The vast country archipelago of Indonesia calls for tourism from the luxurious to the back alleys. It’s most well-known for its beach resorts and volcano hiking, but beyond them is an entire landscape to be explored. Despite being neighbours with Indonesia nearly all my life and wielding decent language ability, my experience traveling there is little. Only after picking up the convenience of motorbike riding and self-touring the islands that I did find the charm of the country.

Venturing beyond the international hub of Bali may be intimidating, but worth it for the amount of nature you get everywhere else. But the locals do get very curious when foreigners enter their vicinity – I barely got away with my looks, but the obvious ones get heads turning!


Trip Budgeting

Expenses in Indonesia can be very cheap. Main tourist spots like Bali might get expensive, but good budgeting still got me pretty decent deals. I have stayed in a beautiful AirBnB in Gili, a cute guesthouse in Lombok, and an impressive yet affordable hotel in Legian – all these while not compromising too much on location and convenience. Even transport costed barely anything when I opted for motorbike taxis on ride-hailing apps like Grab or GoJek. But cash is more widely used than card, so a travel card like Revolut is very handy.


Staying Safe

Indonesia is moderately unsafe for all travellers. Ask any seasoned traveller and you should hear at least one story related to scams or unfortunate incidents. I have heard at least one story of automobile accident each trip, nearly getting into one myself. I have travelled with official tour companies, and they warned of scam tactics that came true and avoided. Thefts and bribes are also rampant, whether snatched from your hands or taken from your hotel safe, or being stopped for doing literally nothing. So I learned to not carry a large amount of cash in the open and keep my wits about. Always research for reputable companies! I also stay myself informed on volcanic activities and earthquakes where applicable.


Packing Light

You’re in a tropical country with lots of sun and nature. I managed to save with light clothing, except for a windbreaker and a gaiter for the cool weather in the mountains. Backpacking is easy especially when my accommodation offers laundry service for cheap. I had a TropicFeel Shell backpack that held everything for my 10-day trip, and I only did one round of laundry to make sure everything was fresh after some intense mountain hiking. But I found out the painful way that camera tripods aren't allowed as a hand-carry within Bali airport, so if you're bringing that, it has to be checked in.

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