Are you planning to travel to Indonesia and thinking about staying connected with an e-sim card? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card when traveling to Indonesia including a comparison of the best Indonesia e-sim cards for 2024.

Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendations below and order an e-sim card for Indonesia on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per February 2024, including all specifications per e-sim card.

This guide will show you where and when to order an e-sim card for Indonesia, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for Indonesia, an answer to all FAQ and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to Indonesia online. 

Since 2012 I am traveling the world full time and eventually I turned my passion for traveling into a lifestyle and became a full time nomadic travel blogger. In 2022 I visited 62 different countries and in 2023 I traveled to 34 countries so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used throughout the last two years.

In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad.

Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides from every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.

Of course Traveltomtom also wrote a complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Indonesia in 2024 as well as a guide for buying a tourist sim card in Bali.

Traveltomtom also wrote specific e-sim card guides for: Australia, New ZealandUSA, Canada, Asia, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, PhilippinesSingaporeMalaysiaThailand, Turkey, EgyptEurope, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Portugal, international e-sim cards and many more. 

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination.

You will also also find an explanation how e-sim cards work, more about the network coverage and 4G/5G data speed, some FAQ about e-sim cards, the difference between e-sim cards and local prepaid sim cards you buy in Indonesia and everything else you need to know about using e-sim cards when traveling to Indonesia.

Let me start with giving you my e-sim card recommendation for Indonesia. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to Indonesia in 2024.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom rates the following two e-sims as the best e-sim cards for traveling to Indonesia in 2024:

1. Nomad e-sim card for $39 USD

  • 20 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in Indonesia only
  • Operates on the Telkomsel 4G/LTE network
  • Valid for 45 days
  • Only $1.95 USD per Gigabyte

2. Indotel e-sim card from Airalo for $24.75 USD

  • 10 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in Indonesia only
  • Operates on the Telkomsel 4G/LTE network
  • Valid for 30 days
  • $2.48 USD per Gigabyte

The best value e-sim card for Indonesia are the Indonesia e-sim cards from Nomad. Nomad has more Indonesia e-sim plans but $1.95 USD per Gigabyte on their 20 GB data plan is the best one.

A good second best is an Airalo e-sim card for Indonesia. They are slightly more expensive but Traveltomtom has in general always very good experiences with Airalo.

Both e-sim cards are data-only e-sim cards and incoming and outgoing calls or sms are not supported. Data is only valid in Indonesia. 

Is Indonesia one of your stops on a trip to Asia then you can also look into getting an e-sim card for traveling in Asia. There are e-sim cards that cover all countries in South East Asia and some even pretty much all of of Asia and Middle East.

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Indonesia or in general before using an e-sim card. 

Unlocked phones only

Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country.

In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked.

If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone.

E-sim compatible phones only

Second, and equally important: e-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly.

If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to Indonesia. 

However, you can still order a sim card for Indonesia on the internet before your trip. Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide for buying a sim card for Indonesia in 2024 or find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024.

Comparison of the best e-sim cards for Indonesia

Buying an e-sim card on arrival in Indonesia is very limited. As per February 2024 Telkomsel, XL Axiata and Indosat/Ooredoo do still NOT provide e-sim cards for tourists. They only offer physical prepaid sim cards at the international airports of Bali and Jakarta as well as in their official phone stores across Indonesia.

The only mobile internet operator that offers e-sim cards for tourists on arrival in Indonesia is Smartfren. Am I a fan? No! Why? More about that later.

Luckily there are multiple e-sim providers on the internet that sell e-sim cards for Indonesia. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Indonesia from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators.

These are the 3 big e-sim card providers tested and reviewed multiple times by Traveltomtom that sell great e-sim card plans for Indonesia:

  1. SimOptions
  2. Airalo
  3. Nomad

Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below. 

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that also offers international prepaid sim cards for Indonesia. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards and will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Indonesia and it is plug and play when you arrive in the Indonesia.

Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Indonesia.

SimOptions

SimOptions is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using SimOptions for ordering an e-sim card. 

Normally SimOptions is always one of my top recommendations but the SimOptions e-sim card plans for Indonesia are much more expensive compared to Airalo and Nomad.

simoptions esim card plans for indonesia 2024

Here are the SimOptions data-only e-sim card plans for Indonesia for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.90 USD
  • 3 GB data for 15 days = $12.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 15 days = $16.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $49.90 USD

Click here to order a SimOptions e-sim card for Indonesia.

These data-only e-sim cards are provided by SimOptions and are only valid in Indonesia. Unfortunately SimOptions doesn’t specify which mobile network operator in Indonesia they use, neither is there information if these e-sim cards are 5G ready. Trust me, when they would be 5G ready SimOptions would mention it, so the max data speed on these Indonesia e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.

The SimOptions e-sim cards for Indonesia do NOT come with a phone number and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms services. The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Indonesia. For more info check the SimOptions website

Airalo

Airalo is another very reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your e-sim card for Indonesia through Airalo is done fast and easy. Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals. 

Why using Airalo? When it comes to Indonesia e-sim cards Airalo has much better e-sim card plans than SimOptions and is therefore also recommended as one of the best e-sim cards for Indonesia.

airalo esim card plans for indonesia 2024

Here are Indonesia e-sim card plans from Airalo for 2024: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $16.5 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.75 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $40 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Indonesia from Airalo.

The Airalo e-sim cards for Indonesia are from Indotel and operate on the 4G/LTE network of Telkomsel, the best mobile data network in Indonesia. Unfortunately the Airalo Indotel e-sim cards for Indonesia are not 5G ready. Side note, there isn’t much 5G yet in Indonesia as of 2024. 

In pretty much all the amazing places to visit in Indonesia you will find a 4G/LTE signal tho and the data speed is reasonably good these days.

For more info about the best 4G/5G network in Indonesia check my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Indonesia in 2024, including network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers. 

All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.

Nomad

Last but not least there is Nomad and actually Nomad has the cheapest Indonesia e-sim card plans as well as Indonesia e-sim cards with unlimited data, but be careful, it is unlimited with a lot of annoying restrictions. 

Traveltomtom does not recommend the Nomad e-sim cards for Indonesia with unlimited data, but recommends the normal Nomad e-sim cards for Indonesia. They worked totally fine.

nomad esim card plans for indonesia 2024

Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Indonesia: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $6 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $23 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $35 USD
  • 20 GB data for 45 days = $39 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Indonesia from Nomad.

As I mentioned, Nomad has the cheapest e-sim cards for Indonesia and they go as low as $1.95 USD per Gigabyte, which makes a Nomad e-sim card for Indonesia the best-buy e-sim.

Nomad e-sim cards 'unlimited' data

nomad esim card plans for indonesia unlimited data 2024

Nomad also sells e-sim card plans for Indonesia with unlimited data. However, unlimited does NOT mean unlimited on max speed!

After 2 GB data usage per day the data speed is reduced to 512 Kbps, that is something like an E-signal, barely good enough for WhatsApp. You will NOT be able to use social media anymore for 24 hours, until max data speed is restored.

Therefore Traveltomtom does NOT recommend the Nomad e-sim cards for Indonesia with unlimited* data!

Because of this reason they are left out of the comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling in Indonesia. More info about e-sim cards with unlimited data in the FAQ about e-sim cards below.

The Nomad e-sim cards for Indonesia are from Singtel. These data-only e-sim cards for Indonesia from Singtel are also not 5G ready, only 4G/LTE network is supported and they operate on the network of Telkomsel and Smartfren. Incoming and outgoing calls and sms are NOT supported. 

nomad indonesia esim specification

The Nomad Indonesia e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Indonesia. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.

Smartfren

Smartfren is one of the mobile internet operators in Indonesia. After Telkomsel, Indosat/Ooredoo and XL Axiata it is in fact the smallest mobile internet provider in Indonesia. 

However, Smartfren is the only provider that offers e-sim cards for tourists. All the other providers only offer physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. Updated as per February 2024.

Keep in mind that a Smartfren e-sim card for traveling in Indonesia can only be bought on arrival in Indonesia in an official Smartfren store and at Bali Airport. At Jakarta Airport you can NOT buy an e-sim card at all.

You can NOT by a Smartfren e-sim card on the internet!

Smartfren offers the following e-sim card plans for Indonesia: 

  • 25 GB data for 30 days = 250,000 IDR - $15.9 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = 300,000 IDR - $19.1 USD
  • 45 GB data for 30 days = 350,000 IDR - $22.3 USD
  • 60 GB data for 30 days = 450,000 IDR - $28.6 USD

As you can see the prices for Smartfren e-sim cards are much cheaper than the e-sim cards for Indonesia that you buy on the internet. Basically a Smartfren e-sim card is a local prepaid sim card in the form of an e-sim card.

A Smartfren e-sim card comes with an Indonesia phone number that starts with +62. Incoming calls are supported and outgoing calls can be made after adding extra calling credit to your e-sim card.

Keep in mind that Smartfren is the smallest mobile internet provider in Indonesia and it has the weakest 4G/LTE network. For more info check out my guide about the best Indonesia prepaid sim cards for tourists in 2024.

Why did Traveltomtom already used more than 100s of e-sim cards? I told you before that I travel full time and I am on the road constantly. Pretty much every week I need another sim card to stay connected. In fact my last trip to Indonesia was in November 2023. Did I use an e-sim card? Yes, the Nomad e-sim card for Indonesia with 20 GB data.

What is the cheapest e-sim card for Indonesia?

cheapest esim card for indonesia 2024

The cheapest e-sim for Indonesia is a SimOptions e-sim card with 1 GB data for 7 days for just $4.90 USD.

indotel cheap esim card plan for indonesia 2024

The Airalo e-sim card for $5.5 USD is a similar offer.

These e-sims are only valid in Indonesia and do not support calling and texting. 

Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Indonesia

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Indonesia in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes. 

The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Indonesia without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless.

One of the best things about arriving in Indonesia with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your e-sim card later. 

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Indonesia, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Indonesia so much more convenient and fun!

At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024.

E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges!

Overseas Data Roaming plans

So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed. Do you have the patience to handle 3G? It is frustrating when all around you at pretty  much every amazing tourist destinations in Indonesia there is 4G/LTE available.

Uncountable times (mostly American) travel friends have asked me: “can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, get yourself an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Indonesia. Spend a couple dollars extra and be connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends.

Where to buy an e-sim card for Indonesia?

Online

You can only buy an e-sim card for Indonesia on the internet through an e-sim card provider. There are multiple e-sim card providers for Indonesia. Traveltomtom compared 6 e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are the best e-sim card providers for traveling to Indonesia in 2024. 

When buying an e-sim card for Indonesia through one of the above recommended e-sim providers you only need your email address and the e-sim card is instantly ready to use after installation. There is no ID registration needed. 

On arrival in Indonesia

There are 4 main mobile internet provider in Indonesia: Telkomsel, XL Axiata, Indosat/Ooredoo and Smartfren. Unfortunately the 3 biggest operators do NOT offer e-sim cards for tourists in Indonesia. The only internet provider that offers e-sim cards for tourists in Indonesia is Smartfren.

When you arrive in Indonesia and you want to buy a local sim card for tourists then only physical prepaid sim cards are available from Telkomsel, XL Axiata and Indosat/Ooredoo.

Only at Bali Airport as well as official Smartfren stores across Indonesia tourists are able to register an e-sim card.

For more info about buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in Indonesia in 2024 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in Indonesia, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network. 

Flying into Indonesia and landing in Jakarta or Bali then you can buy a tourist sim card for Indonesia on arrival at the airport. However, there are very limited e-sim cards sold at airports in Indonesia, pretty much only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists.

Also expect to pay tourist prices when buying a sim card at the airport. Check out my guides for buying a sim card in Bali and my guide for buying a sim card at Jakarta Airport.

When to order/activate an e-sim card for Indonesia?

You can order an e-sim card for Indonesia pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 month after purchasing, some even within 1 year, so you have time.

More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.

Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to Indonesia or before. When in Indonesia you will need an internet connection to instal your e-sim card. Pretty much every international airport in Indonesia has free WiFi so you could use that to install your e-sim card. Just make sure it is a stable internet connection and therefore Traveltomtom advices you to install/activate your e-sim card in your home country. 

So my personal advice is to instal your e-sim card for Indonesia before you get into the plane and as soon as the plane lands you will be connected without any problems.

How do I know all this? Traveltomtom has visited Indonesia almost 10 times and traveled to Jakarta, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Lombok, West - Papua and many more islands in Indonesia before.

For more info about my experiences buying a sim card at Jakarta Airport check out my blog about it or check out my vlog on YouTube from Jakarta Airport.

I also wrote a blog about buying a prepaid sim card for Bali, the best e-sim cards for Bali and there is also a vlog on my YouTube channel about my arrival at Bali Airport and buying a prepaid sim card for traveling in Bali.

How to activate an e-sim card

Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email. But wait, it gets even easier. Just scan the QR code. 

When you order an e-sim card plan for Indonesia you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed. 

You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your Indonesia e-sim card. 

But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR contains all the information about your Indonesia e-sim card.

Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed.

Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur. 

Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation. 

Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for Indonesia

Here are some general tips for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Indonesia e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general. 

Make sure your phone is unlocked

To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems. 

If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to Indonesia. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone. 

If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a portable WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Indonesia or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Indonesia and use it as a portable WiFi device. 

Which smartphones support e-sim cards?

Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest smartphones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones of the well known brands support e-sim cards. 

The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that!

Can I trust these e-sim providers?

All the e-sim card providers for Indonesia recommended above (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in Indonesia. 

Traveltomtom has successfully partnered for several consecutive years with SimOptions and Airalo. Nomad is a fairly new partner of Traveltomtom, but has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider. All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems or in case you want to claim a refund.

Traveltomtom does NOT sell Indonesia e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for traveling to Indonesia. 

Can I keep my phone number from home with an Indonesia e-sim card?

Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to Indonesia. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.

So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!

For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Your new Indonesia e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs.

This is also the trick to keep receiving sms for example for OTP (one time password) sms to login to applications.

Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings. Just always make sure your sim card from home is switched off for data roaming. 

Can I make phone calls with an Indonesia e-sim card?

No, unfortunately none of the by Traveltomtom recommended e-sim cards for Indonesia include calling and texting. All the e-sim cards from SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad are data-only e-sim cards and any incoming/outgoing calls/sms are not supported. 

Does an Indonesia e-sim card come with a phone number?

No, none of the Indonesia e-sim cards that you can buy on the internet come with a phone number which also means you can not receive any phone calls or sms.

In the above Indonesia e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card. 

Can I use 5G on an Indonesia e-sim card?

First of all don't get too excited about having 5G when traveling in Indonesia in 2024. There is still not much 5G around, the 5G network is very limited as of February 2024.

There are some e-sim cards that are 5G ready, but there the choice is very limited. All the SimOptions and Airalo e-sim cards are not 5G ready. The only 5G ready e-sim cards are the 'unlimited' data e-sim cards from Nomad. Recommended? NO! Read below why...

Are there e-sim cards for Indonesia with unlimited data?

Yes, there are Indonesia e-sim cards with unlimited data. As I mentioned before, Nomad also offers e-sim cards for Indonesia with unlimited data.

However, unlimited is NOT unlimited when you ask me. Their FUP (Fair Use Policy) is only 2 Gigabytes per day, which one can easily reach in a couple hours watching reels on Instagram. After you reach your FUP limit, your data speed will be reduced to 512 Kbps for 24 hours.

nomad indonesia esim specification unlimited data

That means for the next 24 hours you can only use WhatsApp and may be send an email. This of course is highly inconvenient and therefore Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards with unlimited* data for traveling in Indonesia.

Traveltomtom had a similar experience with Holafly e-sim cards with unlimited data.

Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards with unlimited data for Indonesia, but does NOT specify what is the exact so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP).

Therefore in general Traveltomtom would never recommend e-sim cards with unlimited data. Because unlimited is pretty much never unlimited! There are always restrictions and limitations. Traveltomtom prefers what you see is what you get...

The Nomad Indonesia e-sim cards with 20 GB and the Indotel e-sim card from Airalo with 20 GB offer a lot of data and there is no real need for an e-sim card with unlimited data unless you want to upload your whole camera roll to a Google Drive or iCloud via 4G instead of WiFi.

There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Indonesia in 2024 before choosing your favorite.

Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Indonesia?

E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Indonesia, but what is the best way?

There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Indonesia: 

  • Local prepaid sim cards
  • International prepaid sim cards
  • E-sim cards

Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards, for you to find out what is your preferred way of staying connected.

Local prepaid sim cards

If you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards for Indonesia are a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. Indonesia prepaid sim cards mostly offer bigger data plans than e-sim cards and on top of that local prepaid sim cards come often with unlimited local calls and sms.

The big difference is that a local Indonesia prepaid sim card can only be purchased on arrival in Indonesia in a phone store or at the airport and NOT on the internet.

More info about the best Indonesia prepaid sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a sim card for Indonesia in 2024.

International prepaid sim cards

international prepaid sim cards for indonesia 2024

If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Indonesia. Some of them are great for Indonesia as well as in all other countries in for example Europe, Americas and Asia and you can easily order them online.

If after visiting Indonesia you are traveling onwards in Asia then check Traveltomtom’s list of the best sim cards for traveling internationally in 2024 or the best Asia tourist sim cards in 2024.

A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play! 

Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Indonesia directly online

E-sim cards

As explained throughout the article there are two different e-sim cards:

  • E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
  • E-sim cards that you buy in Indonesia in a mobile internet provider store 

However, as of February 2024 e-sim cards are very limited available for prepaid tourist sim cards in Indonesia.

Traveltomtom personally shopped around in Jakarta and Bali to find out if e-sim cards were available for tourists in Indonesia and the answer is: only with Smartfren, the smallest internet provider in Indonesia. 

On arrival at the international airports in Indonesia they only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. Read all about it in my detailed guide about buying a sim card at Jakarta Airport. If you are buying a sim card at Bali Airport you can actually buy an e-sim card from Smartfren.

E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an e-sim card is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Indonesia, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple clicks. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Indonesia. You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop on arrival in Indonesia. As soon as the plane lands, you are online. 

But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists?

When we compare Indonesia e-sim card prices with local prepaid sim cards for Indonesia, it is an easy conclusion that local prepaid sim cards are much more affordable and you get many more Gigabytes. But local prepaid sim cards can only be bought in Indonesia in a sim card shop.

That said, e-sim cards that you buy on the internet are in fact cheaper as they start from already $4 USD and local prepaid Indonesia tourists sim cards start from 250,000 IDR which is around $16 USD.

Indonesia has so called tourist sim cards specially designed for non-resident foreigners. And prices to register a new prepaid sim card start from $16 USD. After that the top-ups are really cheap and for $6 USD you can get 50 GB data. 

For more info check out my articles about the best prepaid sim cards for Bali, buying a sim card at Jakarta Airport or the best prepaid sim cards for Indonesia

After a long flight you just want to go to your hotel and it is often a big task to go to a sim card store and get connected. With e-sim cards you buy on the internet you are connected as soon as the plane lands. For this convenience Traveltomtom definitely recommends to order one of the listed best e-sim cards for Indonesia in the comparison above. 

Many reasons why a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for Indonesia. Faster, easier, less stress and even cheaper depending on how much data you need.

Data Speed

Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are often through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth.

This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator.

Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid Indonesia sim card.

I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Indonesia were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison, tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your e-sim card for Indonesia right away. 

If you still have any questions about e-sim cards then please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out. 

Curious what the life of a full time nomadic traveler looks like? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along with daily updates from around the world about the good, the bad and the ugly about traveling.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of February 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to Indonesia!

Some links in this article about the best e-sim cards for Indonesia are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!