HomeNewsMillions of Indonesians travel in annual Eid exodus

Millions of Indonesians travel in annual Eid exodus

Major seaports and toll roads are packed, while airports and bus terminals are full of travelers looking forward to reuniting with their families

On motorcycles, cars, buses, planes or by boat, millions of Indonesians are traveling to their hometowns in the annual Eid holiday exodus that is expected to peak by Thursday.

Major seaports and toll roads are packed, while airports and bus terminals are also full of travelers looking forward to reuniting with their families.

This year marks the first “mudik,” as the annual exodus is known, since Covid-19 restrictions were removed at the end of 2022 in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

Indonesia’s transport ministry has predicted up to 123 million people will travel for Eid this year, up from 85 million estimated to have made the trip last year.

Some 18 million people are forecast to leave the Greater Jakarta area alone, enduring hours of traffic or congested airports and seaports to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with families.

Authorities have temporarily made some highways leaving the capital one way to ease congestion.

“I’m happy to meet my parents after quite a while and to be able to perform Eid prayer together,” Muhammad Naufal Vadina told AFP by phone on Wednesday.

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He was taking a break during a trip that involves driving more than 350 kilometres (220 miles) from Tangerang on Jakarta’s western outskirts to his wife’s hometown in Central Java.

Some 500 travelers had a rare chance to sail aboard an Indonesian Navy warship, which left Jakarta on Tuesday on a trip that included stops in Semarang in Central Java and Surabaya in the island’s east.

“We found out on Instagram that the Navy has a free ‘mudik’ program using a warship. It was our first time having such a journey,” said 33-year-old passenger Nurul Febryanti.

“It is enjoyable for us because we are provided with a room as we brought our children. The Navy officers are kind and friendly,” Febryanti said.

Hours spent in traffic did not deter others from making the annual trip because they were looking forward to reuniting with loved ones after the pandemic.

“For me, ‘mudik’ and the Eid al-Fitr is why I work to earn money. So it feels less meaningful if I don’t celebrate Eid in my hometown,” said 29-year-old Rahayu Agustini, who was traveling with her relatives to her hometown in West Java.

“Although it is exhausting, I’m still grateful as not all people can have the chance to experience ‘mudik’.”

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