Discovery >

Backstreet Adventures by Becak and Bemo

August 1, 2017 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Like many parts of Southeast Asia, Indonesia has a unique variety of public transport options that varies from city to city. One of the most popular is the cycle rickshaw, or becak as it is known locally – a type of tricycle for hire designed to carry one or two passengers. 

In Indonesia there are two different types of becak. The more common type found in large cities like Jakarta and Yogyakarta is where the driver sits behind the passenger and pedals. The second type which is more common in Sumatra is designed with the driver sitting beside the passenger, similar to a motorbike and sidecar.

Another popular form of public transport is the bemo – a motorized three-wheeler taxi – not unlike Thailand’s tuk-tuk. Popular all over Indonesia, the bemo usually operates in specific areas like markets or other areas of commerce, including near hotels and tourist attractions. In the early morning, locals and food vendors use bemos and becaks to get to and from the market and to carry purchases in bulk to their homes or places of work.

Getting around using a share taxi is also a cheap and popular form of transport in Indonesia. These are usually mini vans known as Angkot or Mikrolet, which operate along fixed or popular routes. People can stop them anywhere they want to get on or off and will often find themselves packed in like sardines as the driver may deviate a little from his regular route to accommodate a particular passenger’s wishes and secure the extra fare.

Visitors to Indonesia are sometimes a little hesitant to ride local transport, as becaks, bemos and share taxis tend to operate in poorer local areas where it is easy to get lost. There is also a tendency for some visitors to feel sorry for the poor becak drivers who have to pedal them around – especially when the driver looks well advanced in years. But don’t be deceived! These rickshaw drivers are super fit and may well have been pedalling rickshaws all their lives. While two passengers in a becak might seem like a lot of weight, you won’t be any heavier than a becak stacked full of rice, fruit or vegetables from the local market!

A number of our tours at Khiri Travel Indonesia make use of the trusty becak or bemo to get from place to place. The slow, easy pace of the becak, especially, is ideal for travelers who want to enjoy the scenic local life and have time to take photos as they pass by. Both becaks and bemos can also navigate the smaller backstreets and lanes where no bus or car could possibly fit. It’s easier too for visitors to make an impromptu stop if something attracts their curiosity.

We also offer a unique Signature Experience tour in the harbor city of Mataram on Lombok Island where travelers ride in a bemo to attend an amazing cultural and religious experience called the Sasak Slam, an impromptu poetry contest.

For more information on how to book an authentic Indonesian experience that includes these unique forms of local transport, please contact [email protected].

Latest post

10 Reasons for Spending Summer in Vietnam

While Vietnam’s summer season brings with it more humidity, monsoon rains and blustery days, there are also many advantages to visiting out of season that will leave you wondering why you’re not already there!

Read More

Celebrating the End of Buddhist Lent

Boun Ok Phansa, the end of Buddhist Lent, is a national holiday in Laos – a day of celebration.

Read More

New Tented Camps in Laos with Shangri Lao

Dr Paul Neis, a well known French Indochina explorer who later became the French consul in Canton, led an expedition to the Laotian highlands in 1883. Dr Neis left Luang Prabang on 11 October in that year in two light boats going up the Nam Khan river.

He travelled up the Huay Sae (“Nam Sae”) and set up camp along the Huay Sae, a mountain stream ending in the Nam Khan River. Visitors today can now travel back in time and relive those exciting days when most of Indochina was unexplored territory for outsiders. The new journey has been made possible by German entrepreneur Markus Peschke. Markus is a long time Lao resident and the founder of Tiger Trail, the Indochina Spirit restaurant and, more recently, the Elephant Village. His new project is called Shangri Lao (www.shangri-lao.com). Shangri Lao will consist of two tented camps, one nearby the current Elephant Village, where Dr. Neis and his entourage set up camp in 1883 along the Tad Sae River and one at the Tad Huay Khot, close to Xieng Ngeung village.

Read More

Saigon Perspectives – From the Back of a Vespa

Khiri Travel Vietnam is offering Vespa scooter tours and female motorbike tours in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). The idea is to navigate through Saigon the same as local people do. And that typically means getting on the back of a small motorbike to go shopping, to college, to meet friends or go to work.

Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our B2B newsletters are for industry professionals




    *We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time.