Renting a Car in Jakarta: How to Avoid the Hassles and Headaches

Local transportation is one of the biggest factors that can make or break your Indonesian escapade. As one of the world’s largest island nation, Indonesia’s beautiful attractions require long road trips by land, hopping from one area to another. Local modes of travelling in this tropical nation range from taxis to shuttle vans to the bigger buses and trains.

In the city of Jakarta, roads have a reputation of being a confusing mess to the unfamiliar visitor, with lots of grids, intersections and unlikely road turns. Many experienced travelers hence do not recommend driving on your own if you are not yet very familiar with the city roads. If, however, you are to insist on renting a car to see the city ‘on your wheels’ or better yet the places outside the metropolis, it is best that you get yourself familiar with the following reminders when renting a car in Jakarta:

First, there are several rules for the traffic and these rules can be very confusing. It’s best to start by asking a local to inform you of the rules of driving in and around Jakarta. For example, there’s a 3-in-1 rule in one of the city’s main highways on weekdays at certain periods wherein a vehicle is required to have a minimum of at least three occupants. The locals have devised a way of addressing this (mostly in the form of ‘additional occupants for hire’ which you can pay for), and there are tons more of such ‘adjustments’.

Likewise, you need to be prepared for the fact that traffic in Jakarta is known to be particularly notorious, with the road jams or ‘macet’ lasting for hours. Traffic is less of a pain once you are outside the city, but this does not always guarantee that the road rules are less confusing in the outskirts.

Second, you can also hire a local driver when renting a car in Jakarta. You have to be prepared, however, to deal with the unconventional way that most Indonesian drivers are known to handle the steering wheel. Hint: they can drive real fast and seemingly without care for traffic rules. The advantage of hiring a chauffeur, however, is that you won’t need to stress over the confusing road maze. Moreover, you will have a guaranteed guide to your intended destinations and a translator in case language becomes a huge obstacle. This is particularly important if you are visiting tourist attractions outside Jakarta.

All potential problems that can crop out from renting your own car can be remedied, however, by merely selecting a reputable car rental agency and doing your own background research before making any choices. There are three main car rental jakarta agencies in Jakarta and you can call them for inquiries and arrangements. Car rental costs are usually pegged at the equivalent rate of two hours when touring in the city, while you have to pay by the distance when going outside Jakarta. Rental cars with wheelchairs for disabled passengers are also available in some services.