Bali and Jakarta airport guide: getting there and around


Getting from Denpasar or Jakarta airport to your hotel, Bali departure tax, the safest ferries to travel, and driving around Bali and Indonesia.

Bali and Indonesia transport guide


Getting from Denpasar or Jakarta airport to your hotel, the safest ferries to travel, and the best booking sites - download the Bali and Indonesia travel guide.

Flights

Flight time from Australia: 3 - 8 hours

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At the airport

Australian tourists no longer need a visa to visit Indonesia for up to 30 days. If you plan to stay longer then check our visa guide.

Most Australians will arrive in Indonesia via Jakarta or Bali.

  • 25km west of the CBD.
  • There are taxi ranks outside all three terminals. It's recommended you catch an official, metered taxi to avoid inflated fares. Companies include Blue Bird, Silver Bird, Golden Bird and Gamya. A small airport surcharge will apply and you will be expected to pay for any tolls.
  • Buses run to the city, stopping at major train and bus stations. The main service is DAMRI airport bus. Smaller shuttle services include X-Trans and Cipaganti Travel, and Primajasa (which runs directly to the city of Bandung).
  • Airport website: jakartaairportonline.com

  • 13km south of Denpasar and 2.5km from Kuta.
  • If catching a taxi, you can pre-pay your fare at the airport taxi counter. This is by far the best way to avoid paying too much.
  • Bus services are infrequent, but mini buses run to some of the popular spots.
  • Many hotels provide a courtesy shuttle bus or private driver (check with your hotel before you arrive).
  • Airport website: bali-airport.com

Airport transfers are relatively easy to book through your hotel or through a private car service. Extras such as child car seats may be available if you enquire in advance.

Departure tax: A cash payment of Rp 200,000 per person used to be required when departing Indonesia. This is no longer the case – departure tax should be included in the cost of your airline ticket. 

Key destinations and their airports

Bali Popular tourist destination island, includes Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur, Ubud Denpasar (Ngurah Rai) International Airport (DPS)
Jakarta The nation's capital, situated on the island of Java Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK)
Sumatra Indonesia's largest island Medan Kualanamu International Airport (KNO)
Padang Minangkabau International Airport (PDG)
Lombok Bali's island neighbour Lombok (Bandar Udara) International Airport (LOP)

For a more detailed breakdown of the top spots in Bali, see our Bali accommodation guide.

Getting around

Although many visitors prefer to stay put by the pool in Bali, there are plenty of transport options for those who wish to venture further afield.

Tip: Check if you need to pre-book any tickets.

Ferries

Ferries and boats run between many of Indonesia's islands, and from Jakarta to Singapore and Malaysia.

Pelni (pelni.co.id), the main passenger line, has up to six classes ranging from an ensuite cabin to sitting on-deck with the locals. Pelni doesn't have an online booking system and doesn't sell tickets more than 21 days prior to departure, so your best bet is to buy tickets once you're in the country. If you're travelling during a peak time or you're worried about availability, a travel agent or hotel may be able to help with advance booking.

Plenty of smaller ferry and boat services also operate between islands. There are many regular services running between Bali and Lombok, including express boats.

Tip: Many boat owners don't follow safety regulations and often overload their vessels at peak times.Tragedies at sea happen quite regularly. The state-owned Pelni ferries maintain proper safety standards.

Domestic flights

Flights also connect Indonesia's islands and are a faster (and potentially safer) option than ferries. Tickets can be booked at tiket2.com, nusatrip.com and flights.indonesiamatters.com. You can try booking directly via the airline's website (which is often cheaper) but most won't accept foreign credit cards.

Buses

Buses are the most common form of transport in Indonesia, although they can sometimes get quite hot and crowded. Clean, air conditioned coaches operate on major routes for those willing to pay a higher fare.

Booking a bus journey online isn't usually possible, but buying a ticket once you're in the country should be easy enough. Look for reservation offices or tourist information centres, ask hotel staff to book for you, or simply turn up at the bus station. Cheap public buses operate on loose schedules and often wait until they're full before setting out. Luxury coaches should be more reliable with their schedules.

In Bali, Perama Tour & Travel (peramatour.com) is the main shuttle bus and tour operator.

Trains

Trains only run on the islands of Java and Sumatra. A train service in Java connects with the ferry to Bali. Kerata-api.co.id is the official website where you can check timetables, but it's tricky to navigate (tip: a Chrome browser can translate foreign sites into English for you) and it only accepts Indonesian credit cards. An easier option is to pay a little extra and book via the tourist-friendly sites tiket.com or flights.indonesiamatters.com/train-tickets. If you aren't travelling during peak times (for example during Eid al-Fitr) then you should be OK to buy a ticket at the station. You'll need your passport to buy a train ticket.

Car hire

Car hire is available in major cities and airports, but it's not a very popular option for travellers. If you do decide to hire a car, be aware that Indonesian roads can be quite chaotic. You must have your Australian driver's licence as well as an international licence to be properly insured (and to avoid fines from police). It's best to book with a major international car hire company (Avis and Europcar both operate in Indonesia), as local businesses may not rent to foreigners or may be difficult to deal with if something goes wrong.

See our tips on driving in Indonesia below.

If you like the idea of having your own transport for day trips, consider a private driver or a taxi - it may be a cheaper and easier option than a hire car. Hotel staff should be able to book a reliable driver for you.

Motorbike and scooter hire

Getting around on two wheels is a popular option for travellers, but it's also a risky one. You'll need an international motorcycle licence as well as your Australian motorcycle licence, but it's unlikely the person who hires you the bike will tell you, much less check. This, of course, could bring you major pain if you have a crash or get stopped by the police. By law you'll also need a helmet. Be aware that standard travel insurance policies may not cover motorcycle or scooter accidents.

Short distances around towns and cities are best done on foot, by bicycle, by taxi, by bajaj (a three-wheeled motorbike taxi) or becak (bicycle rickshaw taxi).

Transport tips:

  • rome2rio.com is a great resource for working out how to get from A to B by any means of transport, anywhere in the world.
  • Seat61.com/Indonesia also has detailed advice on train, bus and ferry bookings and schedules.

Driving in Indonesia

  • Vehicles drive on the left.
  • The blood alcohol limit is 0. There is zero tolerance for drink driving.
  • Motorcycle and scooter riders and passengers must wear a helmet. Even though many locals ignore this law, police often issue on-the-spot fines (especially to cashed-up tourists).
  • You may also be fined if caught driving without an international licence, as well as your regular licence.
  • Motorcycle and scooter riders must have an international motorcycle licence.
  • Always carry your regular licence, international licence, passport and documents such as the rental contract and the vehicle's registration papers with you in the car. Police may ask to see them.
  • No more than two people can ride on a motorcycle or scooter (by law, that is - you'll regularly see families of four breaking this rule).
  • Seat belts must be worn in cars.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal.
  • The unofficial rule of the road is that smaller vehicles give way to larger ones, so watch out for trucks and buses.
  • Roads can be extremely hectic, with many drivers speeding and breaking the rules. Driving in Indonesia is not for the faint-hearted!

Got a travel tip about Indonesia? Or spotted something in our guide that needs updating? Add a comment below.

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