World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Indonesia

the fp is getting-around

Getting Around Indonesia


Indonesia has a good domestic flight network linking most of the larger towns to Jakarta. Domestic operators include Garuda Indonesia (, AirAsia ( and Lionair (

Departure tax

Included in the air fare.


Travelling around the Indonesian islands by car is variable, with much depending on which island you are on. Self-drive is possible, but be aware that the standards of driving and road conditions can be quite poor.

Side of the road


Road Quality

Around half of the road network is paved and there are good road communications within Java and, to a lesser extent, on Bali and Sumatra. The other islands have poor road networks.

Car Hire

Available from a number of international and local companies. It is also possible to hire cars with a driver but you're expected to pay for your chauffeur’s food and accommodation.


Widely available in cities and towns. Ojek (motorcycle taxis) are available in cities and towns and they congregate at road junctions. The driver should provide a helmet and you must agree on the fare before starting the journey.


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


Speed limits are usually 30-40kph (19-25mph) on inner city streets, 60-70kph (37-43mph) on inner-city streets and 80-100kph (50-62mph) on motorways. Seatbelts must be worn.


An International Driving Permit is required. If you don’t have this, it is possible to get a temporary tourist driving licence issued in Denpasar.

Urban travel

Jakarta is the only city with an established conventional bus service of any size, and it has a comprehensive network. Elsewhere bemos (minibuses) are the main way to travel around. Rickshaws include the motorised bajaj, which seats two passengers, with the driver in front; and the becak, which is pedal-powered by a rider sitting behind two passengers. However, the latter are banned from Jakarta city. Fares should be negotiated in advance.

Motorcycles and bicycles can be hired; for motorcycles, an International Driving Permit is recommended and a helmet should be worn. Bemos and opelets are communal minibuses; fares should be negotiated in advance. Chauffeur-driven cars are widely available and advisable as the standard of driving is poor.


The train operator in Indonesia is PT Kereta Api (tel: +62 22 423 0031;; the website doesn't have an English version, so use for information and to book tickets). There are three classes of travel, Eksecutif (Executive), Bisnis (Business) and Ekonomi (Economy), but first-class exists only on principal expresses. There is some air-conditioned accommodation. Children under three travel free in economy and business without taking a seat, and pay 10% of adult fare in executive class; children aged three to 10 pay half fare in economy and business and full rate in executive.

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

There are also other express services. Between Jakarta and Bandung there is a train every one to two hours, Eksecutif class (journey time - about 3 hours) and then thrice-daily trains on to Surabaya.


Main ports: Padang Bai and Benoa (Bali), Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Belawan (Medan) and Sekupang (Batam).

PELNI (tel: +62 21 162;, the state-owned shipping company, has good standard passenger liners serving all the main ports across the archipelago. ASDP (Kapal Ferry Cepat. tel: +62 21 191, operates fast boats on a small number of routes.

Foreign cruise liners also operate on an irregular basis. Luxury cruise ships offer trips to various destinations, including the eastern islands (leaving from Bali).

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