Raja Ampat

Welcome to Indonesia: A simple guide to reaching this magical archipelago

Indonesia is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands that each feature a diverse range of cultures and landscapes.

It’s known for so much including its volcanoes, rainforests, beaches, rich biodiversity and, of course, diving. That is why our two beautiful boats, Emperor Harmoni and Emperor Raja Laut, await to offer the finest experience exploring the delights of this amazing country both above and below water.

One thing, however, that sometimes deters visitors from coming to ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ is accessibility.

Yes, it is not necessarily the easiest place to get to for your diving holiday – but boy is it worth it! And it’s also not as difficult as you might think.

Here’s a quick quide to making your arrival in this stunning country as simple as possible.


Flying in

If you coming from Europe, depending on your departure city, direct flights might be available but are not particularly common to either Jakarta and Bali. Airlines such as Garuda Indonesia occasionally offer direct services from certain European cities but, more likely, you’ll find one-stop flights through major hubs in the Middle East.

Stopovers such Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai (Emirates), or Abu Dhabi (Etihad) are popular and convenient options while Southeast Asian hubs like Singapore (Singapore Airlines) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Airlines) also provide excellent connections a good selection of flight times and prices.

Similar considerations will need to be made when coming in from the USA but for those entering Indonesia from Australia there are obviously plentiful options of daily flights – especially for those on the west coast who are little more than a short hop away.

The benefits of coming into Indonesia through Jakarta include avoiding the Bali tourism tax (although this is a minimal amount) as well flights generally being slightly cheaper and more plentiful. There is more choice for direct flights to Sorong – helping those joining us on Emperor Harmoni – than you will get from Bali.

Also, Garuda Indonesia recently established a partnership with Qatar Airways to begin daily direct flights between Jakarta to Doha. This service will make connectivity much easier and offer travellers improved options for connections within Indonesia – including to Sorong.

Bali offers greater accessibility to our Komodo trips and is also a fantastic place in its own right to explore.

Seminyak Beach Bali

Seminyak Beach in Bali


In fact, we would definitely recommend extending your liveaboard holiday and taking the time to see more of this stunning country while you are here. It not only takes the strain out of the travelling and allows you to acclimatise but will give you a cultural experience to remember forever!


Getting around

Once you have arrived in Indonesia you will probably need to move around. And as this vast country measures more than 5000km across from west to east that can take some planning.

There are a number of airlines operating domestic flights in Indonesia, ranging from full-service carriers like Garuda Indonesia, which generally have a good reputation for reliability, to several low-cost carriers. The reliability can vary from one airline to another.

It’s also normally cheaper to book your domestic flights in conjunction with your long-haul flights.

If you would like assistance in sorting out the logistics of getting around once you’re in Indonesia we would thoroughly recommend using our travel partners Above n’ Below (formerly Segara Marine Travel). They can sort out things like accommodation, internal flights, transfers etc to take the planning worries away.

Liveaboard guru Peter Hughes used Above n’ Below when he joined us on Emperor Harmoni and said: “Their service was absolutely tops in every respect and I would highly recommend them to any Emperor guests but most especially for any coming from the USA.”

Emperor Harmoni


They can also arrange your visa and the Bali tourism tax for you, if you so wish.

Likewise, our excellent reservations team are always willing to offer guidance should it be needed.


Bali tourism tax

For those international visitors coming to Indonesia through Bali, since February this year a one-off fee of 150,000 Rupiah (around US$10) is needed to enter the island.

The ‘International Tourism Levy’ is aimed at promoting sustainable tourism and will be used for environmental conservation and cultural preservation projects across the island.

The levy is payable through the Love Bali website or app and a QR code will be sent to the traveller’s e-mail for scanning upon arrival.

To find out more read our blog post.


Indonesia visa

The Indonesian government last year introduced a change to its visa requirements for foreign tourists entering the country.

However, the regulations make little difference for the vast majority of visitors.

It is still possible to get a visa on arrival (VOA) but it has always been our recommendation our guests do this before they depart their home country. Queues can become very long at the airports so sorting out your paperwork in advance makes the process much quicker and easier after landing.

The visa – which costs IDR 500,000 (around US$31) – can be obtained from the Official e-Visa Website for Indonesia and the application is simple to complete.

To find out more read our blog post.


Customs declaration

You will need to complete a customs declaration before you arrive in Indonesia. However, this is a very simple process that can be done online up to three days before flying.

Go to the Indonesia Customs Declaration website to find the quick and easy form to fill out.



As with most global travel, it’s important to consult official sources within your native country to determine the necessary vaccinations for your trip. This should ideally be done eight weeks in advance of travel.

Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B are generally advised and it makes sense to look at having typhoid vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. Visitors arriving from countries where yellow fever is prevalent may be required to present a vaccination certificate upon entering Indonesia.

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