Getting Around Java, Indonesia by Train

Java by Train

Java is home to around half of Indonesia’s total population. Despite this, not many tourists visit Java. Many people skip over it to go to Bali for a beach vacation. Because of this there is not a ton of information out there about Java and how to get around. Here are all the different modes of  transport I used while on Java and some tips for figuring out the train system that connects most of the major cities of Java.
There are two main ways of getting around Java: train or plane. The bus is also an option, but if you are planning on staying on the main tourist routes the train will serve you just as well.


There are two ways to book train tickets online. One through the main Indonesian train website, but it is all in Indonesian. The other option is which has an English option. Unfortunately, a lot of people have problems with their credit cards being accepted so this route may or may not work for you. However, it is a good way to check the train times so you can go to the station to book and know the price ahead of time.
I always got to the station a couple hours ahead of the departure time and booked at the ticket counter. I was lucky that none of my trains were ever sold out, but if you are traveling on the weekends or a holiday try to book a few days in advance.
If you have problems booking online like I did you have two options. You can either go to the train station and book your ticket there or go to an Indomaret and book at a kiosk there. All train stations have a counter where you can book your ticket. So far I have always had someone who was able to speak English, so I never ran into any difficulties. Most stations will also have a ticket kiosk where you can buy your ticket as well that have an English option.
Train Stations

Train station in Malang, Java

Before you go to the train station to buy your ticket make sure that you are choosing the right one. In many cities in Java, there are multiple train stations and different trains leave from certain stations depending on what class you want to ride in (executive, economy, or business). Each of the classes cost a different price, so make sure you are going to the one in your budget!

The two websites you can book train stations through: (english option) (only in Indonesian)
For Jakarta the two main stations that you will leave out of are Gambir and Pasir Sarun. Gambir has most of the executive class trains, so it will be more expensive to leave from Gambir. Gambir is right next to the National Monument, so combine that with your train schedule to save some time! Pasar Sanen is mostly economy class, so its the cheaper option of the two.
Train Class

There are 3 options for the class: economy, business, and executive. For all of my trips except one I booked the economy class. The economy class is fine, just be aware that if you are tall/have long legs you will be a little bit squished during the ride especially if it is a busy train. The seats in economy face each other and have about a foot and a half of leg room for you and the person sitting across from you. It definitely got uncomfortable on my 7 hour journey to Malang, but the rest of the time it wasn’t too bad.
I splurged for the executive class when I took the overnight train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. For the overnight train this was definitely worth the extra money. You get much larger seats and way more leg room.
All of the trains have a couple plugs for every section, so if you need to charge anything it’s not a problem. There is no wifi on the train so bring a book, relax, and watch the Indonesian country side pass by out the window!

There are a ton of local airlines that fly all over Indonesia. However, some of them do not accept credit/debit cards that are not Indonesian so you may have to go through a local travel agent in order to book. If you run into this problem just ask the front desk at your hostel or hotel if there is a good local one to go through and have them book it for you. This may end up costing you a bit more, but if you want to fly with one of the local airlines then it may be your only option.



Uber/Grab/GoJeck are all great options for going shorter distances on Java. They are WAY cheaper than Taxis and are readily available in most of the major cities in Java. Especially since most of the cities have very little public transportation these are a great option.
I personally liked to use Grab the most since the price is fixed. Whatever the price is when you order the car that is how much you will be charged whereas Ubers prices can change throughout the drive if it ends up taking longer than originally planned. Now most of the time this isn’t a huge deal, but if you are in Jakarta where the traffic is insane and unpredictable you can easily be charged quite a bit more. However, it still will never be as much as a taxi, so always use this uber over a taxi.
GoJeck is really good for getting quickly around the city, but this is only a motorbike service, so if there is more than one of you then I would just use Grab and get a car (grab also has a motorbike option).

Did I miss any tips? What advice do you guys have for getting around Java?

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