Prices for the simplest double room start at around US$3.50, and in all categories are at their most expensive from mid-June through August, and in December and January. Single rooms are a rarity, so lone travellers will be put in a double at about 75 percent of the full price. Check-out time is usually noon. The cheapest accommodation has shared bathrooms, where you wash using a mandi. Toilets in these places will be squat affairs, flushed manually with water scooped from the pail that stands alongside, so you’ll have to provide toilet paper yourself.

The bottom end of Indonesia’s accommodation market is provided by homestays and hostels. Penginapan, or homestays, are most often simply spare bedrooms in the family home, though there’s often not much difference between these and losmen, pondok and wisma, which are also family-run operations. Rooms vary from whitewashed concrete cubes to artful bamboo structures – some are even set in their own walled gardens. Hard beds and bolsters are the norm, and you may be provided with a light blanket. Most losmen rooms have fans and cold-water bathrooms.

Almost any place calling itself a hotel in Indonesia will include at least a basic breakfast in the price of a room. Most of the middle and top-end places add a service-and-tax surcharge of between 10 and 22 percent to your bill, and upmarket establishments quote prices – and prefer foreigners to pay – in dollars, though they accept plastic or a rupiah equivalent. In popular areas such as Bali and Tanah Toraja, it’s worth booking ahead during the peak seasons. Bland and anonymous, cheap urban hotels are designed for local businesspeople rather than tourists, and have tiny rooms and shared squat toilets and mandi. Moderately priced hotels often have a choice of fan or air-conditioned rooms, almost certainly with hot water.

In rural Indonesia, you may end up staying in villages without formal lodgings, in a bed in a family house. First ask permission from the local police or the kepala desa (village head). In exchange for accommodation and meals, you should offer cash or useful gifts, such as rice, salt, cigarettes or food, to the value of about US$2 at the very least. The only bathroom might be the nearest river. With such readily available and inexpensive alternatives, camping is only necessary when trekking.

Usually, electricity is supplied at 220–240 volts AC, but outlying areas may still use 110 volts. Most outlets take plugs with two rounded pins.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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