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

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

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): 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.

Becak, Madura

In terms of getting around, the ubiquitous ojek motorcycle taxis are everywhere. So too are becaks, pictured, the cycle rickshaws offering a calmer alternative compared to their noisier bike cousins. The Grab or Gojek apps work on Madura, although it’s probably best not to rely too heavily on them – but that’s not an issue, because it’s simple enough to organise transport through guest houses and so forth.

Useful things to know 

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.


Madurese language primer

Although Bahasa is widely spoken across Madura it would be useful to have a few indigenous words handy. Deploying a smattering of Madurese will imbue the visitor with further credibility and can provoke excited reactions: our researcher almost made somebody explore with excitement simply by saying ‘thank you’.

Read more: Casco Viejo: The Vibrant Home of Hustle and Bustle in Panama City.

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


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