A new Bali-based booking agency is aiming to make it easier for people to travel in the region using bitcoin.
BitcoinTour allows users to exchange their digital currency for hotel, train and flight reservations, as well as tour bookings. Airlines supported by the firm include Air Asia, Citilink and Lion Air. The agency also claims to support "almost all" of the starred hotels in Indonesia.
The organisation has been set up as part of Bali's BitIslands initiative, which aims to turn the popular Indonesian tourist destination into a 'bitcoin paradise'. The company also accepts payments in Indonesia's national currency, the rupiah.
BitIslands' project director Oscar Darmawan said that even though BitcoinTour is less than two weeks old, it has already taken more than $10,000 in bitcoin, adding:
"We are confident that in the future the sales will be increase by more than triple that."
"[The] Bitislands Project has been growing quite well in Bali. There is a co-working space, hotels, villas, restaurants, a jewellery shop, food delivery services and even taxis that are accepting bitcoin. Currently, we are also running a bitcoin centre that provides free education for people who want to know about bitcoin."
BitIslands' full bitcoin business directory can be seen here.
Extending from close to Malaysia all the way to Australasia, Indonesia is a vast archipelago of over 13,000 islands littered with volcanoes, tropical forests, diver-friendly reefs and a host of different cultures.
While an increasingly popular destination for travellers, the nation's infrastructure often leaves much to be desired.
ATMs are often few and far between and offer limited amounts for withdrawals, businesses do not always accept credit cards outside larger tourist spots and travelling with large amounts of cash comes with the usual security concerns.
For this reason, there is a significant use case for integrating bitcoin into the nation's tourist infrastructure, Darmawan said.
"We get visited by many bitcoiners," said Darmawan, "and some of them come with interesting stories about how they lost their wallet because it got stolen when they were on the market. So they need to sell some bitcoin to get some rupiah. And some of them come straight from the airport to get cash in rupiah. We are glad to be helping them while visiting Indonesia."