Although the Indonesia currency is the Rupiah (IDR) many hotels especially in Bali, publish their prices very often also in US$. Restaurants and other services also start to publish the thousand as one and scratch the last three zeros. I suppose this makes it easier for guests to understand and convert costs. An example is: if something cost IDR 45,000 they would write it as IDR 45, which is about US$ 4.- (today’s exchange rate) any which way.
I can remember when the Rupiah was exchanged at IDR or Rp.250 per 1$. This is a long time ago, I admit. Under the second president Soeharto it then went to Rp. 750 per 1 $ and when we moved to Jakarta, it was about Rp 2,500. During the political and economical upheaval at the end of the 1900 and beginning of 2000 the currency went to 15,000 and higher, then settled at around 10,000 for many years. You can see the current exchange rate here.
Big and luxurious Bali Hotels will take most credit cards for payments including rooms and anything else you pamper yourself with on their premises. Only very small home stay and low quality accommodation will insist on cash payments. Beyond Bali, in big cities you will be able to use your plastic card a lot too. But as soon as you travel through rural areas you will need much more cash or Rupiah to pay.
Another reason to have small change with you at all times is the culture of expecting and giving tips. Whatever you do and wherever you are, if you are given a service locals will count on your generosity. Many small eatery employees, sales people, beauticians, masseuse and soon receive only very small salaries and depend on tips to survive.
I once had the chance to visit the factory where the Indonesia currency the Rupiah is printed; it was an enlightening and interesting excursion.
Most of the colors and the technology come from a small Swiss family run company that exists since almost a century. 80% of all bank notes or paper money in circulation all over the world uses some of the safety colors of this particular company. Switzerland itself is using 34 different colors in its francs; Indonesian currency uses about half of this amount.
You can still find coins in Indonesia, although in today’s economy there is not much you can get for them. The general Indonesia currency for payments is still the Rupiah.
Other information on money matters and traveling
Here are hotels in Jakarta we have visited:
HARRIS Suites FX Sudirman, accommodation on top of a mall
Here Bali Hotels where you only need a plastic card to pay
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'BEHAVE PROPERLY IN BALI', tips on how to enjoy interacting with locals.
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