How to get to Sumatra





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Sumatra is not that hard to get to. There are direct flights from Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang as well as catching a ferry from Singapore, Batam, Johor Baru or Penang and Melaka Malaysia.

Indonesia has both an VISA entry and exit tax. VISA's are available for 7 days (US$10) or for 30 days (US$25) and needs to be paid in US dollars. The exit tax is 75,000Rp. Airports have an additional facilities tax which depends on which airport you use.

Bukit Lawang Travel Tours now available from Sumatra Travel!


By Plane

You can fly into Medan airport (MDS) directly from Jakarta, Singapore or Penang, Malaysia. There are also airports located in Padang and Pekanbaru. Singapore Airlines and Garuda are the international carriers. Internal flights from Jakarta and Batam are serviced by a variety of budget airlines like Mandala Air, Lion Air, Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Silk Air, Batvia Air, Sriwijaya Air and Citilink (Garuda's budget airline)

Flights are also available from Batam Island, Jakarta or Denpasar to Padang in West Sumatra. Flights from Batam to Medan are as little as 330,000Rp.

Web Links for airlines that fly into Sumatra:

Mandala Air

Batavia Air

Sriwijaya Air

Air Asia Fly from Kuala Lumpur to Banda Aceh, Medan, Padang, Palembang or Pekanbaru.

Tiger Air  Fly from Singapore to Padang.

Silk Air Fly from Singapore to Medan

Firefly Fly from Malaysia to Medan, Aceh, Padang and Pekanbaru.

Malaysian Air Fly from Kuala Lumpur to Medan.

By Ferry

Sumatra has 5 seaports you can enter via ferry. Medan, Padang, Dumai, Banda Aceh and Sibolga - Teluk Bayar.

You can catch ferries to Sumatra from Batam Island, Indonesia via Singapore, Melacca Malaysia, Penang Malaysia or Jakarta, Java - Indonesia.

  • Singapore to Medan via Batam Island
  • Penang to Medan
  • Melaka to Dumai
  • Jakarta to Lampung
  • Jakarta to Padang


Penang Malaysia to Medan

It's a 5 - 6 hour ferry trip between Medan to Penang.  You need to arrive at least one hour before to queue up to get through customs.

Daily Departures
Fares per way (Ringitt Malaysia)
9.00AM, 9.30AM
10.30AM, 11.00AM
RM90.00   (adult)
RM45.00 (child 3-12yrs)
RM20.00 (infant below 3yrs)
Fast Ferry Ventures Sdn Bhd
No.11, Lebuh Light, 10200 Penang
Penang Counter Tel: +6 04 262 0802 Fax: +6 04 262 0445
Ferry services between Penang and Medan are also operated by Lankawi Ferry Services Ferries Penang to Medan leave Monday, Wednesay and Friday at 9.30am, check in one hour before. Ferries Medan to Penang leave Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday leaving at 11am, check in one hour before. Cost is 110RM one way or 180RM return.

Melaka Malaysia to Dumai

There are 2 services each day both ways between Malacca and Dumai. The ferry takes about 1h 45 min each way if in good weather conditions. You will need to check in 1 hour before the ferry leaves to clear customs.

Daily Departures
Fares per way (Ringitt Malaysia)
9.00AM &
10.30AM &
RM80.00 single
RM150 return  (adult)
RM40.00 single (Child)
RM75 return (child 3-12yrs)
RM20.00 (infant below 3yrs)

Singapore to Medan via Batam Island

Ferries can be caught from Singapore to Batam, around a 45 minute trip. From Singapore's HarbourFront ferries go to Batam centre or Sekupang or Batam Waterfront. Ferries from Tanah Merah ferry port in Singapore go to Nongsapura Batam. Although Tanah Merah is the closest ferry port from Changi Airport, Nongsapura is the furthest away from the main town in Batam - Nagoya. Taxi's will charge 100,000Rp from Nongsapura to Nagoya. It is fair better to get the ferry from one of the other Singapore ports and arrive closer to Nagoya or directly to Sekupang where ferries can be caught directly to Dumai in Sumatra.

There are several ferry operators to get from Singapore to Batam in Indonesia. There are multiple daily ferries from Singapore to Batam at a cost of around S$33 plus . The ferry takes about 45 minutes. The first ferry departs Singapore at 7.35am and the last departs 9.50pm. All Batam ports, namely Harbour Bay (Jodoh), Batam Centre, Nongsapura, Sekupang and Waterfront City (Teluk Senimba) are visa-on-arrival ports of entry.

Check out the below links for the departure times:

From Batam a ferry can be caught from Sekupang port across to Dumai in Sumatra 7.30am daily or Batam to Medan weekly on Saturdays operated by Pelni Ships. Check with Pelni for the Batam to Medan ferries as although they are weekly sometimes they do not run.

Contact details:

Batam Fast

Singapore Harbourfront +65 6270 2228

Singapore Tanah Merah +65 6542 6310

Batam Sekupang +62 778 325085/6

Batam Waterfront +62 778 381150

Batam Centre +62 778 464666

Batam Nonsapura +62 778 761071


Penguin Ferry Services


Penguin Travel              +65 6377 6320

Singapore Harbourfront  +65 6271 4866

Singapore Tanah Merah +65 6542 7105

Batam Sekupang           +62 778 321636

Batam Centre               +62 778 460092


Last updated 25th July 2009




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