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Indonesia 

Becaks 

Indonesia Airports

It’s not surprising that Indonesia has a multitude of airports - more than two dozen - as Indonesia is a spread out country with islands strewn all over the Java and Banda seas and the Indian Ocean. The capital of Jakarta is the main port of entry into Indonesia, while Bali also receives a huge amount of visitors.

Loaded with mountains, volcanoes and stunning beaches, Indonesia is a paradise for adventurous travellers and beach lovers, with endless opportunities for exploring the country’s islands and bustling beach resorts.

Travelling by air between major islands within Indonesia is an absolute must if you are on a limited time schedule. Air ticket prices are not cheap, but costs are lower if you purchase your ticket in Indonesia. Other means of transport within Indonesia include the slow trains on Java and Sumatra, buses networks on all of the main islands, converted pick-ups and rickshaws. You can also get to Indonesia and Bali by ferry.

Bali-Denpasar-Ngurah Rai International Airport is second in importance only to Jakarta International Airport and currently handles around five-million passengers per year, although it has the capacity to handle double this figure. Bali’s airport has two terminals, domestic and international, and is served by many international carriers including AirAsia, Australian Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Thai Airways.

Situated 10 miles from Bali’s capital city of Denpasar, transport to the city and the island’s tourist centres is provided by local bus and bemos, pick-up trucks with rows of seats that can be chartered to carry several people. Taxis are also available.


Road Travel

You cannot drive in Indonesia on a UK driving licence, but are permitted to use an International licence which can be obtained in Indonesia. An International licence is obtained in the UK it may need to be endorsed by the Indonesian licensing office in Jakarta.

If you plan to hire a car, you should note that traffic discipline is poor and city streets are congested. There is considerable advantage in hiring a car with a driver, which is not especially expensive. If you break down or have a minor accident you should stay with your vehicle with the car doors locked until the police arrive.

 Most roads in Indonesia, compared to the west, are of a poor condition. With the exception of a few "highways" most are all weather minor roads, which are periodically impassable due to flooding, subsidence or landslides. Large areas of Sumatra, Iran Jaya and Kalimantan are almost impassable.

But things have improved over the years and you can get a reliable, but maybe not enjoyable, bus through the entire length of Sumatra for instance.

rikshaws

Insurance

Before travelling to Indonesia, it is important to take out travel insurance. A typical policy provides cover for medical expences due to illness or injury, the loss of baggage, tickets and, up to a certain limit, cash or travellers cheques. Plus cancellation or curtailment of your journey. Most will not cover for "damgerous sports" which may include scubadiving, Kayaking and white water rafting

 

Trains

Passenger trains are limited to Java, Lombok, South Sumatra and North Sumatra. With just a single track connecting most major cities, the trains are slow and often delayed. With 3 classes of fare ranging from Executive or 1st class (a/c with reclining seats and breakfast included),Business (fan cooled coaches and pillows provided)and Econonmy (more run down and older coaches, often over crowded). Reservations should be made well in advance through the local travel agents.

Bus

Most Indonesians get around by bus, although it is not always quick and definately not always comfortable. With a vast network covering large distances it is the cheapest way to travel. There are a range of bus services starting with bis ekonomi slow, uncomfortable, packed full but cheap! A great way to see and smell Indonesia- as you probably will encounter farm animals as well as locals. Bis patas are express buses, faster but no a/c so not much better than the economy. Bis malam  the over night bus is probably the fastest bus and normally arrives first thing in the norming. Bis pariwisata  or tourist bus has more leg room and is slightly cheaper than the VIP buses but not as comfortable- but as it does stop off at the tourist sights on route it is often a good bus to choose. Bis VIP are the luxury buses, with a/c and plenty of leg room.

In many bigger towns you will find a bus terminal but insome cases the bus will leave from the bus offices, which can be at the other side of town. Larger towns may also have several pick up points including hotel, although this some times carries a surcharge.

Tickets can be obtained directly from the bus company office or travel agents- shop around for the best price and book several days in advance.

During some religious festivals all public transport will be packed and estimated journey times will go out of the window- you will arrive when you get there.

Handy tip- Connecting tickets will often cost more than buying two seperate tickets.

The price of your ticket will depend on the type of bus you get, the more up market also tends to mean the more safer option and subsequently the price will reflect this. Each bus company operates its own pricing structure so shop around.

In the main tourist areas on Java, Bali and Lombok look out for the shuttle buses, aimed at tourists, they connect most of the popular destinations and stick to a fixed timetable

Bikes

A mixed responce to bicyclists depending on where you are, in Bali, for instance, you are not likely to get a second glance. In other regions you will be watched with some suspicion.

Be careful, not only are most roads not in the best condition for bikes but the drivers will not give way for you and it could be dangerous especially on the main roads.

Spares should be easily obtainable and even the smaller towns have bicycle repair shops.But make sure you have the usual puncture repairs kit, spare tubes, tyres and a pump.

If taking your bike on a ferry, bus or taxi expect to pay a surcharge of about 1/3 of the actual fare- you may have to go upto 1/2 if the driver is not keen to have your bike on board.

Many airlines will take bikes free of charge as long as they are not boxed and the peddles are off and the tyres deflated. Some domestic airlines will charge so check before hand.

 

Car hire

Cars can be hires for self drive or with a driver. With a driver vehicles can be hired by the hour or by the day and the price will go up if the journey is out of the town. Prices go from about 15,000RP per hour in the city to 200,000 for an out of town trip.

Self drive cars are available in the more popular tourist destinations (ie Bali and Lombok) and the bigger cities- international groups such as Avis and Hertz can be found in the larger towns.

Local transport

Bajaj is a small 3 wheeled motorised scooter and are the cheapest form of taxi after the becak but are normally only used in the big cities such as Jakarta- usually orange and a bit scruffy

Becaks  or bicycle rickshaws are just about the cheapest form of transport and are ideal for short distances. Hundreds of thousands of Indonesians make a living by driving becaks. They can be chartered by the hour or for a direct journey but make sure you negotiate a good price.

Bemos are small buses which operate a fixed route, able to carry four to six passengers and found in the Larger cities

Bis kayu are slow and uncomfortable, but what do you expect from a converted pick up truck, with a bench placed in it- only used on minor roads on some islands

Horse Carts come in either two or four wheel versions and can carry from two to six passengers depending on their sixe

Inner city share taxi are ideal if your party consists of four or five people, they are more expensive than buses but they are quicker and are cheeper than a private taxi. However, share taxis only depart once all seats are taken.

Motorbike hire is available from some guesthouses and losmen, feared towards tourists, at a daily rate varying from 25.000Rp to 50,000Rp per day. Always check the gears, brakes and lights before handing over any money as some are not well maintained. It is illegal to ride without a helmet.

Ojeks are motorcycle taxis, you will find them normally congregated at junctions, in bright jackets, ready to take passengers to their destinations. Always bargin hard and agree a price before setting off

Oplets a larger version of the bemos carrying 10-12 passengers and can be chartered by the hour or by the day- always bargin hard.

Taxis are metered in the larger cities, but unmetered taxis can be shared for longer journeys. Be warned drivers can not normally change larger notes.


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