Getting Around Indonesia

Information on getting to and around Indonesia, by air, bus, train and boat...

Indonesia's geography makes travel difficult and time-consuming, and its archipelago is called "The Ring of Fire" for a reason: surrounded by seas with strong currents, the islands are often mountainous and densely covered in rainforest. The high frequency of earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions make the country very disaster prone.

Infrastructure is fragile and underdeveloped, and Indonesia's travel sector is generally considered unsafe. The European Union, for example, has recently lifted the ban on one Indonesian airline, Garuda Air, which is now permitted to fly direct to the EU. Besides airline crashes, a number of train and boat accidents has reinforced Indonesia's poor safety record.

Religious holidays make travel difficult because of the large number of Indonesians who travel throughout the country. The beginning and end of Ramadan, and the Christmas holiday (mid-December to mid-January) are peak travel times for locals. Schools close in July for two to three weeks, when domestic travel peaks as well.

Tourists should limit their itinerary as travel is time consuming and there are frequent delays. Allow a generous amount of time for travel to remote areas, whatever the mode of transport.