Bali getting ready for end of Ramadan deluge

We are a few days from the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan. Ramadan seems to get earlier each year because the Muslim calendar has 11 months. When Ramadan end there is a week of celebration in Indonesia known as Idul Fitri, with people returning to their family. Its Indonesia’s Thanksgiving, except motorbikes, cars and trains replace airlines. Foreigners who are trying to book bus or plane tickets in Indonesia around Idul Fitri are in for a nasty shock, the prices have gone through the roof. Also single western men in Bali, looking for love in all the wrong places will be disappointed, as the cash-laden party-girls also go home for a week or two. The thing most of us in Bali notice is the deluge of tourists from Java. All major roads in the Kuta area will be choked with extra cars, driving by people who don’t know the rules. They’ll try to squeeze their SUV 2 abreast down a road wide enough for 1 car and 1 motorbike, its a disaster. Kuta beach will become a playground for family groups from Java, all nice people, but man do we love it when Idul Fitri is over. Here’s more from the Jakarta Post

Indonesians to celebrate end of Ramadan, start cramming bus and train stations

JAKARTA (AP): Indonesia began its annual mass exodus Sunday when millions of people pour out of the major cities to return to their home villages to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Thousands have started crowding bus and train stations in the capital, Jakarta six days before Eid al-Fitr to beat the mass exodus later in the week when buses, cars and motorcycles create massive traffic jams on roads across the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Transport officials estimate that nearly 15 million people will head to their home villages – up 6 percent from last year – for the two day celebration next weekend.

“The exodus through land transportation is expected to reach its peak three days before the Eid al-Fitr,” said senior transportation ministry official Iskandar Abubakar.

Every year, families form long lines at train and bus stations and tens of thousands wait for ferries at seaports around the country that is spread across more than 17,000 islands.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s 235 million people are Muslims.

During the four weeks of Ramadan, Muslims are not supposed to eat, drink or have sex during daylight hours. On the first day of Eid al-Fitr, people flock to early morning prayers and families later gather to eat specially prepared snacks and offer them to friends and neighbors.