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Last updated : Nov 2009
Indonesia Getting Around - Internal Travel
Indonesia Internal Travel - Getting Around Indonesia - TravelPuppy.com

Indonesia has a fine internal air system linking most of the larger towns and cities to Jakarta. Domestic flights from Jakarta depart from Terminal 1 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (except Garuda Airlines flights, which leave from Terminal 2).

Domestic operators include Garuda Indonesia (GA), Bouraq Indonesia Airlines (BO), Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MZ) and Air Asia.

Cheap fares

The Asean Air Pass offers special fares on domestic flights and access to varying numbers of cities dependent on which ticket is purchased. Passes must be bought before travelling to Indonesia at Garuda Indonesia offices in Australia, Europe, Japan or the United States of America (not available inside Indonesia).

For prices and further information, contact Garuda Indonesia (telephone: (020) 7467 8600; facimile: (020) 7467 8601);
email: enquiries@garuda-indonesia.co.uk).

Departure tax

Between Rp 8 and Rp 20,000 depending on airport of departure; infants under the age of 2 are exempt.


PELINI, the state-owned shipping company, has 6 newer ferries serving all the main ports across the archipelago. Foreign liners also operate, however on an irregular basis. Luxury cruise ships offer voyages to a wide range of destinations, including the eastern islands (leaving from Bali). For further details, please contact the Indonesia Tourism Promotion Office (see Contact section).


Children under 3 years travel free. Children aged 3 to 7 years pay half fare. There are nearly 7,000 kilometres or 4,350 miles of track on Java, Madura and Sumatra.

In Sumatra, trains connect Belawan, Medan and Tanjong Balai / Rantu Prapet (approximately 2 or 3 trains daily) in the north, and Palembang and Panjang (usually 3 trains daily) in the south. An extensive network runs throughout Java.

The Bima Express, which has restaurant and sleeping cars, links Jakarta and Surabaya. There are also other express rail services. There are three classes of travel, but first-class is available only on principal expresses. There are some air conditioned accommodations.


There are over 378,000 kilometres or 234,360 miles of roads in the country, of which 28,500 kilometres or 17,670 miles are main or national roads and 200 kilometres or 125 miles are motorways. Nearly half of the network is paved and traffic drives on the left.

There are good roads within Java and to a smaller extent on Bali and Sumatra. The other islands have reduced road systems, although they are improving with tourism becoming more significant. Road tolls are present on some major city roads and need to be paid for by visitors if travelling by taxi. Chauffeur-driven cars are widely available, with fares varying according to the destination.


There are regular bus services between most cities. Bus trips can be made from Jakarta to Bali in 2 days. Indonesia is the land of jam karet (literally ‘rubber time’) and complicated routes or journeys concerning more than a single change should not be attempted in a day. Bus fares run about the same as 3rd-class rail. Vehicles can be very crowded, although several of them are air conditioned. The crew is usually made up of 3 conductors who also act as touts. The ‘Bis Malam’are night buses available on a number of routes, running in competition with the railways. Pre-booking is absolutely essential. Special ‘travel minibuses’ offering a door-to-door service are also available in cities and major tourist areas. Visitors should note that Indonesian bus drivers are famous for irresponsible driving.


Taxis are available in various large cities and some smaller towns. Metered taxis are only found in the major tourist areas and main cities. Taxi drivers do not always know how to get to the required destination and passengers may have to tell them. Like all public transportation vehicles, taxis own yellow number plates. The government vehicles have red number plates, whilst the   private and rented vehicles have black number plates.

Car hire

Car hire is available from many companies and from taxi firms, which also provide a limousine service.


An International Driving Permit is required for driving in Indonesia.

Alternative transportation

There are 2 tricycle rickshaws options available in Indonesia: the motorised version is called bajaj (pronounced ‘baj-eye’), is a bright orange colour and seats 2 passengers, with the driver in front. The becak (pronounced ‘be-chak’) is pedal-powered by a rider sitting behind with a maximum of 2 passengers. Fares should be dealt with in advance.

Rickshaws are an extremely popular and cheap form of transportation and can be hired almost everywhere. Becaks have now been prohibited from Jakarta city centre.

Motorcycles and bicycles are available and can be rented on a daily or weekly basis. For motorcycles, an International Driving Licence is needed and a helmet should be worn.

Bemos and Colts are small buses that seat up to 10 people. These can be rented on a daily or weekly basis for travel away from the city centres and fares should be negotiated in advance. Horse carts can still be hired in rural areas but are no longer available in Jakarta.


Jakarta is the only major city with an established conventional bus service of any size. Double-decker's are also in operation.
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