Indonesia’s vast area and lack of fixed links between islands mean that the only rapid means of long-distance travel within Indonesia is by plane. State-owned carrier Garuda Indonesia is a full-service airline and thus usually comes out as the most expensive, but offers seamless connection between its extensive domestic networks and international flights. Lion Air is a low cost carrier (LCC) that has plenty of flights to a specific destination, though major delays occur sporadically. Wings Air is a subsidiary of Lion Air is also a LCC. Other low-cost competitors include Citilink, Garuda Indonesia’s subsidiary, and Indonesia AirAsia.
A new regulation requires passengers on low-cost flights to bring only exactly 7 kg (15 lb) of carry-on baggage for free, and the rest must be in checked baggage, which must be paid. Until nowadays only Lion Air and Wings Air implements this new regulation and checked baggage fees is per 5 kg (11 lb).
Sriwijaya Air is one of the airlines that serve middle class flights, between full board and low cost carrier, with more spacious leg room compared to low cost carriers, and also has modest on board meals.
Routes for a few less popular destinations are usually served by Air Fast, Susi Air, Trigana, Express Air, and Wings Air (a Lion Air subsidiary), operates mostly propeller aircraft to smaller airports. If you really get off the beaten track, e.g. settlements in Papua, there are no scheduled services at all and you’ll need to charter a plane or seek rides with missionaries or mining company workers.
Prices are low by international standards, however their ranges are capped by the government. Many airlines tend to decrease their price a week before flight if the plane is not full enough up to the bottom price limit – so you may try that and get a cheaper fare, if you’re not on a tight schedule and do not need to go during a public holiday, a weekend or Monday morning. When travelling off the beaten track, it may assist to reconfirm early and often, as frequencies are low and paid-up, occasionally even checked-in passengers are bumped off with depressing regularity. Be sure to arrive at the airport by 90 minutes before your low-cost flight departs, in line with regulations noted on the ticket, and 45 minutes before your full-service airline flight departs. Due to the aviation boom, airports have not been able to keep up with the air traffic. While many airports have been renovated and refurbished by adding gates and expanding the terminal building, a lot of them still have only one runway that the aircraft must backtrack to take off, sometimes delaying subsequent departures & arrivals.
A few airlines also enable passengers to pay their ticket fares in cash at minimarts by showing their ticket or confirmation number.
Indonesia is all islands and consequently boats have long been the most popular means of inter-island travel. Ferries may take you on long trips lasting days or weeks, or short jumps between islands for several hours. However, not all destinations are served daily. Some destinations, such as Karimunjawa from Semarang and the Thousand Islands from North Jakarta, offer yacht services, which are faster, safer and more comfortable. The prices are, of course, higher.
The largest company is the state-owned PELNI, whose giant ferries visit practically every major inhabited island in Indonesia on lengthy journeys that can take a week from end to end. PELNI uses European-built boats, which are large enough to deal with rough seas and have a good safety record. Ship capacity varies from 1000 to 3000 passengers. PELNI ferries were once famous for their overcrowding but this is no longer an issue since the company began a policy of place-numbered tickets. All fares include 3 very basic meals per day.
Most PELNI ships today have only a single class, ekonomi. Only one vessel, the MV Kelud, operating between Jakarta and Medan, retains the traditional fare configuration, consisting roughly of:
- 1st class, around US$40/day: two beds per cabin, private bathroom, TV, aircon
- 2nd class, around US$30/day: four beds per cabin, private bathroom, aircon
- ekonomi, around US$15/day: bed in a dormitory
For those with time, traveling in PELNI ekonomi class is the cheapest, greenest and most authentic way to see Indonesia. Most Western tourists will also find the experience deeply uncomfortable. Dormitory accommodation is invariably dirty, sometimes unbearably hot, with blaring music, screaming babies, bright strip-lighting day and night, and toilets that are best left unvisited. Since the removal of 1st and 2nd class, PELNI has become the domain of poorer Indonesians alone. Foreign tourists are now vanishingly rare and will be the center of attention for all other passengers. This is an authentic experience which only the hardiest, most open-minded and gregarious travelers should attempt.
In addition to PELNI’s slow boats, ASDP runs fast ferries (Kapal Ferry Cepat, rather amusingly abbreviated KFC) on a number of popular routes. Both PELNI and ASDP tickets can be booked via travel agents and at their respective offices, usually situated near ports.
Last but not least, there are also countless services running short island-to-island hops, including between Merak in Java to Sumatra’s Bakauheni (hourly), Java and Bali (every 15 min) and Bali and Lombok (near-hourly). In general, schedules on these short-hop services are notional, creature comforts sparse and safety records poor. Try to check what, if any, safety devices are on board and consider postponing your trip if the weather looks bad. As maintenance is poor and overloading is common, sinkings are all too common on ferries run by smaller companies, with reports of such each year, so try to stick to the larger ones if possible.
Food on ferries varies from bad to inedible, and journey times can stretch well beyond the schedule, so bring along enough to tide you over even if the engine stalls and you end up drifting for an extra day. If you have trouble with motion sickness, buy some medicine such as Dramamine or Antimo.
Ferries have different classes of seats, with the most expensive (and cleanest) section on top with comfortable seats and windows for a nice frontal view, followed by second class behind that in a separate room that is more cramped and dirtier with less comfortable seating, and third class is usually on the lower decks and is the worst. Different ferries may have their own organisation. Of course, vehicles are housed below on the main deck.
You may get hassled by people on board trying to extract extra money under some dubious excuse. Feel free to ignore them, although on the upside, it may be possible to bribe your way to a better class of accommodation.
In some places, even smaller boats, such as outriggers, glass-bottom boats, sailboats, motorboats and fishing boats, may be the only form of transport available, and prices can vary from a small amount to tens of dollars. Be prepared by finding out the prices and routes ahead of time and always haggle. Some of these boats can be rented out for fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and touring.
With more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia can be considered a paradise for a yacht journey, although be aware that there are pirates near the border of the Southern Philippines. Typically no typhoons occur in this region and the maximum wave height is only 2.5 meters for the inner seas of the country, suitable for even a small yacht. The worst season is from December to February.
PT Kereta Api, +62 21 121, the government-owned train company, runs trains across most of Java and some parts of Sumatra. The network was built by the Dutch, but the lines have only been revitalized then expanded since Independence. Maintenance quality is acceptable, and derailments and crashes occur rarely. As railroads are state-run companies, the customer service is polite but not always interested in pleasing the customer in the case of a problem.
Java has by far the best railway network, with trains connecting the capital city, Jakarta, with other main cities such as Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta and Solo. Jakarta also has a line of commuter trains within the metro area. Bandung is connected to Jakarta by some 20 trains per day, and is itself connected to Surabaya through Yogyakarta. Bali has no railway lines, but there are trains to Banyuwangi, connecting with ferries to the island. Generally, the trains travel through scenic areas, and travelers not in a hurry should consider the length of the journey and the scenery as a bonus to their travels, although some slums are built around tracks. Commuter trains have no reserved seating and unlimited standees, so they can be crowded; beware of pickpockets. Other intercity trains have reserved seats and require passengers to check in before boarding; passengers are at low risk from theft on such trains.
Sumatra has train lines in Aceh and Medan in North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Lampung and South Sumatra. These are unfortunately not connected – traveling cross-island by train is not possible – and run less frequently than in Java.
Class of service:
While all trains are air conditioned, not all of them are properly designed to accommodate persons with certain disabilities and senior citizens. In every train excluding commuter trains, you can also purchase food either on board or at the time of booking.
- Eksekutif Priority class has eighteen flat-reclining seats with features and services not unlike business class in airplanes.
- Eksekutif class has assigned seating only and you should be prepared with full-length clothes as the temperature is usually rather low (perhaps 18° C). These trains feature paired reclining seats with foot rests (and, for a group of four, you can have the paired seats turned to face each other), televised entertainment (when the TV isn’t broken and the signal is good) and you can ask for blankets and pillows during the trip.
- Bisnis class has a bit similar seats with “Ekonomi” but with forward-facing seats and more comfortable seats than typical economy class.
- Ekonomi Premium class has a much nicer car than Ekonomi class and a slight reclining seat. Seat configuration is 2-2.
- Ekonomi classes are also available for the most budget-conscious traveller. Cheaper prices usually get older coaches (with 3-2 config) which originally were not air-conditioned, while more costly prices usually got newer coaches (with 2-2 configuration). Both older and newer coaches are using “face to face” seats in the middle section of the car.
Commuter trains have sideways seating with poles and hand straps for standing passengers and, during peak hours, can be very crowded, although they are usually air-conditioned and usually have cars at either end for women only.
Train stations are guarded by train police, who wear drab uniforms, but there may also be regular police or, rarely, military personnel.
Tickets can be purchased 30 days in advance, although generally, they will still be available at the last minute. An exception is the very busy Eid-Al-Fitr season when the tickets are sold in minutes due to the extremely high demand for tickets. Online ticket reservation is available on the official website. You may need to provide a photocopy of your identification at the time of purchase for all intercity trains except the commuter trains.
Sometimes, discounts are offered for particular lines, but you have to order well in advance to get them. Senior citizens ages 60 and above are eligible for a 20% discount. Be sure to check that your ticket is correct before you leave the ticketing window. You can also buy tickets at minimarts and post offices and won’t be charged for the administration fee, but they don’t sell reduced fare tickets. Payment with a debit/credit card is possible with a minimum payment of Rp50,000.
The ticket reservation from the official PT Kereta Api website and mobile app is only available in Indonesian. A common problem shared with many booking services was the rejection of foreign-issued credit cards used for payment. An alternative way to reserve your train ticket is through the booking portal tiket.com, with an English language interface and fewer glitches with payment. Passengers can also buy a ticket or check in at kiosks (12 hours to 10 minutes before departure) in front of the station.
Larger train stations usually have multiple platforms and regular service to many cities, but the smallest stations only have infrequent stops and one platform. Be sure to ask in advance which platform you’ll need to go to. While you are waiting, most stations have stores and restaurants where you can buy food and drink to be consumed on board before boarding. After the boarding gate, there are only limited food stalls. The boarding gate closes 3 minutes before the train’s departure. Previously, vendors (asongan) would jump on the train and hawk their wares until the train started to leave. This was intrusive and noisy, although certainly convenient for passengers and vendors alike. As of 2016, vendors are not allowed on the train, but in small stations, many still block the entrances to the cars while they call out to passengers inside. But with more express trains, the vendors are relatively diminishing.
Toilets vary between squatting toilets or sit-down toilets without proper seats. Most executive trains have bidets to wash your posterior with and a sink, and using a squatting toilet can require a balancing act. Bring your own (wet) tissue, because if available, the tissue maybe is not in the normal condition. The toilets generally release directly onto the tracks, so using them while at a station is forbidden.
Passengers travelling in groups (preferably about 20 people) can charter a special train car with traditional decoration, better toilets and lounging seats, with a tailored itinerary for selected destinations.
The use of luxury long-distance buses is a new trend, very comfortable with air suspension and can stop wherever you want. Most services depart in the afternoon or evening, and arrive the following morning at their destination. The term “luxury” means that there are limited reclining seats with ample leg and a footrest and/or leg rest and get one dinner or supper. Some buses have a personal 10″ display and some even have beds. When travelling by bus from Banda Aceh in Sumatra to Bali, the bus company can arrange the ferry, and include the fare in the bus ticket.
Inter-city buses are often run by cooperatives of drivers or by private companies (of which there are many of both) and follow specific routes – but they may deviate from their route if you ask, usually for a little bit extra. They can be either luxurious or deteriorating; in some places, such as Bali and Kupang, bus drivers take a great deal of pride in their vehicles by decorating them and taking good care of them. A bus ticket will usually cost from about Rp75.000 for an economy van (6 people) or Rp150.000 for an executive class coach (up to double-decker size). They can pick you up at a spot near their depot or terminal for free if you can’t get to their designated departure point. In case of a mealtime, the bus will get off at a rest stop where everyone is expected to dine at the same restaurant; some bus companies may have included the meal cost in your fare.
It is possible to charter buses. The air-conditioned chartered buses can be rented with its drivers for a tourist group and, in fact, any size city bus will take on a charter assignment if the money is right. Indonesian bus companies offer intercity (antar kota) and inter-province (antar propinsi) routes. The inter-province routes usually include transportation to other islands mainly between Java and Sumatra and Java and Bali. In several cities, the government offers its own line, DAMRI, which comes in medium and large sizes and is always air-conditioned, and tends to be in better condition.
On occasion, there are reports of drivers and conductors colluding with criminals, but this usually happens at night or in desolate places. There are also reports of hypnotists robbing people of their possessions, and street vendors selling drugged beverages and drinks to waiting passengers at stops and terminals, who then become victims of crimes. Long, overnight journeys are particularly dangerous. Guard your bags like a hawk. In the wilder parts of the country (notably South Sumatra), inter-province buses are occasionally ambushed by bandits.
There is a way to reserve bus ticket through the booking portal bosbis.com, with an English language interface option. Passengers can buy a bus ticket from multiple bus operators to many cities in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Lombok. Otherwise, walking up to an inter-city bus terminal or a bus depot for a last-minute reservation is still feasible.
There can be many intra-city bus systems, depending on the city. Angkot is the staple for all major cities where passenger sit sideways on a minivan. Buses and BRTs can be found on larger cities. However, if you see a bus that’s of poor quality (deteriorating paint & dusty windows), it is advised not to ride them as their safety standard is compromised.
By scheduled travel or shuttle:
Mini shuttle is the latest mode of Indonesian transportation, growing inline with the new toll roads and better highways. The travel, as locals call it, uses various AC minibus with passengers from 6 to 12 persons on reclining seats and run based on ‘point to point’ routes. It means every operator has their own (multiple) departure point at the cities they serve. The most developed route is between Jakarta and Bandung with ticket prices varying from Rp80,000 to Rp110,000 depending on convenience, seat pitch and luxury.
The scheduled travel is generally more expensive than the regular inter-city buses, but is faster and has multiple departure/arrival points. Your belongings are more secure, but expect to pay additional fees for surfboards and bulky packages. You can book at the respective companies, but last minute passengers are sometimes welcomed.
Driving in Indonesia is rarely rewarding. You may wish to avoid it unless you have prior experience.
Indonesian driving habits are generally atrocious and the rule is “me first,” often signalled by using the horn or lights, or sometimes not at all. Lanes and traffic laws are happily ignored, passing habits are suicidal and driving on the road shoulder is common. Emergency vehicles are often ignored simply because all their space has already been used, making a ride in an ambulance a chancy proposition. Drivers tend to pay the most attention to what they can see in front of them and peripherally, and far less to what is behind their peripherals and to the rear. Mirrors may or may not be consulted before lane changes. Distances between vehicles tend to be small and drivers are noted for their ability to squeak by with almost no space, but side view mirrors are frequent victims of such acts. Bumper to bumper driving at high speed is frequent; practice defensive driving and always be ready to brake suddenly if necessary. The number one cause of death and injury on the road, however, is motorcycle accidents. Traffic drives on the left in Indonesia, at least most of the time. Please beware of motorcycles passing on the left, especially when you turn left.
Renting a car in Indonesia is cheap compared to renting in many other countries, costing from US$12.5/day, and fuel costs remain relatively low, due to a low (fuel) tax. A litre of subsidized fuel is Rp6,450 for octane 88 quality (Premium brand), but the other fuel are not subsidized and depend on international oil crude price, Rp7,800 for octane 90 (Pertalite). For affluent citizens, there are more expensive varieties of petrol with octanes 92 (Pertamax) at Rp10,400 and 98 (Pertamax Turbo) at Rp12,250. Starting in 2000, all drivers of new vehicles in Indonesia were encouraged to use at least octane 90 to avoid knocking off high compression ratio machines.
Gas stations are abundant, every 5–10 kilometres (3.1–6.2 mi). They have reasonably clean toilets, but usually only in squat pots. Deposit Rp2,000 in the box as you enter or leave. Most larger gas stations will have ATMs and a minimarket.
Fueling is not self-service. The station has employees who will fill-up for you and receive your payment.
To drive a car in Indonesia yourself, a current home-nation-issued driver’s license of the appropriate class must be carried, plus an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) of that same class. There are no exceptions to this unless you are holding an Indonesian SIM (driver’s license) of the appropriate class. Careful consideration must be given, however, as many travel insurance policies may only acknowledge responsibility if the driver has an applicable home-issued license, with the fully matching IDP.
Road conditions and maintenance are rudimentary outside major cities and certain tourist destinations. During the rainy season, major roads in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi are often flooded or blocked by a landslide for several days. Toll roads, which are of better quality, spans along Java with coverage outside the island limited to the biggest towns. All toll roads in Indonesia require users to pay at the toll gates using a prepaid card, which can be bought and topped up at certain convenience stores such as Indomaret or Alfamart.
Seat belts must be worn especially in the front seat, especially in big cities in Indonesia, although this law is often unenforced.
Having a trash bin in the car is advisable to reduce littering, especially in Bandung, where such a rule is implemented.
Rental with driver:
Consider renting a car with a driver; the additional cost is quite low, approximately Rp150,000 or less, plus three square meals a day for Rp20,000 to Rp25,000 each, and an optional room and board. Having a driver also reduces your chance of having an accident for they know how to pass the frantic traffic and know a faster way to reach your destination.
This option can be time- and cost-effective, and allow you to travel and see places beyond the public transport network.
In many parts of Indonesia, such as Bali and Yogyakarta, it is possible for tourists to rent a motorcycle to get around. Prices are usually around Rp50,000-60,000; negotiate a price and seek a discount for longer rental periods. An automatic is normally provided. Engine capacity will be in the range of 110cc to 125cc. Be sure to check over the vehicle first and confirm that it has a current Surat Tanda Nomor Kendaraan (STNK, which is proof of registration and legality).
People who rent the motorcycles may be unconcerned with whether or not you have a driver’s license, however, to ride a motorcycle in Indonesia, a current home nation issued driver’s license of the appropriate class must be carried, plus an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) of that same class. There are no exceptions to this unless you are holding an Indonesian Surat Izin Mengemudi (SIM C), which is the local license for a sepeda motor (motorbike). Careful consideration must be given to being provided with a SIM C if not also possessing an appropriate home-issued license and IDP. Many travel insurance policies may only acknowledge responsibility if you possess an applicable home issued license, with the fully matching IDP. A ‘moped’ classification or endorsement is not sufficient, it must be a full license.
By law, helmets are required to be worn, so make sure they provide them for you. Having an accident while not wearing one will also likely void your travel insurance policy, or provide some serious policy complications if making a claim. It is also required have your headlamp and tail lamp illuminated at all times.
Be sure to drive defensively as most road users are quite reckless and an astounding number of the visitors to Indonesian hospital emergency rooms and morgues were only recently sitting on a motorbike.
For a group of two to four people, a conventional taxi may be the best choice for relatively short journeys. Taxi fares in Indonesia are relatively cheap and relatively uniform across the country. The flagfall is among Rp7,000 and Rp 8,500 and subsequent kilometer is among Rp 4,000 to Rp4,500, but rises higher if you are trapped in a traffic jam (when the taxi stop due to traffic jam, it will cost about Rp45,000/hour). Despite the price scheme, mostly you are still required to pay a minimum fare if you are going for short distances or booking by phone, usually indicated by the respective companies, but usually Rp25,000 and stated on the dashboard. Most people recommend Blue Bird taxis for their convenient booking, polite drivers and safe driving. Blue Bird Taxis are available in many of the main cities and when Blue Bird exist, all (other) taxies run its meter well. In the other cities when Blue Bird do not exist, some taxi drivers are naughty: they use meter, but will still charge you more (sometimes more than twice) with explanation is common to pay more as they mention. Ask first before you get into the taxi, ‘sesuai argo tidak’ (pay same with the (argo)meter or not).
In every major city in Indonesia, taxis are abundant even in rush hours. Nowadays with abundant taxis and traffic jams, the taxi drivers prefer to wait order by phone calling through call center or receive order directly from a customer through EasyTaxi or GrabTaxi apps using their smartphones and are known as online taxis. The nearest driver will pick you up. Only qualified taxi companies and drivers are allowed in the system and all is monitored by GPS from their HQ.
Most conventional taxis use sedans or multi purpose vehicles with 1,500 centimeter cubed engines. Most online taxis use city cars or multi purpose vehicles with 1,000 to 1,200 centimeter cubed engines. As a result, regular taxis are more comfortable, have more leg room and are more spacious. However, online taxis charge only 2/3 of the tariff of a regular taxi tariff; their drivers are usually more educated than regular taxi drivers, and many online taxi drives own the cars they drive. And they’re much less likely to behave inappropriately than regular taxi drivers.
BY RIDE-HAILING SERVICE:
Ride-hailing for both cars and motorbikes, powered by smartphone apps, has quickly become popular in more than 200 Indonesian cities. Locally owned Go-jek and Malaysian-owned Grab divide up the market between them, with Gabir (Garuda Biru) – originally from Malaysia – being a newcomer in the online ride-hailing service. There are some other regional operators especially in the motorcycle-sharing sector, including Ojesy who only accept female customers.
Most motorbike drivers would wear a uniform jacket of the respective companies, many don’t so as not to provoke conventional taxis. License plates are in most cases the same as shown in the app; if not usually the driver will tell you beforehand or call out your name at the arranged pick-up spot. If in doubt, ask for their name or tell them from their face. Only one passenger at a time for a motorbike; if travelling as a group, compare the prices between ordering a multitude of them or just order a single car – the latter can usually fit up to 4 people, with larger cars can fit up to 6 people but usually more expensive.
It is worth getting an Indonesian SIM card with a data package for your phone, so you can use them. As most drivers have limited English, it is worth spending some time to learn enough Indonesian, or other relevant regional languages, to talk to the driver who may call or chat you to ask your precise location and how to identify you.
There have been tensions between conventional taxis (both car and motorbike) and ride-hailing services, and drivers may be unwilling to pick up in certain places, especially near taxi ranks. If you insist on ordering one, try walking a bit further away from where it’s prohibited. Most drivers may already know this and will simply ask you to do so.
In addition to passenger services, both Gojek and Grab can be used to deliver food from partner restaurants to your place or to ship items to another place. The former can also be used to order Bluebird taxis. Payment can be made by cash, although using their dedicated E-Wallet earns you discounts.
Angkot (acronym for angkutan perkotaan or ‘city transport’) is a type of public minivan that is available in all cities and large towns, and often in rural areas (then sometimes called angdes, ‘village transport’). They follow a fixed route (usually marked by a colour or number), but there is no fixed schedule and there are no fixed stops. To get on, simply raise your hand. To get off, simply shout “Kiri!” to the driver, so he will pull over on the left (Indonesian: kiri) side of the road. The price within a city is usually Rp2,000 to 5,000. It is best to ask a local which angkot route to take, and how to recognise the location you want to get off.
Less common than the becak, and found only practically in Jakarta city is the Indian bajaj (BAH-jai), which the new ones are blue painted (likes BlueBird Taxi color), with a black roof. This small, three-wheeled vehicle is powered by CNG, so it is quieter than the old 2-power strokes bajajs which it are not exist anymore, because it follow replacement program with more old bajajs are replaced by one new bajaj, so the new bajajs are not so many as old bajajs before. The driver sits in front and the passengers (up to 3 small adults) in the back. The cabin is covered by a canvas roof and there is a windshield and, while doors don’t have windows and are half-height, the sides and back of the roof may have soft plastic windows. You may ask the driver to take you somewhere else for an extra fee, and they may be willing to take you on a viewing and/or shopping tour for even more money. If you take a shopping tour, they will generally guide you to specific venues with which they have informal agreements that give them extra income from your purchases, or perhaps a free meal.
As with most small forms of transport, communication and haggling skills are important, and it is best to know the price before talking to a driver.
BY MOTORCYCLE TAXI:
Ojek (OH-jeck) is not always comfortable and can only take one passenger and not much luggage, but can weave through traffic. Traditional ojek that wait at a fixed point (ojek pangkalan) outside a market or station have a negotiated fare system. Communication and haggling skills are important, and it is best to know the going rate for a trip before you talk to a driver. The price is Rp10,000 to Rp15,000 for four kilometres, but negotiating is important. Some drivers will agree to a price but then try to extort additional money at the end of the journey by claiming it is common to pay more than the agreed price, and acting angrily. The threat of violence is low, the aim is more to humiliate, but do be wary.
In some areas, ojek may be the only public transportation available. Getting off the main road into rural villages, for example, if the road condition is too poor for cars or buses. You do not have to go too far out of the big cities to experience this. Prices may be a little high due to the monopoly, but rural drivers may be more honest than in big cities.
Ride-sharing apps have revolutionised the ojek industry, starting with Go-jek and now adopted by other providers such as Grab. Prices are competitive, fares are transparent and there is an opportunity to complain if service is poor. The minimum charge is between Rp 7,000 and Rp 12,500 and additional charges are no more than Rp 3,000 per kilometer. One effort to fight back has been ojek argo which uses taxi meters.
Online ojek cover more than 200 cities/towns across Indonesia and are available 24 hours a day in big cities and some tourist areas with night life.
Becak (“BEH-chahk”) is a colourfully decorated tricycle (pedicab) transportation mode for short distances such as residential areas in many cities. The passengers’ seat can be covered by a convertible-style canvas or plastic roof, and they sometimes add a sheet of clear plastic in front during rainstorms. In some areas, the driver is sitting behind the passenger, but in some areas (like Medan) the driver sits to the side . Some drivers have started to outfit their becak with small motors.
Good communication and haggling skills are integral to assure you get to your destination and to prevent getting overcharged on these rides. Some sly drivers try to get some more money out of you after you’ve reached your destination, ensure you know how much it costs beforehand. You can hire a group of becak if you’re in a group, or you can even hire them to transport belongings, blocks of ice, groceries, building materials etc. You may ask the driver to take you somewhere else for an extra fee, and they may be willing to take you on a viewing and/or shopping tour for even more money. If you take a shopping tour, they will generally guide you to specific venues with which they have informal agreements that give them extra income from your purchases, or perhaps a free meal.
There are no becak in Jakarta or Bali. Instead, the motorised bajaj (BAH-jai), somewhat similar to the Thai tuk-tuk, serves the same function. In other provinces (e.g. North Sumatra, Aceh, Gorontalo) you can also find motorbikes with sidecars, known as bentor or bemo (short for becak bermotor). The latter can be called on-demand the same way as the ride-sharing apps (see above).
Becak is the most expensive form of public transport, and nowadays, it’s rarely used except by elderly women who are carrying goods from traditional markets; the younger would take ojek if they are carrying fish or other smelly products, or otherwise use angkot. In some cities such as Yogyakarta, the use of the becak has diminished so much, they are used almost exclusively by tourists.
A typically unpopular way to explore what the world has to offer is by foot. Especially in a big city with all the traffic frenzies and small alleys in many others, walking can be a dramatically faster and more efficient option, although the hot humid air may still tempt you to use a taxi. However, most cities do not have properly marked sidewalks or even none at all, the best thing you can do is walk along its rim. Especially in big cities, cross only at the marked crosswalks or use the overhead bridge if you do not want to get caught in an accident.
Horsecarts, called delman (DEL-mahn), dokar (DOE-car) or andong (AHN-dong) depending on where in Indonesia you are, and the shape of the vehicle. Not available everywhere, but are more common than one might think. In some places, such as Gili Air (Lombok) where motorised vehicles are both impractical and forbidden, they are the only form of transport, but you can also find them in large cities like Jogjakarta. They generally follow a specific route but you may ask the driver to take you somewhere else for an extra fee, and they may be willing to take you on a sightseeing or shopping trip for even more money.
If you take a shopping trip, they will generally guide you to specific venues with which they have informal agreements that give them extra income from your purchases, or perhaps a free meal.
As with most small forms of transport, communication and haggling skills are important, and it is best to know the price before talking to a driver.
The horses are not always very well cared-for and may be in poor physical condition.