INDONESIA Helpful Hints From Planes to Trains: Navigating Indonesia’s Top 10 Transportation Choices

From Planes to Trains: Navigating Indonesia’s Top 10 Transportation Choices

Indonesia is a vast archipelago consisting of over 17,000 islands, making transportation an important aspect of traveling around the country. With so many islands to explore, there are a variety of transportation options available, each with its own pros and cons. Here are the top 10 transportation choices to help you navigate Indonesia with ease.

From Planes to Trains: Navigating Indonesia’s Top 10 Transportation Choices


Airplanes are the most popular transportation option for long-distance travel in Indonesia, as the country spans a wide area. With more than 670 airports throughout the country, it’s easy to find a flight that suits your travel needs. The country’s major airlines are Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and AirAsia.


Trains are a popular transportation choice for both locals and tourists. The country has an extensive rail network that covers major cities on the island of Java, with services operated by PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI). The trains are affordable, comfortable, and offer scenic views of the countryside.


Buses are the most common mode of transportation for short to medium distances in Indonesia. There are two types of buses: regular and executive. The executive buses are more comfortable and have air conditioning, while regular buses are less expensive but have fewer amenities.


Ferries are the best transportation choice for traveling between islands in Indonesia. The country has an extensive ferry network, with regular services connecting the major islands. The ferries are usually large and can accommodate cars, motorbikes, and passengers.


If you’re looking for a faster alternative to ferries, speedboats are a great option. They are more expensive than ferries, but they can get you to your destination much faster. Speedboat services are available for short distances, such as traveling between Bali and nearby islands.


Taxis are a popular transportation choice for tourists and locals alike, especially in major cities such as Jakarta and Bali. The country’s most popular taxi services are Blue Bird and Gojek. It’s important to ensure that the meter is running and negotiate the price before getting in the taxi to avoid scams.

Ride-hailing apps

Ride-hailing apps, such as Gojek and Grab, are popular in Indonesia, offering a convenient and affordable way to get around. The apps are easy to use and provide upfront pricing, ensuring that you know the cost of your ride before you get in the vehicle.


Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation in Indonesia, especially for short distances. They are affordable, fast, and can easily navigate through traffic. However, it’s important to wear a helmet and exercise caution when riding a motorcycle, as traffic in Indonesia can be chaotic.


Bajaj is a three-wheeled vehicle that is popular in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta. It’s an affordable option for short trips, and the vehicle can accommodate up to three passengers. However, they can be uncomfortable, especially during rainy weather.


Ojek is a motorcycle taxi service that is popular in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta. It’s an affordable and convenient way to navigate through traffic, but it’s important to wear a helmet and ensure that the driver has a valid license before getting on the motorcycle.

With so many transportation options available in Indonesia, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose for your travels. Each mode of transportation has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your budget, travel needs, and preferences. Here are some insider tips to help you navigate Indonesia’s top 10 transportation choices:

Book in advance

Booking your transportation in advance can save you time, money, and hassle, especially for long-distance travel. Many airlines, train companies, and ferry operators offer online booking services, allowing you to compare prices, schedules, and amenities. Some popular travel booking platforms in Indonesia include Traveloka,, and Pegipegi.

Be mindful of your belongings

When traveling on public transportation, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and keep them close to you at all times. Theft is a common issue in Indonesia, especially on crowded buses and trains. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables with you, and keep your bags in sight.

Check the weather forecast

Indonesia is known for its tropical climate, which can be unpredictable at times. Before booking your transportation, check the weather forecast to avoid travel disruptions caused by heavy rain, floods, or storms. During the rainy season, it’s common for flights, ferries, and buses to be delayed or canceled, so it’s best to plan your travels accordingly.

Be aware of the traffic

Traffic in Indonesia can be chaotic, especially in major cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya. If you’re traveling by car or motorcycle, be prepared for heavy traffic, long wait times, and aggressive drivers. It’s important to exercise caution, follow traffic rules, and avoid rush hour if possible.

Ask the locals for recommendations

The best way to get insider tips on transportation in Indonesia is to ask the locals. Indonesians are known for their hospitality and are always happy to help tourists. Whether you’re looking for the best taxi service, the cheapest ferry, or the most scenic train ride, asking the locals for recommendations can help you save money and have a more authentic travel experience.

Learn basic Indonesian phrases

While many Indonesians speak English, learning some basic Indonesian phrases can help you communicate with locals and navigate transportation more effectively. Some useful phrases to know include «tolong» (please), «berapa harganya» (how much does it cost), and «di mana toilet» (where is the toilet). Simple gestures, such as pointing and nodding, can also go a long way in communicating your needs.

By following these insider tips, you can have a memorable and stress-free trip to Indonesia, no matter which transportation mode you choose. From airplanes to ojeks, Indonesia’s diverse transportation options offer something for every type of traveler.

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