Indonesia, the largest island country in the world, is located on the border between the continents of Southeast Asia and Oceania. The archipelago of Indonesia is constituted of the five bigger islands of Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes and Papua as well as more than 14.000 smaller islands, which include the resort islands of Bali, Lombok and Flores that are some of the most popular seaside destinations around the world.
Indonesia's motto is 'Unity in diversity', which is not surprising given that on the thousands of islands that make up the country, almost every religion of the world is represented, with Java being the island with the biggest muslim population in the world, Bali being famous for its Hindu culture, Flores for its strong Christianity, with Protestantism still very much alive as a heritage of the Dutch colonial times and traces of the Buddhist tradition found all over the country. As well as that, every island boats with its own culture, with their particular dances, customs, clothes, food and arts being highly distinctive and very much alive and practised on an everyday basis. Shows of locals dances and rituals are not to be missed no matter which part of the country you are visiting.
The country is characterised with breathtaking scenery of a mostly vulcanic landscape, with such sights as one of the world's most active vulcano, Merapi and the inactive, but romaticly located Bromo vulcano as well as exotic beaches covered in coconut and banana trees and white sand, turquoise waters and beautiful rock formations. As for historic sights, one can find everything from ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, like the UNESCO protected Prambanan and Borobudur to modern mosques and Sultan's palaces. The local people are extremely friendly and will always try to give their utmost generousity and goodwill to foreigners.
However, travelling can be quite a challenge in the country, especially on a low budget. Although the country is one of the cheapest in Southeast Asia, with prices normally being 6-8 time cheaper than in most Western countries, foreigners normally pay a tourist price and it is a normal procedure to ask for your ID at sights with an entrance fee and make your pay around 10 times the local price if you are not an Indonesian citizen. Tricks and spontaneous price changes are common, but you will still end up paying way less for food, transportation and souvenirs than you would in most other countries.
As budget travellers still do not constitute the majority of visitors to the country, there are not always adequate transportation facilities and convenient hostels available for them. Hostels are common in bigger and more touristy cities, with places like Yogyakarta and most cities in Bali offering an intimidating choice of accommodation, mostly at extremely low prices. For the low price you pay, you can normally expect really high standards, sometimes even of a hotel quality. It is not infrequent to offer a swimming pool and garden and a simple breakfast of pancakes or toast is almost always included in the price. Most hostels are furnished tastfully and in a way that reflects that local culture. More and more often, hotels tend to offer dorm rooms as well, which are always excellent choices, because for the price of a dorm room, you get all the facilities of an upper-scale hotel. However, try to avoid homestay hostels as they are normally extremely basic and often not too clean family homes that have a few rooms available for travellers.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Indonesia hostels. Welcome.