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Indonesia by Jeremy Bishop

Indonesia Driving Guide

Indonesia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2023-08-31 · 12 mins.

Indonesia is a beautiful archipelago situated in Southeast Asia. It houses 17,000 islands where 6,000 of which are untouched and uninhabited. This nation is famed for marvelous islands and stellar landscapes. Having a chance to drive along the spectacular highways of Indonesia will make your trip remarkable and memorable. Securing an International Driver’s Permit through the International Drivers Association will help you have that opportunity.

How Can This Guide Help You?

The idea of driving in Indonesia is a unique thing to add to the travel goals list. It gives you the freedom to decide on where to go and what to do. In this driving guide, you will know about the proper procedures of getting an Indonesian tourist driving license or commonly known as an international driver’s permit. You can also learn about the driving laws and driving direction. You can use this as your reference in applying for an IDP in Indonesia.

General Information

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world that crosses the Equator’s line. It is formerly known as the Dutch East Indies or Netherlands East Indies. The country’s name today only became official after achieving its independence. Jakarta is the state’s capital city located in the northwestern portion of Java.

If you are culturally wondering about the other mesmerizing sovereign state’s highlights, read further below to figure out its geography, native language, history, ruling system, and tourism.

Languages Spoken

Over 94% of the country speaks the Indonesian language, or technically named Bahasa Indonesia. It is the country’s official mother tongue. There are also over 800 local dialects that exist in the region. With this, there’s no wonder why Indonesia is part of the most linguistically diverse nations worldwide. Other than the native language, Javanese or Jawa is also a typical dialect in Indonesia. Over 30% of the population are eloquent in the said language.

As for the universal language, English, the foreign dialect, is primarily used in central tourist hubs. It is also a typical one in the state. However, exerting efforts to adapt with locals is an appreciative mark for them.

Land Area

The Republic of Indonesia is the fourth-largest Asian nation next to China, Saudi Arabia, and India. It’s no question why it receives such world recognition for its surprising land area of 1.9 million square kilometers. When compared to Texas state, it is three times extensive than the said nation. The Indonesian community features its surrounding five islands: Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Irian Jaya.


The Colonial Era is an epic period where successive dominations from different nationalities happened in one go. From European, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and British, it proves that colonization in Indonesia has been through many struggles and obstacles. The nation’s spice trade is the primary purpose of domination. Its abundant resources in the Moluccas are what makes the Dutch pursue its ruling movement in the country.

In defeating the colonizers, the Indonesian youth vows to their 1928 Youth Pledge to create a unified nation. It made way for the state to fight against the oppressors. On the 17th of August 1945, Indonesia declared its victory after the chaotic battles against the Japanese during World War II. However, the fortunate win immediately cut off when another tragic match between the Dutch came next. It was only in 1950 when the state officially declared its independence.


After its difficulties in fighting for its independence, the Republic of the United States of Indonesia begins. However, its federal system did not last long. Until 1950, all the national authorities decided to take back the “unitary” governance alongside the state’s name “Republic of Indonesia.” After several arguments, the 1945 constitution has come to its final content, with the President acting as the government’s highest-ranking leader.

For its local government’s framework, a governor or “bupati” heads the provincial areas of Indonesia. Next to it is the vice-governor that assists the province head in foreseeing the locals under their jurisdiction. Their appointments typically depend on the voting counts through the local election. For the national bodies, the Local Councils of Representatives handles the national polls.


Over the past years, Indonesia’s tourism sector has continued developing and making its economy grow even more. Back in 2018, a stunning record of 15.8 million foreign visitors breaks its 2017 data for over 12.6%. It’s a fascinating improvement as the nation’s goal of lowering unemployment continues to decrease than expected. Despite the wealthiest states surrounding Indonesia, it did perform well and welcomed more tourists beyond the target.

Annually, the Ministry of Tourism holds an ionic National Co-ordination Conference that primarily involves various notable stakeholders from different businesses, communities, government, media, and academics. It aims to craft out strategies and plans in pursuing sustainable development in Indonesia’s tourism sector.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Securing an International Driver’s Permit for Indonesia will permit you to hit the country’s road. Every foreign national needs to get an IDP whenever they plan to drive in any foreign land. Please be reminded that an IDP is not a replacement for your native’s license, as this is just a translation of your original driving license. Be sure that you have your actual license card and the IDP when you are out on the highway.

With the use of an IDP, you can confidently pass the various Indonesian cities without worrying about getting caught by the traffic enforcers and being charged for illegal driving. When you encounter such borders with checkpoints, especially when you are in Bali, Indonesia driving, you can easily present your IDP and your original license proving that you are a licensed driver.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Indonesia?

Your local driving license is only valid in your home country. But if you plan to drive in Indonesia, you are required to get an IDP. You can quickly get an IDP within two hours or even less than an hour through the International Drivers Association. The IDP is just a translation of your native license, so operating a car in this nation will ask you to have an IDP. As you go on driving in Indonesia, be sure enough to bring your local driver’s card and the Indonesia international driving license or permit.


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