Indonesia is cheap. Crazy cheap. It’s possible to not spend a lot in Bali, but once you’re on the other islands, it’s not possible to spend a lot!

I wanted to see some other islands, and I didn’t want to hire an expensive car-and-driver. The best way to travel in Indonesia is with your own motorbike. Renting a scooter is cheap, less than $5 a day.

I visited the islands of Lombok, Sumbawa, and Flores, easily taking ferries between them.

This is what I spent on my 20 day tour:

CategoryCostCost Per Day
Sites And Activities$123$6
Everything Else$5$0.26

Outside of Bali, there are no fancy luxury villas. In fact the only “fancy” hotels on my route were in Bima and Labuan Bajo. I was staying in basic guesthouses. I always had a private room and bathroom, but it was roughing it a bit. I usually only paid about $11 a night.

Food is my biggest budget-buster, because I love to eat. But there wasn’t much temptation on this trip.

There were no fast food restaurants. In fact, there weren’t many restaurants at all. Indonesia does not seem to have a “foodie” culture.

In towns Masakan Padang places were always available, serving simple fried food on display in the window. I learned to buy my lunch in the morning, because I often would not pass any restaurants.

Going offroad in Flores.
Going offroad in Flores.

Eating only cost me about $6 a day. That includes three simple meals, and evening snacks of Oreos and Tim Tams. Those cookies are always available, even in the most remote places.

Transportation included the cost of the scooter, ferries, and gas. Gas is basically free in Indonesia. Everybody loves this, of course, but future generations will have to pay the price as the climate changes. As an archipelago, Indonesia will be hit particularly hard. Transportation only cost me $10 a day. The total cost of gas for my three week road trip was only $16.

Sites and activities included the expensive tour of Komodo National Park. Also, all the villages I visited required a donation. The cost averaged out to $6 a day.

As for everything else, there wasn’t much else. There’s really nothing to do on the road besides drive, then visit the sites!

The total cost was less than $1000, only $33 a day. Indonesia is budget travel at its best!

Riding to remote villages.
Riding to remote villages.
I'm Terry, former cubicle-dweller, and now traveler, photographer, writer, and entrepreneur. I quit my job in 2014 to travel to US national parks, then to South East Asia. I write about independent, flexible, long-term, budget travel. Sign up to my newsletter to get the latest news on what I'm up to. I hope you join me on my trek around the world.


  1. I actually damaged the sensor on my venerable Rebel SXi trying to clean it, so I upgraded to an EOS 100D. It’s smaller and more modern, and I like it a lot.

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