Cheapest Flights from Indonesia

Last updated: May 17, 2012
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How to fulfil the Indonesian visa requirement for a ticket out of Indonesia, with minimal expense.

To get an Indonesian tourist visa (a.k.a. visa on arrival), everybody knows you must have a passport valid for at least six months and $US25 cash.

However, what many visitors don’t realise is they must also have a ticket to leave Indonesia, scheduled to depart less than 30 days after they arrive. (Indonesian immigration officials confusingly describe this as a “return ticket”). Even if the visitor plans to extend their visa to 60 days, this requirement still applies.

Failure to have a ticket can result in the visitor being refused entry and deported, or forced to buy a (very expensive) ticket on the spot. In fact, wise airlines probably wouldn’t let you board the plane in your home country, as officially they have to pick up the tab for your deportation.

Here is a guide for those who want to fulfil this immmigration requirement as cheaply as possible.

To help you make a suitable choice, consider these 3 questions:

  1. Are you going to actually use the ticket?
    If no, go for the cheapest flight you can find. If yes, choose more wisely.
  2. Do you need a 20kg baggage allowance?
    If yes, don’t forget to add that into the total cost of the ticket on a budget airline (e.g. Air Asia). If no, there is no problem.
  3. Are you connecting to an international flight at your destination?
    If yes, please ensure that you allow sufficient connection time – as a rough guide, minimum 4 hours. Remember that budget airlines do not let passengers transit, nor have their bags checked through; you would need to pass immigration and customs again, collect your bag, maybe change terminals, check in your bag again, etc.

If the answer to Q1 is ‘no’, the cheapest flight route is usually one of the following:

Map of Cheap Flights from Indonesia
Some well-known and lesser known ways out of Indonesia
Please note: “George Town” is actually Penang.

Jakarta to Singapore has the most frequent flights, while Tarakan to Tawau is the shortest flight – a 30-minute hop across the Indonesia/Malaysia border.

If the answer to Q1 is ‘yes’ but you are not in the right place to get one of the above flights, a cheap alternative is to fly to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur from one of the following cities:


View Cheap Flights From Indonesia in a larger map

Surabaya (East Java)
Semarang (Central Java)
Yogyakarta
Bandung (West Java)
Denpasar (Bali)
Balikpapan (East Kalimantan)
Medan (North Sumatra)
Banda Aceh (Aceh)

Please see here for a more comprehensive list.

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4 Comments on Cheapest Flights from Indonesia

  1. avatar Mas Martin Says:
    May 17th, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    This applies mainly for travellers coming on regional one-way flights, or arriving by boat (i.e. Batam). As far as I know, the “return ticket” (out of Indonesia) is rarely checked, but if it is, a flight reservation (unissued ticket) would be sufficient for the officials, if the traveller wants to exit Indonesia by sea or overland or buy cheap ticket while in Indonesia.

  2. avatar Chris Says:
    May 18th, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Dear Mas Martin,

    Thanks for your comment.

    For the record, there are only three official border crossings where you can leave/enter Indonesia by land:

    1. Entikong (West Kalimantan) to Malaysia
    2. Near Atambua (West Timor) to East Timor
    3. Near Jayapura (Papua) to Papua New Guinea

    However, these places are not suitable for visitors wishing to enter Indonesia, because there are no visa on arrival facilities.

    By sea, to my knowledge the only official places (with scheduled boats) are the three islands closest to Singapore: Batam, Bintan and Karimun (Riau Islands). I have heard that the Batam seaport is more relaxed than most airports about enforcing visa/immigration regulations, such as the “return ticket”.

    And yes, it is possible to print an unpaid flight reservation, but any immigration official who takes a closer look will be able to tell the difference.

  3. avatar timdog Says:
    May 18th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    By sea there’s also Dumai, with links to Melaka…

  4. avatar Chris Says:
    May 24th, 2012 at 12:24 am

    True, but maybe Dumai is best avoided if this story is anything to go by.

    Or have you had a different experience?

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