Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 25 July 2012 • Tips
You don’t hear that too often anymore, do you? Lately, traveling has been about efficiency, where you want more time at your destination. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s all about preference. But in a country that has tons to see like Indonesia, sometimes you’d wanna reserve yourself to slow traveling such as on a road trip. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. You can survive a road trip too, even in Indonesia.
Road trips are tricky. They’re the epic form of traveling where the quote ‘The journey is as important as the destination’ applies. Like any long term traveling, you will be tested to be in the same compartment with you travel mates for a certain time, mostly waiting ‘to get there’. The idea of it is just bothering, right?
But fear not! *woosh cape* We’ll hook you up with some travel tips for your upcoming road trip. You are going to doit, right?
1. Prepare a vehicle.
Well, duh! You can’t walk it. It’ll have to be called a ‘pain in the leg’ trip. So prepare a car or motorcycle or jump on some else bandwagon.
2. Prepare the vehicle.
Always check your vehicle. You wouldn’t want to waste more time on the road fixing your car. Your basics are: battery water, coolant in radiator, gasoline, tire pressure, signaling lights, rear view mirrors, the spare tire and tire-changing equipment.
Even on the straightest roads, you’ll still need stamina to drive the car. You need enthusiasm to get through boredom and the snooze creeping up.
4. Dedicated navigator
Behind every good driver is a good navigator. A navigator helps read the map, keep track of the journey, helps navigate the car to overtake other cars, keep the driver company, provide all assistance, and read the mood of the driver.
5. Snacks and water.
Rather than shutting up the chatterboxes with duck tape, use snacks which could also comfort the driver. Candy helpsto stay alert. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated, although you’d risk a lot of pit stops. Or should we say..pee stops? 🙂
6. Be your own DJ and singer
Prepare your playlist with various beats of songs so you won’t get bored and you can sing along to. Now, what’s better than singing to ‘Jambalaya’?
For every pit stop, there’s a stretch stop. The driver most definitely will need one but so would everybody else. Just 10 minutes can do the trick.
8. Drive safely
In Indonesia, if you arrive at your destination in one piece or close enough is considered safe. But it is better to be wise and be a good driver, take the time to get to your destination in one piece with your sanity.
9. Enjoy the journey
The real philosophy of road trip is slow traveling. You savor each second of your journey and be in each moment of it.
IMPORTANT NOTE! Remember, the driver has a VETO right. On road trips, the driver is king. Your life and journey are in their hands. Thus, theyhave the right to do what is best for their stamina, which includestheir favorite playlist, turning off the AC for a smoke, etc.
Just to add a layer of sunblock to your sunny day, there are a few common things that you would expect from a road trip, especially in Indonesia:
1. Bad roads.
Most of the roads are good, but you’ll occasionally find pot holes here and there on primary intercity roads or you might not even find asphalt.
2. Having your butt hanging above the steep valley.
This can be literal. Roads are sometimes narrow, yet busses get bigger. On our Sulawesi trip, our pal Reno was sitting by the window and felt that he was sitting right above the valley when our bus was making a sharp turn. Not too worry, his butt is intact as will yours since most drivers are crazy good in Indonesia.
3. Getting there late.
In any road in the world, traffic jams happen, even on highways. It’s unpredictable. What you can do is leave early, start your itinerary a little later or prepare a plan B. Remember our tip? You can sing your way through traffic jams easily. Lalalalalala…. 😀
4. Getting lost.
GPS systems are awesome, but in a country like Indonesia with lots more mapping to do, it’s a least reliable system. So, with the help of a map and local guidance, most likely you will still get lost.LOL! But don’t take it as a bad sign, you might actually discover a hidden gem, just make sure you come back to that asphalt road again and work your way there.
5. Driving in Indonesia.
The rules might be the same all over the world but we have a different driving norm here in Indonesia. Overtaking another car on a 2 road lane, over speeding, no helmets on a motorcycle, and using the shoulder lane, are a few things we do and can get away with most of the time. Many of our international friends have lost their heart a few times dealing with this kind of driving.If you really can’t bare it, tell the driver to slow down. So it’s not you, it’s us.
In the days of fast and furious, slow traveling by road-tripping might be a horrific idea. The upcoming weeks you might dread the thought of road-tripping with your family or friends, to spend time in our home town during Idul Fitri. But with the right companion and the right tips, everyone can enjoy it as another epic journey, as epic as all the journeys were when planes were for the privileged. So, be enthusiastic for your upcoming journey! You said you’d do it, remember?