Introducing Madura, Part Three: How to Get Around and Speak Madurese (Kind Of)

Sunrise, Pamekasan, Madurese

Pamekasan

(Reminder Editor: Don’t forget to read parts one and two of EITM’s Madurese living guide)

Getting around

While travelling around Madura is simple in theory, in practice it can be trying. There are regular buses but oftentimes they are cramped and sweaty; our researcher spent one journey jammed in the stairwell trying to avoid a sea of vomit on the floor.

Don’t be put off though. While it can be daunting it’s also a communal scene – fellow passengers will always strike up a conversation and there are plenty of smiles going round. As with everywhere else, a few Bahasa phrases go a long way.

Terminal, Pamekasan

Take the following as a (very) rough guide for bus travel:

  • Damri bus from Surabaya airport to Terminal Purabaya/Bungurasih (Surabaya): 25,000R, 30 minutes
  • Terminal Purabaya/Bungurasih (Surabaya) to Bangkalan (Tangkel stop): 40,000R, two-three hours
  • Bangkalan to Sumenep (Terminal Arya Wirajaya): 40,000R, up to eight hours. The traffic outside Bangkalan at weekends or on market days can be heavy
  • Sumenep to Pamekasan (Terminal Ronggosukowati, pictured above,): 15,000R, one hour
  • Pamekasan to Sampang (Terminal Sampang): 15,000R, one hour
  • Sampang to Surabaya (Terminal Terminal Purabaya/Bungurasih : 40,000R, four hours

In addition there’s also an overnight bus from Bangkalan Terminal Bangkalan Ceria to Jakarta.

In terms of getting around, the ubiquitous ojek motorcycle taxis are everywhere. So too are becaks, pictured below, the cycle rickshaws offering a calmer alternative compared to their noisier bike cousins. There is no Grab or Gojek app coverage on Madura.

Becak, Madura

Useful things to know 

Capital: Sumenep

Population: 3.65 million

Language(s): Madurese, Bahasa Indonesia; Basic English understood and spoken

International dialling code: +62

Time: GMT+7

Money: Indonesian rupiah (IDR), currently around 18,360IDR to UK£1. Banks and ATMs can be found in the main towns.

Sumenep

Madurese language primer

Whilst Bahasa is widely spoken across Madura it would be useful to have a few indigenous words handy. Our researcher lost count of the number of times people stared at him in disbelief when he used even a few rudimentary Madurese phrases.

This is by no means a comprehensive list but if, for some reason, you want to know the Madurese for ‘bald’ look no further:

Thank you – Sakalangkong

No problem – Depadeh (artinya)

Excuse me (seeking help) – Ta’ langkong/takalong (similar to ‘permisi’ in Bahasa)

Please (greeting) – Tore lenggi

I want… – Kaule terro

Ask – Atanya ah

Where is… – Edimah…

Assassination Classroom – Kelas ghebei mate e oreng*

Bald – Bhutak

Tall – Tengghi

*No, us neither

Sumenep

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