How Much Cash Do You Need While Traveling in Indonesia?
Whether you’re traveling in big cities or rural areas of Indonesia, don’t bring too much cash with you because it might pose as a risk. Debit card or credit card are perfect when you are in cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya, especially when you shop at convenience store or mall.
However, in smaller towns such as Labuan Bajo, Gili Islands, there might be low chance of places where you can use credit cards, hence you will need to withdraw cash, but just at the right amount based on what you need.
The most common things you will need cash for would be:
- Meals at local hawkers or restaurants as they usually only accepts cash.
- Daily needs, snacks and medicines from local warung or mini markets such as mineral water, anti-mosquito lotion, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, medicines (paracetamol), vitamin tablets, tissues, spare T-Shirt.
- Tips for local guide (recommended tipping amount: IDR 30.000-50.000/day).
How Much Cash to Bring?
Don’t bring too much cash, instead you may withdraw just the right amount for your need. The easiest way is to find an ATM machine, or a convenience store that provide cash withdrawal facility but comes with terms that you must buy something at minimum IDR 25.000.
Many ATMs will have a sticker on the front denoting the denomination in which cash is provided, either IDR 50.000 or IDR 100.000 notes. While it means more bills, try and stick to the IDR 50.000 notes as it will save you from a headache in the future. The IDR 100.000 note is often difficult for many business and vendors to break to small notes especially in rural areas.
So, it is recommended that you bring a minimum 2 pieces of IDR 50.000 notes, depending on how many vacation days you spend and how much people you bring alongside.
You should also bring discrete money pocket to carefully store most of your cash, and the small amounts can be stored in your wallet.
Places to Withdraw Cash
If you want to exchange your currency into IDR, you need to find money changers. There’s plenty of them in cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali, and other big cities. Be careful to ensure they don’t charge a high commission or any commission at all. If you already have Indonesian Rupiah in your bank account, try to find ATMs in places like:
- Convenience store
- Gas station
- Train station
- Big or small banks (in big cities only)
- Some office buildings (in big cities only)
- Shophouse (can be found in big cities and rural areas)