Transport in Indonesia – planes, trains, bemo, buses

I wish to individually speak about such a subject as transport in Indonesia – it deserves a separate publish and point out!

In March 2016, we traveled across the island of Java, transferring from the capital of Jakarta to the east in direction of Bali, and managed to strive virtually all varieties of native land transport, and we are going to let you know about our impressions right here. All info will relate particularly to the island of Java, maybe in different elements of the nation the scenario is barely completely different.

Shifting round Java is unlikely to depart anybody detached: for us it was typically enjoyable, typically annoying, and typically even scary πŸ™‚

All helpful details about touring to Indonesia will be present in our separate article. right here.

How you can get to Indonesia?

Most vacationers arrive on the island of Bali, many are restricted to it, however we nonetheless advocate a trip to different elements of the nation, as a result of Indonesia is 17,000 islands, lots of that are usually uninhabited. Not less than Java has a developed transport system, and it is best to get there from Bali.

How you can fly to Bali low-cost

Visa for Bali and Indonesia – is it essential or not?

You may as well get to Indonesia by flying to main cities resembling Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan from neighboring Asian nations with native airways. The favored low-cost airline Air Asia has many flights from Malaysia and Thailand, to which, in flip, there are lots of flights from Russia.

Planes to Indonesia

We fly as much as Jakarta

How you can get from Jakarta airport to town?

For those who arrived within the capital, exit the airport constructing and go left. There you will note a number of buses and a ticket counter, Damri firm. The fare from the airport to Jakarta (central railway station) is 40,000 rupees. You possibly can go each to completely different elements of town and to the closest cities, for instance, to Bogor.

Indonesia Trains

There’s a railway connection in Indonesia solely on the islands of Java and Sumatra (they aren’t of specific curiosity right here). Trains are a reasonably quick and comfy approach to journey across the island, however the costs are rather more costly than the bus.

There are Three courses of Indonesian trains:

Government (Eksecutif in native) – air-conditioned carriages with huge and gentle seats, every has a socket, and there may be greater than sufficient legroom. Probably the most comfy and costliest class.

Enterprise (bisnis) can also be an air-conditioned carriage, however with out prior reservation of seats.

Economic system (ekonomi) – a automobile with out air-con with extraordinary retailers, like in electrical trains. Lots of people with all their belongings.


Practice Jakarta-Yogyakarta


Government – class

The primary trains in Indonesia are usually not by numbers, however by names. One other attention-grabbing characteristic is that in massive cities there are a number of railway stations and completely different trains depart from completely different factors. For instance, in Jakarta, Gambir central station types costly trains, whereas financial system class trains depart from the opposite Pasar Senen station.


Railway station in Jakarta


Gambir Railway Station Schedule

You possibly can view the schedule and discover out the costs at the official web site of the railways of Indonesia… Kind in the place to go from in the fitting column, and all trains with costs will seem. You should purchase in the identical place, however you want an Indonesian SIM card and most definitely an area financial institution card.

We purchased tickets simply on the field workplace, having beforehand came upon the value on the web site. In Jakarta, we noticed ticket merchandising machines and even used them (they don’t give change, we’d like an area SIM card!) It’s higher to care for prepare tickets at the very least just a few days upfront, they run out shortly, particularly on weekends.

Indonesia Railway Scheme


Railways of Indonesia

The unique diagram is right here.

Plane and home flights in Indonesia

The inner air communication community in Indonesia is effectively developed, it’s comprehensible – how a lot land and ferries from island to island to recover from! Typically, a airplane is the one approach to get to a selected island. Flights between main cities and to / from Bali are cheap and might value as a lot as trains.

The farther and farther away the island / metropolis is from the capital, the dearer and harder it will likely be to get to it. To seek for and purchase tickets, you should use, in addition to the official web sites of those firms:

– Air Asia

– Garuda Indonesia

– Lion Air

β€” Batavia Air

β€” Sriwijaya Air

You should purchase tickets on the web sites of airways, though some both don’t promote them over the Web in any respect, or they want an Indonesian card. Journey brokers and journey businesses may assist with tickets.


Posh Ngurah Rai airport in Bali

Buses in Indonesia

Intercity buses are the primary and hottest transport in Indonesia, effectively at the very least in Java. Furthermore, they’ll stroll not solely inside one island, but additionally on neighboring ones.

There are three courses which are precisely the identical as that of trains. The quickest and most comfy Government-class buses are air-conditioned and journey from begin to end with out main stops. And financial system buses are many instances worse and extra trashy.

Java has very dense visitors (140 million individuals on one island) and slender roads, plus typically within the mountains, so all buses are very sluggish. You possibly can’t even think about how lengthy they’ll trudge, stopping at every publish and selecting up passengers. For instance, we sat down within the metropolis of Jember so as to get to Banyuwangi (to the ferry to Bali) for some depressing 100 km. Nicely, in two or three hours we’ll get there, we naively believed. Ha! Seven! Our tough journey that day took seven hours.

Bus in Indonesia

5 seats in a row – common Indonesian bus

On virtually all of our journeys, baggage couldn’t be stowed away in a particular compartment, so we needed to preserve our backpacks on our lap for a number of hours. There’s little or no legroom and the seats are slender and sit three aspect by aspect fairly than two.

However that is not all of the attraction of Indonesian bus transportation. On the entrance to the station, a complete group of males swoops in on you asking “the place are you going?” As soon as we acquired a jerk to reply, we thought it was a station employee in uniform (effectively, they’re used to in Thailand that every thing is humanly organized). He took us to the bus (which we might have discovered ourselves in Three minutes) and instructed us to take a seat down. A uniformed conductor instantly approached and took 50 thousand rupees every and issued tickets. Nicely, okay, we predict, every thing appears to be official, though somewhat costly, perhaps inflation.

Already within the strategy of the journey, we noticed how the locals give a totally completely different quantity, we started to ask them – it turned out that the fare was 16 thousand. We go to the conductor, why did you’re taking extra from us? He turned on the idiot, they are saying, I don’t perceive something and usually “Supply” (deal). That’s, he took thrice extra from us, took an element for himself, rolled it again to that man on the bus station, and now after all he can’t return it! Furthermore, the locals sit and perceive every thing, however nobody will say a phrase. It appears that evidently the quantity is small, however the sediment stays …

We discovered ourselves in such conditions very often, transferring round Indonesia by buses and bemo (minibuses).


The wheel is smoking – the pads are on

One other manner of divorce: only a left-handed individual (taxi driver) enters the bus and says that you’ve got arrived, though actually you haven’t but. The conductor on the bus is silent and doesn’t say something, though he understands every thing. So you’ll exit late within the night, do not perceive the place, however here’s a taxi πŸ™‚ Use a map and GPS.

Plus, Indonesians smoke lots proper on the bus, and it does not matter that their very own little little one and spouse are sitting close by. Some individuals smoke with out stopping in any respect! In any respect intermediate, in addition to on the preliminary and ultimate stops, every kind of sellers of every thing on this planet and musicians stroll across the slender cabin of the bus. The latter act on the precept of “Give me cash and I will depart” and sing horribly, taking part in on damaged, out of tune guitars. Apparently, driving an costly VIP bus will not do away with all of those characters! For acquaintance and immersion within the native taste, there isn’t a higher manner than driving an area bus.

Sorry for the poor high quality, however that is the way it appears to be like like driving a bemo from the within, enjoyable, however cramped.


Bus drivers drive straight within the oncoming lane, dashing up motorcyclists and dodging oncoming vehicles. Normally, the enjoyable remains to be one thing!

Summarizing all the above, we advocate that in case you journey by native buses, then solely by VIP, or journey for brief distances. For lengthy distances, it’s higher to decide on an airplane or a prepare.

Boats and maritime transport

We didn’t sail on boats, apart from the ferry from Java to Bali, so I can’t say one thing for positive about them. I do know that sea transport in Indonesia is effectively developed, a lot of the inhabited islands are linked by sea visitors by the Pelni firm. On their web site you may see the schedule and price of ferries. They don’t run fairly often, so if you’re planning to journey between the islands by ferry, permit for extra time. Additionally it is higher to ebook and purchase tickets upfront.

Concerning the ferry from Java to Bali

It is rather simple to get from Java to Bali – the islands are separated by solely about 5 km of the strait, the place ferries fairly often run. The intense level of Java within the east is town of Banyuwangi (the ferry departs from the village of Ketapang), and the intense western level of Bali is Gilimanuk.

You will get to Banyuwangi by bus from Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Probolingo and another cities of Java, or by prepare from Surabaya and Probolingo.

The ferry itself prices 8,000 rupees per individual and 18,000 rupees for a motorcycle. From Gilimanuk you may already go to Denpasar (30-40 thousand rupees). We advocate taking a bus in Java on to Denpasar, you and the bus will probably be loaded onto a ferry, after which you’ll go throughout the island of Bali on the identical bus.

City transport in Indonesia

With public transport usually, it’s tough and incomprehensible, solely in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Solo (Surakarta) we met a kind of comprehensible bus system with routes and glued costs.


The multimillion-dollar capital has no metro, solely trains to the suburbs from the central bus station Gambir. However there’s a bus community Trans Jakarta, which routes are laid all through town. Buses run alongside a devoted lane and cease at specifically geared up pavilions. To get inside, it’s essential to purchase a ticket from the cashier, then undergo the turnstile, after which sit on the bench to attend.

Yogyakarta and Solo have an analogous system with comparable names TransYogya and Batik Solo Trans. The fare is fastened and doesn’t rely on the gap, you may transfer like a subway, leaping from department to department – fairly handy and cheap! All buses are geared up with air-con, though it’s typically not very chilly inside and it may be stuffy.

Scheme of bus routes Yogyakarta TransYogya

Scheme of bus routes of town of Solo SoloTrans

Along with these buses, there are lots of others, in Jakarta usually there are a variety of completely different firms, it’s fairly obscure their routes.


In all cities in Java, we met native minibuses, elsewhere they’re known as in a different way – bemo (bemo) or angkot (angkot).

Bemo are very small minibuses that ply across the metropolis and the encircling space alongside a given route, however it’s fairly tough for a foreigner to know it, it isn’t at all times signed. They sit and drop passengers anyplace, stand for a very long time, recruiting individuals, inside there are small benches for sitting and it is vitally crowded. Drivers are consistently making an attempt to cheat, calling the value 2-Three instances greater than regular, it’s higher to seek out out upfront from the locals.

Typically, bemo is the one approach to get someplace, so it’s a must to grit your enamel and put your ft underneath you and drive for a couple of hour. For instance, from Yogyakarta we traveled for a few hours to the volcanic lake Kawah Putih.


Bemo – Indonesian minibuses Bemo Indonesia


This can be a easy bike taxi, which is discovered in every single place in cities, primarily close to markets, purchasing facilities, massive intersections. They’ll discover you on their very own (by the top of the journey, their importunity even ceases to bother). It’s quick, however it’s inconvenient to journey with baggage. You may as well drive an odzek exterior town, for instance, you may take it to Bromo volcano from the closest village.


Becak are three-wheeled rickshaws the place the basket is within the entrance and the driving force pedals within the again. Drivers often sleep lazily within the shade, ready for you at accommodations and guesthouses. The seat can accommodate two individuals, and fairly slender ones πŸ™‚ As a rule, journey is cheap in case you discount effectively, however for my part, there may be little sensible on this transport, besides maybe to journey for the sake of exoticism.

Fascinating locations in Indonesia:

Yogyakarta – the cultural capital of Java

Dieng volcanic plateau

Grojogan Waterfall Sewu

Temple complicated Prambanan

Ubud – a spot to calm down in Bali


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