Traveling Indonesia with a Phantom

I’m just back from my trip to Indonesia, a beautiful country with big contrasts, lovely people and impressive volcanoes. On my journey in November 2013 I visited two islands, first Java and then Lombok. In my backpack I am not only carrying a GoPro but also the Phantom quadcopter ūüôā ¬†I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take some great shots and videos at very unique locations. But please see yourself.

Gili Air, one of the three Gili islands off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Photo taken with the GoPro on a Phantom copter.
Gili Air, one of the three Gili islands off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. Photo taken with the GoPro on a Phantom copter.

In the following days I would like to share with some of the nice spots I was visiting with the copter:

  • Ijen crater, a volcano and sulfur mine at the same time. I was there at night to catch the blue flames and inhale some nasty stinky sulfure clouds.
  • Mount Rinjani on Lombok. It is the second highest mountain in Indonesia with 3726m above sea level. We hiked all the way to the top in three days. Check out the video!
  • Gili Air, ¬†tropical island off the coast of Lombok with is great for snorkeling and relaxing.

I am still sorting through the Gigabites of photos and videos. Please be patient for the final videos to be edited and uploaded. But they are coming!

Mount Rinjani crater lake on Lombok, Indonesia.
Mount Rinjani crater lake on Lombok, Indonesia.
Ijen crater in east Java
Ijen crater in east Java.


Advice for traveling trough airports

I had no problems at all at the airports in Indonesia. I guess they don’t really know what it is, but I also never had to open the bag for special inspection. I just¬†followed the general ‘air travel’ regulations, which request, that you put the batteries into the carry-on (FAA rules). There are no regulations regarding the drone (electronics) itself. The airports in Europe and the bigger hubs in asia (e.g. Singapore) usually know the rules for batteries very well. The ¬†¬†forums are a great resource for travel reports, especially flying through exotic airports.

Packing the Phantom for air travel

I’ve put the phantom, remote and charger into the check-in bag. I removed the landing gear and propellors to fit it into a large backpack.¬†The batteries and the GoPro went into the cary-on. I had no space for the Phantom there, but that should work too. ¬†In case they want to open your bag at security, always tell them first, that you have batteries inside. Sometimes, security personnel gets scared by the look of batteries.

Getting around in Indonesia with a drone

In Indonesia itself, people have rarely seen a drone. Therefore, they are mostly curious and a bit anxious at the same time. People ususally just watch from a distance, sometimes people start talking with each other. Sometimes they approach you. They are always friendly and just want to talk and find out what the white thing is that you bring and fly. When asked for the price of your toy, you might not want to give exact numbers to any stranger. Given the average daly income of $5 in Indonesia, your toy might look absurdly expensive.
When walking around / hiking, I had the¬†phantom hanging off the backpack. In order to attract less people I usually put a rain-cover over the phantom, so people can’t see the drone. This makes it easier for you to get around without explaining to everyone what that white thing is you are carrying….

2 thoughts on “Traveling Indonesia with a Phantom”

  1. Hi, I would like to ask if there were any problems at the Indonesian customs when you brought your dji phantom to Indonesia? Did they tax you for bringing it in?


    1. Hi Isaac,
      I’ve just added some travel infos to the article which might be interesting for you. Regarding customs. I don’t think you would need to declare it, it’s just personal stuff, like other electronics you bring with you while traveling. There is no need to pay any import tax, as you are not importing anything.

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