Indonesia Transport Guide

Bus, bajaj, becak, bemo, bendi or boat – there's many solutions to travelling around Indonesia, some more comfortable than others. Travel between major cities and ports by boat or plane. Or hire a motorbike, hail a taxi or ride on a noisy bajaj or bemo – an Indonesian motorised tuk-tuk of sorts that seats two passengers comfortably but can squeeze in up to 5. A becak ride will take you back to your childhood – think ‘doubling’ someone on your pushy. Prefer something even more retro? A bendi is a horsedrawn carriage that's still used in some Indonesian villages.

How to get around Indonesia

Indonesia’s island geography can make travel difficult and time-consuming. For short and long distances, air travel is the easiest and quickest way to get around - Jakarta's Soekarno–Hatta International Airport is the country's main hub. If you prefer to stay grounded, Java and Sumatra are the only islands with a train service. Known as the ‘Ring of Fire’, the Indonesian archipelago is prone to natural disasters making its infrastructure a little fragile and undeveloped in areas. Allow a liberal amount of travel time to remote areas, whatever the mode of transport. Sumatra, Java, Bali, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi are all connected by regular ferries, and you can use them to island-hop all the way from Sumatra to Timor. Buses really are the mainstay of Indonesian travel – around the clock, and in many different shapes and sizes, they handle the bulk of transport. Be prepared to get up close and personal as Indonesian buses give new meaning to peak-hour squishiness. Motorcycles are everywhere and cheap to hire. You’ll need a licence, particularly for insurance cover, but you’ll rarely need to show it.