Backpacking is a great way to explore and discover far flung countries on a budget, and Indonesia lends itself perfectly to this low cost way of travel. With cheap accommodation, delicious street food and inexpensive local transportation, this is the perfect vacation destination for old and young backpackers alike.
Indonesia is an enormous country, so here are some places you might want to include on your budget backpacking trip.
Bali is a tourist mecca, which makes it one of the more expensive backpacking destinations. Nevertheless it is still possible to find low cost accommodation in local hostels, often for as little as IDR 55.00 (around $5) per night in the touristy centre of Kuta, where you can find everything from Starbucks to a McDonald’s. While Kuta is perfect for clubbers, those who are hoping for a more relaxed pace of life should try Ubud, further inland, surrounded by beautiful hills and stunning temples to visit.
Alternatively, for an experience further off the beaten track, the small fishing villages of Amed and Lovina offer something completely different, with their dark volcanic sands and authentic way of life.
North Sumatra is home to spectacular rainforests and gorgeous national parks. One of the most popular places for backpackers to visit here is Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world, close to the city of Medan. A magical place, this picturesque lake is home to many pretty hostels in Batak houses and is a fantastic place to relax and get away from it all.
For a touch of luxury during your stay, why not take a room at the Tongging Point Lodge at the Taman Simalem Resort, some of their best rooms to stay in are pretty affordable. With first class facilities, this modern accommodation boasts impressive lake views, inclusive meals and complimentary activities for all guests including golf, jungle trekking and mountain biking.
If you are a keen scuba diver, Sulawesi is a must-visit destination on the Indonesian backpacker trail. This stunning island is famous for its diving sites, especially the Bunaken National Marine Park and Lembeh Strait, however many backpackers looking for a lower cost diving experience head to the Bira Dive Camp in the south with its traditional style accommodation and eco-friendly vibe.
For a holiday completely off the beaten track, the island of Lombok is rugged and unexplored. The trio of Gili Islands are on every backpacker’s must do list with their friendly hostels, party atmosphere and excellent sporting opportunities from scuba diving to yoga.
Lombok is also home to the volcano Mount Rinjani, and many backpackers come here for multi-day trekking tours. Lombok also has beautiful waterfalls which can be explored on a guided day trip, with the opportunity to swim in the refreshing waters.
A relatively new addition to the backpacking trail, Flores is an up and coming destination, yet still remote enough to satisfy those who are looking for an immersive cultural experience. This island is also home to the Komodo National Park, where you can encounter the famous Komodo dragons as well as the unusual coloured volcanic lakes at Kelimutu. Hire a motorbike or scooter and explore the traditional villages of east Flores where foreigners are still rarely seen.