Luxury for less: 5 things to do in Indonesia that are cheaper than anywhere else
After checking all the must-do things when visiting Indonesia, how about we add five more that most people consider luxurious but are actually cheap in Indonesia.
A pamper day in a salon
Maybe not many people (besides Indonesians) know what a creambath is in Indonesian salons. The English word gives no clear indication of what it actually means, but Indonesians do it like shopping for groceries.
It is actually a hair spa treatment, where a thick conditioner is applied to your hair and massaged into your scalp. But the Indonesians bring it to the next level. The therapist will massage your scalp, neck, shoulders and back, even your hands, for more than an hour. All that only costs you around Rp 100,000 (US$8.30) in most salons.
If you add a manicure and pedicure, you would only pay around Rp 100,000 more.
A hair cut in a fancy salon by an experienced hairstylist will normally cost you around Rp 250,000.
Whether it's getting your nails done, or simply having your hair cut by a skillful hairstylist after having an upper body massage and hair spa, these salon services are relatively affordable in Indonesia.
Get a massage and spa treatments
As with salon services, spa treatments and massages are cheap in Indonesia. Even so, you will still get royal treatment.
The massage parlors are often chic and cozy, with a Zen-like ambience that will immediately relax your mind, body and soul. Not to mention the heavenly lounge chairs, which are sometimes equipped with personal entertainment devices, a TV, headphones and even a blanket.
In, Zen Family Spa on Jl. Sukajadi, Bandung, the foot massage starts from Rp 60,000 (US$5.00) for 60 minutes, while their customers' favorite, the Royal Touch treatment, is priced at only at Rp 180,000 for 100 minutes.
In Singapore, a one-hour body massage in a normal massage parlor can start from US$35.49 per hour, equal to a full body spa treatment in Indonesia's five-star hotels.
The Papandayan Hotel in Bandung, for example, offers its 75-minute Royal Body Treatment for just Rp 325,000 (excluding taxes). Royal Body pampers you with a series of treatments, apparently derived from the classic rituals of Javanese royal palaces, including a body scrub, relaxing dip in the Jacuzzi and use of the steam room or sauna.
Rent a fancy car
Renting cars is cheap in Indonesia, especially in Bali. For only Rp 150,000 (US$12.5) you can drive an MPV for 24 hours. For a more luxury option, the rental price for a premium MPV, such as a Toyota Alphard, is around Rp 950,000 per day, including driver and gasoline.
Aldi, founder of @driverBDG, a driver and rental car service, shared that they offer high-end cars for hourly and daily rental. Their collection includes sport cars, such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Mercedes Benz and Toyota Celicas, to premium family cars such as Toyota Alphards.
Daily rental for a Toyota Celica starts from Rp 2 million, while the Mercedes Benz E Class starts at Rp 1.4 million per day.
Watch a movie, VIP style.
It might not be on your itinerary, but watching a movie in Indonesian theaters is one exciting experience.
“I have been living across Europe and Singapore recently, but nothing beats the theaters in Jakarta,” said Alex, a German native.
In Indonesia, most movie theaters are owned and operated by XXI, while others are run by Blitzmegaplex. Both sell competitively priced tickets at only Rp 50,000 (US$4.17) for the weekend and slightly cheaper on weekdays.
For a more premium experience, try the Blitzmegaplex Velvet Class or XXI Premiere theaters, which are available in Jakarta and Bandung.
Picture yourself watching the latest Hollywood movie in a comfortable bed for two, or on a huge chaise lounge with pillow, and a butler that places the blanket for you, puts your shoes in storage and offers you socks to wear as a complimentary service. They can even bring your order of gourmet foods and drinks at the call of a button.
"Capacity in Velvet Class auditoriums is less than in normal auditoriums, hence customers can enjoy a more private setting," said Trisiska Putri, Blitzmegaplex public relations officer.
The tickets for these premium movie theaters range from Rp 100,000 to Rp 250,000, depending on the theater location.
Advance booking or reservation is suggested due to limited seating.
Go on a dive trip
Indonesia is heaven for divers. Its abundance of dive sites attracts competing dive operators offering competitive pricing.
In Weh island, in Aceh, for a one-day dive trip comprising three dives, lunch and boat rental you would pay around Rp 750,000 (US$62.55) per pax. In Komodo, the same service is slightly more expensive, Rp 950,000.
A full-day package diving in Krakatau, which includes car transfer from Jakarta, boat ride, lunch and snacks and three dives is only Rp 1,250,000.
The best thing about diving in Indonesia is you practically don’t have to bring anything. Dive operators normally provide everything, from wet suit, to BCD, regulator, oxygen tank, booties and fins.
You don’t even have to mount the gear. An employee will have already mounted it, you just have to wear the mounted BCD, regulator and oxygen tank and double-check everything.
In Tulamben, where dive entry is from the beach, the local ladies will bring your heavy oxygen tanks on their heads. You just have to put them on by the time you dive.
It is the kind of service you wouldn’t find diving anywhere else.