Should you visit Indonesia or the Philippines?
Despite their similarities Indonesia is overall more expensive to visit than the Philippines. These two island nations share many similar traits, from beautiful beaches to tropical jungles, but the overall cost of living in Indonesia has led to higher travel prices. But both countries are still quite affordable for visitors.
Indonesia is a relatively inexpensive destination known for beautiful tropical beaches, exotic jungles teeming with wildlife, and large urban areas full of culture and markets. Visitors to Indonesia are often surprised at the number of activities to do and places to visit, as once they step away from the beach, they find historic temples, eco-tourism adventures, jungle and mountain hiking, and more.
The Philippines is an island nation known for stunning beaches and beautiful jungles, as well as affordable prices. The colonial history has left an interesting mix of culture, as well as historic landmarks. It's possible to visit colonial churches, typical Southeast Asian rice paddies, deserted islands, and beaches with crystal clear blue waters on a trip to this archipelago of a nation.
Which country is cheaper, the Philippines or Indonesia?
Should I visit Indonesia or the Philippines? This is a popular question for many travelers. By figuring out which country is more expensive, you'll understand where you'll get more bang for your buck. A week in the Philippines can cost you about $466 (per person), while a week in Indonesia may cost you around $423. These differences become even more noticable if you plan to spend a longer time in the country. 10 days, two weeks, or even one month of travel to the Philippines or Indonesia can really add to your travel budget.
Accommodation is often cheaper in the Philippines compared to Indonesia ($24 vs. $32). Budget travelers usually stay in less expensive hostels and guest houses, while nicer hotels often appeal to families and upscale travelers.
Compare hotel prices here: Indonesia Hotel Prices and Philippines Hotel Prices.
Or, compare hostel and guesthouse prices between the Philippines and Indonesia to find the cheapest accommodation here: Philippines hostels and Indonesia hostels.
When comparing food in Indonesia vs. the Philippines they are not just different in cuisine, but also in price. Meal and restaurant costs in Indonesia ($16) are often cheaper than the Philippines ($16).
When is the best time to visit Indonesia and the Philippines?
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Much of Indonesia is very close to the equator and quite tropical. Therefore, the seasons are divided between wet and dry depending on seasonal winds. The dry season is from May to September, while the wet season is from October to April. A few places have an exception to this (such as Sumatra), but you can expect warm tropical temperatures everywhere in the country.
The Philippines are the hottest from March to May, and from June to October it can be quite rainy. The coolest months are from November to February, but it is still warm and tropical. Don't let the rainy season scare you away, as the rains are not torrential and it still can rain during other parts of the year.
Why is Indonesia more expensive than the Philippines?
Indonesia's economy is growing, as it is the world's fourth most populated country. While the cost of living is generally cheap compared to other Asian nations, the large population means that demands for goods and services is on the rise. Imported goods from China, Australia, and other larger countries can be pricey, as can imported food. While budget travel options are very affordable, luxury services can get expensive, especially in more touristed areas such as Bali.
Overall, the Philippines are a very affordable destination due to the low cost of living, low wages, and significant competition for tourism. Many local families have opened their doors to create family-run hotels or restaurants, especially in the larger urban areas, leading to an increase in competition. Overall, while the economy is growing as a whole, the country must compete against its neighbors for revenue from tourism, leading to low prices.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Indonesia and the Philippines?
Cebu Island, Philippines
Tourism has driven up prices in some areas of Indonesia, namely Bali, Lombok, and some of the surrounding islands known for their beaches and scenery. If other travelers are flocking to an area, then expect prices to be higher.
In the larger cities of Indonesia, it's possible to find a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, and activities at a variety of prices. Budget hotels and hostels are often found not far from high-end luxury hotels. If you want luxury, you can expect to pay a fair amount more for it, but it is still usually of good value and quality.
In the countryside, prices can be very cheap, especially in off-the-beaten path locations.
While the Philippines are overall very inexpensive, the popular beach resort areas tend to be higher in price. These destinations are why visitors come to this beautiful country, after all. Tourists flock to the beach, driving up prices for everything from hotels and hostels to restaurants and activities.
The rural parts of the countryside are much cheaper, especially if you can get away from the areas that are more frequently visited.
As in most countries, the larger cities can be expensive, but budget options are available. Some neighborhoods have higher prices due to high-end luxury accommodations, nightlife, and restaurants. But shop around to find better prices if you're on a budget.
How you can save money when visiting Indonesia and the Philippines?
Eat the street food. In Indonesia, small eateries known as "warungs" are everywhere in urban areas. They offer delicious food at a cheap price. Also, buying food at local markets is significantly cheaper than at restaurants or larger stores.
Flying between the islands of Indonesia can get expensive. Instead, pick just a few islands and stick to them, or look for the less expensive ferry boats. Use public transportation whenever possible.
Stay with the locally owned hotels or hostels instead of international or national chain hotels. It's cheaper, better for the local economy, and you'll have a more authentic experience, too.