It took over a month to plan a trip to Indonesia, but here we are… a few days away from our flight to the other side of the world. A long adventure awaits.
We will travel for one month around this huge, beautiful country. We will head to Borneo to meet the Orangutans – the men of the forest, then we will fly to Bali and to Flores to visit the pristine Komodo National Park. Last stop Java and the Borobudur Temple, UNESCO Heritage Site.
First tip to plan a trip to Indonesia is to book in advance, especially if you are planning to travel during the peak season July-August. We booked our trip 5 months ago, when flight tickets were on a budget – € 740 return (Milan – Jakarta).
Looking for more tips?
Read on to find out everything about how to plan a trip to Indonesia.
Where to Go in Indonesia. Popular Routes and What to See
Keep it in mind: Indonesia Is Huge. In fact, it is the country with the most number of islands (17,500) in the world. Chances are that you won’t see all of them in one visit even if you are planning to stay for few months. If you don’t plan what to visit beforehand then you could end up becoming really overwhelmed. So, first things first: decide a few places that you are not going to miss in your itinerary. But how to choose what to visit in what we found out to be such a short period of time?
OUR 1 MONTH-TRIP ITINERARY AROUND INDONESIA
People usually think of Bali when they hear the word Indonesia, but there is so much more to Indonesia than just Bali! Vulcanos, jungles, waterfalls, indigenous villages and marine parks. Every island, for how tiny it might be, is well worth a visit. Planning our trip to Indonesia we cut down the itinerary to this:
Trip duration: 28 days
Travelling from 5th August to 1st September
We will spend the first days in the Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo to meet the orangutans with Local Guides. Our house for three days will be a boat, winding the jungle river. We will survey the jungle looking for wildlife, apes and monkeys and when the sun goes down we will fall asleep under the stars surrounded by the rainforest.
⇸ Read about: OUR ADVENTURE IN THE INDONESIAN BORNEO
Bali. The island of Gods, of good spirits dwelling in the mountains. Island of tropical beaches, lush terraced rice fields, volcanoes. But it’s the essence of Bali – and the Balinese – that attract’s us. The Balinese spiritual belief, a unique hybrid of Buddhism, Hinduism, and animism, conceptualizes the universe in terms of balance. Tradition, ritual and religion infuse almost every aspect of life on this island. We will explore the hipster Canggu, the spiritual Ubud and the Bukit Peninsula.
After visiting the island of Gods we will pay a visit to its dark side: the mysterious Nusa Penida. The black magic island, once inhabited by ghouls, demons and dark spirits, is a rare combination of immense natural beauty, inadvertent isolation and spirituality.
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
A one hour flight connects Bali to Flores, our next destination. Here, we will join a few days island hopping adventure on board of the Le Pirate Explorer. We will visit the World Heritage Komodo National Park, snorkelling, sightseeing, island trekking, or do nothing while floating on the turquoise water of the archipelago. Highlight of the trip: spotting the legen (wait for it…) dary Komodo Dragons and swimming with Manta Rays.
BOROBUDUR TEMPLE, YOGYAKARTA
Last stop: the majestic Borobudur Temple in Central Java, the largest Buddhist monuments in the world and Unesco World Heritage. Seen from above, the structure resembles a giant three-dimensional tantric mandala. In fact, it represents a Buddhist vision of the cosmos in stone, starting in the everyday world and spiralling up to nirvana, or enlightenment. Magical.
⇸ Read about: GUIDE TO BOROBUDUR TEMPLE
Transport: how to move around Indonesia
While planning a trip to Indonesia keep in mind that transportation in the islands is a bit of a mission. The country is huge and traffic is a big deal. The quickest solution to get from one place to the next, is flying but most of the airlines accept only Indonesian credit cards for online payments. To book our inland flights in advance we used AirAsia, Garuda and Nusatrip to help you find cheap deals. Garuda, although more expensive, is the only reliable airline in the country, so if your time is tight and you can’t risk arriving late to your next destination we recommend you to spend a few extra quid. To move around the island you can rent scooters for € 3 a day, call an Grabcar, the indonesian version of Uber, or book a driver. Prices are really affordable.
Internet and SIM card in Indonesia
When travelling around Indonesia it is essential to have internet connection always available. Not only to check routes, book flights and other services, but also to book a car with Grabcar or food deliveries with GoJeck. To communicate with hotels, taxi drivers and agencies you will use Whatsapp instead of phone calls. The rules on the sales of an Indonesian SIM card are changing. To buy one you must be an Indonesian resident. In touristy islands like Bali it is still possible to break the rules and buy a SIM card. However, sometimes, a few days after purchase, these SIM cards are deactivated. To be sure to had roaming at our travel destination we rented Travelers Wifi, a small portable device that guarantees super fast and unlimited WiFi wherever you are.
Visa to visit Indonesia
In Indonesia, 169 countries receive a 30 day non extendable free visa upon arrival. If you wish to stay in Indonesia for longer, you can apply for a Visa On Arrival (extendable). This gives you 30 days plus a chance to extend it for another 30 days while travelling in Indonesia. There are 67 countries who can get this on arrival and it costs USD 35 per person.
Best time to visit Indonesia
There are two main seasons in Indonesia, wet and dry. The best time of year to visit Indonesia is between May and September when the days are dry and sunny. Wet season is between October & April, with short and intense rainfalls. Check this map out to know more about Indonesian seasons.
Budget for a trip to Indonesia, per person:
Flight to Indonesia: € 740
Flight to Borneo: € 58
Flight to Bali: € 75
Flight to Labuan Bajo: € 102
Flight to Yogyakarta: € 152
Flight to Jakarta: € 63
Hotels: € 356
Borneo boat tour 2N3D: € 225
Le Pirate Explorer 3N4D: € 210
Scooter: € 2/day
Komodo National Park: € 18/day
Insurance: € 70
Food and drinks: € 20/day
ONE LAST THING…
…even though doing a bit of research before departing is great, We definitely recommend bringing a guidebook along with you. Here are some books we recommend: