Find, in this article, an overview of the Indonesian transports system and discover the various means of transport around the country.
Indonesia is world famous for its traffic jams. In fact, you are likely to spend a couple of hours to travel from one point to another, especially in major cities like Jakarta. Unless you have a driver, or you wake up very early or travel late at night, you will definitely get exhausted in traffic jams. Hence, it is best to travel in one of the country's various means of public transport.
Rain, traffic and potholes
Car sales in Indonesia have been increasing by at least 10% year after year. However, the local road and traffic infrastructure does not seem to have improved along. In fact, according to internationally published figures, Indonesian roads are upgraded by 0.1% every year. Thus, you should expect major traffic jams, when it rains in particular, as well as potholes.
However, the public means of transport is quite a paradox. In fact, you are likely to find different means of transport such as buses, taxis, trains, as well as local and folk means of transport. Rates are very affordable.
Taxis can be found almost everywhere in Indonesia and are rather cheap and accessible. In Jakarta, however, you are advised to indicate a particular sign to the driver, either a building or a number, as the latter usually comes from another region and does not know all the city's streets. You are advised to request the driver to start the taxi meter as soon as you board the vehicle so that you can pay the exact fare. Note that you can also find taxi companies in Indonesia, whereby advance booking is possible.
The Betchak is an emblematic sign of Indonesia. We are here referring to a three-wheeler pedicab which is ideal for short trips, particularly if you wish to discover the cities and their neighborhoods Note that fares can be negotiated in advance.
The bemo is a very cheap minibus which can be found in major cities and in their outskirts. These are available at bus stations or anywhere else and are ideal for short trips. To board a bemo, you just have to wave to the driver in the street and to verify if it is headed to your destination. Its travel plan is usually indicated on the windshield. You will be able to purchase the ticket once you are on board.
The bus will allow you to travel from one city to another. Tickets are generally purchased at the bus station. However, you will have to be patient as these will start only when they are full.
Trains are available only in Sumatra and Java. In fact, these are the only two Indonesian islands which have a railway network. But you can enjoy different classes, ranging from the economy class to the business class. Traveling by train will allow you to discover Sumatra and Java's exotic and breathtaking landscapes.
The boat is one of the cheapest and most convenient means of transport to travel from one island to another. In fact, you are likely to reach Bali from Java within 45 minutes. Traveling from Bali to Lombok can take 5 hours by ferry and one and a half hour by speed boat.
Bicycle or motorbike
Most Indonesians own a bicycle or a motorcycle as it is deemed to be one of the fastest means of transport in busy cities. However, you have to be very vigilant in some regions due to dense traffic jam as well as bad road conditions.
The plane is usually faster than the ferry, and more expensive. Hence, you should think twice before traveling by plane from one island to another. However, air tickets are rather cheaper than those offered in most countries worldwide. Advance booking is recommended.
Rent a car
You might consider renting a car if you are the patient type of person. Note that most foreigners in Indonesia prefer to rent a car along with a driver as driving conditions in the country may be quite complicated. You are advised to read the rental contract thoroughly before signing it. Fees may be higher in case you opt for a driver.
Expat.com - Indonesia Forum
Indonesian Ministry of Transport www.dephub.go.id
Institute of Transport Institute for Transportation and Development Policy www.itdp-indonesia.org
PT Kereta Api - Indonesian Railway Company www.kereta-api.co.id