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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Indonesia

Getting Around Indonesia

Air

Indonesia has a good domestic flight network linking most of the larger towns to Jakarta. Domestic operators include Garuda Indonesia (www.garuda-indonesia.com), AirAsia (www.airasia.com) and Lion Air (www.lionair.co.id).

Departure tax

Included in the airfare.

Road

Travelling around the Indonesian islands by car is variable, with much depending on which island you are on. Self-drive is possible, but beware that the standards of driving and road conditions may be different to what you are used to, and foreigners involved in minor accidents may be vulnerable to exploitation. Therefore, it is recommended that you hire a car with a driver.

Side of the road

Left

Road Quality

Indonesia's road network continues to improve. Well-surfaced roads can be found in major islands and resort towns, but smaller islands tend to have roads that require maintenance or even dirt roads, which can be difficult to drive on after a rainstorm. Severe congestion in Jakarta can make driving difficult too.

Car Hire

Car hire companies are readily available in major cities.

Citizens from all ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam can drive in Indonesia without an International Driving Permit. Citizens of other countries must have an International Driving Permit.

The UK foreign office warns that International Driving Permits issued in the UK may need to be endorsed by the Indonesian licensing office in Jakarta.

Taxi

Metered taxis are widely available in major cities and tourist areas. If the taxi has a meter (argo), make sure that it is used properly. In the case that there is no meter, you will need to agree on a fare in advance. At airports, taxis can sometimes operate on a prepaid system, and you can pay for your trip at a relevant booth.

Motorcycle taxis (ojeks) are available in cities and towns, and they congregate at road junctions, markets and bus terminals. The driver should provide you with a helmet, and you must agree on the fare before starting the journey.

Go-Jek, a ride-sharing app, is highly popular in Jakarta and other Indonesian cities, providing peer-to-peer motorcycle and car riding services.

Bike

Visitors can hire scooters and motorbikes but care should be taken to ensure you hire vehicles from a reputable dealer, have the correct documentation and are aware of the risks - accidents are all too frequent. Helmets are compulsory.

Regulations

Speed limits are usually 50kph (31mph) on inner-city streets, 80kph (50mph) in rural areas, and 100kph (62mph) on highways. Seatbelts must be worn.

Documentation

An International Driving Permit is required unless you are from one of the ASEAN member states.

Urban travel

Jakarta has a well-established bus service and the tickets are affordable. In other cities, buses may not be regular and are being replaced by small minivans (sudako). Motorised bajaj, similar to tuk-tuks, are also available in various cities and towns. They usually seat two passengers with the driver in front. Fares should be negotiated in advance. Go-Jek, Uber and Grab are popular ride-sharing apps used in Indonesia.

Rail

The train operator in Indonesia is PT Kereta Api (kai.id). You can check for routes and book online. Alternatively, you can also visit Tiket.com (tiket.com).

There are three classes of travel:
• Eksecutif (executive): air-con with mandatory reservations.
• Bisnis (business): no air-con but mandatory seas reservations.
• Ekonomi (economy): no air-con and unreserved.

Children under three travel free in economy and business, but they don't get their own seat.

In Sumatra, trains run between Medan and Tanjung Balai, Medan and Rantu Prapet in the north, and Palembang and Panjang in the south. An extensive rail network runs throughout Java. The modern, air-conditioned Argo Bromo Anggrek service, which is executive class only with refreshments included, links Jakarta and Surabaya; it departs daily and nightly.

Water

Ferries form the backbone of inter-island travel in Indonesia, with regular ferries connect neighbouring islands like Sumatra and Java, and Bali and Lombok. The state-run Pelni (www.pelni.co.id) is the largest ferry company and has passenger liners serving all main ports across the archipelago. Another company, ASDP (www.indonesiaferry.co.id) runs 180 ferry routes across Indonesia. Passengers can check schedules and purchase tickets online, at the local Pelni or ASDP offices, or via travel agents. Additionally, there are plenty of local services like from Ketapang (East Java) to Gilimanuk in west Bali which is close to West Bali National Park, and from Padang Bai (Bali) to Lembar (Lombok).

Beware of safety standards which vary from one provider to another. In 2017, the Indonesia Search and Rescue Agency recorded 1,687 boat accidents.

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