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Hello and welcome to Indonesian Survival Phrases, brought to you by IndonesianPod101.com This course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Indonesia. You'll be surprised at how far a little Indonesian will go. Now before we jump in, remember to stop by IndonesianPod101.com. And there you’ll find the accompanying PDF and additional info in the post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.
Indonesian Survival Phrases Lesson 24. Riding the Local Transportation
Indonesia has plenty of local public transportation options. Even better still, the transportation options change when you go from one region or island to another, so if you were to make a cross-country trip, you'd probably have a colorful adventure riding on all these types of local public transport. Let's talk about some of these unique modes of transportation.
The first one we'll go over is called the becak, the covered pedicab. The carriage where the passenger sits is located in front of the driver, who drives the becak with a tricycle-like vehicle.
The second one we'll go over is the ojek, which is not so much a separate mode of transport, but a special transportation arrangement. For ojek, you basically pay someone to ride on the back of his or her motorbike. This is especially useful if you yourself do not drive one. In fact, this may be your only option in many of the isolated parts of the country.
The last type I'll describe today is called a bemo or kol, which is a mini-van of sorts. These have set routes, and the fare is usually determined by the distance traveled.
Now that we're familiar with our options, let's make one stop and get on board. In Indonesian, the way to stop a public transport vehicle is Setop, Pak! Let’s break it down by syllable. Se-top, Pak! Let’s hear it once again. Setop, Pak! The first word setop means "stop." Let’s break down this word and hear it one more time Se-top. Setop.This is followed by Pak, which in Indonesian is "sir" or "mister"—virtually all drivers I've seen are male. Pak. Pak. Pak. So all together we have Setop, Pak! which means “Stop, sir!”
Once you've got one stopped, you should ask whether you can get on or not. In Indonesian, the way to do this is by asking: Boleh naik? Let’s break it down by syllable Bo-leh na-ik? Now, let’s hear it again Boleh naik? The first word boleh means "may" or "be permitted to." Let’s break down this word and hear it one more time. Bo-leh. Boleh. This is followed by naik, which in Indonesian is "to get on." Na-ik. Naik. So, altogether we have Boleh naik?, which means "May I get on?"
At this point, the driver may ask you Mau ke mana? Let’s break it down by syllable. Ma-u ke ma-na? Now let’s hear it once again. Mau ke mana? The first word mau means "to want." Let’s break down this word and hear it one more time. Ma-u. Mau. This is followed by ke mana, which in Indonesian is "to go to." Ke mana. Ke mana. So, altogether we have Mau ke mana?, which means “Where do you want to go?”
If you're riding in a bemo or kol, you'll need to ask the driver how much the fare is. In Indonesian, "How much is the fare” is Berapa ongkosnya? Let’s break it down by syllable. Be-ra-pa ong-kos-nya? Now let’s hear it once again Berapa ongkosnya? The first word berapa means "how much." Let’s break down this word and hear it one more time. Be-ra-pa. Berapa. This is followed by ongkosnya, which in Indonesian is "the fare." ongkosnya. ongkosnya. So, altogether we have Berapa ongkosnya?, which means "How much is the fare."
If you’re going by becak or ojek there are no set fares. So you’re gonna have to haggle. After the driver knows about your destination, he will usually make the first offer which will usually be a bit too high you then make your counter offer. You keep on going like this until you and he settle on a reasonable fare. Remember, it is considered extremely bad form for you to re-neg, once you commit to certain fare.
Okay, to close out today’s lesson, we'd like for you to practice what you've just learned. I'll provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you're responsible for saying the Indonesian phrase out loud or in Indonesian, dengan keras. You’ll have a few seconds before I give you the answer, so selamat sukses, that means "good luck!" in Indonesian.
All right so here we go!
“Stop, sir!” (Setop, Pak! Se-top, Pak! Setop, Pak!)
“May I get on?” (Boleh naik? Bo-leh na-ik? Boleh naik?)
“Where do you want to go?” (Mau ke mana? Ma-u ke ma-na? Mau ke mana?)
“How much is the fare?” (Berapa ongkosnya? Be-ra-pa ong-kos-nya? Berapa ongkosnya?)
Alright, that's going to do it for today!
Remember to stop by IndonesianPod101.com and pick up the accompanying PDF. When you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.

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