Indonesia has a wealth of accommodation, catering for every budget from shoestring to luxurious. Budget accommodation is the most readily available and in some places it is the only sort of accommodation available. Java has some mid-high range accommodation but these tend only to be in the larger towns and cities. Bali and Lombok offer the greatest availability of upmarket places to stay, as well as a wealth of budget home stays.
The widely available losmen, wisma and homestays form the majority of budget accommodation. There is little difference between them as they all offer a basic room with fan and shared bathroom facilities (usually with cold water and Indonesian style squat toilets). Prices for the most basic of these can be around 15,000 Rp or less. It is well worth checking out the rooms before agreeing to stay anywhere as the quality of these places varies greatly. The price does not necessarily reflect the quality of the rooms and some accommodation can be pretty dirty and unpleasant. Single travelers should be aware that they will pay higher prices than two people sharing. Single rooms are rare, and only around 25% is knocked off the price of accommodation for those on their own.
As these rooms are so cheap, hostel accommodation is fairly rare. There are some to be found in Jakarta and the bigger cities, but for the money saved it isn't worth staying in one. Theft can sometimes be a problem in all budget accommodation so visitors are advised to bring their own padlock to secure doors.
For the cheapest budget accommodation it is possible to camp in the more remote areas. Although you can probably get away without a sleeping bag in lower areas, night time temperature drops rapidly as altitude increases. Over 1000m you'll probably need one. Also remember to bring a mosquito net as you are very likely to get bitten overnight.
Mid-range to top-end options:
Prices for these types of accommodation are usually quoted in dollars and range from between $10 and $100+ dollars for the night. Although many prices include tax, those in the higher end tend not to. This means you may have to pay an additional 10% to 21% tax and/or service charge on top of the quoted price (21% = tax plus service charge plus tax on service charge).
On the up side, you certainly get what you pay for. For rooms costing around $10 a night, you will get hot water, en suite, air conditioning and sometimes a fridge. The more you pay the more luxuries you get. Bali has some excellent accommodation of this sort, particularly in Ubud. In this area swimming pools, tennis courts, delicious restaurants and picturesque ornamental water gardens are usual when you pay as little as $40 a night. Prices are still up for negotiation in higher end hotels (unless a price list is displayed) and you may be able to knock up to 40% of your room price in quiet times. It is worth booking in advance in busier periods, as accommodation can get full very quickly in some areas.
If I arrive in the middle of the night, will there be guesthouses open?
It depends what time you arrive and where you stay. In the budget accommodation in Jaksa, there appears to be people around until about 2am and then again from about 5am onwards. If you happen to arrive in this 3 hour window you can choose between trying different guest houses, waking up the owner of one of the home stays (who normally sleep in the reception areas) or alternatively going to the 24 hour bar and restaurant. The majority of the more expensive places to stay have 24 hour receptions.
Where is a good place to stay in Jakarta?
The main backpacker place to stay in Jakarta is Jalan Jaksa and the adjacent roads. In this area, there are a number of cheap guest houses of poor to average quality, several restaurants, internet cafes bars and shops.
It is a fairly low key place, but is within walking distance of Gambir train station (also where the airport bus leaves from) so it is a useful transit stop. There is no need to book accommodation here; there are enough guest houses so that you will always be able to find one with space.
For more upmarket accommodation head slightly further to the Jalan Thamrin area, where there are a number of smarter options to stay. Again, booking is not necessary but you may be able to get a discount if you book in advance through a travel agent.
What is the accommodation like? Is it readily available?
Indonesia has a wealth of accommodation almost every where you visit. Budget accommodation is the most readily available; in some places it is the only sort of accommodation available. Java has mid-high range accommodation but these tend only to be in the larger cities. The more touristy Bali and Lombok offer the greatest availability of upmarket places to stay, as well as a wealth of budget home stays. Budget accommodation is generally of a reasonable standard; from as little as 25,000 Rp you can get a clean room with fan and attached mandi (primitive shower, using a bucket and running water).
What is the accommodation near the airport like?
Airport accommodation is in the mid-high price range. There isn't a lot of choice and the rooms are fairly functional. The cheapest option is Hotel Bandara Jakarta with rooms from $35.
What time is checkout in hotels in Indonesia?
Checkout time is generally at 12 noon. Most guest houses will charge a surcharge of up to 50% for checkouts between noon and 8pm. After this time, you will have to pay the full cost of the room for the night.