How to travel cheap in Jakarta, Indonesia - Public transport and food

by - Saturday, November 22, 2014

Finally, after a year I decided to re-blog about my 16 day trip to Jakarta. Well, I know it's quite late, but late better than never. Actually, I did few blog posts before just that I feel I can improve my blog post so that I decided to re-blog about my trip with different concept.

I still remember last year I had my first advertorial job as a photographer and blogger for few Indonesia travel magazines. I have been to Indonesia many times, but this the most exciting trip because I went to a different state in 16 days. From Kuala Lumpur I took one and only Malaysia low cost airline, Air Asia. From Jakarta I went to Bandung by car and I would like to thank my buddy Handoko Kosep and family for the warm hospitality. He run mobile phone accessories shop in Jakarta, Hamiko. It feels like family. Not to forget my friend, Helga who pick me from "Bandara" (airport) and be my tour guide. If you need creative designer, buzz him. From Jakarta I went to Jogjakarta some people called it Yogjakarta by Air Asia again. From Jogjakarta, I took the bus to Semarang and from Semarang I took the train to Surabaya. Last but not least from the Surabaya back to Kuala Lumpur once again I took Air Asia. Thank you to Flexiroam because I still can get flat rate call to Malaysia. Last but not least, thank you so much Thrishtan who manages all my hotel in Indonesia. I heard now he run printing and Vietnamese food delivery. If you want to try Vietnamese food that cook by his wife who happen to be Vietnamese, buzz him.

There have a few things "must-have" stuff that I always bring along when I travelling. USD currency and student ID. In Jakarta, Indonesia if you show your student ID, you can always get student price and if you can speak well Indonesia, they might think you are local. So, yeah.. local rate. USD currency is always acceptable in Indonesia because you can even pay by using your USD currency even though you can't find any money changer.

Since I need some light and quick dry outfit, I would like to thank Puma Malaysia for all the outfits. I really love the wind sweater and I still wore it for my early morning jog until now.

So, let's talk about the trip shall we? Since I need to always ready for shooting during my journey, I have to go backpacker style. With just one Deuter back pack and my Samsung Galaxy Tab, I'm good to go.

When you talk about travel cheap, most of the time you can get a cheaper flight ticket from Air Asia either early in the morning or late night. Well, I would strongly suggest early morning. If you grab your flight early in the morning, make sure you keep your stomach empty so that you can grab breakfast once you touch down and that will help you to kill your time.

For those who prefer cab and have extra budget, there is only have one taxi company that’s reliable; Blue Bird. I have been reading about how does Blue Bird start up and trust me, you won’t believe me how single mothers can change the taxi industry in Indonesia. During my trip to Indonesia, I manage to speak with some people from a Blue Bird company and just a quick history of the Blue Bird company, they started as luxury taxi as "call-cab" services back then. They also the first company who install GPS systems in their taxi and maintain 5 star service (driver attitude and taxi maintenance). I think you can search more information about them through google.

If you happen to be in town area, there have bus services, call Busway also known as known as TransJakarta. We do not have this in Malaysia at the moment, but you can experience it soon since Sunway already in the process of building BRT Sunway Line. Unfortunately, any stubborn driver (motorist) will simply go to the subway line and you might face some delayed. However, the ticket price is cheaper compare than other public transport.

"TransJakarta was designed to provide Jakarta citizens with a fast public transportation system to help reduce rush hour traffic. The buses run in dedicated lanes and ticket prices are subsidized by the regional government. As of 2014, the buses carried more than 350,000 passengers per day with more than 500 buses in operation and more than a hundred in maintenance and for reserve."

This three-wheeled orange public transport vehicle which is a 1970's part of history in the Indonesian capital Jakarta known as 'bajaj'.

Definitely fresh air and max passenger at one time is two people. Get ready for all the smoke and noise. It’s run on diesel so what you can expect?

You also can find mini bus/mini van but I don't recommend because there has a lot of pick pocket case. Just in case you have no choice, just be careful with your belongings.

My favorite all the time if I'm rushing and on budget, I will definitely go for the motor-dop "ojek" (motorcycle). You'll ride on it..  is a cheap and quick way to travel around. Basically is some local people who doing part time work. How to spot them? Simple, usually when you walking around and some local will ask you, where are you heading to and they will offer "ojek". Sometime I just wondering how can Indonesia ladies or traveler dare to ride.

If you happen to stay in a hotel, you can ask the reception to rent motorcycle for IDR90, 000 (RM25/USD8) per day. Just prepare your passport and driving license.

Another my favorite all the time is traditional vehicles, also known as "becak" (a three-wheel cycle thing, the driver paddle on the back). This is my main transportation in Semarang.

When I was in Semarang, I met one friendly uncle who offer me to go around to town from 11am until 9pm for only IDR100, 000 (RM30/USD9). I'm quite surprise because at the end of the day when I ask him how much, he told me up to me how much I want to give. Since I have no clue and told him how about IDR100, 000 he agree with it. I'm glad I gave him IDR150, 000 because when I went back to the hotel and ask the receptionist, they told me usual rate is IDR100, 000. He brought me around even when I have a meeting in client office, had my lunch or even shopping, he willing to wait outside the premises.

Another story of "becak" that I saw, some of them are actually living inside the "becak". Some of them keep their belonging in the passenger seat. When it comes to night time, they will cover up their "becak" with plastic and sleep inside it. They will "camp" outside the hotel. So, when you have to catch a flight or train in the middle of the night, you have two choices; "becak" or "ojek". When I ask them why they don't go home, some of them don't have a house and some of them only go back once a week.

I wanted to experience something different, so I took the train from Semarang to Surabaya. Nothing special just that another train ride.

If you happen to want to save budget on hotel and catch the early train, you can sleep in the train station.

While waiting for your train, there always have 24/7 food stall.

If you wanted to grab cheap food yet clean, you may want to consider their night market. You can ask around but most of the time only available on weekend.

Quick tips for those who love to eat. Be nice with the stall owner, and you will always get extra stuff on your meals.

 Last but not least, once a while, forget about your diet and enjoy the local food.

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