All Aboard! Booking Indonesian Train Tickets

Nov 1st, 2011, in Featured, IM Posts, Travel, by

Indonesian TrainAs discussed previously, Java has a surprisingly good rail network, but tourists rarely travel by train due to a lack of information or difficulty booking tickets in advance.

As an addition to its flight booking service Mau Ke Mana, a sub-division of IndonesiaMatters.com, now has a train ticket booking service to make it easier for foreign visitors to see more of Indonesia, by rail.

If you'd like having train tickets booked in advance and emailed to you as a pdf/Acrobat Reader file, please visit the timetable page, and submit a booking enquiry. Ticket payment is normally via Paypal.

Why take the train?

See more of the country

Mt Merapi, near YogyakartaIt is difficult to see much of the countryside in Indonesia while travelling smoothly in air-conditioned comfort, due to traffic jams and poor road conditions. Travelling by train gives you a chance to see landscapes, lifestyles and scenes you otherwise wouldn't.

Some of the more scenic train journeys are: Jakarta to Bandung, Jakarta to Yogyakarta and Surabaya to Banyuwangi.

Save time & energy, reduce stress

No stressAlmost all Indonesian airports and bus terminals are outside the city, and require a long bus or expensive taxi ride to them, especially in Jakarta. Train stations though are invariably at/near the city centre, and a short trip to hotels. Delays and problems caused by bad weather (a common problem during the wet season from November-April), traffic, etc are much less of a problem for trains.

Save money

Indonesian Rupiah fanTrain tickets are very reasonably priced both compared to your home country, and other modes of transport in Indonesia. The exact price often varies a little according to the day of week.

For those with a limited budget and/or time, overnight trains are an ideal way to save both.

Travel in comfort

Train seatingExecutive class trains have air conditioning, while business class trains have fans; seating in both classes is relatively spacious and comfortable. Tickets can be purchased up to 40 days in advance, and all have reserved seating - a policy now mandated by the railways operator. Some trains offer both executive/business classes. (We can't sell economy-class tickets because they only go on sale a short time before departure.)

Business and executive class passengers get free access to the departure station's executive lounge, similar to an airline executive lounge, with comfortable chairs, TV, air-conditioning, etc; just no free food. It's a very nice way to wait for your train to arrive, especially on a hot day or before an evening/overnight departure.

Travel safely

Rail Accidents in IndonesiaThere are few accidents and of those that do occur more are caused by motorists at railway crossings than by railway employees. Three years ago, Kereta Api Indonesia (the national rail operator) cut the speed limit from 80 km/h to 70 km/h, thereby reducing the already rare incidence of accidents, if increasing travelling time a little.


Head over here to book a ticket, and if you have any questions ask below.


10 Comments on “All Aboard! Booking Indonesian Train Tickets”

  1. avatar camion says:

    Good to hear the train service has improved,the last time I travelled to Bandung was with a maniac driver hell bent on breaking the sound barrier.The few passengers on board were all looking at each other in dismay deciding if it was the end of their journey in more ways than one :-)))

  2. avatar Oigal says:

    Chris, flash me some contact details and perhaps some more info. I have mate and family in oz looking to a the train trip of Java and elsewhere. Ideally with more info on standards of travel

  3. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Oigal,

    Will do.

    More generally, there is a list of the features of each business/executive class train here, often with pictures of the train’s interior. Oh yeah, and it gives a list of where it stops, too.

    Unfortunately, it’s only in Indonesian, but if you use Google Chrome it will translate it.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    Argo Bromo Anggrek – Jakarta to Surabaya
    Argo Bromo Anggrek interior

    Argo Willis – Bandung to Surabaya, via Yogyakarta
    Argo Willis interior
    Note the footrests – they’re really useful for longer trips

  4. avatar timdog says:

    Took the Argo Wilis between Yogya and Surabaya the other day as my regular mode of passage on that route the Sancaka – pagi and sore – was full.

    Chris, any idea why the Wilis (230k in eksekutif) is more than double the price of the Sancaka (90k in eksekutif) when there is absolutely no difference in speed or comfort?

    In short, I wouldn’t suggest using the Argo Wilis between Yogya and Surabaya, unless its entirely a matter of schedule, or the Sancaka being full…

  5. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Timdog,

    Chris, any idea why the Wilis (230k in eksekutif) is more than double the price of the Sancaka (90k in eksekutif) when there is absolutely no difference in speed or comfort?

    Sorry, I don’t know.

    Sancaka (departing Yogya at 07:15 and 16:00) can be up to Rp130 000, depending on the day of the week.

    Argo Wilis (departing Yogya at 14:08) is over 50% more expensive.

    Perhaps it’s to encourage people to take Sancaka, or to stop the Argo Wilis train being almost empty half the journey?

  6. avatar Lairedion says:

    I’m a fan of rail travel. It’s just too bad only Java has a rather extensive rail network. The three short stretches in Sumatera are hardly worth to mention. Imagine what a trans-Sumatera or a trans-Sulawesi railway would have looked like.

  7. avatar Carla says:

    Hi

    We want to go from Yogayakarta to Probolinggo by train in executive class this May. We were thinking of taking the 1am train from Yogyakarta to Surabaya (arriving at 6am) and then in Surabaya take the 9am train toward Banyuwangi.

    1) Will the Surabaya-Banyuwangi train stops in Probolinggo? At what hour more-less?
    2) Is there excutive class in both trips described above?
    3) Is this the best way to go from Yogyakarta to Probolinggo or can you suggest a better way?

    Some days later we would like to take the train from Probolinggo to Banyuwangi.
    4) Can we take a train from Probolinggo to Banyuwangi in executive class?
    5) Will this train stop in Kalibaru or any town close to it?

    Many thanks,

    Carla

  8. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Carla,

    To answer your questions:

    1) Yes, about 11:00

    2) Yes, there is executive class

    3) You can also travel by train to Malang and go to Bromo from there. Unlike travelling to Probolinggo (where you have to change trains in Surabaya), it is one overnight train. The journey takes 6-7 hours.

    4) Yes, you can

    5) Yes, the train stops in Kalibaru.

  9. avatar Carmen says:

    We would like to travel from malang to yogyakarta March 11th Where can I find the timetable?

  10. avatar Chris says:

    Hi Carmen,

    The top 5 most popular routes are here, for other routes you will need to fill in an enquiry.

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