When we arrived at Soekarno Hatta Airport, the main air hub of the Republic of Indonesia, our drive for adventure soared. This archipelago of 17,000 islands is too many that would turn your two weeks as if a couple of days. We travelled the main island from west to east and discovered these amazing places that were worth the money we saved for this adventure. The following are our top 7 cheap places that we think you guys should check out too:
1- Jakarta Kota and Masjid Istiqlal in Jakarta
I think i won’t have to give further explanations if i’ll say there is no entrance fee at all here.
Then the Masjid Istiqlal, the biggest mosque in Indonesia
These two places were very interesting, aside from they didn’t collect entrance fees. Jakarta Kota is a preserved area of old buildings used during the Dutch colony now turned into restaurants, cafes, and museum. The architectures were a combination of Moorish, Chinese, Javanese and Dutch style architecture. Masjid Isitqlal on the other hand is their biggest mosque. It was the first day of Eid Mubarak when we went there, and a lot of Muslims came to pray including women. For girls visiting the mosque, bring a headscarf to cover your hair, and don’t get in if you have your period.
2- Masjid Agung of Semarang
Guess what, no entrance fee again!
This place’s literal English translation is biggest mosque of Semarang. What makes this very unique among other mosques in the whole country is the foldable umbrella outside the edifice, and its Moorish architectural design that will take your imagination to Middle East. Peculiar on this place is their tower. Like the Eiffel Tower or any tallest buildings over the world, this tower also has restaurants at the top. You do not have to pay any entrance fees to visit this mosque.
3- Sempuh Island of Malang
It is Indonesia’s Maldives. It is also their version of Krabi, Thailand. But you only have to pay 10,000 IDR for the boat ride to Sempuh Island. You will have to do a one hour trek before reaching its lagoon inside. You will not see any restaurants, cafes or toilet in the island. No electricity too.
We spent one night there with our rented tent and and some cooking materials and food enough for five meals. Finding a place like this in the vast land of Java is seventh heaven. Usually local people go there and the girls wear like overalls- they wear their hijab, jacket or long sleeves, and jeans. If you intend to wear your bikini, you are really going to attract attention and wreck havoc. After our trip there, our local friend told us that on the other side of the island are the den for wild animals like panther and endangered snakes. Sounds fun, eh?
4- Kawah Putih in Bandung
With 30,000 IDR (less than a dollar), you can visit this volcanic crater of sulfur in Bandung. When i posted a photo of Kawah Putih on my facebook, everyone thought i went to a beach. The literal English translation of Kawah Putih is white crater. However because of its sulfuric nature, we are only allowed to stay within the crater for 5- 10minutes. Bring a mask with you if you decide to visit this place. You will be astounded when you discover how much that cheap mask costs over there.
5- Lawang Sewuh of Semarang
This Dutch colonial building used to be the scariest place in Semarang six years ago. In English it means a thousand doors building. This used to be the train station of Semarang with its offices and convention areas. A thousand doors because of its several doors per room. It was an abandoned building with ghost stories lurking around, now turned into a tourism attraction. Functions such as wedding photo-shoots, dinner events, etc are being held on this area this time. You pay 60,000 IDR per person, relatively cheap still.
6- Borobodur of Magelang
We paid 200,000 IDR because we were not Indonesians, but if we compare it to the entrance fee of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, this one here is really affordable. Amidst the big Muslim population, this is one of the four Buddhist temple in the country. Do not pronounce Borobodur as borodobur for it would mean ass or butt. Our local friend told us that if you chance to have touched the bell inside the biggest bell on top, then your wish would come true. No, we didn’t get to touch it.
7- The House of Raminten in Jogjakarta
This number 7 is so interesting to know that this particular city of Indonesia has recognized the ability of Raminten. This person is the first and only gay personality to be acknowledged by the king of Jogjakarta. He now owns a big souvenir shop showcasing all local arts and crafts from all over Indonesia. He also owns a theatre house and his restaurant has turned to be a success. They said that all employees of Raminten are gays and or lesbians like him.
We have listed here our top 7, maybe you can add more? Comment and make suggestions.