Naik Becak? Why Not?
Becak (rickshaw) is one of many traditional transportation in Indonesia. Indonesia have many means of transportation from the traditional ones to the advance ones. Indonesia is currently building its first mass rapid transit in Jakarta as one of many solutions to attack the traffic. We also have train, but it’s mostly used in Java Island, where almost half on Indonesian is populated. But aside from modern transportation, we also have the traditional transportation that we use every day. And unlike the modern one, the traditional ones offer unique experience and goes beyond its basic functionality. These are some traditional transportation in Indonesia everyone once in a while got to experience riding it:
Delman is an Indonesian version of horse-down carriage. Delman is named after its founder, Charles Theodore Deeleman, a lithographer and engineer during Dutch’s colonization period in Indonesia. Dutch called this means of transportation dos-a-dos, a kind of carriage where its passenger sit back-to-back. This term is then used by Indonesian as “Sado”. Delman also called “andong” in other provinces in Indonesia. Nowadays, delman is used as recreational transportation. In some cities such Jogjakarta and Semarang in Central Java, few delman will stand by in city center or recreational place for families to experience riding it.
Becak is a three-wheeled cart. Although it’s small, it’s not common to have becak stored in your garage. It’s more like a public transportation. It can fit 2 person, and sometime 3 to four with kids, and the becak driver/owner. There are two types of becak, the one with the driver sit on back which usually found in Java, and the one where the driver position is on the side (usually found in Sumatera Island). Some people still use becak to transport from one place to another, but some people use it for recreational purposes.
Bentor is a short for becak motor, a becak equipped with motorcycle. The motor is tied to the back of the becak. It’s a traditional transportation in Gorontalo Area, North Sumatera. Bentor is also commonly used in Makasar, Kotamobago, North Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi. The advantage of using bentor over becak is that it’s faster and someone can also hop on in the back of the motorcycle, thus it can fit up to 5 people.
Angkot is the most common public transportation at almost everywhere in Indonesia. It’s basically a small van with the seating arrangement is modified so that it circles the entire back seat space of the van. Angkot has a fixed assigned destination which the name posted in the front and the back of the car. It also has a very bright color and exterior decoration on the van’s body. Some angkot in Sumatera are usually equipped with the audio system inside that blare so loud it can be heard from the outside. Angkot may have up to two operators, one man drives behind the wheel (“supir angkot”) while the other (“kenek”) is half-seated, half-standing on the door help getting passenger get in and out, as well as collecting the money. It may not be a safe position for the kenek anyway.
Situation inside angkot (source: http://phinemo.com/)
Ojeg is basically a motorcycle that is used for rent, but include the driver or rider in the front. Given the remarkable traffic in big cities such as in Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, and any other big cities in Indonesia, Ojeg is preferable for those who does not have own transportation, but need a quick and smooth ride to trick the traffic. Since the motorcycle that is used as ojeg usually the slim or small one, it also help its maneuver in between vehicles. But we also need to be careful and tell driver not to speed up if we can’t stand the speed.
I believe most of Indonesian have tried at least three out of those five. Be it for recreational or day-to-day basis, each of them offers unique experience. With Ojeg, you can get a cheap and fast ride to your destination right a way. With angkot, you can experience sitting while squeezing seat with others, while also listening to the blaring house music you have to scream in order to speak with each other. With bentor, you can enjoy scenery while getting the speed do you need with your loved ones. With becak, you can slowly enjoy the scenery, feeling the wind (and the dust, of course) touching your skin and lost in time and your surroundings. With delman you can get the same experience with riding becak, plus you can also hear the stepping sound of the horse, and the nodding rhythm of the delman as you go along. So which one will you choose to experience while visiting Indonesia? Ready to ride a becak, or delman? Why not?