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.

Other Transports Information:
Bus Travel in Indonesia
Train Travel in Indonesia
Air Travel in Indonesia
Best International Budget Airlines to Indonesia

Photo credits from top: Chumwa and VMOS

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  1. Hi Rachel,
    I read your advices about Bali Trip. I will come there in June and have 2 days 3 nights at Bali (arrived at night of 27th June and return at noon of 30th June to Singapore). Can you help to draft up some places I should to visit? I would like to see the culture, foods and sighseeing.


  2. Hello, Rachel
    My name is Apichat. I’m thai , I want to go to Jayapura with my group 8persons from PNG at WUTUNG BORDER. Can you advice me , how to go to Jayapura?How to get survice car at border?or Do you have survice car for us? How much for charge?

  3. i am visiting jaharta last week of march….which is the best B&B place in jakarta..i stay for 3 nights…how would i plan my days…thanks

  4. Hello Rachel
    This time I would like to go from Sulavesi to Kalimantan
    without flight it means boat and then travel in Kalimantan then go to Saravak or vice versa (start in Saravak -….)
    -where can I cross the bourder from Saravak (Malasia) I also need arrival viza or in Sabah (Malasia in case)
    -how much I have to pay entrance or exit fee in this case?
    – is it possible with a public transport (bus for example or boat)?
    what is the best way (place) go from/to Sulavesi to Kalimantan
    Thank you

  5. Hello Rachel
    How to get in Mount Bromo from Yogyakarta?
    May I know the best transportation mode
    Are 2 days enough for Mount Bromo

    1. You can go either via Malang or Surabaya, 2 days is possible but will be really packed. In Yogyakarta you may also find a lot of tours that will take you to mount bromo.

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