DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  TRANSPORTATION AND TRAFFIC  

 

Traffic in the larger cities of the Indonesian area is much like any other third world city, with the endless traffic jams of Jakarta being among the worst globally.  This page treats getting around in the more rural areas.  The frequent crashes and other carnage are treated under 'Road Wars', and the use of 'Boats' deserves its own page.

 

The backbone of rural transportation is the family motorbike. Click to see big picture (513x480 pixels; 58 KB)
Four to a bike is the common sight.  Youngsters are either sat up front or sandwiched between two older passengers. Click to see big picture (640x378 pixels; 103 KB)
It seems that from a very early age, kids learn to hold on for dear life to parents or to even younger children. Click to see big picture (640x375 pixels; 82 KB)
A rural gas station, serving mainly motorcycles. Click to see big picture (600x480 pixels; 119 KB)
Here is something a bit unusual, a family with helmets, except of course for the kid up front who will most need one in a crash. Click to see big picture (640x425 pixels; 88 KB)
And motorbikes can be decked out as transport vehicles, if stacked right. Click to see big picture (612x480 pixels; 116 KB)
If motorized transport is beyond your means, there is the option of pedal-bikes.  Here comes the coconut express. Click to see big picture (640x400 pixels; 106 KB)
They can even be used from hauling loads in flatter areas, provided the loads are balanced.  Strong legs recommended, bikes with gears are almost exclusively for sport. Click to see big picture (635x480 pixels; 118 KB)
And talking of loads, here is a Sumatran school bus. Click to see big picture (467x480 pixels; 88 KB)
This one is public transport, you pay a fee and try to squeeze in. Click to see big picture (640x436 pixels; 109 KB)
While this heap of smiling people is a work crew on route to the fields. Click to see big picture (640x416 pixels; 81 KB)
In rural Indonesia, the general rule is that whatever is moving in the right direction tends to accumulate people. tractor
Riding on the roof-rack is not uncommon.  The view is great, but beware of low branches. Click to see big picture (357x480 pixels; 74 KB)
Overloading long-suffering pickup trucks does lead to flat tires, broken axles and various other break-downs.  Click to see big picture (536x480 pixels; 101 KB)
But with the nature of Indonesian back-roads, you don't have to be over-loaded to get into trouble.  Here we lost a wheel. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 100 KB)
And in the rainy season roads can turn into a gumbo that defeats even the best 4x4 vehicles. Click to see big picture (640x455 pixels; 123 KB)
So maybe you should take a taxi instead-- we are talking rural. Click to see big picture (640x441 pixels; 126 KB)
No matter what your vehicle, there will be roadblocks, in this case on a highway in northern Suluwesi. Click to see big picture (583x480 pixels; 103 KB)
The final solution is to get out and walk. Click to see big picture (554x480 pixels; 114 KB)
Indonesian women, as with several other cultures in the world, find it easiest to balance loads on their heads.  Click to see big picture (640x389 pixels; 84 KB)
And if you are heading off roads into the jungle, you will definitely be on foot.  Grab your machete. Click to see big picture (339x480 pixels; 86 KB)
In the flatter areas of Indonesian forests, it is often easier to follow streams.  Leeches are discussed elsewhere.  In steeper terrain, these creeks tend to form more challenging canyons, however. Click to see big picture (580x480 pixels; 116 KB)
And finally, the tropics can make even staid old Qantas Airlines burst out in psychedelic patterns. Click to see big picture (640x372 pixels; 66 KB)