Indonesia: The Archipelago of Wonders

get around indonesia

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get around in Indonesia:

1. Domestic Flights:

  • Air Travel: Indonesia is vast, and air travel is often the quickest way to move between islands. Major airports like Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, and Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport connect the country domestically and internationally.
  • Local Airlines: Several local airlines like Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and AirAsia operate domestic routes. Booking in advance can help secure better deals.

2. Trains:

  • Java and Sumatra: Trains are a convenient way to explore Java and parts of Sumatra. The most famous route is the Jakarta-Bandung line, which offers stunning views.
  • Classes: Trains in Indonesia have different classes, ranging from economy to executive. Executive class provides more comfort and amenities.

3. Buses:

  • Intercity Buses: Buses are a budget-friendly option for long-distance travel between cities. However, be prepared for crowded conditions and varied levels of comfort.
  • Tourist Shuttles: Some tourist destinations offer shuttle services, which can be more comfortable and convenient for travelers.

4. Ferries and Boats:

  • Island Hopping: Given Indonesia’s island-based geography, ferries and boats are vital for moving between islands. Ferries are especially prevalent in areas like Bali, Java, and Sumatra.
  • Fast Boats: For more remote islands or tourist destinations, fast boats are available, offering a quicker alternative but at a higher cost.

5. Motorbikes and Scooters:

  • Local Transport: In many parts of Indonesia, especially Bali, renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular way to get around. It offers flexibility and convenience for exploring the local area.
  • Safety: Ensure you have the necessary licenses and always wear a helmet. Traffic can be chaotic, so exercise caution.

6. Taxis and Ride-Sharing Apps:

  • Ride Apps: Major cities like Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya have ride-sharing apps like Grab and Gojek. These apps are convenient, safe, and often more affordable than traditional taxis.
  • Metered Taxis: In some areas, you can find metered taxis, but always ensure the meter is running to avoid disputes.

7. Bemos and Angkot:

  • Local Transport: Bemos are minivans or minibusses, while angkot are shared taxis or vans. They are common in many Indonesian cities and offer a cheap way to get around locally.
  • Routes: Be prepared to ask locals for assistance in identifying the correct bemo or angkot for your destination, as signage may be limited.

8. Bicycle Rentals:

  • Eco-Friendly Option: In places like Ubud in Bali or Yogyakarta, renting a bicycle can be an eco-friendly and leisurely way to explore the surroundings at your own pace.

9. Car Rentals:

  • Self-Driving: Renting a car with a driver or self-driving can be an option in some areas, providing the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. However, road conditions and traffic can be challenging.

10. Ojek (Motorcycle Taxis):

  • Local Transport: Ojek drivers can be found in many cities. They offer motorbike taxi services and are often a convenient way to navigate through traffic-clogged areas.

11. Walking:

  • Urban Exploration: In cities and towns with pedestrian-friendly streets and attractions clustered closely together, walking is a pleasant and sustainable way to explore.

When getting around Indonesia, always consider factors like weather, traffic conditions, and local customs. While transportation options can vary widely from region to region, with proper planning, you can make the most of your journey and experience the diverse beauty and culture of Indonesia.