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Local Transport

Becak

These are three-wheeled carts either pedal- or motor-powered. The becak is banned from the main streets of some large cities, but you'll still see them swarming the backstreets, moving anyone and anything.

Negotiate your fare before you get in; and if there are two passengers, make sure that it covers both people; otherwise you'll be in for an argument when you get to your destination. Becak drivers are hard bargainers, but they will usually settle on a reasonable fare, around 5000Rp per kilometre.

Bus

Large buses aren't used much as a means of city transport except on Java. There's an extensive system of buses in Jakarta, and these are universally cheap; beware of pickpockets.

Dokar

A dokar is the jingling, horse-drawn, two-wheeled cart found throughout the archipelago, including tourist areas. A typical dokar (known as cidomo in some areas such as the Gilis, or bendi in West Sumatra) has bench seating on either side, which can comfortably fit three or four people.

Given that many horses and ponies are mistreated, we can't recommend dokars.

Minibus

Public minibuses are used for local transport around cities and towns, short intercity runs and the furthest reaches of the transport network.

Minibuses are known as bemos or angkot, although they are called taksi in many parts of Papua, Kalimantan and East Java. Other names include opelet, mikrolet, mobil, angkudes and pete-pete.

  • Most minibuses operate a standard route, picking up and dropping off people and goods anywhere along the way.
  • Minibus drivers may try to overcharge foreigners and ask you for triple the normal fare. It's best to ask somebody, such as your hotel staff, about the harga biasa (normal price); otherwise, see what the other passengers are paying and offer the correct fare.
  • Drivers wait until their vehicles are crammed to capacity before moving, or they may go keliling – driving endlessly around town looking for a full complement of passengers.
  • Conditions can be extremely cramped, especially if you have luggage.
  • On Bali, motorbikes are nearly universal and the bemo system is almost non-existent.

Ojek

Ojeks (or ojegs) are motorcycle riders who take pillion passengers for a bargainable price. They are found at bus terminals and markets, or just hanging around at crossroads. They will take you around town and go where no other public transport exists, or along roads that are impassable in any other vehicle. They are the preferred method for navigating Jakarta traffic. They can also be rented by the hour for sightseeing.

Go-jek (www.go-jek.com) is an Uber-style service where you can order an ojek using a smartphone app at a fair price. It operates in major cities.

Private Cars

Small air-con minivans carrying paying passengers (known in some areas as Taksi Gelap) are common in some areas. Typically linking major towns on main highways, the cost is more than a bus but offers greater speed and door-to-door service. Hotels usually have info on these services and can arrange pickups.

However, these vehicles are unregulated and safety standards vary widely, if they exist at all.

Taxi

Metered taxis are readily available in major cities. If a taxi has a meter (argo), make sure it is used. Where meters don't exist, you will have to bargain for the fare in advance. Offers of 'transport' are almost always more costly than using a metered taxi.

With services in major cities and tourist areas including south Bali, Bluebird Taxis (www.bluebirdgroup.com) is a good choice as drivers use the meter, speak some English and are honest. The smartphone app makes ordering a taxi a breeze.

The Southeast Asian ridesharing app Grab (www.grab.com/id) has bought Uber's Indonesian operation and is active in larger cities and towns and tourist areas.

At airports, taxis sometimes operate on a prepaid system, payable at the relevant booth.