Indonesia is a vast country with diverse landscapes, cultures, and customs. For foreign visitors, driving in Indonesia can be a unique and exciting experience. However, before hitting the road, it’s essential to understand the traffic laws, road conditions, and potential hazards. Here’s a guide to help foreign visitors navigate the roads in Indonesia safely.

Table of Contents

Traffic Laws and Regulations

In Indonesia, driving is on the left side of the road, and the minimum age for driving is 17 years old. Foreign visitors can use their national driver’s license, but an International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended. IDPs are valid for one year and should be carried with the original driver’s license at all times.

Speed limits are posted on the roads, but they are not always strictly enforced. The maximum speed limit in urban areas is 50 km/h, and 80 km/h on rural roads. However, in some areas, the speed limit can be as low as 30 km/h. Seat belts are mandatory for both the driver and passengers, and helmets are required for motorcycle riders.

Road Conditions and Hazards

Indonesia’s roads vary greatly in quality, ranging from well-paved highways to rough dirt roads. Major cities like Jakarta and Surabaya have well-maintained roads, but rural areas can have unpaved roads and potholes. It’s essential to be cautious and aware of the road conditions, especially during the rainy season when flooding and landslides are common.

Indonesia’s traffic can also be chaotic and unpredictable. Motorcycles, cars, and trucks often share the same lanes, and traffic can come from any direction. Pedestrians, bicycles, and livestock are also common hazards on the roads. It’s crucial to be alert and cautious when driving, especially in crowded areas.

Tips for Safe Driving in Indonesia

Plan your route: Before driving, plan your route and check for any road closures or traffic updates. Use GPS or maps to help navigate the roads.

  1. Drive defensively: Be prepared for unexpected traffic and hazards on the road. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and use your horn to signal other drivers. Or, you may choose to hire a vehicle with driver in Indonesia for better convenience.
  2. Follow traffic laws: Observe the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and use your turn signals. Avoid using your phone while driving and never drink and drive.
  3. Be aware of pedestrians: Pedestrians can be unpredictable, especially in crowded areas. Slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.
  4. Be prepared for emergencies: In case of an emergency, have a first aid kit, a spare tire, and tools to fix common car problems.


Driving in Indonesia can be a thrilling and unique experience for foreign visitors. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the traffic laws, road conditions, and potential hazards. By following traffic laws, driving defensively, and being prepared for emergencies, foreign visitors can navigate Indonesia’s roads safely. With caution and common sense, driving in Indonesia can be a safe and enjoyable way to explore the country.

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