Traffic drives on the left. Nearly half of the road network is paved. There are good road communications within Java and, to a lesser extent, on Bali and Sumatra. The other islands have poor road systems. Chauffeur-driven cars are widely available and highly recommended as the standard of driving is at times a little chaotic.
Bus: Indonesia is the land of jam karet (literally ‘rubber time'), and complicated journeys involving more than a single change should not be attempted in a day. Bus fares are relatively low; most are fixed, with a higher price for the air-conditioned buses which have more room than on the cramped regular buses. There are night buses on a number of long-distance routes; pre-booking is essential. Visitors should note that buses can be extremely crowded, and that drivers are reckless. Lorena Transport (tel: 634 1166; www.lorena-karina.com) operate an extensive network of routes on Java and Sumatra.
Taxi: Widely available in cities and towns. Ojek (motorcycle taxis) are available in cities and towns and they congregate at road junctions. The driver should provide a helmet and you must agree on the fare before starting the journey. http://www.bluebirdgroup.com/
Car hire: Available from a number of international and local companies.
Regulations: Speed limits are usually 30-40kph (19-25mph) on inner city streets, 60-70kph (37-43mph)on inter-city roads and 80-100 kph (50-62mph) on highways depending on the territory.
Documentation: An International Driving Permit is required.
Alternative transport: Rickshawsinclude the motorized bajaj, which seats two passengers, with the driver in front; and the becak, which is pedal-powered by a rider sitting behind two passengers. However, the latter have been banned from Jakarta city. Fares should be negotiated in advance as you don't want any surprises come the end of your journey. Motorcycles and bicycles can be hired; for motorcycles, an International Driving Permit is recommended and a helmet should be worn. Bemos and opelets are communal minibuses; fares should be negotiated in advance.
Getting Around Towns and Cities
Jakarta is the only city with an established conventional bus service of any size, and it has a comprehensive network. The Transjakarta has it's own lanes and can be the most efficient way to get around. The price of a ticket is relatively low although overcrowding is commonplace on these buses. Elsewhere bemos (minibuses) are the main way to travel around within the suburbs.
The train operator throughout Indonesia is PT Kereta Api (tel: 424 1370; http://www.kereta-api.co.id/). There are three classes of travel, Eksecutif (Executive), Bisnis (Business) and Ekonomi (Economy), but first-class exists only on certain expresses.
In Sumatra, trains connect Belawan, Medan and Tanjong Balai/Rantu Prapet where you will find two or three that run a daily service in the north, and Palembang and Panjang in the south, but are quite unreliable. An extensive rail network runs throughout Java. The modern, air-conditioned Argo Bromo Anggrek service, which is Eksecutif class only, with refreshments included, links Jakarta and Surabaya; it departs daily and nightly.
There are also other express services. Between Jakarta and Bandung there is a train every one to two hours, Executive class (journey time - about 3 hours) and then twice-daily trains onto the historical seaport city of Surabaya.
The ferry ride to Batam is about 45 minutes, a one-way ticket is about USD $25. There are several ferry operators, we have used and would recommend Penguin Ferry Services as they seem to be quite reliability. Board ferries to Batam from World Trade Centre Ferry Terminal in Singapore. If you require more information, give then a call on (65) 6271 4866.
From Batam there are two main options
High-speed ferries run between Sumatra and Malaysia. The most popular route is Belawan (Medan)-Penang (journey time - 4 hours), operated by Langkawi Ferry (tel: (61) 452 1111; www.langkawi-ferry.com). There are also services between Dumai-Malacca and Manado (Sulawesi).
Expect to pay Rp150,000 from Jakarta and Denpasar; Rp75,000 from other airports; transit passengers continuing their journey on the same day, and infants under the age of 2 are exempt.
Java: Jakarta (CGK) (Soekarno-Hatta) (www.angkasapura2.co.id) is 20km (13 miles) northwest of Jakarta city center (journey time - 45 minutes). To/from the airport: A bus goes to the city every 30 to 60 minutes. Buses leave Jakarta from Gambir railway station and from Rawamangun, Blok M and Pasar Minggu bus stations. Taxis are by far the quickest option. Try to take a reputable BlueBird or Express you can find these taxis everywhere. Facilities: Banks/bureaux de change, a post office, internet, duty-free shops, gift shops, restaurants, snack bars, car hire, left luggage and medical facilities can all be found at Jakarta International airport.
Bali: Denpasar (DPS) (Ngurah Rai) (www.ngurahrai-airport.co.id) is 13km (8 miles) southwest of Denpasar city center, is the main airport on Bali (journey time - 30 minutes). To/from the airport: A bus goes to the city center. Taxis are available to the city and to Kuta, Ubud, Nusa dua and Sanur. Facilities: