Domestic Transportation Methods
Sorted from most to least budget friendly
Hitchhiking is common practice amongst the people here. As a tourist, it is not so common, but very easy to do as well. If you want to maximize your efficiency, by hitchhiking it is suggested to learn expressions in Bahasa Indonesia. Also, you could try going to the police station and ask for a stamped letter confirming your intentions to hitchhike. It is not guaranteed to work in West Timor tho.
Whereas driving a scooter might be a bit overwhelming for the less experienced biker, navigating around West Timor by motorbike is actually more manageable than most destinations in Indonesia. Finding scooter rentals can be a bit challenging, it is suggested to organize this through your accommodation. Tell them beforehand.
In addition to hitchhiking, scooters are a great way to immerse yourself into the landscape around you really. Make sure to drive slowly to enjoy the smiles of locals and don’t hesitate to stop and start conversations or ask for directions.
Paperwork for renting a Scooter:
- Legally speaking, to ride any kind of scooter or motorbike as a foreigner, you need to have an international driver’s license. Practically speaking, this rule is often not enforced. Many travelers don’t follow this rule. If you get busted, the officer will likely ask for a bribe. What happens in these situations is hard to generalize tho, because it really depends on the individual police officer
- The scooter rentals themselves, will usually never ask for an international driver’s license, they will most likely make a copy or ask to take your passport during your rental period.
- Besides helmets, make sure you are given the scooter’s permission slip.
Bemos are comically pimped minivans, blasting techno music through speakers built-into the Interior. A unique, spontaneous transport method enjoyed by most of the locals. Taking at least one bemo ride, while visiting West Timor is highly encouraged.
You will mainly find bemos in the cities. However, sometimes you will see them in unexpected remote places. Tell the driver, where you want to go beforehand and hop in, the typical fare for a ride is 10k..
There are also larger Buses, whose driver will not hesitate to approach you to offer you a ride. They are usually located on the main exit roads of any populated city. In addition to being very cheap, and being able to not worry about navigation, they also allow for inspiring conversations with locals. Some of them even cross the entire country; however it is not possible to drive across the border to East Timor.
Renting a car without a driver is next to impossible for tourists; however you can rent a car with a driver to take you virtually anywhere. Depending on your destination, the driver may have the same value as a guide. If you want to visit tribal villages, renting a car in combination with a local guide is highly encouraged. To get a driver, you could ask your accommodation or ask a taxi driver.
Bluebird doesn’t exist in Kupang. Neither do ridesharing apps, like Uber, Grab or the legendary Go-Jek. Taxies can be found throughout all cities and can also be organized for you at your accommodation. There is an organized taxi counter at the airport, you ask for a price, get a price quote and then pick a number and wait for your driver to approach you. A ride to downtown Kupang should cost 70-80k IDR.