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  #1  
Old 13 Mar 2024
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Indonesia ferry report

I took a ferry from Balikpapan (Kalimantan) to Pare-Pare (Sulawesi) on 13.03.24. The ship was scheduled to leave at 8am local time. I was told to be there before 7am and was able to board at 6am. The ferry was scheduled to arrive at 2am, but I was able to drive off it at 0:15.

I paid 250.000 for myself and 805.000 for my bike. Although the bike size (> 1000cc) might not be mentioned on the website, a ticket for it can be bought at the counter: https://maps.app.goo.gl/nmV6PNzM5ykHjFvf9

The ship's name was "Dharma Kartika IX" and is operated by DLU: https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/9140023

DLU seems to have the best working mobile app out of the Indonesian ferry companies, but unfortunately they don't answer emails.

Before boarding I received a red wristband and a paper recipe for the included meals, which is checked and torn to make sure I didn't get more meals than I was supposed to.

Lunch was served at noon, dinner at 5pm. It was good, but not a lot. There's also a food stand, and two cafe's, one small one for smokers and a bigger one with the information and a second floor with couches and charging stations. Outside of the kitchen there's hot water for instant noodles.

There are two dorms, one almost empty, the other one pretty full with a lot of families with small children. Cockroaches can be found in both, but never saw a big one.

The toilets are basic, and there was no soap, so I recommend bringing hand sanitizer.

What surprised me was a playground including an area with gym devices. A stationary bicycle might come in handy for when one gets the zoomies on long voyages.

There's another room with comfortable airline seats, but the room is closed when there's no show on the stage. So unfortunately not a room for relaxing. In the afternoon and in the evening there was a band including two singers.

The fact that I took the ferry during Ramadan seemed to have no influence. It was even an advantage when I was checking out of the hotel very early and they were already serving breakfast.

I took some pictures and added descriptions: https://photos.app.goo.gl/KSghPWTknhGYmanp6

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Last edited by pakohan; 14 Mar 2024 at 13:05.
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  #2  
Old 14 Mar 2024
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Nice!

The adventure continues for you my friend!

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  #3  
Old 14 Mar 2024
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Great report from an indonesian ferry - so thanks a lot for that!

It seems there has been some positive development on the ferries in Indonesia since I travelled there back in 2015. There were no charging points for phones etc back then, smoking were done absolutely EVERYWHERE! I remember one of the saloons had a huge «No Smoking» sign on the wall and most of the the time there were heaps of men standing below the sign and chainsmoked!

I had a rat in my cabin on the Makassar - Surabaya leg. In the opposite direction I travelled during ID - and the ferry was so packed that the only place I had to myself was on a carboard plate on the cardeck! Bedbugs were also plentiful on some of those ships….

Anyhow - in which direction are you travelling? How was Borneo/Kalimantan? And how did you get to Borneo/Kalimantan?
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Old 14 Mar 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post
Great report from an indonesian ferry - so thanks a lot for that!



It seems there has been some positive development on the ferries in Indonesia since I travelled there back in 2015. There were no charging points for phones etc back then, smoking were done absolutely EVERYWHERE! I remember one of the saloons had a huge «No Smoking» sign on the wall and most of the the time there were heaps of men standing below the sign and chainsmoked!



I had a rat in my cabin on the Makassar - Surabaya leg. In the opposite direction I travelled during ID - and the ferry was so packed that the only place I had to myself was on a carboard plate on the cardeck! Bedbugs were also plentiful on some of those ships….



Anyhow - in which direction are you travelling? How was Borneo/Kalimantan? And how did you get to Borneo/Kalimantan?
I saw a youngling smoke once in the cafe and he was asked to leave

I skipped from KL to KK, Sabah, Brunei, Sarawak, Kalimantan.

Kalimantan was exhausting, plenty of riding, I didn't really do sightseeing there after I already saw a lot in Sarawak.

My route is Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Flores, Timur-Leste, Flores, Sumbawa, Lombok, Bali, Java, Sumatra. I'll use at least eight more ferries in Indonesia, so I'll update this thread accordingly

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  #5  
Old 15 Mar 2024
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I see - did you start in Malaysia or Thailand maybe? Doing a big loop around that part of th world?
Looking forward to more Indonesia travel reports!
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Old 15 Mar 2024
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Started in Germany

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Old 15 Mar 2024
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In May of 2017 I rode through Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores and took a few of the ferries. Smoking was rampant everywhere on the ferries so I took refuge on the upper deck with the other "Bules" on the Sumbawa to Flores run. On one of the crossings there was a nice, fresh sign saying Dilarang Merokok (no smoking) behind the food service counter. The guy working behind the counter lit up a cigarette and was not swayed by me saying "hey! dilarang merokok!". Glad to hear that it's "improving". Being from an area with a less than 8% smoking rate I sometimes forget how blessed I am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snakeboy View Post
Great report from an indonesian ferry - so thanks a lot for that!

It seems there has been some positive development on the ferries in Indonesia since I travelled there back in 2015. There were no charging points for phones etc back then, smoking were done absolutely EVERYWHERE! I remember one of the saloons had a huge «No Smoking» sign on the wall and most of the the time there were heaps of men standing below the sign and chainsmoked!


I had a rat in my cabin on the Makassar - Surabaya leg. In the opposite direction I travelled during ID - and the ferry was so packed that the only place I had to myself was on a carboard plate on the cardeck! Bedbugs were also plentiful on some of those ships….

Anyhow - in which direction are you travelling? How was Borneo/Kalimantan? And how did you get to Borneo/Kalimantan?
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  #8  
Old 20 Mar 2024
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I took a ferry from Bira (Sulawesi) to Labuan Bajo (Flores) via Jampea on 18.03.24. The ship was scheduled to leave at 9pm local time. I was told to be there 7pm and 9pm. We finally left the port at 1:30am in the morning after boarding at around midnight. We arrived at Jampea at 1pm and left it at 6:30pm. I was able to drive off at 10am on 20.03.24.

I paid 255.000 for me and my bike for both connections. The ticket for the bike says <500cc, but that's okay.

The ship's name was "Sangke Palangga" and is operated by ASDP: https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/8738419

Both websites (asdp.id and ferizy.com) don't give out reliable information about the schedule, but they do answer emails quickly and patiently: cs@asdp.id

The ferry is a small one and boarding is a hot mess. It seems to be the only way Jampea is supplied with goods. The boarding process took around six hours with dozens of trucks driving onto the ferry, turning around, offloading and driving back out. At the end every square inch was occupied by goods needed mostly in Jampea. Then they squeeze in a few cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Fortunately right next to the ferry they're building wooden ships for tourism. The construction manager is a suisse guy who I had a chat with while he showed me around on one of his constructions. It's impressive how they're still building ships like in the "Curse of the Caribbean".

The ferries passenger area is not really separated from the outside nor the car deck. When it's raining, only plastic planes in front of the windows keep the worst out, but wind will bring in some drops. There were a lot of passengers, the mattresses were mostly taken off the bunk beds and scattered around everywhere. Every square inch was taken by somebody trying to get some sleep. I needed to be extremely careful not to step onto people while walking around.

Meals are not included, but there's a possibility to buy instant noodles for 15.000 a cup. The whole passenger area is littered in trash if it's not thrown out into the ocean. Smokers smoke wherever they want to. The only room kept clean seems to be the mosque.

There's an air-conditioned room with soft seats, but it's hard to get a seat there. A separate ticket is not needed for it. Tickets got collected an hour before each arrival.

As the only white guy I was invited to the bridge when we left Bira. Impressive to see the process of leaving the port.

When we arrived at Jampea basically the whole village was waiting on the jetty. Of course I got a lot of attention when I left the ship to walk around. After I got off the ramp and walked 50m, I turned around and saw that the ramp was pulled up again and the ship moved away. I ran back scared and asked whether they're leaving without me. Everyone laughed their asses off because the ship was just turning 90 degrees to open a small door on the side to unload the cargo. That process took 5:30h (they said it would take four), so there's plenty of time to walk around, have lunch and buy some stuff at the local convenience store. After unloading all the stuff for the island other stuff, mostly fish, got loaded, even more messy than in Bira because this time no vehicles needed to driver onto the ship anymore. After that we sailed off, this time even slower at 15km/h. Fortunately most people left in Jampea, so I finally got my own bunk bed, although still without mattress.

After all, this ferry ride was an adventure on it's own and probably the longest I'll ever have to do in Indonesia. It's the combination of two days on a relatively small ferry, compared to the one serving Balikpapan to Pare-Pare, that might make it the worst overall. I've heard that the one I took was the first to be operating again after a storm that held up the previous one in Jampea for five days. It was just operational again the day I used it.

I took some pictures and added descriptions: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QurgZPhSjma7gs9i8



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  #9  
Old 21 Mar 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakohan View Post
I took a ferry from Bira (Sulawesi) to Labuan Bajo (Flores) via Jampea on 18.03.24. The ship was scheduled to leave at 9pm local time. I was told to be there 7pm and 9pm. We finally left the port at 1:30am in the morning after boarding at around midnight. We arrived at Jampea at 1pm and left it at 6:30pm. I was able to drive off at 10am on 20.03.24.

I paid 255.000 for me and my bike for both connections. The ticket for the bike says <500cc, but that's okay.

The ship's name was "Sangke Palangga" and is operated by ASDP: https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/8738419

Both websites (asdp.id and ferizy.com) don't give out reliable information about the schedule, but they do answer emails quickly and patiently: cs@asdp.id

The ferry is a small one and boarding is a hot mess. It seems to be the only way Jampea is supplied with goods. The boarding process took around six hours with dozens of trucks driving onto the ferry, turning around, offloading and driving back out. At the end every square inch was occupied by goods needed mostly in Jampea. Then they squeeze in a few cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

Fortunately right next to the ferry they're building wooden ships for tourism. The construction manager is a suisse guy who I had a chat with while he showed me around on one of his constructions. It's impressive how they're still building ships like in the "Curse of the Caribbean".

The ferries passenger area is not really separated from the outside nor the car deck. When it's raining, only plastic planes in front of the windows keep the worst out, but wind will bring in some drops. There were a lot of passengers, the mattresses were mostly taken off the bunk beds and scattered around everywhere. Every square inch was taken by somebody trying to get some sleep. I needed to be extremely careful not to step onto people while walking around.

Meals are not included, but there's a possibility to buy instant noodles for 15.000 a cup. The whole passenger area is littered in trash if it's not thrown out into the ocean. Smokers smoke wherever they want to. The only room kept clean seems to be the mosque.

There's an air-conditioned room with soft seats, but it's hard to get a seat there. A separate ticket is not needed for it. Tickets got collected an hour before each arrival.

As the only white guy I was invited to the bridge when we left Bira. Impressive to see the process of leaving the port.

When we arrived at Jampea basically the whole village was waiting on the jetty. Of course I got a lot of attention when I left the ship to walk around. After I got off the ramp and walked 50m, I turned around and saw that the ramp was pulled up again and the ship moved away. I ran back scared and asked whether they're leaving without me. Everyone laughed their asses off because the ship was just turning 90 degrees to open a small door on the side to unload the cargo. That process took 5:30h (they said it would take four), so there's plenty of time to walk around, have lunch and buy some stuff at the local convenience store. After unloading all the stuff for the island other stuff, mostly fish, got loaded, even more messy than in Bira because this time no vehicles needed to driver onto the ship anymore. After that we sailed off, this time even slower at 15km/h. Fortunately most people left in Jampea, so I finally got my own bunk bed, although still without mattress.

After all, this ferry ride was an adventure on it's own and probably the longest I'll ever have to do in Indonesia. It's the combination of two days on a relatively small ferry, compared to the one serving Balikpapan to Pare-Pare, that might make it the worst overall. I've heard that the one I took was the first to be operating again after a storm that held up the previous one in Jampea for five days. It was just operational again the day I used it.

I took some pictures and added descriptions: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QurgZPhSjma7gs9i8



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Ha-ha-ha thats a great trip report! Reminded me a lot of both the Larantuka to Kupang (Flores island to Timor island) where the only free space I found to sit for the 18 hour crossing was a mooring pole at the rear of the ferry. It was also absolutely packed with goods, livestock and vehicles and passengers. And the Surabaya to Makassar ferry (Java island to Sulewesi island) where the only free space was on a bit of carboard - that a friendly guy offered me - on the cardeck.
But it is an adventure for sure….
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Old 25 Mar 2024
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pakohan View Post
I took a ferry from Balikpapan (Kalimantan) to Pare-Pare (Sulawesi) on 13.03.24. The ship was scheduled to leave at 8am local time. I was told to be there before 7am and was able to board at 6am. The ferry was scheduled to arrive at 2am, but I was able to drive off it at 0:15.

I paid 250.000 for myself and 805.000 for my bike. Although the bike size (> 1000cc) might not be mentioned on the website, a ticket for it can be bought at the counter: https://maps.app.goo.gl/nmV6PNzM5ykHjFvf9

The ship's name was "Dharma Kartika IX" and is operated by DLU: https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/9140023

DLU seems to have the best working mobile app out of the Indonesian ferry companies, but unfortunately they don't answer emails.

Before boarding I received a red wristband and a paper recipe for the included meals, which is checked and torn to make sure I didn't get more meals than I was supposed to.

Lunch was served at noon, dinner at 5pm. It was good, but not a lot. There's also a food stand, and two cafe's, one small one for smokers and a bigger one with the information and a second floor with couches and charging stations. Outside of the kitchen there's hot water for instant noodles.

There are two dorms, one almost empty, the other one pretty full with a lot of families with small children. Cockroaches can be found in both, but never saw a big one.

The toilets are basic, and there was no soap, so I recommend bringing hand sanitizer.

What surprised me was a playground including an area with gym devices. A stationary bicycle might come in handy for when one gets the zoomies on long voyages.

There's another room with comfortable airline seats, but the room is closed when there's no show on the stage. So unfortunately not a room for relaxing. In the afternoon and in the evening there was a band including two singers.

The fact that I took the ferry during Ramadan seemed to have no influence. It was even an advantage when I was checking out of the hotel very early and they were already serving breakfast.

I took some pictures and added descriptions: https://photos.app.goo.gl/KSghPWTknhGYmanp6

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Thanks for this. About this time last year I rode Bali-Lombok-Sumbawa and vowed never to ride again in Indonesia during Ramadan as all Indonesians from the east go west and everyone in the west goes east. Massive lines to board packed ferries AND it is the hottest time of the year. I was planning a ride to Borneo but the 24 hour ferry from Java has been reported as disgusting at best. In June, I plan another run at East Nusa Tengarra with ferry travel at night.
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  #11  
Old 19 Apr 2024
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Took the ferry from Ende to Kupang on Sunday, March 24th. The ferry, KMP Sirung, left at 1pm and arrived in Kupang the next morning at 8:30am. The price was 570.000 IDR.

The ship has two dorms in rooms with doors, it's bigger than the one from Bira to Labuan Bajo. Basic food was sold. The ferry was almost empty, maybe five cars, ten passengers. We could go on the sundeck which is normally just for the crew. The VIP room was open to everyone and there were five mattresses per person. We could go to our vehicles at any time. Unfortunately no tap water for washing hands.

All in all one of the best experiences so far since it was so empty.

The ferry is supposed to leave Ende on Sundays and Kupang on Wednesdays. However, when I attempted to board it on Wednesday, April 17th, it was moved to Saturday, 20th. When I asked for the schedule per email, I got told to check the story of this Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/asdp.kupang

Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/92NCbok6wwDQmtjv8

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Old 19 Apr 2024
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When I wanted to return from Kupang to go to the West, I was looking at several options. As mentioned in the previous post, the ferry to Ende was rescheduled to a later date and therefore too late for my plans. The first alternative I learned about was Larantuka, but the ride from Larantuka to Ende would have taken the two days I would have missed by waiting for the ferry to Ende. So I looked into going to Sumba in order to reach Sumbawa from there since I've already been to Flores before. While discussing this with the ferry company I learned that this ferry has an intermediate stop in Aimere, which is the best solution: it's closer to Labuan Bajo than Ende and thus Sumbawa is even faster to reach.

I took the ferry from Kupang to Aimere on Thursday, April 18th. The ferry, KMP Ranaka, left at noon and arrived on Aimere the next morning at 8:00am. The price was 582.000 IDR. Like before, they sold me a ticket for the motorcycle category 2, although 3 would have been correct. This time the guy checking the ticket told me it's not correct, so I went back to the ticket guy and he gave me one of category 3, without any extra charge (would have been just 8.000 IDR anyways).

The ship is the exact same model as the KMP Sirung, but oh boy did they make it worse: they teared out all beds of the non-VIP dorm and put in chairs. They also put in chairs in all the passages without windows, so those pages are now very narrow and if you have to sit there you're close to the elements. It was very full unfortunately. Basic food was sold. I could get into the VIP room for 25.000 IDR extra, which was a little cold, but nobody was smoking. Unfortunately I didn't get a bed, so I had to share the couch with other people, leaving me to sit while sleeping. We could go to our vehicles at any time. Interestingly this time we got a security briefing at the beginning, like on an airplane.

All in all one of the worst experiences since I couldn't sleep lying down and I was either in the cold VIP room or the smokers room outside.

Pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/1SU5Fkh59ZteMj877

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Old 22 Apr 2024
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Thanks for your ferry reports - very enjoying and interesting!

Should have gone to Sumba island, its supposedly a very special island. Unfortunately I wasnt able to go there myself during my trip…..

The distance from Ende to Larantuka is 287 kms according to Google maps - so that would have taken you only half a day though… I ate lunch in Ende and arrived in Larantuka before it got dark.

Did you go into East Timor btw?
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Old 22 Apr 2024
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Larantuka wouldn't have saved me any time since it would be two additional days of riding then and the ferry is said to be overcrowded.

I think there's no direct passage from Kupang to Sumba, only via Aimere.

I got into Timor-Leste, but they stamped the Carnet. But it seems that they don't care for the expiration date.

I was thinking about creating a Google forms spreadsheet where everybody can add their experiences with ferries. As far as I know HU has a shipping database on the website, which is what I have in mind, but it's just not usable on a phone. What do you think?
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Old 23 Apr 2024
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Larantuka wouldn't have saved me any time since it would be two additional days of riding then and the ferry is said to be overcrowded.

I think there's no direct passage from Kupang to Sumba, only via Aimere.

I got into Timor-Leste, but they stamped the Carnet. But it seems that they don't care for the expiration date.

I was thinking about creating a Google forms spreadsheet where everybody can add their experiences with ferries. As far as I know HU has a shipping database on the website, which is what I have in mind, but it's just not usable on a phone. What do you think?
There is a dedicated file on the Indonesia Overland Facebook group. Maybe you could have added some info there? Creating a Google spreadsheat could also be a good idea…
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Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




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