We’ve made a “mudik (homecoming/return to the village) trip” by road the first time as a big family during Eid al Fitr. Started in Bandung, West Java, we measured a 840-km long road to Lumajang, East Java in a 22-hour non-stop driving trip outbond. our return trip however was not that smooth, 37 hours on road tough it included 7 hours stops at three different cities for visiting extended families.
Eid al-Fitr in Indonesia is akin to Thanksgiving, X-mas and Easter all combined into one. It is a special occasion where special feasts are prepared, religious allowance (bonus) is received, celebration is everywhere, and because of the mudik, airports are packed, roads are traffic-jammed. What else can you expect from literally about 22 millions people doing mudik, moving at the same time within such short duration (few days before Ramadan end)?
Though there are several public transportion options available, skyrocketed prices and flexibility forced most people to rely on their own transport; motorcycle and car. Unfortunately the former option takes its toll: about 900 people died each year from motorcycle accident during mudik.
Back to our mudik, we took southern route as it is normally less crowded than north coastal route. We’ve heard a day before our departure that people got stucked for several hours on northern coastal route. This route is usually used by the Jakartans.
Our southern route passed Garut, Tasikmalaya, and Ciamis on West Java, Kebumen and Purworejo on Central Java, Yogyakarta, and Madiun, Jombang, Mojokerto, Pasuruan and Probolinggo on East Java.
Most roads were in quite good condition, but it is shared-use with motorcycle, spilled market, or local communities activities that hampered smooth driving. Nevertheless it was such a good experience that we could see many different towns and cities, tasted various local cuisines as well as strengthened family bond.