temples within, and you can get to them all via segway, which is fun!  This is such a beautiful spot to visit when backpacking Indonesia. 

Prambanan Temple 

8. Visit the beautiful Becci Peak 

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Yogyakarta city centre, then rent a moped and head to the hills, literally. The forest areas are filled with amazing lookout spots, picture spots, zip lines and more. Becci Peak is one of those and it offers amazing views! You can do zip line here for $1, or eat a local lunch. 

becci peak

9. Visit the love heart of Yogyakarta 

I actually found this place on Instagram before we visited Indonesia, and I thought, I want to find that! Well, if you head to the coast of Yogyakarta, then you can. If you go in the dry season, as we did, the the flowers are a little worn out as it’s located on a sand dune (that you can sand board or rent a jeep at too!), but in the summer the colours are in full swing! 

love heart of Yogyakarta 

10. Go waterfall chasing in beautiful Bali 

Bali is literally bursting with amazing waterfalls, and all my favourites are located in the north. They’re less discovered, more beautiful and even more fun. Aling Aling, I’m talking about you and your natural slides and epic jumps. Sekumpul and Git Git are two other great waterfalls in north Bali. 

READ7 Best Waterfalls To Visit In Bali

sekumpul waterfall

11. Visit the iconic Diamond beach and T-rex beach on Nusa Penida 

Nusa Penida is filled with awesome spots to visit, but actually some of my favourites are the diamond beach and t-rex beach. The latter I almost made it too but had a moped accident on the way, so ended up at a hospital instead, but you’ll recognize the beach. It’s probably the most photographed spot on Nusa Penida. 

TOUR: This Nusa Pendia Instagram Tour is a great way to see all the best sights on Pendia in one day.

indonesia sights

12. Snorkel with the fishes on Nusa Lembongan 

Snorkelling in Nusa Lembongan was a lot of fun. We didn’t do a lot of snorkelling anywhere else in Indonesia (other than the Gili islands), but Nusa Lembongan was filled with lots of cool fishes. Not as good as the Philippines, but if it’s your first time snorkelling then you’ll absolutely love it. 

TOURThis Nusa Lembongan Tour will take you to ALL The best spots on the island.

nusa lembogan

13. Walk among the beautiful rice terraces of Sidemen 

When visiting rice terraces in Bali, everyone flocks to Ubud, but honestly I think the ones in Sidemen are much more beautiful. Perhaps because they’re not overtaken by tourists (yet :P) 

rice fields in bali

14. View the most epic sunsets at Uluwatu Temple 

To this day, Uluwatu is still one of my favourite sunset spots in the world. The temple there is awesome and you should visit it just before sunset. Pick up a couple of bintangs, find yourself a seat by the water (on a wall probably) and enjoy the view. 

15. Visit the iconic Bali Gates of Heaven 

When I first visited Indonesia, this wasn’t really a popular tourist attraction, but fast forward a couple of years and it’s too popular. But I think it makes for a really cool picture! 

READ: My Ultimate Guide On Visiting The Bali Gates Of Heaven 

bali gates of heaven

16. Visit the beautiful Batu Flower Garden and discover hidden waterfalls 

The Batu flower garden in Malang was really cool, not only very well maintained, but there was a hidden waterfall. It was a bit of a trek to get to, but no one else was there and it was pretty beautiful. I love discovering hidden gems and places no one is at. 

batu flower garden

17. Experience a sunrise hike at Mount Batur

Mount Batur is one of the active volcanoes in Bali and it makes for an epic sunrise. The most popular activity here to do a sunrise hike, which is medium difficulty I’d say, then when you reach the top, you’ll experience an epic sunrise, followed by a breakfast of typically bread and banana! This was one of my favourite things to do in Bali.  This is probably one of the most famous places to visit in Indonesia. 

mount batur sunrise

18. Shop at the many many markets

Ubud is a great spot to pick up gifts for friends and family and presents for yourself. The Ubud markets have something for everyone and lots of local produce and crafts too. It's a really cool place to visit, but make sure you're ready to haggle!

TOURThis best of Ubud tour will take you to all the best spots in the area.

Choosing your Indonesia Itinerary

Regardless of how long you have to spend in Indonesia, you can create an itinerary that will showcase some of the best spots in Indonesia. I warn you, it'll be busy! Check out our variety of Indonesia itineraries below for some inspiration...

1 Week Indonesia Itinerary Ideas

So, you’ve got one week in Indonesia, well you’re simply going to have to return! :P But no, one week will limit you to what you can do, so I would suggest sticking to one island. If you’ve never been to Indonesia before, you can head to Bali and explore that island, and squeeze in a day trip to Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembogan. 

I’ve actually got a 7 day Bali Itinerary which you might find quite useful in this case. 

bali swing

2 Week Indonesia Itinerary Ideas

2 weeks in Indonesia is more viable to work with. I would suggest something along the lines of this.

Bandung> Yogyakarta> Malang> Bali> Nusa Lembongan> Nusa Penida

  • Bandung: 2 nights 
  • Yogyakarta: 3 nights 
  • Malang: 3 nights 
  • Bali: 4 nights 
  • Nusa Lembongan: 1 night
  • Nusa Penida: 1 night

Total: 14 nights in Indonesia. 

This 2 week route will allow you to see the beauty of Java islands with it’s awesome waterfalls, beautiful temples, and importantly, Mount Bromo! It’ll also give you a chance to sample the delights in Bali, but I suggest you focus on one area to make your time worth it, such as the north or south. It will also allow you to visit the nearby Nusa islands, which you could spend a night on each and get all the highlights done in a day! 

This itinerary is perfect for a 2 week Indonesia backpacking trip!

Tumpak Sewu

3 Week Indonesia Itinerary Ideas

3 weeks in Indonesia will allow you to really delve into a couple of islands and experience truly everything on offer. 

Bandung> Yogyakarta> Malang> Bali> Nusa Lembongan> Nusa Penida>Gili islands 

  • Bandung: 2 nights 
  • Yogyakarta: 3 nights 
  • Malang: 3 nights 
  • Bali: 6 nights 
  • Nusa Lembogan: 1 night 
  • Nusa Penida: 2 nights 
  • Gili islands: 4 nights 

This 3 week Indonesia itinerary will give you lots of time to explore Java, a lot of Bali, the Nusa islands, and the Gili islands. 4 nights on the Gili islands will give you a chance to explore all 3 Gili islands. 

gili t

4 Week Indonesia Itinerary Ideas

1 month in Indonesia will give you a chance to explore lots and lots, more than Brad and I even did. Here is my perfect Indonesia itinerary for 4 weeks. 

  • Jakarta: 1 night
  • Bandung: 2 nights
  • Yogyakarta: 3 nights`
  • Malang: 3 nights
  • Bali: 6 nights
  • Nusa Penida: 2 nights
  • Gili Islands: 4 nights 
  • Lombok: 3 nights 
  • Komodo islands: 4 nights 

This 4 week backpacking Indonesia itinerary will give you the full experience. The last trip for the Komodo islands is 4 nights because you can easily get 3 night, 4 day trips to the Komodo islands, so it should work out perfectly in your Indonesia travel itinerary. 

Regardless of which Indonesia itinerary you opt for, you’ll have an amazing time discovering this amazing country filled with beauty, diversity and awesome food and people! 

mount bromo

When Is The Best Time To Visit Indonesia?

If you’re wondering when to go to Indonesia, it’s got a lot to do with the certain months of the year that aren’t monsoon season. That being said, a lot of people do still travel during monsoon season, but you just have to be prepared. 

I think the best month to travel to Indonesia is during June, it’s not “peak” season but the weather is great. The peak months are July, August, and nowadays, September. There’s no cheaper time to visit, because honestly Indonesia is one of the cheapest places to visit in all of Asia. 

Shoulder seasons are a great time to visit because you can usually get flights cheaper to and from the country, especially if you’re travelling from the UK. Check Skyscanner for the best deal in flights. 

teletubbies hill in nusa pendia

Backpacking Indonesia: Sorting Your Indonesia Visa

When it comes to your Indonesia visa, you’ll be happy to hear it’s quite simple if you don’t plan on staying more than 30 days. Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival which lasts for 30 days. No fuss! 

But, if you want to stay a month longer, then it’s a different process. You’ll need to buy a visa on arrival for “--”, then about a week before it expires, head to an immigration office near where you are staying in Indonesia, and pay to get it extended. You CANNOT extend a “visa on arrival”. 

Now, the immigration officers in Jakarta tried to scam Brad and I. Basically he said we could buy 2 months right there and then, no need to extend. I gave him the money, but before we got stamped in, I just didn’t feel confident (as I had read differently online), so I asked another immigration official, and he said nope, you’ll need to get it extended and pay the fee. I explained that someone just took our money for the second month...he asked me to point him out, I did and the officer in question walked up to me, shook my hand, apologized, and oh, the money I had given him was in the hand…..cheeeeeky! 

Can’t trust anyone :P 

If you want to stay longer in Indonesia on a “visa on arrival”, you’ll have to leave the country and re-enter. Lots of people do a “visa run” to Kuala Lumpur in Singapore. There is currently no limit on how many times you can enter and exit Bali in one year…

Just remember to check your appropriate government website for all the specific information you need for your entrance to Indonesia. 

waterfalls in bali indonesia

How Do You Get To Indonesia?

You fly! The easiest way to get to Indonesia to fly. You can fly from all across the world and there are lots of airports all across the different islands. Popular spots to fly into include, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Lombok and Bali. It’s easy to fly into one of these, then fly out of the other, no need to “round-trip”.

If you’re wondering how long it takes to get to Indonesia, then it really depends on what part of Indonesia you’re visiting and where you are coming from. From the UK, with stopovers, it typically takes 13-15 hours. If coming from other areas of Asia, it can take as little as 2 hours, to 4-5 hours. 

Again, check Skyscanner for the best flights around the world. 

Getting Around Indonesia

You’ll be pleased to hear that getting around Indonesia is fairly simple. I’ve actually done a whole post on it which you can check out here, but I’ll summarize here too. 

When it comes to getting around Indonesia, you’ve got a few options. 

  • Fly: Especially on the island of Java, where there is an airport at almost every popular town or city, you can fly internally on the island for quite a cheap price. Of course this won’t be great on your carbon footprint, but who am I to judge. It is an option if you’re limited on time. 
  • Train: On the island of Java the train network is excellent and you can get across the whole country via comfortable and cheap train travel. It’s how we travelled all through Java and the train views are awesome. 
  • Bus: There are bus routes in Indonesia, but actually I’ve never travelled on a bus in Indonesia, so I can’t comment. I imagine they’re cheap, but a lot slower than trains! 
  • Moped: Renting a moped is the best way to get around cities or even smaller islands like Bali, or Nusa Penida. We actually wanted to rent a moped to drive all across Java for 10 days, but it turns out there are laws in place actually making that pretty difficult, so we couldn’t do it. But in general moped rental in Indonesia is very cheap at around $4 a day. Just remember to always wear a helmet! 
getting around indonesia

Finding The Best Accommodation In Indonesia

Thankfully when it comes to deciding where to stay in Indonesia you’ve got lots of options. Bali is the place that has all the choices in the world, however other islands have just as many choices. 

Our favourite website to book accommodation in Indonesia is booking.com. We used it all the time and found it to be the cheapest option. If you are staying on an island, like Bali, then airbnb is a good shout for longer term stays. 

If you’ve never used Airbnb before, then you can use our sign up code to get some money off your first booking. 

airbnb in indonesia
My favourite accommodation in Indonesia!

Indonesia Travel Guide: How To Dress

When it comes to wondering what to wear in Indonesia you’ll be happy to hear it’s not very complicated. Yes, Indonesia is a highly muslim country, which typically requires modest dress with shoulders and knees covered, but with toursits they’re quite relaxed. I always suggest dressing modestly as a sign of respect, but you won’t be criticised for having your shoulders out. This is mainly for women anyway. 

For women I suggest long skirts, comfortable light dresses, and cotton trousers for the day time, then by the beach, swimsuits, bikinis, shorts etc. Carry a sarong with you and you can use this to cover yourself when walking in public places etc. They’re super cheap and light so won’t take up any room in your backpack. Also, they’re nice if there is a chilly breeze by the sea. 

For men, I suggest shorts, three quarter length trousers, (cotton is more breathable), t-shirts, vest tops, and by the beach, normal swimming gear! Don’t walk down the streets with no top on, out of respect more than anything else. 

sightseeing in nusa pendia
Dresses are a great choice!

What To Pack For Indonesia

When it comes to deciding what to take to Indonesia, you need to be practical and consider your space. I’ve produced a smal Indonesia packing list which will cover the bare essentials and the core products you should take with you when backpacking Indonesia.

For a better idea of what to take, check out our Bali packing list; which covers everything you need for basically every island in Indonesia.

What you'll need
WHat We Recommend
Comfortable shoes

Do not skimp on high quality shoes when travelling. You’re going to be walking a lot. Personally I wear Skechers go walk and I’ve been using them for 3 years that they are perfect!

Hiking shoes

If you plan on doing a lot of hiking and adventurous activities, invest in a pair of good quality hiking shoes. You can hang them onto your rucksack.

Reef Flip flops

Brad LOVES these flip flops and I have to say they’re the best pair he has ever bought. They are high quality, comfortable and you can open beer bottles with them (oh yeah!). He uses them for the beach, walking up mountains, long walks, everything and they last long!

Jacket

As said before, it’s a good idea to have a light jacket for your evenings. Some places it can get a little chilly so this will make you more comfortable.

Long trousers

If you want to stay cool, then wear cool long trousers, these are good in the evening to help cover your legs from bug bites.

Cap

Keep your head protected from the intense sunshine!

Playsuits and dress (again, for the ladies)

Super lightweight and breathable means these are perfect for backpacking Mexico.

Deet

Certain areas of Mexico are prone to mosquitoes, so use deet to keep them at bay. I recommend at least 50% deet.

Suncream

Protect your skin. You still tan with sunscreen on! Get a high factor and note that it will be more expensive when you arrive to purchase, so it’s best to bring before you go backpacking Mexico.

high quality camera

You’re going to want to document your travels and if you want a camera that takes high quality pictures and super high quality videos, then I suggest the Canon G7x Mark II. It’s what we use for 80% of our pics and videos. Get a Go Pro for cool underwater pics.

International Travel Adaptor

It’s good to invest in a decent one which will work for a variety of different countries in the world.

Book
Why you should read it
kindle for sri lanka
Kindle Fire

Rather than carrying around actual books, a Kindle is a far more practical item to have with you, and you can download as many books as you want for just a few dollars each. The Kindle Fire also lets you browse the internet, so saves you taking a tablet with you as well, if you're that way inclined.

sri lanka history book
Sri lanka History

If you're keen to learn more about the history of Sri Lanka, then this is a great book. It covers everything through from ethnical origins of Sri Lanka's population, all the way up to modern day tourism.

lonely planet sri lanka guide book
Lonely Planet Sri Lanka (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet have long been the go-to provider of travel guide books for all countries around the world. Personally, we have never paid for one, but instead look out for them in hostels and hotels! But they certainly are in-depth, so long as you get the latest edition. Which is crucial for Sri Lanka. We read a Lonely Planet Guide book for Sri Lanka that was dated 2004 and which described how hostile and dangerous the country is! Which, I suppose, it was at the time. What with the civil war and all ...

rough guide book sri lanka
The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka

Personally, we always opt for Rough Guides as opposed to Lonely Planet. They do some great itinerary and off-the-beaten-track suggestions. So, if you’re looking for more travel inspiration, then go for Rough Guides.

this divided island book
This Divided Island

This Divided Island is an incredibly popular book that has been nominated for, and win, some very highly praised awards. It offers deep insight into what life was like during the recent Sri Lankan civil war.

island of a thousand mirrors when backpacking sri lanka
Island Of A Thousand Mirrors

Island Of A Thousand Mirrors looks at the deep rooted conflict that exists between the Tamil and Sinhalese peoples of Sri Lanka. It does so through the eyes of two young girls, each of whom who come from a different cultural upbringing but still wish to remain friends despite their differences.

cecelia ahern books
Cecelia Ahern books

Finally, here are two books, completely unrelated to Sri Lanka, but which Cazzy enjoyed during her time here. Cecelia Ahern is her favourite author and Marble Collector and Flawed proved to be yet another two great novels by the world-renowned author.

Eating and Drinking in Indonesia

Food and drink in Indonesia is awesome! There is something to really suit everyone. Popular dishes include Nasi and Mei Goreg. Nasi means rice, and Mei is noodles. You can get a variety of forms of these dishes, but they’re all super super cheap (less than $1 on some occasions). 

If you’re a vegetarian, you can get veggie versions of those dishes too. Chicken satay is also a great dish that’s very cheap and local. But if you’re craving some western style food, then you’ll find that super cheap all over the country. 

One of our favourite foodie destinations was Yogkarata, high standard food for a cheap price. Also, Bali is an excellent place for vegans and vegetarians, they even have a totally vegan fast food restaurant! 

Since Indonesia is a mulsim country, there isn’t a lot in terms of alcohol. Locals tend to drink local beer however and the most famous brand is “bintang”, these are fairly cheap and not bad to drink! Great on a hot day by the beach. 

If you don’t like the taste of beer, like me, then try a Bingtang Raddler which comes in a lemon and orange flavour, they’re really nice! 

The more toursity islands such as Bali, and the Gili islands serve all sorts of alcohol, but don’t expect prices to be as cheap as other Asian countries. Due to an alcohol tax, alcohol can be pricey, but you can get some brilliant two for one deals on cocktails. 

Remember you can bring 1 litre of spirits into Indonesia, so if you want to save on pricey alcohol in the country, then just bring your own with you. 

food in indonesia

Useful Online Tools For Your Indonesia Trip

Thanks to the world of digital, there are a wide ranges of apps and online tools that can help make backpacking Indonesia super easy: 

Grab: The Grab app is available pretty much all over Indonesia and it’s brilliant for getting cheap lifts from A to B. We used it all the time. You can order food too which is great if you’re feeling lazy, or you’re sick. 

Go-Jek: Go-Jek is basically another version of Grab, but available and popular in Bali itself. It’s great to have choice, and you can use the “go-life” app to order massages, cleaners, repair people, all sorts!

Tiket: This is a great app to buy train tickets across the island of Java. We used it for all our trips, and you can save up points and get money off your next ride. 

12Go Asia: Brilliant website/app that allows you to book your train/bus/boat and shuttle travel around Indonesia. It compares a range of supplies and gives you the best deal. We found this excellent for boat transfers around Bali, the Gili islands and Lombok. 

Klook: I’ve mentioned some tours via klook across this post, but they are the cheapest provider of tours in Indonesia and it’s a super easy way to book. 

Airbnb: Airbnb is a great website for longer-term stays, and unique accommodation in places like Bali. It’s famous for its fabulous villa and treehouse offerings among rice terraces. 

Indonesia Budget: The Cost Of Backpacking Indonesia

You’ll be pleased to hear that when it comes to setting an Indonesia backpacking budget, it won’t need to be high! The cost if Backpacking Indonesia is quite low, so if you’re on a strict budget then it’s a great place to visit.

What’s also great is that it’s the type of country that will suit all budgets, so if you did want to splash the cash, you certainly can, but you’ll get so much more for your money than in the likes of Europe. 

You could easily get by on a budget of around $35-40 per day. 

Budget for food

Food is super cheap all across Indonesia, regardless of what island you find yourself on. If you eat local (and since the local food is so good, you’ll want to!) then you’ll probably only spend around $2-4 per meal, and that’s including a drink! 

I remember we went to quite an “up-market” restaurant called Roaster and Bear in Yogyakarta and got a start, main and dessert for £6-8….it was seriously amazing food too! 

Even if you want “western” food, you’ll find it relatively cheap too, especially in the form of fast food restaurants like Mcdolands, KFC and Pizza Hut. 

Budget for drink

As I mentioned before, since Indonesia is a majority Muslim country, there isn’t a lot in the way of drinks and when it is available it’s highly taxed. I would say the exception to this is the local beer, Bingtang, which is reasonably priced.

Don’t expect prices as cheap as other Asian nations but you can get cheap cocktails on islands like Bali and the Gili Islands. Just make sure you’re drinking proper spirits and not some homemade concoction that could kill you. 

Budget for travel

Getting around Indonesia is very cheap. Whether you use apps like Grab, or the train networks, or even fly, everything is cheap to use. You’ll get shuttles to and from various places within an island for a cheap price too. You should never pay over the top for travel in Indonesia, if you are, you’re getting ripped off!

indonesia budget

Drone Laws In Indonesia

Drone lovers rejoice, you’ll be happy to hear that the drone laws in Indonesia are quite relaxed. As long as you follow the proper precautions, all the usual, label your drone, only fly to a maximum and minimum height, and don’t fly over religious areas, then you’re good. 

There will be signs allocated when you are not allowed to drone, so respect these. But droning in Indonesia is fantastic. You can drone active volcanoes, amazing rice paddies, stunning beaches and much more.

Some of my favourite drone locations in Indonesia include: 

  • Mount Bromo on Java island: an unbelievable drone spot, get spots of the sunrise and of yourself walking on the edge of an active volcano. 
  • Rice terraces in Bali: Stunning and endless rice terraces make for epic drone shots 
  • Tea fields in Bandung: Endless tea fields also make for amazing shots 
  • Nusa Penida: This island in general is a drone lovers dream, stunning beaches, water and cliffs make for amazing content. 

We use a Mavic Pro, who has been named Baby Mavic. He was worth every penny we spent for the high quality content he produces! 

gili islands
We love our drone!

Final Thoughts And Advice From Our Indonesia Itinerary

When backpacking Indonesia, you’re going to have a lot of fun. Brad and I travel as a couple, but I think Indonesia would be quite safe for solo travellers too.  We never ran into any issues in all our time there and people were super welcoming, super helpful and happy to see us, which is always nice. 

Just don’t forget to obtain comprehensive travel insurance for your trip. If you're a type 1 diabetic, like me then you can check out my guide on finding good value diabetic travel insurance, or if you’re a regular human from the UK, try Compare the Market, or a regular human from elsewhere (Americans, this one is good for you), then try World Nomads. 

I hope you’ve found this Indonesia travel guide useful and hopefully you feel confident and ready to take a trip to Indonesia. Any questions, then feel free to drop a comment below.  

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