I had spent a lot longer in Indonesia than I had originally anticipated and although I had a great time and met many amazing people it was definitely time to move on to the next country and continue the adventure. Most people ship their bike to Malaysia from Medan, Sumatra but because I had made my Sumatra trip a return journey back to Java I decided to ship direct from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur to avoid back tracking the same roads. I knew the ride from Jogja to Jakarta would be a challenge for one day of riding, it was only 550km but the traffic and road conditions meant that it was a 14 hour ride. The minute you get even remotely close to Jakarta the traffic comes to a standstill, the road was often that packed with cars and scooters that even weaving in and out of the traffic wasn’t an option. I was lucky to meet some local riders amongst the congestion and we took a little time out from the frustratiom of finding a way through the traffic to grab a coffee. These guys were kind enough to accompany me for the next 50 km (about 2 ½ hours) and I must admit the task of finding a path through the clutter of vehicles was a lot more bearable with the company.
I knew that the traffic would only get worse when I was in the city so I planned to stay the night in Bekasi, which was only 30km from Jakarta and do the ride into the city in the early hours of the morning. I hadn’t booked a hotel and by the time I had got into town it was 11pm and I was riding by myself again, I really wasn’t confident that I was going to find somewhere to stay. All of a sudden another local rider came up beside me at some traffic lights and asked to take a photo next to my bike. We talked for a while and I asked if there was any hotels in the area, he said he knew a cheap but good hotel and by the time we arrived 10 minute later a bunch of his motorbike friends there to greet me. This was a great example of the comradery that Indonesian riders share, we talked for a while and took a few photos before I headed up to my room to get some sleep before my 4am start the next day.
All my local friends had advised me to give Jakarta a miss on the motorbike and for good reason, the traffic is an absolute nightmare. Jakarta is the capital city of the worlds most populated island and with a population of around 29 million people in its surrounding areas it is an extremely congested city. The other thing that I found quite difficult to handle was the pollution, I was riding with my visor up because of the heat and at the end of the day my face was black with dirt and my skin broke out in a rash. Fortunately my GPS lead me to the office of my shipping agent without too much of a hassle and after a few hours of sorting out paperwork it was time to leave my baby in the hands of somebody else and for me to jump on a plane to Kuala Lumpur to do some exploring while I eagerly awaited my bikes arrival.