Purchasing a Vehicle
Students often choose to buy a motorcycle/scooter ("sepeda motor") or even a car ("mobil"). The process is fairly similar. If you choose to purchase a brand new vehicle from a dealer/showroom, you will need to take along your passport (with KITAS). The dealer should give you the STNK (vehicle registration; should always be carried with the vehicle), license plate, BPKB (proof of ownership; should never be kept in the vehicle, also called "buku biru" or blue book), invoice ("faktor"), and receipt ("kwitansi pembayaran"). It takes a week to process and receive the STNK and license plate. It can either be delivered to the dealer on your behalf or preferably your home address in Jogja. It is illegal to drive your vehicle on the road without a license plate and the STNK.
Buying a used vehicle is much easier. Simply pay the previous owner and take the BPKB and STNK from them. Don't forget to get a receipt ("kwitansi pembayaran") in exchange for your money.
The STNK needs to be renewed yearly. There are many shops that will do it on your behalf and you can also ask your satpam or mas kost to do it for you.
Although many Indonesians have an Indonesian driver's license, international students can get by without ever getting one. As long as they have a driver's license from their own country, they can drive in Indonesia. A small bribe (usually Rp. 50k to Rp 100k) is enough for a traffic policeman to ignore the fact that you don't have a valid license. The bribe is two or three times this range if you're also missing the STNK and look like a foreigner.
In an accident, if it is apparent that it was your fault, then you are responsible for your own damages (to your body and your vehicle) and also responsible to pay a sum of money to the other party depending on their demands and your negotiations. It is normal to pay Rp.100,000 to Rp.250,000 for motorcycle accidents and Rp.250,000 to Rp.600,000 for car accidents, but half these amounts if you appear like a local and bargain hard. Even if the police show up, they will prefer if the matter is dealt with in this way rather than them having to do paperwork. They may threaten to do paperwork which they will say is very time consuming unless you meet their demands for bribes.
Even if the other party was at fault and you do not have a driver's license and the STNK in your possession, then the matter will turn against you. It is better to pay the other party and avoid escalating the problem to the police who would want their own bribes.