Despite enactment of a disability law in 2016 following the country’s ratification of the CRPD in 2011 and increasing awareness of the needs of people with disabilities, Indonesia is a difficult destination for those with access issues, such as limited mobility, vision or hearing impairment.
Very few buildings have disabled access, and even international chain hotels may not have fully accessible facilities.
Pavements are riddled with potholes, loose manholes, parked motorcycles and all sorts of street life, and are very rarely level for long until the next set of steps. Even the able bodied walk on roads rather than negotiate the hassle of the pavement (sidewalk).
Public transport is entirely inaccessible for wheelchair users. Cars with a driver can be hired readily at cheap rates, but wheelchair-accessible vehicles can only be arranged through specialist accessible tour operators. Guides are easily found in tourist areas, and though not usual practice, they could be hired as helpers (eg as wheelchair-pushers) if needed.
At the same time, as in many developing countries, Indonesians are extremely helpful and welcoming, so no wheelchair-using traveller will wait for long in front of a step without someone coming to help.
Bali, with its wide range of tourist services and facilities, is the favoured destination for travellers with disabilities since it’s much easier to find suitable amenities and adapted accommodation.
Accessible Indonesia (www.accessibleindonesia.org) The owners are knowledgeable and well connected and work with local organisations for the disabled. They offer tours principally to Java, Sulawesi and Bali, as well as day cruises, diving and snorkelling expeditions and wheelchair-accessible transfers. They are well used to problem-solving to overcome infrastructural barriers. There is access information for international airports and basic access information about the destinations they serve on their website.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.