Map of train and ferry routes in Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java and Bali
 

Buy train tickets

Train travel on Java...

An excellent train system links all the main cities on Java, including Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya, Probolinggo (for Mt Bromo) and Banyuwangi (the ferry terminal for Bali).  Trains are cheap, comfortable and air-conditioned, the ideal way to get around.  Bookings are computerised and can be made up to 90 days in advance.  Indonesian trains run on narrow-gauge 3' 6" tracks, but are pretty fast and usually very punctual.  The Indonesian for train is Kereta Api - literally 'fire carriage'...:

  How to buy tickets

  Eksekutif, Bisnis & Ekonomi class explained

  Luggage on trains

  Food, drink & travel tips

  A train ride from Jakarta to Bali in pictures

  Jakarta airport train link

  Recommended hotels on Java & Bali

  Useful country information: Visas, currency, etc.

Times & fares for key routes...

  Jakarta - Surabaya

  Jakarta - Bandung

  Jakarta - Yogyakarta & Solo

  Yogyakarta - Solo

  Bandung - Yogyakarta - Solo - Surabaya

  Surabaya - Probolinggo - Banyuwangi (for Bali)

Sumatra & Bali...

It's easy to travel by train & ferry between Java and Bali, or Java & Sumatra.

  Java to Bali by train & ferry

  Java to Sumatra by train & ferry

  Train travel on Sumatra

Other routes...

  Ferries to Borneo, Sulawesi & Papua

  How to travel by ferry between Singapore or Malaysia & Indonesia

  How to travel overland between Europe & SE Asia

Route map...

Map of train and ferry routes in Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java and Bali

Click here for a more detailed map of train routes & stations on Java


Useful country information

Train operator in Indonesia:

PT Kereta Api - website www.kai.id.

 

Ferry operator in Indonesia:

 

Pelni - www.pelni.co.id

Time zone:

Java & Sumatra GMT+7, Bali & central Indonesia GMT+8

Eastern Indonesia GMT+9.

Dialling code:

 

+62

Currency:

£1 = approx 17,500 rupiah;  $1 = 13,000 rupiah.  Currency converter

Tourist information:

www.indonesia-tourism.com.

Hotels

 

Search hotels in Indonesia

Flights:

 

Search flights to Indonesia

Visas:

Citizens of many countries including the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand & Singapore do not require a visa for stays of up to 30 days.  Some other nationalities including Australia can get a tourist visa on arrival for a stay of up to 30 days.  You must enter through a major airport or designated seaport and a return or onward ticket is required, see www.indonesianembassy.org.uk for details.

Page last updated:

14 November 2018


Train travel on Java

Route map...

How to check train times & fares...

How to buy tickets...

Option 1, buy tickets online at tiket.kereta-api.co.id, only Indonesian credit cards accepted...

Option 2, buy tickets online at www.tiket.com, recommended...

Tiket.com confirmation  

Booking confirmation received from www.tiket.com with booking reference and QR barcode...

 

You must exchange this for an orange boarding pass at the station.

Option 3, buy tickets at Indomaret convenience stores...

Indomaret convenience store   Ticket selling terminal

Many though not all Indomaret stores have these terminals...

 

Ticket terminal...

Option 4, buy tickets at the station...

Train ticket office at Gambir   Self-service ticket machines

The north concourse ticket office at Jakarta Gambir.  You'll usually find a desk with pens & blank booking forms nearby, fill one out before going to the window.

 

The desk with pens & blank booking forms at Banyuwangi Bari ticket office, together with a self-service ticket machine which accepts banknotes...

Important Orange boarding passes...

Train check-in machines, Jakarta Gambir   Train check-in counters, Surabaya Gubeng

1.  Check-in to get your orange boarding pass by scanning your QR barcode or typing in your booking reference.  These are the check-in counters at Jakarta Gambir (above left) and more basic ones at Yogyakarta (above right)...

ID check gate at Jakarta Gambir   Checking passports & boarding passes at Jakarta Gambir

2.  ID check before accessing platforms.  Your orange boarding pass is scanned (beep!) and your passport checked at the entrance gate to the platforms.  This is the South Concourse departures gate at Jakarta Gambir...

On board Indonesian trains...

Eksekutif, Bisnis & Ekonomi class...

Eksekutif class train seats   Bisnis class train seats

Eksekutif class...

 

Bisnis class...

Power sockets on the Argo Dwipangga   Ekonomi class train seats

Power sockets in all classes, European 2-pin type.

 

Ekonomi class...

Luggage allowance 20Kg...

Luggage scales at Jakarta Gambir   Overhead luggage racks on an indonesian train   Suitcases can go behind the rear seats

Luggage limit sign at Gambir.

 

Luggage goes on the overhead racks...

 

Or behind the rearmost seats...

Food & drink...

Preparing the microwaved tray means on train 102, the Ranggajati   Typical Indonesian train food

Orders taken, staff start the complex process of microwaving batches of rice and meat then restoring them to the plastic trays.  This is train 102, the Ranggajati.

 

A typical microwaved tray meal.  Chicken (ayam), rice (nasi) and beans.  Tastier than it looks and only around Rp 30,000, about $2.50.

Travel tips...

Indonesian train seat plan

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Jakarta Soekarno–Hatta International airport train...

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Jakarta to Semarang & Surabaya...

A range of trains links Jakarta with Surabaya, but the best train is the Argo Bromo Anggrek, Eksekutif class only, modern and powerfully air-conditioned.  It has comfortable reclining seats with footrests and a catering car.  There is both a daytime service and a time-effective overnight service, although the night trains have no sleepers - these disappeared from Indonesian trains in the 1990s.  On the plus side, Eksekutif class seats recline to a good 30 degrees.

 Jakarta ► Surabaya

Train number:

2

144

178

78

44

48

4

Classes:

Eks

Eko

Eko

Eks,Bis,Eko

Eks

Eks

Eks

 Jakarta Gambir depart

09:30

-

-

-

16:45

19:15

21:30

 Jakarta Pasar Senen depart

|

13:00

14:00

15:45

|

|

|

 Semarang arrive/depart

15:09

(via Y)

21:08

22:47

(via Y)

01:35

03:09

 Surabaya Pasar Turi arrive

18:30

00:05

01:40

02:56

|

05:35

06:30

 Surabaya Gubeng arrive

-

00:35

-

-

05:48

-

-

 Surabaya ► Jakarta

Train number:

1

143

77

43

47

3

177

Classes:

Eks

Eko

Eks,Bis,Eko

Eks

Eks

Eks

Eko

 Surabaya Gubeng depart

-

13:49

 

17:00

-

-

-

 Surabaya Pasar Turi depart

08:00

14:15

15:30

|

17:50

20:00

21:00

 Semarang arrive/depart

11:30

(via Y)

19:55

(via Y)

22:00

23:30

01:42

 Jakarta Pasar Senen arrive

|

01:34

02:31

|

|

|

08:40

 Jakarta Gambir arrive

17:00

-

-

05:29

04:15

04:57

-

Shaded = the best quality trains, recommended.  There are no sleepers on the overnight trains, only reclining seats.

The station in Semarang is Semarang Tawang.   See map of Jakarta showing stations

You can check train times & fares using www.tiket.com (in English) or tiket.kereta-api.co.id (in Indonesian).

(via Y) = runs via Yogyakarta & Solo, not Semarang, see route map at top of page.

Trains 1, 2, 3 & 4 are the Argo Bromo Anggrek (the Bromo Orchid), Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.  In addition to regular Eksekutif class seats these trains now have one car of Eksekutif Luxury class with 18 flatbed seats, similar to airline business class flatbed seats, the closest thing to a sleeper on any Indonesian overnight train, see above.

Trains 43 & 44 are the Bima, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned

Trains 47 & 48 are the Sembrani, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 71 & 72 are the Bangunkarta, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 77 & 78 are the Gumarang, Eksekutif, Bisnis & Ekonomi class, air-conditioned.

Trains 143 & 144 are the Jayabaya, Ekonomi class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 177 & 178 are the Kertajaya, Ekonomi class only, air-conditioned.

Jakarta to Surabaya is 725 km, 450 miles.

 How much does it cost?

 Approx one-way fare in rupiah

Eksekutif Luxury

Eksekutif

Bisnis

Ekonomi

 Jakarta - Surabaya

1,250,000

485,000

340,000

260,000

£1 = approx 17,500 rupiah;  $1 = 13,000.  Prices vary by date & train, check fares at tiket.kereta-api.co.id or www.tiket.com.

Children under 3 travel free, no ticket required.  Passengers 3 and over count as adults.

Prices vary, with cheaper fares if you pre-book, for example Eksekutif class from Rp 250,000.

How to buy tickets:  At the station, at Indomaret minimarkets or online at Tiket.com as shown here.

A journey on the Argo Bromo Anggrek...

The Argo Bromo Anggrek (the Bromo Orchid) is Indonesia's premier train, linking Java's two largest cities in 9 hours at a creditable average speed of 80 km/h (50mph) start to stop on its narrow gauge tracks.  The train keeps up a relentless 110 km/h (75 mph) between the few stops it makes, hooting ceaselessly at each level crossing, speeding non-stop through most smaller stations on its 9 hour dash - the same journey would take 15 hours by road.  As you pass through each station, look for the station master in his red and gold hat, standing to attention outside his office watching the train pass through.  The countryside is largely flat, rice paddies, villages, towns, palms and the occasional mosque.  After Semarang there's a brief stretch where the train skirts the Java Sea, and around Cirebon you'll see the vast shadow of Mt Cereme in the distance to the south, its summit usually hidden by cloud.  It's an active volcano and the highest point in west Java.

Train 1, Argo Bromo Aggrek at Surabaya Pasar Turi

Indonesia's premier train, train 1 the Argo Bromo Anggrek, is ready to leave Surabaya on its 9 hour dash to Jakarta...

Refreshment trolley   Driver of the train to Jakarta about the leave Surabaya

The trolley serving tea, coffee, soft drinks, crisps & tray meals.

 

The driver of the Argo Bromo Anggrek is ready to go...

Eksekutif class seats on the Argo Bromo Anggrek

Eksekutif class on the Argo Bromo Anggrek, comfortable and powerfully air-conditioned...

Catering car on the Argo Bromo Anggrek   Passing Semarang

The catering car on the Argo Bromo Anggrek...

Semarang...

Coastline seen from the train   Rice fields

The train briefly skirts the Java Sea...

 

Rice, rice and more rice...

Rice fields and Mt Cereme seen from the train

Around Cirebon you'll see the imposing shadow of Mt Cereme to the south, an active volcano & highest point in West Java.

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Jakarta to Bandung...

There is a train every hour or two from Jakarta Gambir station to Bandung, with Eksekutif & Bisnis class, taking about 3 hours 10 minutes for the 173 km, fare about 100,000 Rupiah in Eksekutif, 80,000 in Ekonomi.  See www.kereta-api.co.id or www.tiket.com to check times & fares for your date.

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Jakarta to Yogyakarta & Solo...

Jakarta may be Java's capital, but Yogyakarta, known locally at Yogya, is its heart.  Solo, also known as Surakarta, is Yogya's long-standing rival an hour to the east.  Both cities should feature on any sensible trip to Java.  It's easy to travel from Jakarta to Yogya or Solo by comfortable air-conditioned train, indeed it's the best way.

 Jakarta ► Yogyakarta & Solo

 

 Solo & Yogyakarta ► Jakarta

Train number:

136

154

10

52

44

8

Train number:

117

151

51

7

43

Classes:

Bis

Eko

Eks

Eks

Eks

Eks

Classes:

Bis

Eko

Eks

Eks

Eks

 Jakarta Gambir depart

-

-

08:00

08:30

16:30

20:15

 Solo depart

-

-

-

08:00

20:58

 Jakarta Pasar Senen depart

06:15

06:45

|

|

|

|

 Yogyakarta depart

07:00

09:07

08:00

08:57

22:00

 Yogyakarta arrive

14:35

14:55

15:35

16:25

00:40

03:48

 Jakarta Pasar Senen arrive

15:06

17:29

|

|

|

 Solo arrive

-

-

16:35

-

01:39

04:45

 Jakarta Gambir arrive

-

-

15:42

16:27

05:43

Shaded = the best quality recommended trains.  See map of Jakarta showing stations

There are no sleepers on the overnight trains, only reclining seats.

The station in Yogyakarta is Tugu Yogyakarta.  The station in Solo is Solobalapan.  Jakarta Gambir is listed as Gambir

You can check train times & fares using www.tiket.com (in English) or tiket.kereta-api.co.id (in Indonesian).

Train 7 & 8 is the Argo Lawu, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Train 10 is the Argo Dwipangga, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 43 & 44 are the Bima, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 51 & 52 are the Taksaka Pagi, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 117 & 118 are the Fajar Utama, Bisnis class only, air-conditioned.

Train 151 is the Bogowonto, Ekonomi class only, air-conditioned.

Train 154 is the Gajahwong, Ekonomi class only, air-conditioned.

Jakarta to Yogyakarta is 522 km, 326 miles.

 How much does it cost?

 Approx one-way fare in rupiah

Eksekutif class

Bisnis class

Ekonomi

 Jakarta - Yogyakarta

300,000

170,000

150,000

£1 = approx 17,500 rupiah;  $1 = 13,000.  Prices vary by date & train, check fares at www.kereta-api.co.id or www.tiket.com.

Children under 3 travel free, no ticket required.  Passengers 3 and over count as adults.

How to buy tickets:  At the station, at Indomaret minimarkets or online at Tiket.com as shown here.

A journey on the Argo Dwipangga...

Approaching Cirebon you'll see the vast shadow of Mt Cereme in the distance to the south, its summit usually hidden by cloud.  It's an active volcano and the highest point in west Java.  The nicest part of the journey from Jakarta to Yogya or Solo comes beyond Cirebon, where the train slows right down and snakes through gentle hills, past rice paddies nestling in narrow valleys amongst the jungle...

Train 10, Argo Dwipangga about to leave Jakarta Gambir   Steward selling tea & coffee

Train 5, the Argo Dwipangga boarding at Jakarta Gambir...

 

Refreshments on board...

Eksekutif class seats on the Argo Dwipangga

Eksekutif class seating on the Argo Dwipangga, one of the new air-conditioned trainsets introduced in 2016.  The Bima, Argo Lawu & Argo Dwipangga have similar new trainsets like this

Locomotive at the fron of the Argo Dwipangga at Gambir   The catering car on the Argo Dwipangga

The Argo Dwipangga ready to leave Gambir...

 

Buffet car on the Argo Dwipangga...

Rice fields and Mt Cereme seen from the train

Around Cirebon you'll see the imposing shadow of Mt Cereme to the south, an active volcano & highest point in West Java.  See more photos of this journey.

Watch the video...

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Yogyakarta to Solo...

These two Javan cities are only an hour apart by train.  Both are key stops on the tourist trail, Yogya is a must-see and Solo is well worth visiting.  You can see Solo as a day trip from Yogyakarta by train if you like.  There are two options for travel between Yogya & Solo:

Interior of Prameks train   Prameks train at Yogyakarta

Inside a Prameks local train...

 

The way to go!  A Prameks local train at Yogyakarta...

Prameks train   Prameks ticket office, Yogyakarta

The trains are clearly marked Prameks...

 

The Prameks ticket office in Yogyakarta...

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Bandung - Yogyakarta - Solo - Surabaya...

 Bandung Yogyakarta, Solo ► Surabaya

Train number:

84

102

80

6

86

92

44

112

50

Classes:

Eks,Eko

Eks,Bis

Eks,Bis

Eks

Eks,Eko

Eks,Bis,Eko

Eks

Eks,Bis

Eks

 Bandung depart

-

-

07:20

08:30

-

15:45

-

16:50

19:30

 Yogyakarta arrive

-

-

15:12

15:52

-

00:00

-

01:23

03:25

 Yogyakarta depart

06:45

09:56

-

16:02

16:40

-

00:52

01:38

03:30

 Solo (Surakarta) arr/dep

07:41

10:52

-

16:51

17:35

-

01:44

02:35

04:24

 Surabaya Gubeng arrive

11:37

15:27

-

20:19

21:55

-

05:38

06:24

08:12

 Probolinggo arrive

-

18:14

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 Surabaya ► Solo, Yogyakarta Bandung

Train number:

79

5

83

101

49

43

91

111

Classes:

Eks,Bis

Eks

Eks,Eko

Eks,Bis

Eks

Eks

Eks,Bis,Eko

Eks,Bis

 Probolinggo depart

-

-

-

06:50

-

-

-

-

 Surabaya Gubeng depart

-

07:00

07:30

09:15

16:30

17:00

-

19:00

 Solo (Surakarta) arr/dep

-

10:30

11:53

13:26

20:32

20:58

-

23:13

 Yogyakarta arrive

-

11:18

12:45

14:31

21:19

21:46

-

00:00

 Yogyakarta depart

08:08

11:25

-

-

21:25

-

23:30

00:15

 Bandung arrive

15:48

19:06

-

-

05:04

-

07:48

08:33

The station in Yogyakarta is Tugu Yogyakarta.  The station in Solo is Solobalapan.

Probolinggo is the usual railhead for visiting Mt Bromo.

You can check train times & fares using www.tiket.com (in English) or tiket.kereta-api.co.id (in Indonesian).

There are no sleeping-cars, night trains just have reclining seats.

Trains 5 & 6 are the Argo Wilis, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 43 & 44 are the Bima, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 49 & 50 are the Turangga, Eksekutif class only, air-conditioned.

Trains 79 & 80 are the Lodaya, Eksekutif & Bisnis class, air-conditioned.

Trains 83, 84, 86 are Sancaka, Eksekutif & Ekonomi class, air-conditioned.

Trains 91 & 92 are the Malabar, Eksekutif, Bisnis & Ekonomi classes, air-conditioned.

Trains 101 & 102 are the Ranggajati, Eksekutif & Bisnis class, air-conditioned.

Trains 111 & 112 are the Mutiara Selatan, Eksekutif & Bisnis class, air-conditioned.

Bandung to Surabaya is 696 km, 435 miles.  Yogyakarta to Surabaya is 308 km, 193 miles. 

 How much does it cost?

 Approx one-way fare in rupiah

Eksekutif class

Bisnis class

Ekonomi class

 Bandung - Surabaya

385,000

325,000

-

 Bandung - Yogyakarta

310,000

215,000

140,000

 Yogyakarta - Surabaya

280,000

205,000

-

£1 = approx 17,500 rupiah;  $1 = 13,000.  Prices vary by date & train, check fares at tiket.kereta-api.co.id or www.tiket.com.

Children under 3 travel free, no ticket required.  Passengers 3 and over count as adults.

How to buy tickets:  At the station, at Indomaret minimarkets or online at Tiket.com as shown here.

Traveller William Bernstein reports:  "The Argo Wilis is one of the world's great trains in terms of scenery, particularly the first 100 km east of Bandung; if Bali had a railroad, this is what the scenery would look like.  Reserving in advance wasn't really necessary, service was about on a level with a local European second class train."

Traveller Edmund Carew travelled Surabaya-Bandung on the Argo Wilis:  "The aircon trains were only 50 to 75 per cent full: it was incredibly easy to book, with no queues at Surabaya or Bandung.  However, third class trains around Surabaya were packed as were local trains on the 'snappy' Bogor line from Jakartakota station.  The Indonesian railways make a real effort to run on time.  Mostly they seem to be no more than 15 minutes late, which is good although schedules between Surabaya and Bandung (hilly last bits) was only an average speed of 57 - 58 km/h."

Traveller William Bernstein reports:  "The Yogyakarta -Surabaya train was squeaky clean, the service was exquisite and the scenery as gorgeous as from the Bandung-Surabaya train.  The Indonesians have definitely upgraded their system, and particularly their day trains, from what we’ve seen, over the past 40 years."

A journey on the Ranggajati...

Train 102 Ranggajati at Solo Balapan

Train 102, the Ranggajati calls at Solobalapan.

Eksekutif seats on the Ranggajati   Bisnis class seats on the Ranggajati

Eksekutif class on the Ranggajati...

 

Bisnis class on the Ranggajati...

More rice fields

Rice fields from the train.  See more photos of this journey.

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Surabaya - Probolinggo - Banyuwangi (for Bali)

The railway linking Surabaya with Probolinggo (the usual jumping-off point for Mt Bromo) and Banyuwangi (the ferry terminal for Bali) is a very enjoyable ride, snaking through eastern Java's rice fields and jungle.  For the ferry connections to Bali, see the next section Also see the video below.

 Surabaya ► Banyuwangi

 

 Banyuwangi ► Surabaya

Train number:

213

87

194

102

89

Train number:

101

193

88

214

 90

Class:

Eko

Eks,Bis

Eko

Eks,Bis

Eks,Bis

 

Eks,Bis

Eko

Eks,Bis

Eko

Eks,Bis

 Surabaya Gubeng depart

04:25

09:00

14:00

16:15

22:00

 Banyuwangi Baru depart

-

06:30

09:00

13:50

22:00

 Probolinggo arrive/depart

06:44

11:04

16:20

18:14

23:58

 Probolinggo arrive/depart

06:50

11:00

13:24

19:02

02:22

 Banyuwangi Baru arrive

11:40

15:20

20:50

-

04:15

 Surabaya Gubeng arrive

08:45

13:01

15:17

21:08

04:17

Shaded = recommended trains.

You can check train times & fares using www.tiket.com (in English) or tiket.kereta-api.co.id (in Indonesian).

Trains 87, 88, 89 & 90 = Mutiara Timur (Eastern Pearl), Eksekutif & Bisnis class, all air-conditioned.  Recommended train.

Trains 101, 102 = Ranggajati, Eksekutif & Bisnis class, runs to/from Solo & Yogyakarta.

Train 193, 194 = Sri Tanjung, Ekonomi class only, air-conditioned.

Train 213, 214 = Probowangi, Ekonomi class only, air-conditioned.

Fare:  Surabaya to Banyuwangi costs around 105,000 rupiah (£8 or $13) in Eksekutif, 75,000 rupiah (£6 or $9) in Bisnis. 

How to buy tickets:  At the station, at Indomaret minimarkets or online at Tiket.com as shown here.

A journey on the Mutiara Timur...

Mutiara Timur en route from Surabaya to Banyuwangi

The eastbound Mutiara Timur at Probolinggo, on its way to Banyuwangi to meet the ferry to Bali...

Eksekutif seats on the Mutiara Timur   Bisnis class seats on the Mutiara Timur

Eksekutif class on the Mutiara Timur...

 

Bisnis class on the Mutiara Timur...

Great scenery from the train in eastern Java

In eastern Java the scenery just keeps on coming:  Jungle, hills, rice paddies, palms, bananas, villages. See more photos of this journey.

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Ferry connections to Bali

Surabaya or Probolinggo to Bali by train + ferry, easy, cheap & fun...

Take a comfortable air-conditioned train from Surabaya to Banyuwangi Baru station at the eastern tip of Java.  It's then a 350m 5-minute walk from the station to Ketapang ferry terminal, from where ferries sail every 15 minutes to Gilimanuk on Bali, crossing time just 45 minutes.  Buses run from Gilimanuk to Bali's capital Denpasar, or you can take a taxi or get your hotel to arrange a transfer from Gilimanuk to anywhere on Bali.  See the video guide here.

This is safe, comfortable, cheap, and easy to arrange.  The train needs a reservation, but you can buy the ferry ticket at the ferry terminal and just find a bus or taxi on arrival at Gilimanuk.  With great scenery on the train ride through eastern Java, this is the best way to travel from cities on Java to anywhere on Bali.  Feedback if you travel to Bali this way would be appreciated.

Surabaya & Probolinggo ► Bali

Bali ► Probolinggo & Surabaya

Java to Bali in pictures...

Train arrived at Banyuwangi station   Banyuwangi Baru station

1.  The Mutiara Timur (see photos in the section above) arrives at Banyuwangi Baru station.  Walk forward, the station exit (keluar) is on the far side of the station building in the background of the photo above left.

Ketapang ferry terminal   Ketapang ferry ticket office

2.  Walk 150m directly away from Banyuwangi Baru station down the station approach road, turn right onto the main road and walk another 150m.  The ferry terminal is on your left on the far side of the road (pictured above left), see it on Google Maps.  Or you can take a taxi or cycle rickshaw.  Walk into the passengers entrance (marked by the blue arrow above), along the retail tunnel to the ticket office (pictured above right)...

Ferry to Bali boarding at Ketapang   Seats on the ferry

3.  Ferries sail every 15 minutes around the clock.  Board the next ferry via the car ramp and go upstairs into the passenger area.  There's a kiosk selling water, drinks, biscuits & crisps.

Crossing by ferry from Java to Bali

4,  Bali ahead!  The crossing takes just 45 minutes...

Ferry arrived at Gilimanuk on Bali

5.  Arrival at Gilimanuk on Bali...  The bus terminal is right next to the ferry terminal for buses to Denpasar.  See more photos of this journey.

Watch the video...

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Ferry connections to Sumatra

Java to Sumatra by train & ferry for $6...

It's easy to travel between Java and Sumatra by train  & ferry, it's incredibly cheap, safe, a real experience, and no prior reservation or planning is necessary.  You take a train the 151 km from Jakarta to the port of Merak from where ferries sail to Bakauheni on the southern tip of Sumatra every 20 minutes around the clock taking between 90 & 120 minutes.  A local bus or taxi will then take you the 94km from Bakauheni to the main southern Sumatra town of Bandar Lampung in about 90 minutes.  Once in Bandar Lampung, there's a twice-daily train to Palembang.  Here are the details, feedback if you travel this route would be appreciated.

Jakarta ► Bandar Lampung (Sumatra)

Bandar Lampung (Sumatra) ► Jakarta

The journey in pictures...

 

Jakarta Tanah Abeng station...

 

1.  Take a suburban train from Tanah Abeng to Rangkasbitung.

2.  Take an Ekonomi class local train from Rangkasbitung to Merak.  This is the train at Merak station.  photos above & below courtesy of Dennis Nicoll.

 

Ekonomi class seats on the train to Merak.

 

End of the line, all change for Sumatra!  This is Merak Station.

If you take this route and get photos of the ferry, ferry journey or bus to Bandar Lampung, please email me!

Train & bus travel on Sumatra...

There are a handful of train services in Sumatra, but no system covering the whole island.  See map of Sumatra.  There's a twice-daily train to Palembang from Bandar Lampung, although just to confuse you the station at Bandar Lampung is known as Tanjungkarang-Telukbetung, its former name, even though it's been known as Bandar Lampung since 1983 - and Palembang station is usually referred to as Kertapati.  See the timetable below.  You can travel by bus from Palembang to Padang.  It's 900km, one bus daily, probably overnight, but no information is available on the bus times.

 Bandar Lampung ► Palembang

 Both trains run every day...

S2

S8

 Bandar Lampung = Tanjungkarang depart

21:00

08:30

 Palembang = Kertapati arrive

08:58

18:15

 Palembang ► Bandar Lampung

 Both trains run every day...

S7

S1

 Palembang = Kertapati depart

08:30

21:00

 Bandar Lampung = Tanjungkarang arrive

19:41

09:05

Trains S1, S2 run overnight with Eksekutif class reclining seats & Bisnis class seats, air-conditioned. 

Trains S7, S8 run by day with comfortable Ekonomi class seats, air-conditioned.

The station in Bandar Lampung is usually referred to as Tanjungkarang even though the town has been known as Bandar Lampung since 1983, and the station in Palembang is usually referred to as Kertapati.

Palembang's Kertapati station.  That's train S7 to Bandar Lampung on the left.  These photos courtesy of Dennis Nicoll.

 

Train S7 from Palembang to Bandar Lampung...

 

Comfortable Ekonomi seats on train S7.

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Borneo, Sulawesi & Papua

Ferries between Java and Borneo...

Ferries run by www.pelni.co.id link Tanjong Priok (near Jakarta) with Pontianak on Borneo, also Semarang (Java) with Ketapang, Kumai & Sampit (Borneo), and Surabaya (Java) with Sampit, Kumai or Batulicin (Borneo), with each route operating on a handful of dates each month, see www.pelni.co.id.  Here is a Pelni ferry route map, dating from 2006 but still useful:  upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ commons/a/a6/Pelni_Schifffahrtsnetz_2006.png.

Ferries between Java and Sulawesi, Java & Papua...

Ferries run by www.pelni.co.id link various ports on Java with various ports on Sulawesi and Papua, see www.pelni.co.id.  This Pelni ferry route map dates from 2006 but is still useful:  upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ commons/a/a6/Pelni_Schifffahrtsnetz_2006.png.

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Getting to Indonesia by ferry

Singapore or Malaysia to Jakarta by PELNI ferry...

You can travel between Singapore and Jakarta by ferry, with a change of ferry at Pulau Batam, an Indonesian island just off Singapore.  The service operates once a week.  This Penli ferry route map may be useful, even if outdated!

Singapore or Johor Bahru ► Jakarta

Jakarta ► Singapore or Johor Bahru 

Ferry fares & on-board accommodation...

How to buy ferry tickets...

Travellers' reports...

The Pelni ferry 'm/v Kelud' from Pula Batam to Jakarta...   Economy class sleeping area on the Pelni ferry m/v Kelud to Java

The ferry m/v Kelud about to sail from Sekupang to JakartaPhoto courtesy of Stephen Choi and Chloe Rayfield, see their blog about this ferry ride...

 

Economy class sleeping area.  First class cabins are also available.,. Photo courtesy of Stephen Choi and Chloe Rayfield, see their blog about this ferry ride...

Penang (Malaysia) to Medan (Sumatra, Indonesia)

Europe to Indonesia without flying?

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Hotels in Indonesia

    

Favourite hotel search & price comparison: hotelscombined.com

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It's been named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site in the World Travel Awards and I recommend it to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling the same hotel for less.

Favourite hotel booking site: www.booking.com

www.booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site, and unless HotelsCombined throws up major price differences I prefer doing my bookings in one place here. 

You can usually book with free cancellation - this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when putting a trip together.

Recommended hotel in Jakarta:  The Hermitage

It's strange, but all the sights visitors want to see in Jakarta such as those in Old Batavia are to the north of Merdeka Square, when all the decent tourist class hotels are to the south, with nothing you'd want to see within walking distance.  But until someone opens a decent place walking distance from Old Batavia, I recommend the wonderful Hermitage in the popular Menteng district just south of Gambir station.  It's a fabulous hotel which only opened in 2016, with great staff, great food, free WiFi, free gym, a cigar lounge and an excellent rooftop pool & bar.  The front building has been converted from a lovely Dutch colonial PTT (Post, Telephone & Telegraph) office built in 1943 with a new 9-floor building behind it containing the rooms and rooftop pool.  The art deco design has been carried through the hotel with acres of white marble, this place is utter luxury but as this it's Indonesia a stay here is more affordable that you'd think.

The Hermitage Hotel, Jakarta   Suite at the Hermitage

The Hermitage, converted from a Dutch colonial PTT office built in 1943...

 

Double room at the Hermitage, in art deco style with acres of white marble.

Cigar lounge, Hermitage Hotel Jakarta   Rooftop terrace, pool & bar, Hermitage Hotel Jakarta

The cigar lounge...

 

Rooftop terrace, above the rooftop pool & bar...

Recommended hotel in Yogyakarta:  The Phoenix Hotel

The venerable Phoenix Hotel is the place to stay in Yogyakarta.  A landmark since 1918, the main building was originally the home of a wealthy merchant which became the residence of the Chinese consul after World War 2 before being converted into a hotel.  The hotel has bags of quirky character, friendly staff and is excellently located, 15 minutes walk or 5 minutes by taxi from Yogyakarta station.  There's free WiFi and an excellent swimming pool - it's worth paying a little extra for the pool-view rooms which have balconies overlooking the pool.

Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta   Deluxe pool view room at the Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel, Yogyakarta...

 

Deluxe pool view room, with balcony.

Phoenix Hotel pool   Phoenix Hotel restaurant

The pool...

 

Restaurant:  Part open, part covered, part inside.

Recommended hotel in Surabaya The Majapahit Hotel

In Surabaya, the place to stay is the historic Majapahit Hotel.  Don't argue, trust me on this.  I'll give you three reasons.  First, it's easily the best place in town, a true oasis amongst the tower blocks with elegant suites opening onto colonnades surrounding gardens with fountains.  They simply don't make hotels like this any more.  Great staff, two great restaurants, free WiFi, spa, and a good swimming pool.  Second, this old-world charm is no accident.  This is no ordinary hotel, it's a genuine Sarkies Brothers hotel like Raffles in Singapore, the E&O in Penang and the Strand in Rangoon.  It was opened in 1911 as the Hotel Oranje by Lucas Martin Sarkies, son of Martin Sarkies, co-founder of Raffles in Singapore.  But whereas Raffles costs upwards of £400 a night, a very similar suite at the Majapahit can be yours for £80.  Like I said, don't argue, and if you're on a budget splurge here.  But there's a third reason.  There is Indonesian history here - the Flag Incident of September 1945 is a key event in the history of Indonesian independence and it occurred right here at the Hotel Majapahit (at that period called the Hotel Yamato) in Room 33 and on the left-hand lobby flag tower, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Surabaya.  I couldn't resist staying in a bit of history - on our way back through Surabaya I contacted the hotel and upgraded our room to the Merdeka Suite, the famous Room 33.  Though I still don't know if Dutchman W.V.Ch.Ploegman met his end inside or outside that room.  The Sarkies Suite next door (room 32) is the room that was reserved for the Sarkies family when they stayed.

Hotel Majapahit, the former Hotel Oranje

Hotel Majapahit, formerly the Oranje Hotel.  These art deco buildings were added at the front in 1936, their inauguration attended by Charlie Chaplin and writer Joseph Conrad amongst others...

Hotel majapahit, an oasis in the city   Typical suite at the Hotel Majapahit

An oasis in the city.  They don't build hotels like this any more...

 

Just a regular suite...

The original 1910 building today   The Hotel Oranje as was

The original building of 1910 is still there behind the 'new' art deco buildings of 1936.  The original towers were demolished when the 1936 buildings were added.

The Flag Incident tower, 2017   The Flag Incident tower, 1945   Majapahit Hotel, formerly Yamato Hotel, room 33

The Flag Incident, September 1945...

 

Inside room 33, where it all kicked off in 1945...

Hotels in Banyuwangi, Ketapang, Gilimanuk...

If you want to stop overnight on a journey between Java and Bali, you'll find more hotels in Ketapang on the Javan side of the Strait of Bali than a Gilimanuk on the Bali side, though the choice still isn't great.  For somewhere half decent with free WiFi, a good swimming pool and (albeit somewhat characterless) rooms set in gardens, try the Ketapang Indah Hotel about 2km south of Ketapang ferry terminal, just off the main road.

Hotels on Bali:  Bloo Lagoon Eco Village...

There are many resort towns on Bali, some better for surfing, some for diving.  Padangbai is on the southeast coast of Bali, family-friendly, good for diving, day trips to Ubud, fast ferries to the Gili islands and conventional ferries to Lombok.  If that suits you, the place to stay is the Bloo Lagoon Eco Village on the headland just above the town with views over the bay.  The village consist of self-contained bungalows with small kitchens, there's free WiFi, a good pool with water slide, a spa, and an excellent restaurant serving truly wonderful home-cooked food.  Staff are great.  The Bloo Lagoon Village was opened in 2009 by English architect Tony Gwilliam who has written a book about it, Far from boring...

Bloo Lagoon Village, pool   Bloo Lagoon Village 2-bedroom bungalow

The pool...

 

Bloo Lagoon Village 2-bedroom bungalow...

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Flights

Overland travel by train & bus around Indonesia is an essential part of the experience, so once there, don't cheat and fly, stay on the ground!  But a long-haul flight might be unavoidable to reach it in the first place.  For flights to Jakarta, compare airlines at Skyscanner.net.

skyscanner generic 728x90

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Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Take out decent travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see www.JustTravelCover.com - 10% discount with code seat61.

        If you live in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

 


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