Planning travel to Indonesia can feel like a daunting task – especially when you’re visiting from the US. It’s on the opposite side of the world, it’s extremely remote, and your favorite flight booking website might not even have an option for getting to certain areas.
Fortunately, this legendary destination is frequented by well-traveled divers and adventure-seekers from around the world. Even the furthest corners of Indonesia’s expanse can be reached pretty easily (and affordably) if you know how to arrange the travel.
How to Find the Best Flights to Indonesia
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll base our flight plans on two basic regions: the East side and West side of the US. From your nearest airport, you should be able to make it to a major international airport (ATL, LAX, JFK, DFW, etc.) very easily. Since Indonesia located nearly exactly on the other side of the globe, you can fly either east or west – it doesn’t change the flight time much, especially for those traveling from the eastern side of the US.
We use Kayak.com to research different routes and prices, then we book the flights directly with the chosen airline. Trust us, this is the right move. Booking with airlines directly ensures effective customer service and problem-solving if something goes wrong.
American Airlines, Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, Emirates, Delta, Turkish Airlines, and many more fly to Indonesia, so you should have at least a few options to choose from. We recommend flying into Bali (DPS) when possible because there is a lot to do in the city, but Jakarta (CGK) may be your only option. Your research should tell you whether it’s realistic (i.e., affordable/convenient) to stop in Bali. If not, Jakarta is perfectly fine…you just probably won’t have much desire to explore town.
If you’re flying from LAX, DFW, or anywhere on the west side of the US, you’ll probably want to fly over the Pacific to get to Indonesia. Likely connections are Tokyo (NRT), Seoul (ICN), or Singapore (SIN).
From the east side of the US, likely connections include Doha (DOH), Dubai (DXB), or even some airports throughout Europe, but your flight options going west could be better, so it’s worth checking both.
Once again, after you’ve done your research on Kayak/Skyscanner/etc. to find the best possible route and price, purchase the tickets from the airline directly!
Remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules for flying to Indonesia. If you have time, you could spend a couple of days in fascinating connection cities like Singapore or Tokyo. If time is of the essence, you might find more value in getting there as fast as possible. Or maybe a couple of days in an Indonesian resort would be a good addition to your travels. Weigh your options, and decide what works best for you and your schedule.
How to Arrange Domestic Flights in Indonesia
Once you’ve arrived in Bali or Jakarta, you’ll probably need to continue the journey just a little further to get to your liveaboard’s port of departure. Depending on your final destination, you may be able to find a direct flight from Bali or Jakarta.
Lion Air, Batik Air, and Wings Air all offer domestic flights throughout Indonesia. Some airlines in Indonesia recently stopped allowing customers to pay with an American credit card, so travelers may need to go through NusaTrip.com to purchase flight tickets.
Domestic Flight Routes in Indonesia
Flying to Raja Ampat (SOQ)
To get to Raja Ampat, you’ll need to fly to Sorong (SOQ). This is probably one of the most remote places you can visit, so a connection is usually necessary when flying from Bali. Most often, you’ll need to connect in Makassar (UPG), Jakarta (CGK), Manado (MDC), or Surabaya (SUB). From any of these airports, there should be a flight directly to Sorong.
Flying to Komodo (LBJ)
For Komodo, the final destination airport is Labuan Bajo (LBJ). Bali and Jakarta both have direct flights. Sometimes, flights between Jakarta and Labuan Bajo actually stop in Bali to pick up or drop off more passengers. You will probably not even need to get out of your seat if your flight makes this stop, so it’s hardly an inconvenience.
Flying to Ambon (AMQ)
Banda Sea trips often begin or end in Ambon (AMQ). You may find direct flights to/from Jakarta, but you’d probably have to connect in Makassar (UPG) or Surabaya (SUB) if you’re flying to/from Bali.
Flying to Maumere (MOF)
Some trips around the Banda Sea and Alor areas begin/end in Maumere (MOF). Most flights to/from Bali and Jakarta connect in Makassar (UPG).
Flying to Saumlaki (SXK)
Other trips in the Banda Sea region sometimes begin/end in Saumlaki (SXK). To/from Jakarta, you’ll usually connect in Ambon (AMQ). Bali does not usually have any flights to/from Saumlaki without at least 2 connections, so you should use Jakarta if your trip begins or ends there.
Booking a Hotel in Indonesia
As with flights, we recommend booking directly with the hotel you choose. Looking through options on Kayak/Expedia/etc. is a good idea, but booking directly with the hotel will give you the best protection for your reservation. You can also see the options we recommend below:
Best Hotels for Raja Ampat Liveaboard
Best Hotels for Komodo Liveaboard
Best Hotels for a Stop in Bali
- Novotel Bali Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali
- Hilton Garden Inn Denpasar, Bali
- Maya Sanur Resort & Spa, Bali
Best Hotels for a Stop in Jakarta
Indonesia Travel Tips from the All Star Team
- Nothing that you can’t live without should ever go in a checked bag. You should ALWAYS have your toiletries and plenty of clothes in your carry-on or personal item. Checked bags get lost all the time! You can save yourself some money and a huge amount of stress by just keeping the important stuff with you the whole time you’re traveling. Here’s our extensive liveaboard trip packing list.
- Check to see if there are rooms to rent in the airport if you have a long layover. A shower and a nap could be a game-changer. Many of these rooms are affordable and offer hourly rates.
- If you have a long layover in Seoul, look into the tours offered by the Seoul airport. You can ditch the dull airport atmosphere for a little while on these sightseeing bus tours around the city.
- Paying for access to sky clubs or airport lounges during layovers is worth considering! Free food and drinks is amazing, and a comfortable seat might just turn your mood around after a long flight.
- Freshen up in the airport after a long flight. Brushing your teeth and changing clothes, even if it’s just during a quick bathroom stop between flights, can make you feel totally rejuvenated.
- Dive Indonesia with All Star Aurora or All Star Velocean! They’re incredible vessels with amazing crews, and you’re always more than welcome to call us to discuss travel if you’re diving with us!
If in Doubt, Use a Travel Agent
If you’ve read this blog, researched flights, and you’re still too overwhelmed to book flights, it might be time to find someone to arrange them for you. Having someone else book your flights is not free, even when it’s bundled into your trip cost. If it’s worth the extra cost in your eyes, talk to a travel agent!
If you’d like us to book your flights, email Leah at firstname.lastname@example.org.