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Bandung Transportation
by: Emma Kwee

Bandung spurs a unique mode of transport called Angkutan Kota, or angkot in short: green minivans that hold up to a maximum of 15 people and race around an incomprehensible maze of routes and subroutes, that for locals is hard enough to grasp, let alone for inexperienced foreigners.

If you want to take a chance and don't feel like spending a lot of cash (but presumably a lot of time), find the destination you are headed on a map and then ask one of the drivers which angkot goes there. Don't forget to make clear where you want to get off beforehand, because angkots don't stop at regular points, but rely on the customers to shout ‘kiri kiri', meaning left, left, and will make the van grind to a sudden halt at anytime anywhere.

Angkot drivers have the sometimes no more than justified reputation of being somewhat on the wild side, that is, their road manners resemble those of a pirate at sea. Being in a crammed minivan all day, driving as fast as possible to make enough money to pay off the minivan rent and leave enough for a decent bowl of rice surely hasn't made well-mannered gentlemen of them. So mind your head when you hop on and off. Stories of people breaking limbs when drivers took off without waiting are not rarities. One way to prevent this is to pay your fare once you've already gotten outside on safe ground. When hopping on, make sure to hold on to something and don't sit too close to the open door, because falling out during sharp turns is not a pretty sight.

As a foreigner using an angkot you will most certainly get lost once in a while, because the angkot system is so intricate and an overview or map is not available. You have to rely on drivers and other passengers for your information, and even then, miscommunication will make you end up in the opposite direction of where you were planning to go.

Here are some hints that will guide you to some places of interest. There are several main destinations such as Stasiun Hall, meaning the trainstation, Kebun Kelapa, the bus terminal, Jeans street , Dago. Typically the destinations are painted onto the front windows of the van, but that sometimes turns out to be not that reliable. A minivan stating Dago-Kelapa might be going to Kelapa, or just coming from there and thus heading in the opposite direction, to Dago. Luckily the drivers have the habit of shouting their destination relentlessy, but still it's a good idea to double check, and ask the driver to let you know when you need to get off.

After a while you will get the hang of it and be able to notice certain reference points such as Kelapa or Ledeng, where you can find angkots to all different directions. Until that time, learn to get lost...at least as far as money goes you will end up with just about as much as you left, since angkots costs peanuts. Coincidentally you might sometimes feel as if you were a monkey, with all the grinning locals surprised at the sight of a bule in their midst.

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About The Author

Emma Kwee

Emma is a Dutch born and bred Indonesia lover who after years of traveling stranded and lost her heart to the same country her father was born in.

Emma writes for Streetdirectory Indonesia. Robert J Steiner manages Streetdirectory.co.id & FlowerAdvisor.co.id, well known for for online Flowers & Gifts in Indonesia.

She is currently living the good life in Bandung, writing for streetdirectory.com while sipping fresh coconut juice under a palmtree, she's planning on staying put for a while.

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