Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
ATM withdrawals: Majority free withdrawals,we didn’t encounter any charges
Languages spoken: Indonesia, Javanese, Sundanese, English + 800 other languages!!
Dominant Religion: Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism
Visa Requirements: British Click Here Polish Click Here
Health & Vaccinations: Click Here
Ability to communicate in English: 1- Good
Long distance transportation type: Taxi, Scooter, Boat and Plane
Electricity: 230V, 2 types of electrical sockets – type C and type F
Greeting:“Selamat siang” – “good day” in Bahasa Indonesia, “Om suastiastu” – “hello” in Balinese
Vegetarian options-availability: 1 – Good
Supermarkets: Grand Lucky, Circle K, Pepito & Indomaret
Budget: £930 per person for 4 weeks
Legend: 1 – Good 2 – Difficult but possible 3 – Very difficult
We always use Skyscanner to book our flights, because their search engine is easy to navigate and offers the best deals.
It allows you to search multi-city tickets, or tickets to “anywhere” – where you can search from your ideal location to find the cheapest flights to anywhere in the world. One other feature we use is the monthly view flight option, which shows you the cheapest price per day throughout each month, so you can select the cheapest date if you’re flexible with your dates.
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Duration: 27 days
1. Sidemen – 3 nights
2. Ubud – 4 nights
3. Sanur – 1 night
4. Nusa Lembongan – 3 nights
5. Nusa Penida – 4 nights
6. Gili Trawangan – 4 nights
7. Gili Meno – 3 nights
8. Lombok – 4 nights
One month is never going to be enough time to explore a country this big and difficult to travel around due to its structure – Indonesia consists of over 17,000 islands! When working on our itinerary we choose specific islands based around the activities and experiences we wanted to explore.
Our journey started in Bali where we visited the towns of Sidemen and Ubud, which offered Bali’s famous rice paddies, exclusive villas, an incredible variety of restaurants, and breathtaking views of Mount Agung. Afterwards we took a boat journey to a smaller set of islands – Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida.
Some tourists visit these islands as day trips from Bali, but each of them has so much to offer, from outstanding coastlines, rock formations, dive sites and beaches, giving us enough reason to want to spend a week here.
For our next destination we choose the Gili islands, which are three small islands off the coast of Lombok. Each island differs by size and atmosphere, but all of them offer the best off the beach snorkelling in the world, so if you’re a sea-life lover like us, you should add these places to your bucket list. We are not exaggerating when we say we saw 50 sea turtles in one day just snorkelling off the beach.
Our trip ended in Lombok, where sadly we would have loved to have spent more time on this island, but only managed to squeeze in a trip to some impressive waterfalls and a once in a lifetime 3 day trek to the summit of Mount Rinjani.
This experience was such a dream come true, but only a small taste of what Indonesia has to offer and we look forward to coming back and exploring more of the islands.
A lot of people decide to move to Bali due to its well developed infrastructure. You will be able to find great internet connection, western style coffee shops and restaurants across the island, which makes it easy to work remotely, whilst living in an exotic paradise.
For those who can’t or don’t want to move here, tourists constantly visit to relax, learn about the history and culture of the islands, or party on the beaches throughout the night. It literally offers everything for everyone.
The islands that we visited don’t offer much public transport, which means you’ll have to rely on either taxis, renting a scooter, a car, or taking boats or flights to travel between the islands. It’s not difficult to get around, but it was one of our most expensive destinations to travel around, as we usually opt to travel by public transportation.
If you want to get taxis around you will not find Uber and instead will need to download Go Jek, Grab or negotiate with a local taxi driver. We used booking.com to organise taxis a day before and found it to be extremely reliable, for a decent price.
Indonesia just spoiled us with an incredible style and quality of accommodation for such an affordable price. If you search Bali, you’ll find images of people swimming in their private infinity pools, enjoying their floral baths, or floating breakfasts in the pool. These are usually extras that you’ll need to pay a premium for.
Even though we were travelling on a budget, every accommodation in Indonesia made us feel extremely spoiled and offered so much luxury, with beautiful private villas starting from $10 per night for two for a double villa with an outdoor bathroom on Nusa Penida, to $22 per night for two for a double villa and infinity pool with views over rice paddies and Mount Agung (we couldn’t believe that we found this bargain) in Sidemen. Our ultimate favourite, where we knew we wanted to treat ourselves, was an exclusive villa with its own private infinity pool, gorgeous outdoor bathroom with a stone bathtub overlooking the rice paddies for $112 a night. We can’t forget the extensive options for breakfast delivered to our villa each morning. Life doesn’t get any better than that, so if you ever visit Bali make sure to treat yourself to one of these villas.
We will share our favourite accommodation for each destination in the individual posts for the places.
Banks & ATMs
The currency in Indonesia is Indonesian Rupiah, you can either enter the country with the money already exchanged from your own country, or you can easily withdraw from the local ATMs, or use a currency exchange to convert popular currencies of Euro, British Pound, or US Dollar. You’ll need to double check that you get the correct amount back, as some exchanges will try and cheat you. As for the ATMs, they are widely available, even shops in remote villages will have cash machines to get your hands on more money.
The bills have so many zero’s make sure you are always paying with the correct bill.
Depending on your bank, you may be charged a withdrawal fee, we used our Starling card throughout Indonesia and never paid any withdrawal fees. BRI, Mandiri, and BCA are the banks we commonly used throughout our stay. If the ATM asks you to accept the conversion, always say NO, as you’ll get a better rate through your bank. Doing it this way saved us a lot of money.
Culture & Customs
Being a country of over 17,000 islands, it’s hard to talk about one specific culture in Indonesia, as there are hundreds of ethnic groups and religions present in the country. What most Indonesians have in common though, is a collective belonging and spirituality, which is easily observed wherever you go.
No matter what the religion, Indonesians take their religious practices seriously, you can observe them closing their shops throughout the day for prayers and early morning offerings. When walking the streets you’ll find it difficult to avoid stepping on offerings consisting of flowers, food and scents, as they’re scattered all over the sidewalks and streets. Temples, palaces, and sculptures of gods and demons shape the landscape, whether you go to a big city, small village or tiny island, you’ll find them everywhere. Indonesian religious architecture exists to impress, both by size and detail.
Their creativity doesn’t stop there, cultural influences can be found in paintings, wood carvings, and performing arts, such as music, dance and theatre. We had the pleasure of watching a traditional Balinese dance at the Royal Palace in Ubud, it was unique and out of this world!
Getting familiar with the local etiquette is crucial in order to avoid causing offence or disrespecting their culture and beliefs. It’s important to recognise the situations and places that require you to cover up your shoulders and knees, showing the soles of your feet is considered disrespectful.
Indonesians are serious about their food and if you visit a local home, make sure you finish the plate as that’s a sign of respect towards your host for the time and effort they took preparing the meal for you. When you’re offered a drink, say yes, the sweeter the drink the more they like you.
Food & Drink
We found a few traditional vegetarian dishes that we absolutely fell in love with and kept ordering over and over again during our month in Indonesia. Our ultimate favourite dish was Gado-Gado, this well known dish consists of mixed vegetables in the country’s famous peanut sauce, often served with tempeh, tofu and a boiled egg. As vegetarians we loved the inexpensive tofu and tempeh dishes. Back home you need a mortgage to afford a portion, yet here it’s considered food for the poor. Locals couldn’t understand our obsession for this food, but we ate our year’s quota.
Delicious veggie options were tofu and tempeh curry, nasi goreng and mie goreng, so you’ll never run out of options. We didn’t try the meat options but the variety is never ending, from different styles of meat, fish and seafood, accompanied by rice or noodles.
Indonesia is amongst the top producers of coffee, and what’s a better way to start a morning than a fresh cup of coffee? For those who wish to be adventurous, luwak coffee is famous. If the process of digested coffee berries being fermented in the intestines of the civet may not be enough to put you off, the commonly known name of ‘cat poo coffee’ may.
We were lucky enough to enjoy several drinks with the locals on Gili Meno, who introduced us to the local drink of Tuak. Tuak is popular across the country, with different regions using different production methods, Lombok Tuak is traditionally produced from palm flowers. Imported alcohol can be extremely costly, a bottle of wine or prosecco will cost around $20, but if you’re on a budget, enjoying a local beer Bintang will not hurt the bank account, at $3 for a large bottle.
For those travelling in Asia long term and simply not keen on Asian food, specifically Bali, offers a great variety of quirky western style restaurants and coffee shops, where you will find anything from pizza to burgers, salads and more.
Top 5 Activities
1.Mount Rinjani Hike
This 3 day hike took us to the summit of Mount Rinjani at sunrise, with an altitude of 3736 metres. We spent 2 nights camping on the rim of the active volcano, with views overlooking the crater lake. This will push your body to its limits, but offers breathtaking views of the mountain, the crater lake and even the Gili islands.
2. Snorkelling on Gili Trawangan
Have you ever been able to pick up a snorkel, swim off the beach and see a lifetime of turtles in one day? We have! On Gili T, that’s an everyday life here and in one day we managed to see over 50 sea turtles, without taking any tours, just on our own. In our opinion this island offers some of the world’s best snorkelling.
3. Diving on Nusa Penida
Whilst walking through towns in Nusa Penida you will come across tonnes of dive centres, they are here for a reason. There are a number of dive sites within close proximity to the island and based on your preference you can opt for Manta point, drift dives or wreck dives. The diverse marine life will blow your mind.
4. Exploring Sidemen
Bali’s hidden gem, Sidemen is a small village overlooking Mount Agung and surrounded by green rice paddies. Hiring a scooter for the day is the best way to explore nearby waterfalls, ride through local villages and see everyday life of the locals. If you’re up for a longer trip, visiting the temple Lempuyang, also known as ‘ The Gates of Heaven’ makes a great day trip from Sidemen.
5. Relaxing in a private luxurious villa in Ubud.
You can’t come to Bali and not experience a little bit of luxury. Some of the villas you can find will offer gorgeous style, an infinity swimming pool, with incredible views that will make you feel like a superstar. If you really want to spoil yourself, you can order a massage, a flower bath in an outdoor bathroom with a view, or even a floating breakfast in your infinity pool.
Indonesia really spoiled us, from delicious food, incredible views, amazing water activities to another hike of our lives. This country will keep drawing you back in, wanting more and more. It has some much to offer for every personality type, from hikers to divers to beach bums and party animals. It doesn’t have to bankrupt you, all of these activities are available for any budget range, so book your flight, go and enjoy.