Boat (Pelni) Travel in Indonesia

Boat travel in Indonesia is common, especially for the locals but it can be long and tedious and at some times not that budget as air travels are so ubiquitous now. It is known as Pelni boats, which was the company that run the giant ferries in almost every parts and islands of Indonesia wherever there is people.


1st class – two beds per cabin with private washroom, tv and aircon
2nd class – four beds per cabin, private washroom, tv and aircon
3rd class – six beds per cabin, aircon and shared washrooms
4th class – bed in a dormitory
Economy (ekonomi) class – common area and first come first serve basis for spot to rest

Pelni boat indonesia

Pelni Boat

Economy Class

Most people say the real deal of traveling Pelni boat is by economy class, where you rush in with the local once the boat arrives to stake a spot and cramp it all in with them, using a rattan mat as your ‘bed’ and to mark your territory.


There are people selling food on board but don’t bank on it being delicious, in fact it borders on being edible or not. It is best to pack your own food for the long journey.

Pelni boat indonesia economy class

Pelni Boat Economy Class


It can get really crowded during peak seasons, sometimes having over-capacity by more than twice it’s limit. Due to overcrowding the safety is a question as there are not enough lifeboats in case of emergency.
Also pickpocket is common, especially in the economy class.

Photo credits from top: Chumwa and VMOS

Related Posts