What we call a ‘horse and cart’, dokar used to be the only form of public transport in Indonesia prior to the introduction of cars and buses. They are still fairly popular in the cities and it’s not hard to spot dokar ambling along beside the motorized traffic in the heat of the tropical sun. The cart has just two wheels and a wooden and metal frame with a roof to shelter passengers from the elements. As well as other decorations, the owner ties bells on the horse’s body which jingle when it walks; this sound lets motorists and pedestrians know that it’s nearby.

Seating only two or three people plus a driver, dokar certainly are a leisurely form of transport and can be good way to see Indonesia at a slower pace. Local people with more time on their hands, particularly the elderly, choose to take dokar because they are less expensive than other vehicles.

Being horses that pull these carts is not an easy life because they constantly inhale fumes and they also have to walk long distances carrying passengers and their loads. They wear blinkers so that they are not frightened too easily by the noisy and often intense traffic. But this doesn’t always protect save them from accidents. While injury is not too common, dokar rides are not recommended for animal lovers!

Dokar are found on other islands but have different names. In Java they are called ‘delman’ and in Lombok, here pulled by ponies, they call them ‘cidomo’.

You need to bargain when you ride a dokar, even if you are a local. Be aware that charging tourists or foreigners a higher rate is the norm and you just have to try to bargain for what you consider to be a reasonable price. Adopt a light-hearted attitude and always remember what you might pay for a novelty ride back home.

Copyright@ Kulture Kid 2006
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