Where is the road calling you?
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Tips and Tricks for Indonesia (As Of 2011)
Getting There – From Jogya, we paid 140,000 IDR each for a shuttle and booked through Setia Kawan. If you aren’t here for the end of Ramadan, be sure you pay less than this as we had to pay the inflated price with the holiday around the corner.
Staying – For us, we weren’t the biggest fans of Mini Tiga. However, Bamboo is a good bet. The rooms were clean enough, shower and bathroom outside of your room but private. A double costs 150,000 IDR per night.
Eating – Warung Dapur! They just moved to their new location on the beach which is across the street from Bamboo Café, but make sure you ask which one it is so you get the right spot. The food is great, people are incredibly friendly, and prices are cheap compared to almost every other option in town. You can’t go wrong!
Getting Around – All you need here are your feet, but if you want to get out to see something else, i.e. Green Valley or Green Canyon, be sure to find Deni! You won’t regret it! For an entire day, motorbike and fuel included, you’ll pay 150,000 IDR per person. We promise, you get your money’s worth.
Getting There – Normally, you can get an overnight bus for about 90,000 IDR from Pangandaran. Chartering a 10 person shuttle is 1.5 million, no matter how many people you have.
Staying – We stayed at Hostel 81 the first night for 150,000 IDR and unfortunately picked up some unexpected red bites afterwards…bed bugs!!! We moved to Borneo Hostel right next door for 110,000 IDR per night and had no complaints. It was a clean room with bathroom inside.
Eating – We’re not much help here, sorry. We ate most of our meals at the Circle K and Indomart.
Getting Around – The bus station you get dropped off at is outside of the city over 20k. You may get dropped off by the taxis just past it, but just walk back down the road 5 minutes and find the Transjakarta bus. You’ll have to switch buses to get to the cheaper accommodation, but it only cost us 7,000 IDR for the two of us to get there! To get to the airport, you can walk to the Gambir train station and get a shuttle bus for 20,000 IDR per person.
Getting There – Getting here from Bali, you can catch an overnight bus from the bus station in Denpasar for 145,000 IDR each and that’s including the “white tax”. You can probably get one for a bit cheaper, but it was our last option for the night.
Staying – Although we ended up getting kinda screwed on the trip to Bromo, our room was clean enough and cheaper than many options in town. We were at Hotel Bromo Permai for 120,000 IDR.
Eating – You can find cheap food at a little restaurant just about anywhere you walk. You’ll pay the typical 10,000-12,000 IDR for a plate of Nasi Goreng.
Getting Around – Everything you need is within walking distance.
Getting There – From Probolinggo, we paid 150,000 IDR per person for a shuttle/minibus/van, whatever you want to call it. The buses are probably cheaper, but with the time we were traveling, it just wasn’t going to happen due to Ramadan ending soon.
Staying – We first stayed at Hotel Asia Afrika for 300,000 IDR per night with wifi and breakfast included. Yes, it was insanely expensive but we needed wifi and a decent bed after not sleeping for so many nights on end. We’d highly recommend staying at Losmen Setia Kawan. We paid 170,000 IDR per night with breakfast included. The rooms were clean, comfy, and the whole place has an artsy vibe to it. Staff is friendly and helpful and wifi is affordable even though it’s not free.
Eating – Plenty of street food stalls located on the main road by the mall. There are also a few options on the side street right around the corner from the Circle K across the road, and you can score yourself Nasi Goreng Telor (with egg) for only 8,000 IDR!
Getting Around – Everything you need is within walking distance.
Getting There – Most tour agencies book tickets all the way through to the Gili Islands
Staying – Probably the best deal in town is Hotel Elen for 100,00 IDR per night with breakfast included??? You won’t get toilet paper with that price, but you WILL get a pancake! Yeah we know…
Eating – Good luck finding cheap food here. You might be able to find it from a vendor wheeling down the street, but for the most part, you might as well just get some western food unless you’re not over rice yet, haha. The restaurant next to Hotel Elen had ok food and wasn’t all THAT expensive relatively speaking. There was a little warung down a ways we ate at as well.
Getting Around – With this being such a small town, it’s easy to walk from one end to the other without any issues. Plenty of people rent motorbikes if you’re looking for something to do and want to go for a cruise, and it seemed like the average prices were about 50,000 IDR for the day.
Getting There – Gilis from Ubud- You can book a package all the way through to any of the Gili Islands you like from a number of tour agencies in town for 150,000 IDR per person. It probably doesn’t really matter who you book with, because we talked to plenty of people who all booked at different places and we all ended up doing the exact same thing and the exact same route.
Gilis, getting away- You’re much better off booking your way back before getting to the island so you can pay the same price instead of the 40,000-50,000 IDR higher once you’re there.
Staying – If you’re here in high season, you’d be wise to pre-book a room so you don’t have to find something along with all of the other people making their way from the slow ferry, especially when you arrive after about 4 or 5 fast boats. We stayed at Edy Homestay and paid 250,000 IDR (inc breakfast), there are cheaper rooms but it depends on how many cockroaches you can handle.
Eating – If you’re smarter than us, you’ll not be here during Ramadan so you’ll have more food options during the day. If not, you can find some decently priced Indonesian food where the “warung parking lot” is at night, at a little warung tucked in the back right corner. Expect to pay around 12,000-18,000 per plate with good portions. At night, you can find Nasi Goreng for as little as 9,000 IDR where all the warungs are set up. If you’re looking for a sweet treat after, do yourself and favor and get one of the fresh made pancakes for about 10,000 IDR.
Getting Around – You can get to the other islands if you’d rather stay somewhere else for 35,000 IDR per person. A snorkel trip will run you around 150,000 IDR.
Getting There – Kuta, Bali- We flew Lion Air from Makassar and spent $60 USD each. It was your basic flight and no complaints with the airline. (2016) Walk out of the airport to get a cab. We paid 35,000IDR for a ride to Poppies I.
Kuta to Nusa Lembongon- We booked ourselves a package with a local tour agency in Kuta through Perama tour company for 125,000 IDR per person.
Nusa Lembongon to Ubud- Do yourself a favor and just book the way back with a tour company instead of trying to get there on your own if you take this route to Ubud. The few dollars you’ll save versus the headache and frustration with bemo drivers truly is NOT worth it in this case. You can get a public boat back to Bali for 60,000 IDR per person. Then, from what we were able to negotiate, we paid 10,000 IDR for the first bemo, and 20,000 IDR each for the second.
(2016) Ubud from Kuta- We took the Perama bus for 60,000 IDR per person. If you have a long walk from the Perama station to your guesthouse, you’re better off paying the extra money to be dropped there versus trying to hire a taxi.
Staying – Kuta, Bali- If you’re in Indo during the high season, you would be smart to pre-book a place before arriving. Even if you don’t you can still find reasonable accommodation if you look hard enough, but it’s a chore. We stayed at Hotel Rita for 250,000 IDR per night. (2016) We stayed at a cute little homestay called Anenome for 180,000 IDR per night.
Nusa Lembongon- Again it was pretty packed when we were here as it was high season, but we spent a couple nights at Nusa Dewarta for 150,000 IDR.
Ubud- We absolutely loved the place we stayed at. It was a little more than we would normally spend, but well worth it when you factor in how nice the room was and a delicious breakfast with fresh fruit, an omelet and coffee. Goutama Homestay- 200,000 IDR per night. (2016) GREAT room with a very nice family at Nyoman homestay, breakfast included for 225,000 IDR per night.
Eating – Kuta- Down the alleys off the main road where all the cheap accommodation is you can find some warungs with pretty standard Indonesian food at normal prices. If you’re craving western food, you won’t be short of options we promise!
Nusa Lembongon- The cheapest food we could find was at a little warung right across from Nusa Dewarta. The Nasi Goreng was some of the better rice we’ve had here.
Ubud- We ate most of our meals at Dewa Warung. Get there early to avoid waiting for 2 hours for your food though, it’s a popular place with budget travelers.
Getting Around – Kuta- You can pretty much walk everywhere you need to go here. It’s easy to rent a motorbike, but with the way we saw half of the westerners driving, we passed this time.
Nusa Lembongon- It’s a small island and there’s not really any need to do anything other than walk unless you feel like going for a motorbike ride.
Ubud- No matter where you go in Bali, you’re never short of 10 million people a day asking you if you need transport. You can rent a motorbike just about anywhere here for 40,000-50,000 IDR per day. (2016) We rented a nice motorbike for 50,000 IDR per day without much effort.
Getting There – Luwuk- You can find pretty good deals on flights to Luwuk from Manado. Otherwise traveling over land will take at least 2-3 days or by boat is an easy day long venture.
From Luwuk to Ampana- If you don’t mind being crammed into a car for 12 hours, you CAN get all the way to Poso from Luwuk for about IDR 125,000. However, if you just want to get to Ampana, chartering your own car if you have nobody to split it with will cost 250,000 IDR for the trip.
From Ampana to Poso- It’s pretty easy to get the local minibus/minivan at the terminal on the opposite side of the bridge as you head out of town. You’ll pay 60,000 IDR each.
From Poso toTentenna- Public bemo will run you 40,000 IDR.
From Tentenna to Palopo- We recommend going with Bintan Timur despite the insanely long dinner stop we had. The seats are comfortable, recline back far, and the buses are in good shape. It’ll cost you 110,000 IDR per person.
From Palopo to Rantepao- The cheapest way is to head to the main bemo/bus station in town and get a local bemo heading to Randepau for IDR 60,000.
From Rantepao to Makassar- Take the overnight bus and pay the extra for the legroom. We chose Bintang Timur again paying IDR 90,000 each.
Staying – Luwuk- not much help here as we decided to blow right through this town.
Ampana- We stayed at the pink hotel near the bridge at the end of town. The price was right IDR 70,000 with breakfast.
Tentenna- Head to the far end of town for Hotel Pamona Indah Permai. It’s quite a walk but the room is super cheap. There was breakfast included for IDR 80,000 but beware it was the nastiest room so far in Indo.
Palopo- If you get stuck here the trusty LP isn’t going to help at all. We asked for Wisma and found one called Wisma Paldar for IDR 100,000.
Rantepao- There are many options. We liked the place we stayed called Wisma Irama which is near the market. The price was right at IDR 150,000 with hot water and a very filling breakfast.
Makassar- We stayed at Wisma Jampeao because they said they had wifi and lied. We payed IDR 160,000. The room was decent and pretty clean so we couldn’t complain too much.
Eating – No matter where you are, you can find cheap street food pretty easily and for about the same prices as well. You can get most meals for around 12,000-15,000 IDR, but western food is MUCH more expensive. Note to those of you scared to eat between the sheet of a makeshift warung…we have eaten mainly street food our entire trip and have yet to be sick from the food. Even the produce has been ok but we credit that to our rock hard stomachs.
Getting Around – Manado- We took a blue bird cab (cheapest with a meter) to the airport just to save some time and hassle and paid IDR 80,000.
Luwuk- From the airport, you literally have no option but to take a kijang into town. The ride in will cost you IDR 50,000 if you barter. Once in Luwuk have your hotel organize onward transport, the town is VERY spreadout and not walkable.
Ampana, Tentena and Palopo- All very walkable towns, it’s just finding what you are looking for that is the hard part.
Rantepao- Rent a motorbike for around IDR 70,000 and do some exploring on your own. The area is just beautiful.
Makassar- We spent some time walking around but it was HOT. Again, very walkable if you can manage the heat.
Getting There – Berau (from Derawan)- The boat back to Tanjung Batu is 250,000 IDR per boat, up to 6 people. From Tanjung Batu, it will cost you 50,000 IDR per person to get to Berau.
Staying – We can’t really help you out too much here other than to highly advice booking in advance since the cheaper options were completely booked when we arrived. And were also fully booked according to every other person we spoke to.
Eating – Various small, local restaurants to choose from with average prices.
Getting Around – It’s pretty easy to find your way around Berau, but if you’re looking for a ride to the airport, nobody is going to take you for less than 50,000 IDR…trust us, we tried hard!
Getting There – If you’re brave enough (or maybe crazy enough) to deal with the car ride, it’s quite a bit less expensive that flying. This is one case where even travelers on the tightest budget might have to splurge a little bit as it can easily take 3 days, sometimes more, to get down to Balikpapan from Berau. We flew Batavia Air for this trip and paid around $50 USD each.
Manado-Travel agents really can be a great way to book flights in Indonesia. The commission they charge is insanely minimal, as in maybe 5,000-10,000 IDR. Obviously it’s best to book flights in advance, but also keep in mind that Batavia is one of the cheaper options even though the flights truly never leave on time.
Staying – We stayed at City Hotel for a few nights just because we splurged after sleeping on some rough, spring mattresses for about 5 days. If you’re in need of a nice room, for 350,000 IDR, you’ll definitely get it here. Cheaper options are available, but again, booking ahead here is a good idea as well with Balikpapan being a fairly busy transit city.
Eating – You can find some cheap warung’s to eat at by the water across from City Hotel as well as some on the street in more random locations for example parking lots. You can expect to pay about 10,000-12,000 IDR for a plate of Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng.
Getting Around – Getting to the airport by bemo can be a little irritating, but it’s doable and much cheaper than a taxi. Depending on where you are staying, you may have to switch bemos along the way, but we paid about 36,000 IDR for both of us. Be aware that if you have a driver offering to take you the whole way, he’s going to be charging you a LOT more than you should be paying if you just switch at the terminal they all stop at anyways.
Getting There – Travel agents really can be a great way to book flights in Indonesia. The commission they charge is insanely minimal, as in maybe 5,000-10,000 IDR. Obviously it’s best to book flights in advance, but also keep in mind that Batavia is one of the cheaper options even though the flights truly never leave on time.
Staying – We stayed at Bersenhati for 104,000 IDR per night with a shared bathroom. Of course, for the money, it wasn’t the cleanest of places, especially the bathrooms. However, it was one of the cheapest places in town and the price included breakfast.
Eating – It can be a little tougher hear to find cheaper food, but there are some options closer to the water and a few inland a little further on some of the little side streets close to where we were staying. The nice thing here is that Manado has a couple of large supermarkets to shop at and change things up a little by buying your own food.
Getting Around – Taxi’s from the airport are a fixed 80,000 IDR, but going back will set you back around 40,000 IDR. We were short of time, so we didn’t bother with the bemo. We’re pretty sure you’ll end up switching a couple of times before making it to the airport, and for the price (36,000 IDR exactly for us), it was worth it not to have to switch or wait for a full load, which many drivers will do before heading off.
Getting There – It’s pretty easy to find a public slow boat to get to the island for 25,000 IDR once you get to the waterfront. You can take a speedboat if you really want to, but even the slow boats make it there in about 45 minutes. The return is the same price.
Staying – One place we would highly recommend is Novita’s Home stay. Vita was an incredibly nice host and a very good cook. We had our own bathroom, and nice, clean room, and all meals included for 300,000 IDR per night. It might sound like a lot, but the meals are filling so all you need to pay for is some snorkel gear if you like and whatever you want to drink (soda or beer).
Eating – It’s best to find a home stay where your meals are included as there aren’t many options for meals around the island unless you want to eat at some of the nicer resorts or dive centers that have attached restaurants.
Getting Around – This is an easy island to walk everywhere you need to go.
Getting There – (from Tarakan) Tanjung Selor-You can take a ferry from a different jetty than what is listed in the LP guide. The 2 hour ferry ride costs… Once you arrive in Tanjung Selor, you don’t really have any option but to get a Kijang to Berau or all the way to Tanjung Batu. Kijang to Berau costs 50,000 IDR per person.
Staying – Make sure you make it through Tanjung Selor, Berau, and Tanjung Batu if at all possible to avoid being stuck with few cheap options for accommodation, or not at all. On Derawan, there are plenty of nice places to stay at, most for about 125,000-150,000 IDR including breakfast. We stayed at Loseman Danikan and paid 125,000 IDR per night. The owners are very friendly and welcoming. We would definitely stay here again.
Eating – It’s highly recommended by us for you to try bringing some food with you to avoid eating rice or noodles every single day for every meal. We heard the seafood was pretty good, but if you’re on a tight budget, you won’t be ordering any. Most Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng dishes will run you between 10,000-12,000 IDR on average. Don’t expect to eat at restaurants since your options are either eating at Warungs or in someone’s living room.
Getting Around – You can walk around the entire island in one hour, but if you’d like to see the other islands, expect to pay somewhere around 1,000,000 IDR to charter a boat for the day. Return trips back to Tanjung Batu are the same price as getting to Derawan.
Getting There – Getting where you need to from Uncle Tan’s is really easy. The staff is very helpful and will point you in the right direction. Going to Lahad Datu we paid RM25 each, we know you can catch a real bus going to Semporna from Lahad Datu but timing is everything. We paid RM58 for both of us in the minivan but you should pay RM22 each.
Staying – New Inn was a good place to stay, they are associated with Billabong Scuba and have good deals on diving and snorkeling upon arrival. We paid RM30 for the room with shared bath.
Eating – There are a few Malay/Indian options close to the dive shops that are very affordable.
Getting Around – Easily explored by foot.
Getting There – Tawau is well connected in Sabah. We got a nice bus from Semporna for RM15 each. You can catch the bus close to the May Bank ATM.
Staying – Head to Chinatown for a cheap room. We stayed at Monico Hotel for RM70 which was fine (wifi, cable tv, en suite bath).
Eating – Got our last taste of roli for a while at place from the LP, Restoran Azura…very good option.
Getting Around – No need to rent anything here. The town is small enough to walk anywhere.
Getting There – From Tawau there are 2 different companies that run ferries to Indonesia and they alternate days. Just head down by the fish market and you will see ticket offices on the right hand side. There will be someone flagging you down to help you with the process. We paid RM130 each for the ferry and RM5 each as a port fee.
Staying – We headed for the cheapest option only to find everything booked. For 170,000 Rupiah you can stay at Asia Hotel (shit hole) or for 200,000 you can stay at Gemilang Hotel which is MUCH nicer. We opted for Gemilang…the only downfall is the Mosque is right next door so the prayers at 4:30am were extra loud.
Eating – We really enjoyed the Bakso from the little Warung, there aren’t many places to eat near the middle of town so we would suggest checking out a few Warungs to find something that suits your tastes.
Getting Around – You will need an Angkot to get you from the jetty to wherever you are staying. Be sure to barter for the price!