Hati Hati! White people on the streets want to enter your car: Hitchhiking Indonesia

We go hitchhiking in Indonesia because it is the feeling of adventure and the smell of freedom. And because we are students and unpaid interns. Most of our Indonesian friend had told us that we had no chance to manage to trip from Jakarta to Bandung by hitchhiking. It really is not a thing in Indonesia to ask random people for a free ride. But that again we are white people, bules, and we have bule-powers. So to speak they suggested that our skin colour and the opposite of racism might get us a ride or two.

We took position and started juggling and shouting to be absolute sure we would get attention. That sure worked. Juggling bules are rare in Jakarta. However we don’t know if the people passing by look at us as impressive travellers or just see two pale idiots. They have a point either way. And we received all kinds of not helpful reaction from thumbs up, whistles and pictures taken.

“Man, get a bus!” “Take the train, it’s not that expensive.” “Do you accept a donation?” “This is just not possible here and at this time…” And as she spoke so somebody stopped and gave us our first ride. Amazing people took us. They owned restaurants in which they invited us, they told us their stories and showed us Wikipedia articles about their famous kids. Who doesn’t know Zaskia Mecca? And after only a bit of bule-power we got to Bandung for free. Hitchhiking Indonesia works. At least for white people.

rice fields at the streets
rice fields at the streets

Our host Asep, his amazing family and the balloons we brought for them

Andreas Finzel with Balloons


On the way through Bandung we bought balloons for the kids of our host. I guess the idea counts usually. But to bring balloons for a 16 and a 22 year old is rarely appreciated.  We need to ask the next time if the kids are in the age for balloons, beer or bedsheets. Our hosts have been incredible nice people that did not only let us stay for free but gave us food, drinks, company and scooters. I am once more impressed by the kindness of the world which is so rarely reported on.  We took a scooter the first day and with a pretty white girl I set of to try and drive up the rocky streets to a viewpoint. It is impressive what man and scooter can accomplish together. And it is even more special to see how people manage to farm potatoes on fields that seem to be higher in altitude than long in size. It is on us to never complain about stairs again. (Thanks God I have an elevator to get to my apartment in the 23rd floor.) People keep on greeting the girls and invite them to their stalls and shops. At least I get to drive those white stars around.

Children of the Hills.
Children of the Hills.

An Indonesian Volcano and white women kissing Indo boys

Seeing a volcano I expected fire and smoke but turns out that is more a rocks and water kind of thing. And as often the happening around it is actually more interesting than a tourist attraction itself. We have been asked for pictures at least 20 times. Everything is possible from a sneaky picture they think we didn’t realize, selfies with 20 single girls to commercial guides that ask us to take a picture with their group of domestic tourists. “Book a trip to the volcano: Get a bule picture for free!” At some point we decided to turn the game around and our two girls asked on 11 year old school boy for a picture. In front of his whole class they hold him and kissed him on both cheeks. The screams and laughter of his class was so loud we could hardly speak. His teacher awkwardly waited behind the scene. “Me! Next” He said and pointed to his cheeks. “No.”

Watch the teacher in line.
Watch the teacher in line.

The Anklung show and dancing with a way to young Indonesian girl

Apparently those kids don't work

A video posted by Andreas Finzel (@andreasfinzel) on

As we went to see an Anklung show I was so hungry that I ran away to have the fastest Bakso street food I ever had. After my group found the lost boy again we were given what looked like a cheap Bamboo décor element but turned out to be a traditional instrument. They even managed to play Bohemian Rhapsody on that. And they had kids dancing. Not a dozen but 80+ kids from 4 – 18. In the end the kids started to randomly pull some members of the audience and suddenly I find myself hand in hand with an 11 years old. And that does have a weird feeling in the times of sex tourism and child exploiting.  But turns out the kids are students of a music school and we foreigners are the shy nervous ones while they dance around and laugh with their friends about the intimidated tall white people. And at night we drove 90 minutes to the nearby hot springs. (Nearby in Holland is 5 minutes…) In Indonesia it is common to go to the hot springs at night so we arrived at 01:00. And as we lay down in the warm volcano water and looked up through palms onto the full moon and many stars….. I fell asleep. When we left at 03:00 other groups were just getting started.


Read the second part of our Hitchhiking trip to Bandung.


Soundtrack of my life: Coldplay – Up & Up