Last updated on January 8th, 2017 at 10:13 am
Large, tourist style busses are few and far between, with the exception being on Java. There is also a fairly new bus service on Bali. However, there is an extensive system of buses in Jakarta and these are all quite cheap. Keep an eye out for pickpockets.
Indonesia Transportation-Driving Minibus (Bemo)
Public minibuses are the most used means of transport to get around around inner-cities and all surrounding towns. Minibuses have many names, which can include bemos, angkot, opelet, mikrolet, angkudes and pete-pete. They are also referred to as taksi in many parts of Papua, Kalimantan and East Java.
Train travel is restricted to Sumatra and Java, with the train network being the most comfortable an efficient means of travel. However, the service in Sumatra is much more limited compared to Java.
The three main classes for ticket purchase include Ekonomi, Bisnis, and Eksecutif. Ekonomi tickets will be more crowded with no reserved seats or air conditioning, while the Eksecutif ticket will grant you a reserved seat and air conditioning. Bisnis class simply has reserved seats and will be less crowded.
Personal transportation in Bali comes in plenty of flavors and choices, some more tourist-friendly than the others. If you’re not relying on your hotel or hostel to get you around – not that there’s anything wrong with that – you can get around town on foot, on rented bike or motorbike. ( Think twice before riding in Bali)
If you’re seeking to go between towns, you can catch a ride on a public bemo, a public bus, or charter a private bemo, a taxi, a car/driver rental package, or rent a car to drive.
Indonesia Transportation-Driving Law
Driving in Bali and in Indonesia is drastically different from driving in the US, Australia, Europe, or Japan etc. Traffic in Southeast Asia is frantic and can confuse those who are not accustomed to the traffic flow. You will need time to understand the traffic dynamics and Bali is no exception, so you will need time to practice and adapt.
This is especially true if you have never driven a car or scooter in Bali or large cities like Jakarta.You will need to have an International Driving Permit, which you can apply for in your home country.
Be sure to bring your valid driving license along. If you choose not to file for a permit, you can get a temporary Balinese tourist license from the police station in Denpasar within a day for $30.00. You can check with the concierge at your hotel for directions to the station.
In order to receive your temporary license you will need to fill out a multiple choice form (the answers are right next to you!), be between 18 years of age and 70, and bring your passport with the money.
If you choose to drive without a license, you may end up having to pay a bribe at police checkpoints.We do not recommend renting a car on your own on Bali. It is much easier to hire a driver for only $10-15 per day and it will save you lots of hassle. This is a perfect option for day trips and sightseeing.
Hitching In Indonesia
Hitching is not part of the culture but if you find yourself on some back roads trekking or without a scooter, this may be your only option. Many times passing motorists or trucks will stop and give you a lift. This is left to your judgment.