After more than 10 years, my family finally managed to go on vacation together. Given our limited resources, we decided to go to Indonesia. Our main destinations are Jakarta and Bandung, both on the island of Java. Here I would like to share a few observations that I hope will help anyone planning to visit the republic in the areas of money.
1) Wise choice of luggage
We were surprised to find out how much the locals want to be at the airports to help us load our luggage into the van. However, my father was quick to point us all, NOT to let them do it. These helpers come at a price. They are not useful for no reason and will stubbornly insist on payment after helping you with their luggage, and insist that it is not adequate with the weight they have lifted.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use roller shutters when traveling. They are much more comfortable to wear and therefore eliminate the need for help.
2) Know your currency conversion factor
First, it is very important to shop around for the best conversion rate every time you get your Rupee. Personal money in their November 2007 issue highlighted a few Currency exchange bureau which offers the best prices and how to get the most out of your money for your research.
Second, now that you have your Rupee, determine the conversion rate. When we exchanged RM for Rp, Rp 1,000,000 = RM 364. Therefore, the conversion factor was 1000000/364, which is about 2747.25. Let’s round it to 2750. So when you go shopping and if you need a quick check of how much the product costs in Malaysia, just drop your calculator and divide X by Rupiah by the conversion rate, which in this case is 2750.
For example, a shirt priced at Rp89,500. Divide this by 2750 and you will find that it costs around 32.55 RM
3) Be pleasant with your guide and miscellaneous expenses
We traveled in a group of nine and had a guide / driver who drove us around and from town to town. I didn’t know what to do with his suggestions in a few places we had to visit, given how familiar my parents were with the republic. It turns out that the agency / guide has an appointment with these places.
It turns out that this is how the guide makes a living. He receives, or to be more precise, he may ask for some prizes from the shops we shopped in the restaurants where we dined.
Another expense to keep in mind when planning your trip to Indonesia is the unofficial street tolls / vendors you may have to pay. Sometimes, to avoid traffic jams, the driver will take us to the villages, and the locals will be located every 30 meters or around them, asking for “donations”. In the name of your family, pay!
However, when you are in the city and stuck in traffic, you do not have to pay pedestrian street performers or vendors. Some would be more stubborn than others because they can smell tourists from a distance.
4) Location and price
Prices of things vary from place to place, especially food. The price for Nasi Padang, known for its variety, will vary if you dine right in the center of Jakarta, compared to Cengkareng.
So keep that in mind?
5) To bargain like tomorrow will not
NEVER, NEVER say words that are so cheap! If so, you are at their mercy. Be firm, don’t be afraid to move away, if you think the item is too expensive …, more often two things would happen:
(a) the trader would eventually agree to reduce the price according to yours.
b) you will find the same product in the store next door or in one of the stores nearby.
Also, if you find a good enough deal, get it! Don’t expect to get a better deal in Jakarta or another city where you stop afterwards. You can’t win all the time. At least minimize your losses. Believe me, when you find out that the same item costs more or twice in the next city, you will start kicking over the missed opportunity.
6) Cash is King
Please note that not every retail outlet in Indonesia accepts credit cards. There are numerous stories in which tourists, often wealthy and not so big fans to bring too much money around, went to Indonesia, ate great food in Puncak (which includes 17 dishes or so). Unfortunately, when it comes to paying on time, the restaurant then does not receive payment by credit card …..
Indonesian business prefers to be paid immediately. This reduces the need for a deal with the bank when it comes to paying with a loan. So unless you’re staying at a five-star hotel with very little traffic outside the city, bring enough money for your study.
I hope these six tips help you.