Nowadays we all want to be online when we travel and not just connect to the Wi-Fi when we get back to our hotel in Bali. We want to share our moments on the beach in Canggu or while chasing waterfalls in North Bali, climbing mount Rinjani in Lombok or standing on a cliff watching manta rays in Nusa Penida. Therefore as soon as we arrive at the airport buying an Indonesia tourist sim card seems a good idea, but which one? As I have been in Indonesia a lot of months the last year I figured out it was time to find out what exactly is the best Indonesia sim card for tourist.
Why buy an Indonesian sim card?
Of course for me it is vital to constantly be online and keep in touch with my followers through my social media channels. Mostly every day I am on the road I am sharing some cool travel moments with my all of you, but I can understand that this is not your thing and you might think you don’t need an Indonesia prepaid sim card.
I can come up with a lot of simple things why every traveler needs a data connection in Indonesia:
- Uber/Grab or any other taxi apps.
- Google Maps for directions and making sure you dont get lost.
- Whatsapp to stay in touch.
- Meeting people and telling them you are late or almost arriving.
Being online makes your life so much easier nowadays! And even if you don’t want to admit it, you know this unfortunately is right! ;)
What is the best Indonesia sim card for tourist in 2018?
Are you planning to go island hopping in Indonesia or do you need just a Bali sim card? You want just a data connection or need to make phone calls as well? Packages for an Indonesia prepaid sim card vary a lot and to be honest searching for the best Indonesia sim card for tourist was like walking through a jungle. Damn the telecom business in this country is a chaos! :)
In 2018 this did not change much as lately I friend of mine checked it out for me. I have not been back in Indonesia this year, but still no change. In every mobile shop you get the same sim cards with data packages, but different prices everywhere. As soon as you get out of the terminal in Bali they still try to sell you Telkomsel sim card for double the price than elsewhere. :(
Indonesia sim card prices in 2018
There are a couple major telecom companies and a bunch of smaller ones, all of them have different packages, but the trap in this country is: every little shop selling an Indonesian sim card for travelers has his own prices for the exact same packages. The standard packages are sold everywhere but every shops asks a different price! Why? Damn it!
If you are not bothered paying a couple bucks more it is not worth checking out different stores as prices are way cheaper than Western standards. But I once bought a 12GB data package for $13 and found the next day 24GB for the same price in another shop! It kind of made me feel like I was ripped-off.
Looking for accommodation for your trip to Indonesia? Did you know that Agoda is the biggest and most used hotel booking platform in Asia. They compare the prices for a couple hotel search engines like Booking, Rakuten, etc. Use Agoda to find the best deals for hotels in Indonesia.
Coverage Indonesia tourist sim card in 2018
Especially if you are going to specific areas I recommend you to check the website opensignal.com if there is a 4G signal available. You can zoom in exactly where you are going and if there is a 4G signal available. See the screenshots below zoomed in on Bali and its surrounding islands for the 3 major providers: Tri, Telkomsel and XL. I also went island hopping in Greece and while deciding which was the best prepaid sim card for Greece I also used the opensignal website as you can zoom in on every island.
If you travel to Bali, don't skip Ubud. Click here to find a guide for Ubud with waterfalls, restaurants and places to visit.
4G coverage for Telkomsel in Bali
4G coverage for XL in Bali
4G coverage for Tri in Bali
As you can clearly see Tri definitely has a lot of catching up to do compared to XL and Telkomsel. But if you only stay in Kuta, Ubud and a take a trip to Gili Trawangan then this Indonesian sim card is perfectly fine. Tri is cheaper and gives he huge value for money, but their 4G coverage is a problem and very weak or non-existing in some places.
Bali Sim Card
According to the info from the Open Signal website you can easily see that either Telkomsel or XL is the best Indonesian sim card for tourist, but I tried them both and although I don’t like the packages Telkomsel provides I would recommend choosing them if you want to buy a sim card in Bali. The packages XL provides are way more transparent as you can just buy 12GB 4G data for like $10 if you look around. With Telkomsel you buy a 10GB package but only 4GB is 4G then 2GB is YouTube, another 2GB is 3G and 1GB is only for during the night. I hate these kind of packages as the shop owners never speak sufficient English to exactly explain you what they are selling you.
Sim card in Bali for tourist what to buy? XL or Telkomsel
- Most reliable 4G network. (+)
- Data packages are confusing, what you see is not always what you get. (-)
- More expensive than XL. (-)
- Topping up credit is a nightmare as menu is in Bahasa.
- Cheaper than Telkomsel. (+)
- Data packages are clear, what you see is what you get! (+)
- 4G network is not as strong as Telkomsel. (-)
- Topping up is way easier with the XL app. (+)
When I have to choose which sim card in Bali to buy Telkomsel or XL I give the benefit of the doubt to Telkomsel at the moment, but I have no doubt that in the near future XL will be the best Indonesia sim card for tourist in Bali. Buying a sim card is definitely the best way to get internet abroad, or my be you prefer a portable wifi device? Check it out in the link!
Bali sim card airport Ngurah Rai
Something I can be really sure of and strongly want to advice you NOT to do when taking a trip to Bali is to buy an Indonesian sim card for tourist at Bali airport. These guys ask a crazy price for something you get across the street for 5 times cheaper. Unfortunately Bali is known for some crazy scams and you have not even left the arrival hall and there these guys already start luring you into a rip off. Never buy a Bali sim card at the airport!
This article is based on my own experiences traveling extensively in Indonesia between May 2016 and August 2017. In those 16 months I traveled around Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Lombok, Bali and many small islands. Indonesian mobile providers are constantly upgrading their 4G network, changing their rates and providing more reliable and faster internet. I will try to keep this article as up to date as possible. Please share your experiences below!
Best Indonesia tourist sim card in 2018
Of course it depends where you will be traveling to and therefore I think it is wise to do some research whether there is a 4G signal available as described above before you can determine what is the best Indonesian tourist sim card for you. But if you are going to travel through the country extensively then Telkomsel still is your best option. A very upcoming region to travel in Indonesia is Flores and Komodo and the next two grapics will show you why I am sure Telkomsel is the best Indonesia sim card for tourist at the moment.
4G coverage for Telkomsel in Flores
4G coverage for XL in Flores
In some countries iPhones are still locked and buying an Indonesian sim card is not an option. Or may be you are not convinced putting another sim card in your phone. In that case take a look at Teppy a portable WiFi device for smartphones, laptops and tablets. Click here to learn more about TEP Wireless and how to get unlimited data connection in more than 100 countries for just a couple bucks per day.
Traveling to Insonesia?
If you are taking a trip to Bali I have loads of tips for you:
Check here to see what to do in Ubud and why you should focus on traveling North of Ubud.
Let me advice you why this is one of the best places to go in Bali and you should forget about Seminyak and Kuta.
Why the Gili Islands are the beach destination and Bali is not and what it is like to try magic mushroom in Gili Trawangan.
Reasons to travel to Bali
More reasons why you should visit Bali: affordable luxury, inspiring vibe, food, serenity
North Bali Adventure
Get off the beaten track and explore the best places to visit in North Bali with waterfalls, lakes, temples and treehouses.
Magical Nusa Penida
When you read this post and watch the little movie I am starring in I am sure you want to put all the best things to do in Nusa Penida on your bucketlist.
Last but not least: my complete guide how to climb Mount Rinjani.
Thailand prepaid sim card for tourist
In Thailand everything is way more organized and prices are fixed. You can walk into a store in Phuket and they will give you the same price as the stores in Bangkok. This is how you want it to be, right? The 4G coverage differs though as well as the internet speed and the packages. Take a look at my article about the best Thailand prepaid sim card for tourist. If you are interested in a tourist sim card for Turkey then check out this link.
I hope this article was helpful for you! If you could help me a little too that would be awesome! Would you please share this article on Google+ (no one looks there anyway). ;) Or share it in a Facebook Group? Thank you so much, it would do a lot for me!