Let’s talk about money – Budget for 1 month Sumatra road trip

We are at Nol Kilometer Indonesia Statue in Pulau We, Aceh

“How much money will I need for a trip like this?” – this is a question we get asked quite a lot so let me try to help you figure it out.

Of course, the answer to this question highly depends on your style of traveling. It could be done on a tighter budget than ours but it’s also very easy to spend a lot more money than we did.

We travelled as a couple in a Toyota Avanza for 31 days all the way from Pulau Belitung to Sabang and back to Jakarta. Let’s have a look at the main costs we had during this trip.




Tanjung Ru' Seaport, Belitung

The largest cost factor in this category were the ferries we took. Taking ferries is unavoidable when overlanding in Indonesia, a country with over 17.000 islands. At times there is the option to choose between slow and fast ferries, but other than that this is a fixed cost. We always chose the cheapest option when doing ferry crossings and spent almost 5.000.000Rp. This also includes the required Antigen tests.

Belitung to Bangka


Bangka to Palembang


Banda Aceh to Sabang


Sabang to Banda Aceh


Samosir to Muara (Toba)


Sumatra to Java




Our travel companion Black Pearl. 

The next cost factor is petrol, we usually spent around 150.000Rp. to 200.000Rp on petrol a day which added up to around 4.000.000Rp. for the whole trip. I highly recommend filling up your car at proper Pertamina gas stations. It’s the safest way to avoid getting “bad” petrol, meaning petrol mixed with cheaper substances so the sellers have a higher profit margin. Unfortunately, this happened to us and we had to pay a mechanic to clean out the whole tank and waste a full tank of new petrol. It cost us a lot of money to repair.

Only a few parts of the Trans-Sumatra toll have been completed so far. We were only able to use the toll twice in Sumatra and once in Java to get back to Jakarta. This made driving a lot slower but to look at it in a positive light, it also kept the cost for toll roads to under 400.000Rp.

Parking might seem to be a small cost factor with prices anywhere between 2.000Rp to 20.000Rp when parking close to tourist spots. However, over a month the little amounts added up to a whooping 500.000Rp.

We spend around 2.800.000Rp at different mechanics during our trip. Black Pearl needed a new fuel pump and new breaks. We recommend having a regular car service including an oil change every 5.000km. It’s important to take great care of your vehicle and spending a little money on service will hopefully prevent you from breaking down and possibly having to spend a lot more money on fixing it later.



Campground Bukit Condong

This cost factor highly depends on your style of traveling and the level of comfort you want on your trip. It can be as low as a few 100.000Rp for the whole month if you are on a tight budget and don’t mind sleeping in your car. It can also be much higher if you want to stay in fancy resorts.

For us it was a bit of both. On some nights we slept in our car and spent no money at all while on other nights we spoiled ourselves and stayed in beautiful hotels. I personally like this mix. I am happy to camp for a few nights but I also appreciate a clean hotel room once in a while.

All of this said, I tried to figure out our average cost. When camping, we spent around 50.000Rp/night and when staying in hotels we spent anywhere between 200.000Rp. to 800.000Rp. This includes a night at a beautiful resort on Pulau Weh and two nights at an amazing beach resort in Krui to treat ourselves during our honeymoon.

The amazing BeOcean Resort in Krui for a few days of honeymoon bliss.

Overall we spent around 6.000.000Rp on accommodation.

This is definitely a cost factor you can keep low if you need to. Depending on where you are, you can either camp on an empty piece of land or if that’s not safe you can park your car at gas stations, police offices, next to mosques, or Puskesmas (small health clinics) for free. Most campgrounds are also quite affordable and just charge around 50.000/car. In a lot of towns along the Lintas you can also find simple transit hotels starting from around 100.000Rp/night.



Danu and I both love food and enjoy trying new dishes. We like to eat well and don’t really watch our money when it comes to food. We bought fresh fish and vegetables to cook for dinner from local markets when we were camping but most times we ate at Warungs on the road. The cost was anywhere from 50.000Rp for the two of us up to 400.000Rp at some seafood places on the beach. In all, we spent around 8.000.000Rp on food and drinks.

This is another cost factor you can keep low if you need to. You can buy a lot of fresh produce to cook at local markets for little money and in most Warungs you can eat a good dish for around 20.000Rp.



Sipiso-piso Waterfall 

This cost factor highly depends on what you plan to do during your trip. For us it includes entrance fees to some of the waterfalls and museums we visited and the snorkeling trip we did on Pulau Weh. In total we spent 1.000.000Rp.

We did not have a lot of extra time but there are many fun activities you can do in Sumatra. You might want to visit some of the national parks or maybe even go on a guided trekking tour to look for Orangutans. Or maybe you’re into surfing and want to give it a try in Krui. It’s always good to calculate a bit of extra budget for fun things like that.

I hope all of these explanations above help you in figuring out around how much money you’ll need to prepare for an overlanding trip around Sumatra. Let me know in the comments what number you came up with.

So, how much did we spend on our honeymoon road trip around Sumatra for 31 days?










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