Train Travel in Indonesia

Find out about getting around Indonesia by train; also information on other forms of transport in Indonesia...

Java and Sumatra are the only islands that have a train service.

In Java, the railway spans the full length of the island, from Jakarta in the west to the port town of Banyuwangi located on the east coast between Java and Bali. Unlike buses, trains do keep to a schedule. Train stations are usually centrally located and have ticket offices with schedules, fares, destinations, and classes of travel. Reservations are computer-based and can be made up to a month in advance.

  • For information on train travel from Indonesian Railways: Click here (in Indonesian)

Names instead of numbers are used to identify trains. For example, executive class trains include Argo in their name.

Train routes are flexible in Java, and ticket offices can help travellers with the best route if several connections are needed. Major train stations like Bandung, Jakarta, Surabaya and Yogyakarta have information posted on large billboards.

There are three classes of trains:

  1. Economy (economi): No reservations are required and seats are sold out during holiday seasons. Passengers are crammed into compartments while others hang onto exterior hand rails or climb on top of the economy cars. Vendors and beggars also circulate.
  2. Executive (eksecutif): Seats must be reserved in advance. The word Argo is included in all executive class train names.
  3. Business (bisnis): Seats must be reserved in advance and there is air conditioning.

Train stations in Jakarta

The six major train stations in Jakarta are:

  1. Gambir
  2. Jakarta Kota
  3. Jatinegara
  4. Pasar Senen
  5. Stasiun Kramat
  6. Stasiun Sudirman

Like bus terminals, each station serves specific routes and destinations, although there may be some overlap. Gambir and Jarakta Kota are the biggest stations. Gambir offers express trains with west-to-east destinations: Bandung, Bogor, Semarang, Solo, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.

Train travel in Sumatra

Cities linked by rail in Sumatra are:

  • Medan to Kisaran
  • Padang to Palembang
  • Palembang to Panjang
  • Panjang to Medan

Taxi Travel in Indonesia

Taxis are found everywhere and are relatively cheap. In Jakarta, for example, many travellers rely exclusively on taxis. Be sure to choose a taxi that has a meter.

The Blue Bird taxi service is reputable and is found throughout Indonesia.

Other Kinds of Transport

There are various kinds of two-, three-, and four-wheeled vehicles found specifically in Jakarta, with variations across Indonesia:

  • Bajaj - an orange, three-wheeled vehicle found in Jakarta; negotiate the fare
  • Becak - a bicycle with a passenger seat in front of the driver
  • Bemo - a blue, three-wheeled vehicle found in Jakarta. It is small like a bajaj, with a cab in the front separating it from the seating in the back
  • Delman, dokar, or bendi - a horse-drawn carriage
  • Mikrolet or Angkot - a van with set routes
  • Ojek - a motorbike with a driver