The cheapest way to acquire accommodation in Indonesia is to rent a room and pay weekly, monthly, even yearly. In most cities, you can rent a decent room for less than $150 per month. At that rate, most rooms will have a bathroom, air conditioner, closet, even wi-fi. Locals call those rented rooms “kost”, and paying monthly will get you a lower price.
If you want to stay as long as possible, you will have to opt for cheaper meals sold in warungs (small family-run restaurants). In such places, you can eat a complete meal with rice, vegetables, side dish, and tea or mineral water for less than $2 per meal. If you stick with a vegetarian menu such as tofu or tempeh, you can even get a full plate for $1 or less.
Three meals per day x 30 days = 90 meals
90 meals x $2 = $180
If you rent a room with shared kitchen, you can slash that budget even more. Cooking saves a lot more money, especially if you do grocery shopping at traditional markets, where a bountiful of leafy vegetables for two servings can cost as low as $0.2. Four servings of tofu cost less than $0.4 and you can simply deep fry the tofu with cooking oil ($1 per liter) that will last the whole month. Doing so will save you more money to afford eating out for a decent nice meal every weekend.
Note that tap water in Indonesia is not drinkable. It means you will need to buy mineral water everyday. It’s cheapest to buy a gallon ($2 for 19 liters) but it’s much easier to buy bottles of one liter for $0.5.
Two bottles per day x 30 days = 60 bottles
60 bottles x $0.5 = $30
In bigger cities where public transportation is ample, getting around is pretty cheap at about $0.4 per ride. However, many tourists have found it much more convenient to rent a bike. That way, you can enjoy the freedom of exploring places anywhere and anytime. The rate to rent a bike varies in different cities. In Bali, a month of bike rent costs from $80. In most cities, the rate is relatively cheaper. That adds up to about $100 per month including gas.
Most natural attractions like beaches, waterfalls, or jungles are free or cost a mere pittance. Museums may charge more for international tourists, but $10 is the most expensive it can be (government-run museums cost much less). Temple entrance fees in Bali cost about $3 or less and you can watch cultural shows for free in some places. You can do much with your remaining $40. If you have more to spare, a dozen keychain or refrigerator magnets cost less than $3 and make a great souvenir for friends back home. You can also buy other handmade goods in traditional markets for an affordable price in traditional markets.