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Indonesia travel guide

Indonesia throws out so much more than Bali’s beaches. Like almost 20,000 islands, a population of 260 million, a melting pot of cultures and religions, mysterious ruins, dense orangutan-inhabited jungles, coral reefs, insane landscapes throwing out some serious 'edge of the Earth' vibes, and more volcanoes than any other country – most of them so active it feels like this giant archipelago is constantly alive, changing and moving. 

Indonesia: Fast facts

Languages spoken in Indonesia

The official langunage is Indonesian, but there are more than 700 local lingos such as Javanese and Balinese.

Currency in Indonesia

Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

10,000 IDR is approximately 54p. Or, £1 is approximately 18,000 IDR.

Indonesian time zones (there are three!)

Sumatra, Java, western Borneo: Indonesia Western Time Zone (UTC+07:00)
Sulawesi, Bali, eastern Borneo, Lombok & the Gilis: Indonesia Central Time Zone (UTC+08:00)
Far eastern reaches: Indonesia Eastern Time Zone (UTC+09:00)

Indonesia's top islands

This nation is as diverse as it is mammoth, so you'd be forgiven for not knowing where to start... but here's four islands for thought. Trek Sumatra's dense jungles on the search for wild orangutans, traverse Java and its jawdropping volcanoes, head to Bali for rich culture and food, find your own beach on Lombok or the Gili islands, or conquer Komodo, home of the dragons... 

Bali & the Lesser Sunda Islands


Java & Jakarta


Borneo (Kalimantan)



Map of Indonesia

We've pinned all of the most popular places in Indonesia so you can better visualise a route. Our favourite? Fly into either Sumatra or Borneo first, before touching down in the capital city of Jakarta. Travel east across Java and then island hop to Bali, then Lombok and the Gilis, all the way to Flores!
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The cost of travel in Indonesia



A bottle of Bintang, the local beer, can cost as little as 22,000 IDR (£1). Expect to pay more in an upmarket restaurant or hotel in popular areas of the country such as Bali or Jakarta.



A plate of nasi goreng from a local food cart or cafe can cost as little as 75p-£1. It can be every bit as delicious, if not better, than in some restaurants. For a sit-down meal somewhere midrange, expect to pay between 54,000 IDR (£3) to (127,000 IDR) £7.

cost of accomodation in thailand


A dorm bed or simple hut in a more remote area of Sumatra or Java will set you back £2-5. Expect to pay more in Bali and on the beautiful beaches of the Gili Islands, where reputable hostels can cost around £10 per person per night.

Indonesia hotel cost


For a mid-range room for two people in a hotel or guesthouse in Bali, you'll pay upwards of 270,000 IDR (£15) per room. Fancier hotels can cost around £25-40 on the island, but if you're off the beaten track, for example in Sumatra or Sulawesi, you'll be able to find a bargain hotel room for next to nothing. Book in advance with STA Travel to bag the cheapest rates.

taxi cost Indonesia


A taxi in the capital city of Jakarta costs around 8,000 IDR (less than 50p) per kilometre. A taxi ride from Jakarta's airport to the city centre will cost less than £10. Expect similar taxi or rickshaw fares in Bali, but haggle for much cheaper ones in other parts of the country!

transport cost Indonesia

Public transport

Public transport in Indonesia comes in all kinds of wonderful shapes and sizes depending on the island you're on. Squeeze into a tiny bemo or angkot (minivan) for longer distances, or take a three-wheeler, similar to the tuktuks you'd find in other parts of Asia, for around 3000 IDR (20p) per kilometre. Boats and ferries between islands are super affordable - visit our Bali page to find out more about travelling between islands.

How to get around Indonesia

First of all, get in. You can easily fly into the capital Jakarta, in Java, or straight to Bali from Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur airports. If you want to explore Borneo or beyond, it's also best to fly - domestic flights are super affordable. The popular route from Java, to Bali, Lombok, the Gili Islands, Komodo and Flores can all be done by ferry and boat rides. So stretch those sea legs!
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Indonesia's travel highlights


The Gili Islands


Bromo, Ijen & Rinjani

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Wild orangutans

Sumatra & Borneo

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Indonesia adventure tours

Bromo Java
Indonesia on a Shoestring: Jakarta to Bali | 15 days
Weave your way across Java, home to some of the most epic volcanoscapes on Earth, cities packed with culture, and the mysteriously alluring Borobudur, overlooked by the mighty Mount Merapi. You'll end your adventure in Bali - that's the perfect blend of action, culture and beach time!

Highlights: Sunrise over Mount Bromo, Borobudur temples, Red Island, blissing out in Ubud

Includes: All transport, a guide, accommodation and some meals

Was £1,149 | Now £919 - Save 20%!
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Indonesia on a Shoestring - Sumatra to Bali | 28 days
Want more? Add Sumatra onto the start of Indonesia on a Shoestring and explore some seriously untouched wilderness. The dense jungles of Bukit Lawang in northern Sumatra are one of the last two places on the planet where you can meet wild orangutans. Pay a visit to our distant relatives before heading to Java and Bali for non-stop temple, volcano and surf-spot hopping.

Highlights: Orangutan spotting in Sumatra, Mount Bromo, Yogyakarta and Borobudur, Ubud

Includes: All transport and accommodation, a guide and some meals.

Now from £1,679 | Was £2099 - 20% off!
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Islands of Indonesia
Islands of Indonesia | 22 days
Starting and ending in Bali, you'll soak up the island's best bits before hopping over to untouched paradise in Lombok and the Gili Islands. Then it's on to Komodo, home of the dragons, and the jaw-dropping island of Flores for some serious volcano action - Kelimutu's craters are unmissable!

Highlights: Tegalalang Rice Terraces, snorkelling with turtles in the Gili Islands, Komodo, Flores

Includes: All transport, accommodation, snorkelling trip, a guide and some meals

Now from £2,249
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Do I need a visa to travel to Indonesia?

If you plan on staying in Indonesia for less than 30 days, you don't need to worry about a visa. But, backpackers with no set plan, trust us when we say you'll end up wanting to stay in this country longer! The best thing to do if you think you might want to travel (or just get beached somewhere) in Indonesia for longer than a month is to either get a visa on arrival or apply online in advance for one, for a small fee. This can be extended for another 30 days at an immigration office. Travel Agents can help you with the paperwork if you're unsure. 

What should be on my Indonesia packing list?

It's easy to get carried away with your packing list when you're taking a trip to such a jam-packed country. Alongside the usual essentials, we'd recommend taking deet to keep mosquitoes at bay, comfortable walking shoes - you'll need them for all of Indonesia's best sights, and clothes to cover your legs, chest and shoulders for all of the temples you'll be visiting. 

Also, don't forget to ask one of our Travel Experts about travel vaccinations and insurance!

Want more inspiration? Visit the travel blog!

STA Travel Blog

How to train your Komodo dragon (...or not)

read blog
STA Travel Blog

A photo diary of Indonesia on a Shoestring: Java to Bali

Read Blog
STA Travel Blog

The Bali cheat sheet

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