Changing Money and what to carry (Indonesia)
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Aug 30, 2012 1:10 PM Last Post By: pdrydenuk
Apr 6, 2012 2:21 AM
Changing Money and what to carry (Indonesia)Would anyone know what what is the best way to change or get money in Indonesia.
First of all I'll be landing in Jakarta so would you be able to answer the questions below.
1 - Should I take US dollars and change them to Indonesian RP?,, Do I need to take US dollars at all?
2 - Is it best to use an ATM withdrawal in sums of Indonesian RP (I know there's large transaction costs).
3 - Should I obtain Indonesian RP before I go (I'm in Australia)?
4 - If I do get some Indonesian RP is it best to wait until I get away from the Airport as is the case in other countries.
Thanks so much.
Apr 6, 2012 2:47 AM
1I have a Comm Bank keycard and was surprised at how low the transaction costs were when I took money out recently (in West Sumatra). I have a terrible memory for numbers, so i can't remember quite how low it was, but maybe around $4?? I usually took out the maximum, 1.5 million, at a time. Someone else might have exact numbers.
(I tried the same thing in the US last year and got slogged $30 for taking out $200...so it was nothing like that in Indonesia).
I usually get some indo RP in Australia - enough to get me to a guesthouse and through the first day or so. I get it before I go to the airport.
Apr 6, 2012 2:50 AM
21. $A is better so you do not lose by changing money twice.
2. The CBA charges $A2 per withdrawal from a CBA ATM in Indonesiahowever their exchange rate is Rp 300 worse than the street rate for cash. Other ATMs charge $9 per transaction and their exchange rate is Rp 200 worse than the street rate for cash.
3. No, the Rp rate is terrible in Australia.
4. Exchange enough to pay for a taxi and a few groceries at the Indonesian Airport, change the rest at reputable money changers next day. The Airport rate us Rp 200 worse than the street rate for cash.
Apr 6, 2012 3:42 AM
3Thanks for that. Can you tell me if I can change AUD in the street in Indonesia? Are there licenced money changes in the street or are they all independents?
Apr 6, 2012 4:04 AM
4Gary is very close.
There are licenced money changers in most larger places or at some banks. Just watch for tricks especially in Bali. Short changing and the likes.
Apr 6, 2012 4:07 AM
5Do not change money twice - you lose twice. (As already stated by others.)
There are ATMs at airports - do not buy Rupiahs in Australia; you get very bad rates. If you get VOA AUD is accepted for payment - best to have the right amount as change is given in IDR at not such a good rate.
The best place to change money is probably banks. AUD is acceptable just about everywhere. In Bali there are problems with money changers (look on this part of TT for recommended money changers there).
Look for ATMs that dispense IDR 100,000 notes because you can withdraw larger amounts (withdraw the max usually 2 mil but sometimes more) and thus cut down on per transaction charges.
ATMs are easier and risk free. In some country areas the ATMs may be broken or out of money for several days so make sure you have sufficient funds and a few AUD for emergencies.
Some of this advise varies by area - you don't say where you are going. There are ATMs in most places but not they do not always dispense large amounts of money - so play it by ear.
Apr 6, 2012 4:50 AM
Apr 6, 2012 6:50 AM
7How long before you leave? If its a few weeks or months away, consider applying for a 28 Degrees Mastercard. No fees. At all. Well except for what a local ATM might charge (eg. Thailand's 150 baht tourist rip-off fee). I use this on all my trips and didn't have the slightest problem with it on the latest trip to Jakarta back in November. For Aussies / permanent residents only.
Personally, I take about a grand in cash and then rely on ATMs for the rest. Looked at traveller's cheques, but unlike Thailand where the rates are very generous, Indonesian banks seem to have about 5% difference between the cash rate and the TC rate.
I also take my other credit cards with me as backup in case the 28 degrees gets swallowed, like it did in Jakarta back in '06, I was so offended by it that I didn't visit again until late last year!
As far as money changers in Jakarta go, if you're staying on Jalan Jaksa, there's a really good one near the Sarinah Thamrin shopping complex whose rates are quite a bit higher than the others in the area, including the banks. Its a serious operation, been around for ages. I can give you the full details if you'd like.
Apr 6, 2012 9:12 AM
Apr 6, 2012 6:33 PM
9Not all ATM's in Bali are safe. In '09I had my card skimmed at an ATM in Jalan Legian. Fortunately it was just before I returned home. I did not discover the theft until a month later. The money had been withdrawn in a multiple transactions in Montreal. A few days later a balance check was made in Singapore. By this stage I was back working and my salary had been credited to the account. This money was withdrawn in Montreal as soon as the Singapore inquiry revealed there was money in the account. Why the gang operated in this way I have no idea, but that is what happened. They netted $5800 from me and it took me six weeks to get the money back from the bank. Imagine how many other cards they managed to skim that day. Now you know why bank fees are so high! Always cover the keypad when you enter your PIN. Never let anyone take your card out of your sight. Use your card as little as possible. Commonwealth bank ATM's in Bali will dispense 3 million Rupiah at a time. Cash is always the most economic way to go - unless you get robbed of course. BTW never patronise money changers who charge commission or who want to hand over large numbers of IDR20,000 and IDR50,000 notes - that's a sure sign the fix is in.
Apr 6, 2012 6:57 PM
10^ Its on Jalan Haji Agus Salim, aka Jalan Sabang. If you're on Jalan Jaksa, walk to the bottom of the street then turn right onto Jl. Wahid Hasyim. Keep walking to the next set of traffic lights, then left onto Jl. Sabang. Money changer is on the right hand side about 50 meters up the block, in a small row of shops with a few parking spaces. This might be of more use.
Rates are maybe 100-150 rupiah higher than the surrounding places, not much if you're only changing 20 bucks but it adds up if you're changing hundreds. Plus its nicely air-conditioned and very professional looking with a big LCD screen with all the rates.
Its not really that far of a walk and there are other things to see and do in the area that I consider "institutions" from the long time I spent on Jaksa back in the late '90's. Such as McDonald's Sarinah and a branch of Bakmi Gajah Mada in one of the office buildings opposite the Sarinah carpark. There's a cinema in the area as well (Theater Djakarta?) plus a 24 hour KFC, a Burger King and a Pizza Hut plus more local food stalls than you can poke a stick at in an alleyway that run between Jl. Sabang and Jl. Thamrin.
There's also a nice little store at the back of Sarinah called Glodok Elektronik or something like that. They've got about a hundred different types of power adapters, including more expensive ones with LED lights and an on/off switch. Much cheaper than the $15-$20 they charge for those bulky KORJO travel adapters at Aussie airports, and smaller too. If you take your device and plug they'll probably test it for you if you ask. I got one on my last trip and it worked perfectly, nice snug fit unlike some of the cheaper ones I've seen around the way.
You might also be able to pick up some of the gear you were asking about in your other post, not sure exactly what they got because I was focussed on my adapter, but its a well-stocked store with heaps of goodies.
Apr 6, 2012 7:26 PM
Here is a general guide for how to get local currency quickly and safely:
If you use a money changer while in Jakarta, I recommend Dua Sisi:
To answer Question 3, I recommend getting a small amount of Rupiah before you arrive (equivalent of $A50) to cover initial expenses e.g. transport (taxi, bus) from the airport, first meal, etc. The commission may be high and rate may be particularly crap, but it's worth it for the piece of mind. Availability of Rupiah banknotes may be an issue, but usually specialist moneychangers e.g. Travelex have some.
Apr 6, 2012 8:21 PM
12#11, good advice, but I just can't bring myself to do business with Travelex, especially at Sydney airport so I take a wad of AUD cash with me when I go to Indonesia and take it from there. The exchange rate difference on $50 is about the price of a large Bintang in a cheap bar on Jalan Jaksa ;-)
I was pleasantly surprised on my last trip to Jakarta to find a money-changer at Soekarno-Hatta that had very good rates , as good as the place I mentioned above and a couple of hundred rupiah higher than all of the surrounding exchange booths. I changed $50 for the taxi ride "home" (Jalan Jaksa) and was half expecting to get told that the nice, crisp new 100,000 notes she'd given me were fakes, but spent them without any problems.
I'll check this duasisi mob out the next time I'm there, will give me an excuse to go visit some of the big shopping malls. I only made it as far as Grand Indonesia last time, mostly overpriced but Social House does a good happy hour and it overlooks the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, they open up the windows after the traffic has died down and it is a very pleasant way to spend an evening in Jakarta. Breakfast the next day to soak up the excess Bintangs ain't too bad either.
Apr 7, 2012 1:38 AM
Aug 30, 2012 4:14 AM
Wondering if anyone can help. I have changed my money already prior to visiting Bali and have 19.6m into rupiah between the two of us. I've just read that anything above 5m per person must be declared and 10m is the limit. Is this just a matter of ticking a box on the embarkation card on arrival or do we have to do something more official?
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