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Latest posts by Issei & Jessica (see all)
- Meeting Our Ancestors in Early Human Museum Sangiran, Solo - September 13, 2017
- Indonesian Transportations, Which One to Take!! - September 13, 2017
- Stories From Krikilan Village On Mount Merapi Slope - August 29, 2017
“Indonesian Transportations ….. you might think what a funny article!! But you have to know that Indonesia will give you the opportunity to try transportations that you might have never seen before!!! Between Ojek, Becak, Angkot or much more…! That’s why I wanted to give you a little more detail about each one of them.
Let’s start with:
The Ojek is simply “motorcycle taxis” that existed since the 90’s. They are very popular for several reasons.
One of them is, they are cheap!! Cheap yes, but not always for tourist!! As you know, in Asia bargaining is a must! To make it easier, what I usually do, I ask my friend or any locals that I met, how much would be the standard price from one place to another. Then, I know the approximate fair price! But like always, as a tourist be prepared to pay a little bit more! Please, don’t make a mistake to ask the price at the end of the way. You must bargain BEFORE you get in the Ojek and ensure that you have the exact change with you as some ojek driver often compensate their tips through this.
Another one is, they are fast (sometimes even a little too fast!)!! If you haven’t experienced the Indonesian traffic yet, be ready for it and especially for traffic jam! Cities like Jakarta, Bandung or Jogjakarta are bustling most of the time. The Ojek is, therefore, a good way to avoid to stay stuck hours on the road. But you need to be ready to get some adrenaline rush!! Yes, here the motorbike drives everywhere, on the sidewalks for example, or run a red light…. the road traffic code seems to be much different in Indonesia!!
It is evident that the law obliges the Ojek to wear a helmet and to provide one to the passenger … so do not worry if you do not have one with you! Oh and even if you have a big bag or two … no problem, it always fit on a motorbike 😉
Here is some example of it:
Now let me introduce you:
Becak is a traditional Indonesian transportation. A sort of 3-wheeled bike with a mini-cabin for 2 adults at the front. You will appreciate its canopy that protects you from the sun or the rain! Over the years, the Becaks have become extinct and have even been banned in some parts of Jakarta because they created a traffic jam. But if you are in smaller cities most likely you will find them easily.
Mainly made to carry people, they are also used to carry all kinds of stuff! Depending on which cities you go, you will see different styles of Becak, but in general, they are always very colourful. The Becak only makes short distances trip, and most of the time is pretty cheap. As always, negotiate the trip before getting into the Becak and ensure that you have the change with you. If not, they might not give you back your change!
There are two kinds of Becak:
The Becak with a motor will accept to take you a little further!
The Delman, as you can see in the picture, is a kind of horse carriage. One of the oldest traditional transportation of Indonesia, the Delman also sees its quantity decrease considerably each year. Nowadays, it is widely used in markets, to entertain children or as a tourist attraction.
You might see a lot of families who during the weekend, go for a ride of Delman with their child. Or if you intend to visit Jogjakarta, you will discover hundreds of Delman along Malioboro Street (most crowded tourist street).
I repeat myself a bit, but as always, ask the price before getting in and do not hesitate to bargain!
Angkot is certainly the most used transportation along with Ojek in Indonesia. It is a kind of mini bus serving major roads or streets and most of the time willing to be rent privately to take you to some villages for a fair amount of money. As a tourist, it can be challenging to take Angkot as there is no precise stop and their destinations are not displayed! The best thing is to ask a local which Angkot to take to get to the station for example. Their advantages … they take and drop you anywhere as long as it’s in their way! The Angkot loves to honk to get as many people as possible and are rather fast, so get in and out quickly!
The price will depend on the distance you wish to travel and is supposed to be displayed inside. I say supposed to because this is not always the case! Some remove their price so that it can get a bit extra from tourist. To be sure, before getting in tell the driver your destination and ask him the price. You can pay either directly when you get in or when you go down, up to you! Knowing some numbers in Indonesian will be a good advantage, as most drivers will not speak English. Having the change will also save you time and avoid all scams!!
The Angkot can be a good way to visit a city by moving quickly and cheaply!
The interior of the angkots are shaped like a U-shaped bench and can accommodate 9 to 12 people.
The Bajaj, another traditional transportation that actually came from India. It arrived in Indonesia more than 40 years ago and also famous in several countries like Peru, Africa or even in Thailand under the name of Tuk-tuk. The Bajaj is a kind of 3-wheeled scooter and is usually very colourful that makes it easy to recognise! You will find them only in the city of Jakarta and only in some parts of the city. Indeed, the Indonesian government tends to reduce the quantity of the Bajaj by limiting their access. Which means that the Bajaj will not necessarily be able to take you where you want to go, or he will have to take a detour to get to your destination.
The Bajaj can accommodate about 2-3 people depending on the size of each one! Their price is usually low, but nothing registered or fixed. This means that the driver will adjust his prices according to the customer’s profile! So you as a tourist, most of the time, you will have an inflated starting price! That’s at this point that you will have to use your skill of bargaining! Do not hesitate to do like me and ask the receptionist of your hotel or hostel the normal price.
The Bajaj is now, for the majority, using natural gas! Yes, this is surprising! But they tend to replace the petrol Bajaj to reduce pollution in Jakarta. You can recognise them by their light blue colour, and they are called “Bemo”.
The train in Indonesia can be a good option to make a long-distance trip and to avoid the traffic jam. However, know that only Java Island and Sumatra Island have train line. For all others islands, you will have to use the bus to move from one city to another.
You will have the choice between three different classes:
- Executive / Executive: The most comfortable one and therefore the most expensive one! You have an individual seat with plenty of room for your legs and a small pillow. Only one passenger sit by your side, and there is air conditioning. The last time I took the train from Jakarta to Jogjakarta, there was also a large TV in it.
- Business / Bisnis: Intermediate class but quite comfortable too. You have one big seat for two people. The room is also a little smaller, and there is no pillow provided. However, pillows renters pass very regularly on the train to offer them for 7.000IDR (0.50 €). There is also air conditioning on board.
- Economic / Ekonomi: As you can understand, this is the cheapest and least comfortable class. You share the same seat with 2 other people and have 3 others in front of you. So don’t expect to have space for your legs! Air conditioning is available in these cars, but most of the time it will depend on your luck for it to works correctly. So generally, the passengers open the windows. This is the most requested class, so the tickets are very often unavailable if you wait the last moment to buy it.
You might need to know that, in addition to the level of comfort offered by each of these classes, the transport time vary. Indeed, the Executive or Business class are more direct and so faster than the economy class. To give you an example counts 1 to 2 hours extra in economy class for a trip from Jakarta to Jogjakarta. There may also be a time difference between the executive and the business but less significant.
Java has two main lines that cross the West Java Island (Jakarta) to the East (Surabaya) and a line from Surabaya to Banyuwangi via Probolinggo.
The prices will depend on the class you choose but also on the period you buy your ticket. This may surprise you, but note that you can buy your ticket in any Indomaret or Alfamaret (kind of small supermarket) as most Indonesian do! They are everywhere which makes it easier! Make sure you have your passport with you and a phone number (obligatory and unique for each passenger) to buy your ticket. You will get a receipt as a ticket that you will have to exchange at the train station just before getting to your train.
Here are some useful links:
- The Indonesian train company: www.kereta-api.co.id
- Search train schedules and tariffs: www.tiket.com
You can directly search on the site of Kereta Api, but it is only in Indonesian. That’s why I give you the second link that is it in English, but that is not the official site.
Taxis are mostly all over large cities. They are a good way to move easily and comfortably. However, they can also quickly become a nightmare if you are not vigilant. Indeed, it can happen that the driver takes a much longer way to make you pay more. He can also make his meter scroll much faster than the normal and thus ultimately double the price of the drive. He can also try not to turn on his meter and so give you a fictitious rate… Many of unpleasant situations that you can try to avoid by being vigilant.
I advise you, like with any other transportations in Indonesia, to make things clear before going into the taxi. Be clear about using the meter, show your destination on google map to the driver. This is a good way to show him that you’ve turned on your GPS and so follow the route he is taking on your phone! If on the way you feel that there is something wrong, do not hesitate to ask him to stop and change taxi to finish your route.
Here are some taxi companies with a good reputation:
- Silver Bird
- Blue Bird
- Taxiku and many others
Small advice, pay attention to the logo of the enterprise because several taxi companies have a logo very similar to the one of Bleu Bird to deceive the customer! And make sure the driver is the same with the id tags they put on their dashboard as there were some criminal incidents involving taxi that being drove by different people from the official driver.
Regarding the rate of the taxis, they change according to the peak period or not and the type of taxi that you want. For a cab, I would say regular, like Blue Bird, the meter starts at 6,500IDR and runs at the rate of 3,500IRD every 100 meters if my memory is right! Again, have some change with you to avoid any problem. Some taxis accept credit cards but only a few.
The bus will certainly be unavoidable for you travellers! It is a good option with a very reasonable price. You will have the choice between different types of bus, according to your destination:
Long Distance Bus
Long distance buses are generally with a large capacity of seat. Of course, hundreds of different bus companies exist ranging from the most expensive with AC, Wi-Fi and mineral water included, to the cheaper with a seat for two or almost !! The rates are fixed and specific to each company. Issei tells me to recommend you this company: efisiensi bus
Much less luxurious and big, the local buses are old and colourful! They make shorter distances and are usually very fast, even too fast! I have to confess that you must be prepared to get an adrenaline rush when you ride buses in Indonesia!
You also have city buses like Transjakarta (Jakarta) or Transbandung (Bandung) or Transjogja (Jogja)!
Another interesting company to recommend is DAMRI, which goes to and from Jakarta airport.
Nowadays, online transportation is getting really famous in Indonesia and is very practical! I would even say essential! However, if you are in a small Indonesian village, or even a little far from the city centre, it might be difficult for you to find a driver! These applications are useful for cities in particular.
Here are the three primary applications:
Go-jek, as you may have noticed, took his name from the legendary transportation “Ojek” mentioned above. It’s actually the # 1 application in Indonesia that allows you to order a “scooter taxi” in just a few clicks. As a tourist, this app is perfect as you don’t have to negotiate the price or to be afraid to be scammed! The price is indicated when you order the Ojek online, and it does not vary, even if there is a traffic jam or if the driver takes a longer path. You just have to find out where you are, where you want to go and wait for a driver to accept your request. I’m a fan!!
Go-Jek distinguishes itself through its other services as:
- Go-Food: allows you to order your dinner online for example and wait for the Ojek driver to deliver it to you!! It’s not that good! You will surely say, yes but it must be expensive … even not! The delivery will only cost you a few extra rupiahs!
- Go-Car: if you don’t really like the motorbike or you have much luggage, or it’s rainy, then you can order a taxi.
- Go-Pulsa: allows you to recharge your phone’s credit.
- Go-Send: is perfect if you want to send a letter or small package quickly to the city. This avoids you to have to go out and two, using post services that are much longer.
- And many others! I let you discover by yourself!
Concerning the payment, there are different possibilities, but the one I always use is by cash! It is, of course, agreed to give little tips to the driver if you like!
Grab is an application that comes from Singapore and is actually used in different countries of Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam and Philippines. If you are travelling in Asia, this application is for you!
Grab allows you to order a taxi, either scooter or car from your phone. You will have different choices and therefore different rates:
- GrabBike: allows you to order a “motorcycle taxi” or called “ojek” in Indonesian.
- GrabCar: allows you to order a “car” with a driver.
- GrabShare: this option allows the driver to take other people who would go in the same direction as you.
- GrabTaxi: these are called traditional taxis that are part of the Grab community.
- GrabExpress: allows you to send a letter or small package to the city without moving.
Just like Go-Jek, you can pay in different ways, but I always use cash!
And finally, Uber, which I think is known from everyone!! Uber comes from America and is the most used all over the world.
A little more expensive than Grab or Go-Jek, Uber is targeting a slightly different customer base here. Evidently many expats or tourists prefer to use Uber as they know it. Also, I could observe that in here the Uber accept more easily than his colleagues from Grab and Go-Jek, to make a longer trip. Indeed, to have experienced it myself, it is very complicated to find a driver of Grab or Go-Jek who agrees to take you out of the city centre like to the airport for example.
Uber has adapted to the Indonesian population and also offers “scooters taxi” which does not exist in France!
To each person his application, personally, I have this three one on my phone!
I hope this information will help you to move around in Indonesia. Now it’s up to you when to start the game!
English is not our native tongue, so we are sorry for all of the grammatical error in this article. Thanks for your understanding.
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