island hopping Indonesia

7 Top Tips For Island Hopping in Indonesia

There’s a huge 17,508 islands in Indonesia, so naturally, even thinking about island hopping in Indonesia can be overwhelming. Where do you go? How to get there? What to do?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. From how to book ferries in Indonesia in advance to what to pack in your suitcase, we’ve got the essential tips you need to know. So you can spend less time planning and more time getting excited for the trip of a lifetime.

Top Tips For Island Hopping in IndonesiaHow do these rankings work?

1. Ferries Are a Fun Way to Explore the Islands

From the capital of Jakarta in Java Island, you can ride these ferries from Merak Port to Bakauheni Port in the neighbouring Sumatra island. If you want to go to Bali island via waterways, you can first head to Ketapang Port in Banyuwangi and enjoy around 45 minutes ride from to Gilimanuk Port in West Bali.

2. But You’ll Cover More Ground with Local Airlines

The state-owned airline here is Garuda Indonesia, which flies between the country’s major cities and remote islands. Lion Air and AirAsia also offer domestic service. Sure, there are ferries between Indonesia’s main islands, but flying is almost always the faster option.

P.S. Be sure to arrive two hours ahead, as often passengers find their reservation gets changed or cancelled last minute.

3. Choose Which Islands To Visit In Advance

Do you want to hit up party spots, go diving or simply chill on the beach? The good news is there’s the perfect island for all tastes. Our advice is to plan out your route as much as possible in advance. As for the best islands? Lombok is a great place to start island hopping in Indonesia, with stops in Bali, Gili Meno, Komodo Island and Sumatra a must.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Out Smaller Islands

Indonesia is a popular tourist destination with plenty of up-and-coming smaller islands that are well worth a visit. Love surfing but can’t handle the crowds of Bali? Try Sumbawa for some of the best surfing in the region. You’ll just have to be flexible with your schedule as many of the transport options for small islands can be subject to delays.

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5. What You Should Pack For Island Hopping in Indonesia

  • Reusable water containers and utensils to reduce plastic waste
  • Toilet paper!
  • A Dry Bag for transporting any valuables on boats
  • Waterproof phone cover
  • A reliable PowerBank
  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Travel Insurance

6. When’s The Best Time to Visit?

Generally, the best time for island hopping in Indonesia is between April and October. With a tropical climate, there’s mainly two seasons here – Wet (November – March) and Dry (April – October).

island hopping in Indonesia

7. Make Sure You Carry Cash

In more remote places away from the main tourist areas and mainland, you’ll struggle to find ATMs. Keep plenty of small notes for local markets and bartering with!

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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