Money Guide to Indonesia

By Mark Wiens No Comments


It took a number of days for me to become familiar with the currency of rupiahs in Indonesia. After a bit of confusion, a few days of practice, and getting slightly ripped off a couple times, I was able to become accustomed to the currency and after a couple weeks it was simply natural.

When I first arrived in Sumatra, Indonesia the first thing I needed to do was buy a large bottle of water. The innocent girl selling me the bottle asked for 4000 rupiahs, “4000 rupiahs, are you joking, what?” I said. I quickly realized I was in the bad, and that the bottle of water only really cost a little less than 40 US cents.

This is for those who travel to Indonesia to familiarize with the money prior to landing.


If you think in US dollars, simply move the decimal over 4 positions. 100,000.000 rupiahs is simply about equal to $10. Likewise, 5000 Rupiahs is about equal to .50 cents, etc. The conversion itself is not difficult, however with all the zeros, many tend to become bewildered and left confused.

A common mistake newcomers make is getting the 100,000 and 10,000 rupiah notes mixed up. Both notes have a lot of zeros, but one is worth 10 times more. Review Indonesia’s rupiah currency prior to arriving and try to save the hassle of getting ripped off.

It becomes very easy once you get a little practice and then you travel somewhere else!

-Mark Wiens