Becaks and bemos are traditional modes of transport in Indonesia. However, today they are not widely used in touristic areas like Southern Bali. The becak is a kind of bike combined with a rickshaw that can transport up to two people. It was created in Java but now exists in Sumatra, Borneo and Sulawesi. Be careful, in big cities like Yogyakarta, this type of vehicle can become a tourist trap.
Bemos are small buses that can transport up to ten people. Usually the rates are fixed and low… Unless you are a foreigner. Before getting on a bemo, ask for the price and negociate the rate if you think it’s too high. A trip in bemo is an adventure, you never know when and where a bemo will stop.
Inherited from the Dutch colonization, some of the railways are still in service in Indonesia. Train is a good mode of transport on Sumatra or Java islands. In Java there are two lines, one starts in Jakarta, the other in Bogor, they both meet in Surabaya. Taking the train is as quick as taking the bus only a little bit cheaper and much more pleasant. By the window open admire the landscapes and relax to the sound of the engine. There are different categories of trains in Indonesia.
From Java to Bali, from Lombok to Gili Trawangan or from Sumatra to Java, one of the best ways to travel from one island to the other is by boat. Depending on the route you will board a ferry or a speedboat, sometimes there are several boats a day or sometimes there is only one a week. Pelni, the government company, owns air-conditioned modern boats but they don’t transport tourists. Speedboats are not as comfortable as ferries but will get you quickly to destination. Before you book your tickets, make sure the weather conditions are good enough and the safety measures ares respected.
What could be more exciting than boarding a cruise ship in an archipelago as beautiful as Indonesia? Sailing across the archipelago is for sure one of the best ways to explore the beauty of its islands. There are several options available to you : basic wooden boats for short cruises with your friends and family or phinisi, traditional Indonesian sailboat, more comfortable ships they are perfect for longer cruises.
Because of the size of the archipelago, airplanes are an important mode of transport in Indonesia. There are about 30 airports spread across the country and a dozen of local airlines: Garuda Indonesia, Lion air, Batavia air… It is very easy to travel by plane in Indonesia. However, only one of those airlines isn’t blacklisted by the EU: Gardua.
For a truly unforgettable experience in Indonesia you must rent a motor bebek. There is nothing like the pleasure to explore unknown areas at your own pace on a scooter. Be careful though, wearing a helmet is essential as Indonesians don’t always abide by the Highway Code. Besides, if the police arrest you because you don’t wear a helmet, or you are caught speeding, they might ask for some money before letting you go. The roads’ conditions on the islands, the open sewers by the roads and the lack of lighting at night can be dangerous too. So drive carefully but don’t miss out on this funny mode of transport in Indonesia.