Traffic in Indonesia

Hello everyone,

Which city or area do you live in in Indonesia, and how do you find the traffic?

How long does it take to commute to work or run errands?

Is there a rush hour in your city? What times of the day would you recommend people to avoid driving if they can?

Are there any ways to avoid spending too much time in traffic in Indonesia?

What is parking availability and cost like?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


Traffic in much of, ner, all of Indonesia is a mess at best and a disaster at worst.
Indonesians drive on the left .. and the right .. and in the middle.
One way streets - not if they fancy driving the other direction.
It's very common to see motorbikes go round a roundabout the wrong was as a short cut.
A lot of drivers buy their licence (Yes, literally but that's getting better as the corruption is sorted out) so have absolutely no clue how to ride or drive.
Motorcyclists are suicidal and micro bus drivers do whatever they like without fear of the slightest action against them.
Many vehicles of all types are nothing short of death traps with no servicing and no brakes.
Some busses have holes in the floor and a lot use a brick as a handbrake.
The bigger the town or city, the worse the problems.
Jakarta is the king of toilets as far as traffic is concerned with horrible traffic jams similar to whatever you'd expect as a gift from Hades but with more traffic fumes, beeping horns and swearing.
Lane swapping is normal and no one gives a flying rats about looking where they're going, commonly texting or whatever instead of looking at the road.
Lane discipline is unknown so people turning right will often swing wildly from the left or wait in the middle of the road.
It's common for lots of people to try to jump the queue by moving into the next lane so junctions commonly have 2 or 3 lanes of traffic trying to get into the right lane for a turn but fighting past all the other people in the wrong lanes to do it.
A left indicator means they're going to turn left, or right, or straight on, or they don;t have any lights at night so they use the indicator as a tail light .. and headlight.
A right indicator or no indicator means the same.
It's normal to see people walk past you in a Jakarta traffic jam and get to a place before you.
Accidents are usually your fault regardless of almost everything unless the other driver is drunk then he's likely to get arrested and/or beaten up.
Don't drink and drive or you could well get beaten to death - literally.

Parking is normally easy enough but not on streets in cities.
Malls and so on have secure car parks that are generally pretty cheap and your chances of a problem are low.
I always try to find a corner where no one can park next to me because driving standards are pretty crap so a lot of people have no clue how to park. I know all the best places in my regular haunts where there's a wall on one side and a massive concrete pillar on the other, thus my car is safe.
Most centres have car park attendants with nightsticks and there's no issue if they beat a car thief around the head so car thieves tend not to operate in mall car parks.

Drive cautious always, give way a lot, idiots drive out from side roads right in front of you, stay cool, grow eyes on the back and sides of your head. Don't drive fast unless on highway. Watch out for motorbikes appearing out of nowhere whenever you want to turn right. Parking is easy and cheap. People are everywhere to help you park or turn or anything, and they are cheap.

Horrendous and no matter how often your are on the roads you never really get used to it
Like Fred’s post, death trap vehicles on the road, incapable/ poor riders and drivers no safety culture or very little at best
I think it’s pretty much the same all over Indonesia, here in batam I don’t bother going on the roads myself on a Sunday it’s just too dangerous, lunch times you have school children on bikes no helmets going wrong way on the road in groups of upto 70 bikes with no regard to other road users most days are chaotic between 6am and 9pm.
Poor planning of roads poor or no drainage, none or very little maintenance, uneducated drivers and riders (meaning they are on the roads but very little idea) poorly reinforced by the authorities, red amber and green (80% of Indonesians are colour blind or so it seems) biggest no no here once you get used to it as such is don’t give an inch you will never get to your destination if you do, 3 lanes turn into 7 one lane turns into 3, if an expat and your in an accident it’s the expats fault 90% of the time (as in many countries it’s the same)
Here they are spending huge money on flyovers etc it will do jack just more space for more fools, accidents are all to common just move the car/ bike and injured and carry on
Interestingly I amongst others when the police try to help the traffic at large junctions I think they multiply the problem, I think it’s most probably the worst country I have visited for road use and safety in the 5 years I have been here the last 3 continuously it’s got much much worse

A dashcam won't stop them hitting you but it clears up who was to blame.

I am in Denpasar, Bali.  In the south the traffic is bad everywhere.  I only stayed in Kerobokan for a year, then moved to Sanur where other than the Bypass the traffic is acceptable.  I bought an electric bike because I feel comfortable using it in Sanur to go to the beach or grocery shopping.  No license, no insurance, no driver’s permit and little maintenance.  Using Go-Jek for longer travels is good or a bike ride from a friend.  Taxis are slow because of the traffic.  I tried the Bypass bus but had to wait over an hour for it.  It was cheap, not too crowded (9 pm) and traffic wasn’t too bad.

I am in Jakarta and currently there are 4 major road or mrt building projects affecting me everyday. However it takes me only 30 minutes to get to work and an hour to get home. I don't complain i choose to  live there.
Happily despite the volume of traffic most the traffic is well behaved and the buses big and small are more behaved than they were 5 years ago and there are less of them.
I see very little accidents and most occur due to stupidity and carelessness and also at low speeds as well.
App based services like go jek and Uber bikes are often the worst on the road unless it's in the neighbourhood then its mums or school kids.

There are far more police now and they are more demanding but still all rules are broken all the time however traffic does flow still.

Jakarta's traffic is not predictable so it's hard to say when best to avoid, however after huge rain is not the wisest time to go anywhere.

Our Fred has the greatest and enviable capability to verbalize on the subject of traffic, that would be sinful to add comment further to the wonderful colourful remarks.

I will just plead guilty to always using Go-Jek riders to give me productivity day in Djakarta. They do everything that Fred describes but they help me get to places in record times.

If it rains we end up with lunch or an extra tea break. While I am happy on less time spent, I must agree all my scary life experiences with Go-Jek riders replaces the need to meet exciting ladies after hours at discos. Being scared to death repeatedly in a day's ride, replaces the need to go hunting at nite😀

Hallo Priscillia. I am currently studying in Surabaya, Indonesia. The traffic is not too bad during weekdays and also weekends. It would be much better to use 'Grab motor' or 'Gojek' as the cost is much more reasonable.

Traffic is bad but bearable. Going on a 13 km journey to city center will normally take slightly more than an hour.

However I will not drive in Jakarta. I'll just get a Grab or Uber.

There are various app based motorcycle taxis available, all endorsed by both the almighty and the fallen angel as both these ultra powerful beings know these services get souls their way all the quicker.
I was entertained by a gojek crash yesterday as the hapless and helpless driver had nowhere to go when a brainless moron of the worst sort (except angkot drivers - they're in a class of their own when it comes to especially dangerous and stupid) sped past a car at a crazy speed but with no clue what was beyond it.
He total failed to consider there could be something in his way on a very busy road so the gojek, the twit and the gojek's passenger found out what a crash test dummy's job is like.
Cuts, bruises for the riders and a lot of plastic motorcycle parts were spread all over the road like an impromptu street market stall and, as is common with such stalls, there was a pair of sandals laying around.
One bike was messy in a smashed plastic sort of way, the other had all the attributes of a junk yard including a front wheel that could have been displayed at a Contemporary art show, probably entitled, "results of stupidity" or maybe "The devil didn't take this one because even he doesn't like this class of idiot".

That and the ride apps tend ask you for access to every bit of data on your phone, that including your gallery so they could peek at all those pictures you took with ladyboys.

Riding a motorbike is for those with experience of Indonesian traffic and then only if you've evolved an extra set of eyes in your bum.
Driving is fine assuming the above and the balls to argue with the rider who has just hit you whilst riding like one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse without a licence, registration document, any lessons of any sort and no helmet, all on the wrong side of the road with no brakes but still insists the bump was your fault.
That explains my excellent suggestion of a dashcam.

Traffic is bad everywhere in the World in major cities due to huge populations, bad road and traffic problems and poor public transportation systems.  In these places, you can’t follow any rules or you won’t get anywhere.  So you put up what’s there and hope the government responsible for that area can do something to improve traffic and public transportation.  In places like Bali, there are few solutions because of the existing roads and lack of any planning years ago.

The dashcam is a must in my opinion, i have the forward and rear recording type for the car it’s a huge help if needed, they are becoming very popular here now for the helmet mounted type also (myself included) for motorbikes, pretty entertaining especially the rear facing one

Dashcams are essential in the event of an bump and can also provide hours of terrific Youtube footage.
I don't have a rear facing cam but it's something I'm after when I find the right bit of kit.

On a serious note, the film can prove your innocence in the event of a smash so I strongly suggest all expats who drive here have one.
One other note, get the footage onto Youtube or make a copy that no one is aware of in case the camera or disc is taken away for evidence and gets 'lost'.

Good advice!

What brand/model are you using or recommend?

I use “blackvue” for the car they are quite expensive but my friend in batam has a shop in Singapore and I got a great deal on this particular brand, it has an app that you can access the camera and microphone to you smart phone from anywhere in the world and have a conversation with the occupants it also can send recording straight to your account at the touch of a button, it also sends last 5 minutes of loop recording to its built in hard drive at the touch of a button so you can hand over the memory card if needed
Nextbase are another great brand I use for the bike and are fantastic value and extremely popular in the uk and probably 200/300% cheaper than  blackvue, I would highly recommend nextbase if of on a budget, but invest in a large capacity memory card, me personally would go for as the very minimum 128g
Get a wide angle one also so it records from basically both front wings on the car
For a bike the same as above but fixed rear facing that is easily removed and wide angle again for the helmet

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