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Tips for Long-Distance Travel (Land and Sea) in Indonesia by Bus, Private Car, Taxi, and Ship

What to do, What to avoid, and what to be aware of

Indonesia, the world’s biggest archipelago to constitute a continuous state, is made up of 30 smaller archipelagoes and five major islands, for a total of around 18,110 islands and islets, of which 6,000 are inhabited. According to Wikipedia, Indonesia has 1,340 recognized ethnic groups. Different regions, tribes, and characteristics are the main reasons to understand and consider when traveling in Indonesia, particularly to Bukit Lawang, and other tourism places in North Sumatra.

true size of countries in map

Traveling by bus and ship is vastly different from traveling by private taxi or private rented car, where you are truly the boss. Indonesia is a sizable nation. Indonesia is an archipelago that stretches 1,760 kilometers (1,094 miles) from north to south and 5,120 kilometers (3,181 miles) from east to west. Apart from air travel, it really takes time. Here I would like to share with you some tips for traveling by public bus and ship.


Be sure, you bring enough cash.

It’s very important that you bring enough cash in the Indonesian Rupiah, and avoid carrying too much money except you know how to keep it safe. Always ask the price and repeat again, twice is enough.


You know the seat is yours.

Be sure “the seat is yours” will be underestimated case, but it’s still very important to travel by bus, so you stand your rights to defend your seat. Nobody can claim your seat or space if your ticket shows your rights over the seat.


Find a credible and trusted travel company.

You should research the reputation of the company in relation to the location before purchasing a bus or ship ticket. The time of departure, destination, ticket costs, and accessibility of passenger seats are all pieces of information that must be explored from the beginning.


Write down important numbers, such as plate number, contact number, and local police station.

The Indonesian Consumers Agency recommends passengers of public transportation, such as buses, trains, and ships, to write down any important phone numbers or complaint services. If there are any complications while traveling, call the number.


Be helpful to other people, especially elders (Indonesian culture).

This is a key to game-changing psychologically to win the hearts of people around you. Even potential criminals changed their minds after witnessing your kindness, such as by assisting elders.

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