There are many ways to move around in Indonesia. Just to enumerate a few: air plane, boat, rented car, taxi, bemo, becak… Each comes with pros and cons. To help you choose the mode that suits you the best, here are a few observations:
Air travel is unavoidable while visiting such a vast archipelago. You will gain a considerable amount of time, especially to access more distant islands. Indonesia is equipped with numerous airports served by about ten airways with competitive rates.
- Wide choice of airports and airways
Inherited from the Dutch colonial era, the train is an excellent method of travelling if you want to enjoy the scenic landscapes of Java and Sumatra. Ticket prices are affordable with a choice of classes for the different levels of comfort. Unfortunately, the railway system is limited to one line in Sumatra and two lines in Java.
- Cheaper than flying or renting a car
- Train stations are situated downtown (easy to arrive and depart)
- You get to see the landscapes
- The railway network is very limited
Definitely the best mode to commute from one island to another, boats of all kinds and sizes assure transportation through the archipelago. The ferry boat is big and rather slow while the speedboat, is quick, as its name says, but not quite as comfortable. The regularity of ferry service depends on the destinations. If you have a big budget at your disposal, sailing on a cruise boat will unfold a whole new assortment of tropical sceneries.
- Irregularity of schedules (Certain islands are served only once a week)
- Some crossings are very long
Car rental is one of the best options to travel inland. Cheap, comfortable and safe, it gives you more freedom to explore the surroundings at your leisure. Certain roads can be quite bumpy though … but after a while you’ll adjust to the conditions. And driving is on the left so you might have to get used to that depending on where you’re from.
- No time restrictions
- Can’t travel from island to island
- Bad conditions of the road
Moving around by taxi can also be a good option. It’s cheap and easily available in most cities but make sure you check if the counter works when you get on, otherwise you might be forced to pay a lot more than the normal fare… Certain drivers take advantage of inattentive passengers, so ask at your hotel reception which taxi company is recommended.
- If you’re not careful you can be ripped-off by taxi drivers
The becak is a pedal-powered tricycle with a banquette for two passengers. The driver sits behind on a higher seat. It is very popular throughout Indonesia although it originates from Java. It is perfect to cover short distances. The cost should be negotiated.
- Convenient for short distances
- Good for sight-seeing
Bemos are minibuses carrying ten to twelve passengers. They are convenient and cheap but drivers are known to increase the prices to unaware tourists. Make sure you know how much you should pay before you buy your ticket. Once you hold your ticket, don’t expect the vehicle to depart right away because if the prices are flexible, so are the schedules…
- Cheap (as long as you can negotiate…)
- Schedules are quite flexible
When you book a tour with Azimuth Adventure Travel, a car and a driver is usually provided to help you move around as you wish. Our drivers are qualified and have long hours of experience in the field.