I. Why Indonesia is absolutely worth visiting
So, you are wondering what is so special about Indonesia - a country sprawling across more than 17,000 islands, the longest archipelago in the world, and a home to the largest population in Southeast Asia?
For a start, Indonesia is a country of diversity - beginning with its nature and ending with its people, the country offers an endless amount of travel experiences! The archipelago is a multicultural melting pot of more than 300 ethnicities, each one with its distinctive language and traditions. Starting from the bustling Jakarta and finishing with the wild Kalimantan, there are no two places alike - the differences are incredible! Even though there are hundreds of different local languages spoken across the country, as well as various religions and beliefs, people everywhere are known for their hospitality and genuine friendliness. The phrase “unity in diversity” is for sure valid for Indonesia!
Now let’s talk about culture! With 9 UNESCO World Heritage sites and centuries-old history, Indonesia’s rich culture is a reason alone to visit. From temples to traditional markets, you can touch and see, hear and smell the local culture: it’s the little offerings to the spirits and gods in Bali; the mouth-watering street food in Yogyakarta; the rhythmic chant of the Saman dancers in Sumatra. Many countries present themselves as being “culturally diverse”, however very few of them are on the level of Indonesia when it comes to its rich multicultural landscape. With 6 main religions, and a dozen sub-religions still kept alive, it is no surprise that in each region visitors will witness unique local customs and lifestyles.The cause behind it is purely geographical: due to the island isolation, for centuries regions have been cultivating their own way of life, regardless of the rest. For travellers that means that switching to a new island means a completely new experience with new customs, dialects and cuisine. A mix of ancient mystical beliefs, religious practices and passed down family traditions - this is how today’s Indonesian culture was formed.
Lastly, one cannot simply deny that Indonesia is a geological heaven. The archipelago spans across 3 time zones and lies between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, thus making it possible to explore tropical forests and misty volcanos, towering waterfalls and pristine beaches, insane diving sites and wildlife national parks, all without crossing a border. As a destination, Indonesia has the range to cater to anyone’s travelling style, whether it’d be the adventure-thrill-seekers, or the beach loving vacationers - everyone is spoiled for choice. The probability of being able to see it all in one go is highly unlikely, and you will just be scratching the surface. This is why the majority of travellers always come back for more! What’s astonishing is that even with its +270 million population and increasing tourists’ numbers, there are still countless virgin places across Indonesia untouched by the world’s rapid progress. Does discovering a hidden beach never seen by anyone else before sound tempting? Or does stumbling across a secret waterfall which is not listed in any guide excite your adventure spirit? If you’ve been dreaming of a real exotic get-away or an epic trip, minus the crowds and tourist traps, you picked the right destination. Overwhelmed by all these possibilities? Luckily, many vacation packages allow you to explore more than one part of indonesia, so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest!
Now you understand why It’s no coincidence that the travel slogan of the country is “Wonderful Indonesia” - because it truly is a land of wonder! So, if you’re doubting whether you should take a trip to Indonesia, the short answer is - you should! The question is - when are you packing your bags?
Keep on reading to learn about the top places to visit!
II. What is Indonesia best known for? Here are the top 10 places you should visit
It is no surprise that it’s impossible to visit all the great places in Indonesia all at once, simply due to the vast distances and overwhelming options to choose from. Some travellers admit that even after roaming around the archipelago for months, they still couldn’t see even a quarter of it. However, you can always start from somewhere! Not sure which places are the highlight of Indonesia? We handpicked the top 10 destinations which you should definitely consider when travelling to Indonesia. Here we go:
1) Borobudur Temple in Yogyakarta
Borobudur is the world’s biggest Buddhish temple, as well as a UNESCO heritage site, dating back to 800 AD. Located in Java, near the bustling city of Yogyakarta, the temple spreads across the vast territory of 2 500 m² and consists of 2 million blocks made of lava rock. It is one of Indonesia’s most renowned destinations and a symbol of the country's rich cultural history. We recommend that you visit the site at sunrise, when the light of the new day is slowly illuminating the beauty of the green surroundings - truly an unforgettable experience!
Check out our organized tour package to Borobudur & more of the greatest temples of Java!
Curious about what it’s like to go on vacation in Java? Here are some awesome travel packages to choose from, including Yogyakarta!
Indonesia’s most famous island, and also the one that attracts millions of visitors each year! A preferred destination by the majority of first-time travellers, Bali is also a starting point for visitors who want to continue exploring the rest of the country’s islands. Bali’s popularity keeps on growing worldwide, and we completely understand why! With its diverse range of activities, rich cultural and natural landscapes, and a well-developed infrastructure, the island caters to basically any traveller’s needs! You can never run out of options while on vacation, and you’ll be surprised to find out that both a luxurious beach getaway and an off-the-beaten-track volcano adventure can take place here. Experiencing Bali means falling in love with its people’s hospitality and genuine friendliness; enjoying the delicious local dishes; swimming with Manta Rays; walking through tropical forests and rice fields; watching the most beautiful sunset with a coconut in hand… and so much more!
With plenty of Bali vacation packages, there’s so much to choose from!
People believe that the Island of the gods has the special power of capturing travelers’ hearts and making them come back again and again. See it for yourself, but don’t say we haven’t warned you!
Known as “Bali, but 20 years ago”, Lombok is not to be overlooked! The less popular and recently emerging island of Lombok is located only 150 kilometers east of Bali, and nowadays more people are starting to appreciate its value. The island wouldn’t disappoint those seeking tropical beaches and beautiful hiking tracks, hidden waterfalls and pristine diving spots, all away from the crowds. For the ones willing to take an alternative turn, an unforgettable adventure awaits. Furthermore, Lombok offers a unique blend of Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu culture, a tranquil ambience, and stunning wild nature.
Amongst the island’s awesome spots are its Pink Beach, the Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep waterfalls, and Mount Rinjani with its Air Kalak hot springs. A vacation to Lombok sounds like the perfect getaway, don’t you think?
Home to some of Indonesia’s biggest tropical forests and awesome wildlife species like the Orangutan and the Honey bear, Kalimantan is a must for nature-lovers! From jungle exploration to river boat thrills, this Indonesian territory of Borneo island is not short of adventures! Let’s not forget the local Dayak people with their fascinating way of life and traditional villages. Unforgettable first-time experiences are guaranteed!
Planning a vacation to Kalimantan? Then go check out this awesome Orangutan River cruise!
5) Komodo National Park
This UNESCO site is mostly known for its real-life dragon, and the world’s largest lizard - the Komodo dragon. In the National Park you can have a close encounter with them in the wild, straight out of a National Geographic show! Despite being fearsome beasts, the 3-meter long reptiles are nowadays listed as endangered species. Even though Komodo National Park is mainly known for its dragon, it offers much more to visitors! Composed of islands Komodo, Rinca, Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones, the park also impresses visitors with its rich marine biodiversity. There are plenty of diving locations, where, if lucky, one can come in contact with amazing sea creatures such as whales, dolphins, mantas and sea turtles.
Ready for a Komodo adventure?
6) Gili Islands
Craving a remote island experience? Only a speedboat away to the east from Bali, the Gili Islands is what the get-away of your dreams looks like! The small territory, chill reggae bars with live music, warm local hospitality and the complete absence of motorised vehicles contributes to their unique charm. Once you set foot on one of these islands, you’ll immediately notice the laid-back vibe, and you might not want to leave anytime soon. Surrounded by pristine waters with colourful marine life, these 3 islands couldn’t be more perfect!
Each of the main 3 Gili’s has its own vibe: Gili Trawangan is bustling with visitors and offers the majority of activities; Gili Meno is great for fully unwinding and spending tranquil days at the beach, and romantic sunset evenings; and Gili Air is the perfect mix of both. Whichever one you pick, you won’t find yourself regretting it!
Let’s plan a Gili escape!
Lush jungles, steaming volcanos, indigenous tribes, orangutans in the wild - no, this is not the set for a new Indiana Jones movie! This is the sixth largest island in the world - Sumatra! A place that rewards travelers with an extraordinary experience, once in a lifetime!
Located in the western part of the Indonesian archipelago, Sumatra is a dream destination for real adventure-seekers! The wildlife here is the definition of abundant - starting with gibbons and tigers, and finishing with white rhinos and elephants. The natural landscapes never cease to amaze - check out the UNESCO-listed Gunung Leuser National Park, as well as Sibayak volcano and Sipiso-piso waterfall. The island is also home to the world’s largest volcanic lake - Danau Toba, which is definitely worth a visit! A unique experience for adrenaline-seekers is the chance to dive with whale sharks in the waters of Pulau Weh.
An interesting fact: the world-famous luwak coffee originates from Sumatra.
Want to get the maximum of your trip to Sumatra? Leave it to the professionals!
8) West Sumba
Only an hour away from Bali, a fascinating island steeped in mystery and tradition awaits travellers who are hungry for non-standard experiences! This is West Sumba - an underdiscovered destination, which captivates with its beautiful savannahs, free roaming horses and untouched pristine coastline. The island is one of the hidden gems of the Archipelago, and allows visitors to get a glimpse of the indigenous way of life and the ancient Merapu customs, which are all very distinctive for Indonesia. Definitely an off-the-grid destination, travelling to West Sumba is the definition of a tropical adventure!
The top activities on the island include swimming and cliff jumping in Weekuri Lake, also known as Angel’s lake, which is a natural lagoon and a truly magical spot! Next on, visit the traditional village of Ratenggaro, where you will see traditional Sumbanese houses, preserved for decades. Lastly, don’t miss out on enjoying a stunning sunset from Tanjung Mareha beach!
Surprisingly for such a non-touristy destination, Sumba has a few great luxurious resorts, such as Mario hotel and Nihiwatu Resort, which offer the ultimate exclusive vacation experience! Keep in mind that it is strongly advised to travel through and experience West Sumba with a guide, especially when you don't speak Bahasa Indonesia..
Curious to travel to West Sumba, but worried about getting around there? Leave it to the pros!
9) Ijen Volcano, Java
Mount Ijen, or mostly known as Kawah Ijen, is an active volcano located on the Eastern tip of Java island. There are so many volcanoes spread across Indonesia, so what is so special about this one, you’d ask. To see why it’s possibly one of the most extraordinary places in the world, you’ll have to start climbing towards the crater after midnight and arrive there at dawn, just in time to rub your eyes in disbelief: blue fires coming out of the ground! This phenomenon of the lava turning vibrant blue is caused by the high levels of the volcano’s sulfuric gases heated by the 360°C+ air temperature. Described as an “alien experience” by many, the challenging hike to get to the flames is definitely worth it!
The sulfur fumes are toxic, so gas masks are mandatory! Getting an experienced guide is also highly recommended, since the hike requires knowledge of the tracks that are safe to walk on.
Hungry for a vacation filled with adventure? Book your Ijen Blue Fires adventure here!
Your first association that comes to mind when hearing Papua is probably something along the way of: “is that the island where tribes are still living in the jungle?”. Well, you're not wrong. More than 40 of the world’s uncontacted tribes are considered to be living in the most eastern province of Indonesia - Papua, which is not to be confused with the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. The island’s extreme remoteness and great ethnic differences with the rest of Indonesia makes it even harder to believe that this is still within the same country.
This place is without a doubt the front runner for the most extraordinary and spectacular destination of Indonesia! An explorer’s dream, Papua is definitely not for the comfort-seekers. With its thousands of years old rich tribal customs, unexplored virgin rainforests, and dramatic landscapes, you will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. We’ll be honest here - travelling to Papua is a challenge! It is also not cheap, since the lack of infrastructure makes getting around complicated. However, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which is hardly ever going to compare to anything else!
An organized travel package prepared for you by professionals is the best option to go with when planning to visit Papua!
III. Travel expenses: how much does a vacation in Indonesia cost and what are the prices of basic expenses?
Now that you know how amazing Indonesia is as a travel destination, you’re probably wondering about one thing: is it expensive to visit? Let us start by sharing that Indonesia is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the world! Compared to other similar places, such as Thailand, Indonesia comes out as being overall cheaper . A 4-members family, for example, can plan their vacation starting from as little as USD 200 per day. Generally, family vacations in Indonesia are different than a standard trip when it comes to budget and preparation. (More about travelling to Indonesia with kids you can read in our previous blog! - LINK TO PREVIOUS BLOG) With that said, your daily expenses depend greatly on the type of vacation, the variety of activities and tours that you want to take, whether you are planning on a solo trip, a couple vacation or a family trip to Indonesia, and of course - the place you are visiting. Apart from that, each traveler is different when it comes to their needs and preferences, therefore there is no one-size-fits-all. Regarding vacation packages when visiting Indonesia, there are plenty of variations to choose from! (https://7.holiday/packages#indonesia-holiday-packages)
Keeping all that in mind here is our little guide on how much it costs to travel to Indonesia:
1) Accommodation costs
Depending on the type of place you would prefer, prices start from as low as IDR 100,000, or approx. USD 7 (per person/per night) for basic guest houses and can go up to IDR 1,000,000+, or approx. 70 USD (per person/per night) for luxurious villas and hotels. One of the greatest advantages about taking a vacation to Indonesia is having the chance to stay at incredible accommodations at affordable prices!
Keep in mind that during the high season (May to September) landlords and hotels tend to increase the prices.
2) Transport costs
Getting around in Indonesia highly depends on the infrastructure. For example, Bali offers various ways to get around, such as renting a scooter, having a private driver or calling a GoJek or Grab (the Indonesian equivalent of Uber), all of which are very affordable. However, exploring other islands, such as Lombok and rocky Nusa Penida, therefore it is recommended that you figure out what is the best option for you beforehand. Now when it comes to island-hopping, speed boats operate between the islands, and especially from Bali, which is the starting point for many travellers. The rates vary depending on the boat company and the level of comfort. A return trip to the Gili islands, for example, starts from IDR 400,000 per person (approx. USD 28). Beware that sometimes transport prices fluctuate and can depend on how well you can bargain. This is not valid for set prices such as the taxi apps.
GoJek trip (2 km) = IDR 10,000
Taxi trip (2 km) = IDR 40,000
Booking a Private Driver = depends on the agency
Fast boat to Nusa Penida = from IDR 400,000 (round trip)
Flight from Bali to Lombok = from IDR 500,000 (round trip)
3) Food costs
Regarding the food cost, the same principle applies - depending on where and what you decide to eat, prices can vary greatly. A simple example: you can get a whole meal at a warung (Indonesian local eatery) for the insanely cheap price of IDR 10,000 (approx. USD 0,70!). On the other hand, if you want to spoil yourself by going to one of the fancier “Instagrammable” restaurants, be prepared to pay considerably more - starting from IDR 85,000 per dish - which is actually still cheap for Western standards.
Now when it comes to food safety, the quality standards have greatly improved over the years. However, apply common sense when choosing where and what to eat – for example, if you or your kids are known to be sensitive eaters, maybe trying the spiciest sambal dish in a suspicious warung by the side of the road is not the best idea!
IV. Indonesia vacation packages: why it might be a great option for you
Q: What are the most popular types of accommodation when going on a vacation to Indonesia?
A: What’s great about visiting Indonesia is the diverse range of accommodation options, which can satisfy any traveler’s needs - from a backpacker wanting to find new friends at a modern hostel to a family with small children seeking comfort and safety in one of the many higher class resorts. While some are happy with a simple guest house with basic amenities, others would prefer a more upscale type of stay, meaning, of course, spending more on accommodation such as 5-star hotels and private villas.
Q: What is the best way to save money on my vacation to Indonesia?
A: Many times travelers, especially first-timers, are not aware when given a higher price than normal for a certain activity or even accommodation, since they cannot compare it. This is very common in Indonesia, as there is a strong bargain culture, and even though you might score a great deal, most times people fall into the tourist trap. To avoid that, many travelers choose to book vacation packages beforehand when visiting Indonesia, to avoid any last-minute “extra” charges. Such tour packages ensure that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises along your trip.
Do you need some help preparing your trip? Let our professional team plan your dream vacation in Indonesia tailored to your individual needs and budget. Full transparency, local knowledge and the best deals - this is what you can expect from The Seven Holiday!
Q: Which airports can I fly in to for a vacation to Indonesia?
A: The majority of travelers choose to fly to Ngurah International airport, located in Bali. It’s considered to be the most convenient way to travel through Indonesia, since Bali has great connections with all the rest of the islands. However, depending on the destination you’re visiting, you can also choose to fly to some the following international airports: Soekarno Hatta Airport, Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport, Yogyakarta Adisucipto Airport.
Q: How much cash can I take to Indonesia?
A: Bear in mind that there are cash restrictions when entering Indonesia. In case that you are carrying more than IDR 100 million (approx. USD $7,500) in cash, you will have to officially declare it to the authorities when arriving at the airport customs.
There are ATMs almost everywhere, which accept international (mostly credit) cards. However, they often have a small withdrawal limit per day, so it is advised that you consider this, and ideally bring some currency with you. Also, do not forget to check the fees from your bank when it comes to cash withdrawal in Indonesian rupiahs!
Q: What should I completely avoid doing in Indonesia?
A: From dressing appropriately to respecting local customs, when travelling to a new destination, visitors should be aware that they should be mindful about their action. Indonesia may be tolerant and welcoming towards tourists, however it still remains a nation with strong cultural presence, traditional customs and local rules.
Learn more about what you should avoid doing in Indonesia when visiting this beautiful country here!
Q: How many days are enough to visit Indonesia?
A: The short answer is - they won’t be enough! Unless, of course, you're planning to spend a few years exploring Indonesia, jumping from island to island, it is impossible to take in all of its beauty in one go. One thing is for sure - this is a country that captures your heart and imagination, and makes you come back again and again, each time for a new adventure! We warned you.
Deciding where to start from when planning a trip to Indonesia can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task - especially for travellers who wish to get the maximum out of their time! And who can help you out better than a team of local travel experts with a background of hundreds of trips organized and the same amount of satisfied clients! In case that you pick one of our travel packages across Indonesia, but wish to add more places to visit, it’s completely possible.
Get in touch with us today, and we guarantee that within 24 hours we will be already planning your ultimate vacation package through Indonesia!