Getting around Indonesia by Boat
“this is an article sent in by Sally Thomas ”
Getting around Indonesia by Boat
Whether you’re a tourist or a native, one of the very best ways to explore and travel around Indonesia is by boat. So much of the culture of the region focuses on water vessels, with fishing being one of the most significant industries in the area, and many of the larger islands in the group are connected by regular car ferries. As an archipelago made up of over 17,000 islands, it would be near-impossible for tourists to explore the incredible beauty of the region without travelling by boat. Here are a few hints and tips for getting around Indonesia by boat and making the experience as safe and enjoyable as possible:
Think Safety First
It is important that if you choose to travel around Indonesia by boat, you ensure that the boat you are traveling in is well maintained and has adequate insurance protection, to keep you as safe as possible. Although boating accidents in Indonesia are not a daily happening, they do occur relatively regularly and it is important to minimise your risk of involvement.
Just last week, an accident lead a tourist boat in Bali to explode (the result of a battery malfunctioning above the fuel tank) leading two tourists dead and eighteen tourists to be injured as a result.
Last year an incident which occurred just off Bali lead to 25 tourists being injured when a fire broke out on the fast ferry between the islands which was carrying more than 120 passengers. Water vessels in Indonesia historically do not have a great safety record, and this is largely due to poor maintenance: a good rule of thumb is that if a vessel looks unsafe or poorly maintained then you should not get on board. You may also wish to consider the time of day at which you travel, as during the busiest periods the boats are crammed full, with passengers in every available space, including on the deck, the stairwells, the passageways that you might normally expect to be left clear.
Enjoy the Experience
Taking a ferry in Indonesia is an experience unlike any other, and considering your journey a part of the adventure of your vacation will enhance how enjoyable you find it. Many visitors suggest you haven’t really visited Indonesia until you’ve been out on the water! Enjoy the experience and try to get as much as possible out of it. Don’t be afraid to choose a smaller, private boat, particularly if you don’t want to travel to one of the larger ferry-bound islands or have a specific journey in mind. Remember that it is OK to negotiate the price that you pay: the price offered to locals is often different to the price offered to tourists. If possible, try to find out what the local price is for the journey you want to take, and use that as the starting point for your negotiations: whilst it is unlikely you will get that low local rate, you are likely to negotiate a better deal if that is your opening offer. As in much of the region, negotiation is expected and should be seen as part of the fun.
Take Advice on the Weather
Storms at sea can kill, particularly if you’re travelling in a fairly basic vessel, or travelling during rainy season. The local people are often best-placed to predict the weather and let you know if it’s safe to travel: take advice from a native third party who has no financial or vested interest in your onward journey to ensure that you will enjoy smooth sailing. There is nothing more incredible that watching the sun go down whilst you’re on the sea, so pick the right weather to enjoy the experience to its fullest. Whilst boat and ferry rides in Indonesia can be a lot of fun, it’s important to remember that the increased popularity of air travel means that it is often more convenient and affordable to journey between the region’s main island by air. If the weather is bad, visibility is poor, and the travelling conditions simply aren’t favourable for a journey by boat then consider reassessing your transportation mode, and enjoy that boat ride at a later date instead.