When exploring Java, Indonesia, the primary mode of transportation is by train. Most of the key tourist destinations on the island have train stations, making it a convenient option for getting around. However, using public transportation in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially with differing rules and customs compared to your own or neighboring countries. It's wise to conduct some research before hopping on a train. If you're considering traveling around Java, look no further – here's all the essential information you need to know about train travel in Indonesia's Java region!

Booking A Train Ticket

Booking a train ticket in Java, Indonesia is incredibly easy, thanks to modern technology. While you can purchase tickets at the train station, I highly recommend booking online for a quick and convenient experience, allowing you to view the exact train schedule. There are two main websites we've used for booking:

Tiket.com: This website is widely used for train ticket bookings. Simply visit the website, switch to English if needed, and enter your departure/arrival station and travel date. You'll see a list of available trains, though many might depart from different platforms within the same city. It's a good idea to quickly check Google Maps to find the closest platform to your accommodations. You can sort trains by departure time, price, or class. If you're on a budget, you'll likely opt for Economy Class, which tends to fill up quickly. I suggest booking a few days in advance to secure your preferred seats and train.

Some travelers encounter issues with payment on Tiket.com. If this happens to you, don't worry. Look for the "Live Chat" option on the booking screen and connect with an online agent. They'll guide you through the process of "White Listing" your credit card, which might involve sending a photo of your passport and credit card details (with certain information covered) to a provided email address. Though we didn't receive an immediate response, we encountered no further issues with booking after this step.

Traveloka.com: If you encounter persistent payment issues on Tiket.com like we did, consider using Traveloka. Simply enter your departure and arrival stations, number of passengers, and travel date to see available options. You can also sort trains by various criteria. Fill in your details accurately, ensuring they match those on your passport (which will be checked at the station). We received our E-Tickets within minutes of booking and had no payment issues. Booking train tickets in Java is straightforward with these online platforms, ensuring a hassle-free travel experience.

​​TRAIN STATIONS IN JAVA, INDONESIA

Once you've received your online E-Ticket, you're all set to head to the train station. The good news for travelers is that you don't need to print your ticket – simply have it accessible on your phone. Upon arrival at the station, look for signs indicating "Check-in." Follow these signs until you locate a room or row of computers set up for this purpose. Each computer is equipped with a scanner. Open your E-Ticket on your phone (if you have internet access) or ensure it's saved for offline use, then scan the barcode. If you encounter any issues, there will be customer service agents nearby to assist you.

After scanning your E-Ticket, you'll receive an orange ticket for each passenger, which is essential for boarding the train. With your orange ticket and passport in hand, proceed towards the platforms. Another customer service agent will be stationed there to scan your ticket and verify your passport details. Ensure the information on your ticket matches that on your passport. This agent will also inform you of the platform from which your train will depart.

While you may check in early (it's recommended to do so at least one hour before departure), some stations may not allow access to the platform until 45 minutes before departure time.

If you have spare time before boarding, consider purchasing snacks and drinks for your journey, especially if it's a long one lasting 8 to 10 hours. However, if you miss the opportunity to buy provisions, don't worry – snacks and drinks are available for purchase on the train, albeit at slightly higher prices than in shops.

Train Travel

All set with check-in? Great, now it's time to locate your train. Head over to the platform indicated by the customer service agent and wait for your train to arrive. When it does, ensure you enter the correct carriage. Each carriage is marked with a number displayed next to one of the doors, matching the number on your orange ticket. Once on board, find your seat by matching the numbers displayed above the windows. There's space for luggage in the overhead racks and under your seat.

Most trains, regardless of class, are now equipped with two power outlets per row of seats, typically found every 4 or 6 seats in Economy Class. Additionally, you'll find squat toilets near the entrances of the carriages. It's advisable to carry your own toilet paper or tissues, as they might not always be provided. Once settled, relax and enjoy the journey. The scenery along the train routes in Java is breathtaking, featuring everything from quaint villages and winding creeks to spectacular volcano vistas and vast rice fields.

Throughout the journey, upcoming stops will be announced in both Bahasa Indonesia and English, so stay attentive to these announcements. Since there are multiple stops in major cities, double-check to ensure you disembark at the correct station. Once off the train, it's time to move on to the next step: finding your accommodation.

​​HOW TO GET FROM THE TRAIN STATION TO YOUR ACCOMMODATION

If your accommodation isn't within walking distance from the train station, you'll need to arrange transportation. While taxis are readily available, we recommend using Grab as a convenient option. Grab is similar to Uber and is widely used in Southeast Asia. The great thing about Grab is that you can pay in cash upon arrival, eliminating the need for a credit card. Simply download the app and, as long as you have internet access, you can request a GrabBike or GrabCar from wherever you are. You can download the Grab app from the provided link.

Grab is popular in Java, and many major tourist attractions and airports have designated pickup points. However, it's important to note that in smaller cities like Probolinggo, Grab services may have limited availability due to "red zones." In these areas, drivers are unable to pick up new passengers due to safety concerns. Some drivers have even encountered hostility, such as having rocks thrown at their windows. Therefore, be aware that your ride may be canceled in such areas. In larger cities like Jakarta and Yogyakarta, you can use the Grab app anywhere without such restrictions.

Indonesia Train Classes

Indonesia's railway system offers three distinct classes of travel: executive, business, and economy, each catering to different preferences and budgets while maintaining a reasonable level of comfort. For travelers considering their options, the choice among these classes typically hinges on factors such as budget constraints, personal preferences, and the length of the journey. Across all classes except short-distance economy, passengers can expect air-conditioned cabins equipped with 2-pin Europlug sockets for electronic device charging.

Prices vary considerably among the classes, and even within the same class, so early online booking is recommended to secure the best deals before cheaper seats are sold out. For those prioritizing speed, it's advisable to avoid trains exclusively offering economy class. Opting for trains with business or executive class cabins, which make fewer stops, ensures a quicker journey. Online platforms facilitate identifying these faster options by comparing travel times.

​​Economy Class

Economy class, with its five-seat per row layout (two on one side, three on the other), is a budget-friendly option suitable for journeys under three hours. However, it lacks privacy and legroom compared to higher classes, reflecting its lower cost, usually half that of executive class.

​​Non-aircon Economy Class

Designed for short journeys, non-aircon economy cabins feature open windows and fans instead of air conditioning. Though the cheapest option, these cabins tend to be crowded and are only available for purchase at train stations, with prices typically not exceeding 30,000 IDR ($1.80).

​​Business Class

Offering a moderate increase in ticket price from economy, business class provides extra legroom and a more comfortable seating arrangement with four seats per row. While seats do not recline, the class presents a viable option for travelers seeking a bit more comfort without breaking the bank.

​​Executive Class

Executive class distinguishes itself with seats that recline up to 30%, along with additional amenities such as footrests, individual armrests, and a small cushion. With four forward-facing seats per row, the class offers the flexibility to turn seats around for group travel. Although priced slightly higher than business class, the added comfort and convenience make it a popular choice.

​​Executive Luxury Class

Introduced in 2018, the executive luxury class elevates train travel with plush, fully reclining solo seats akin to business class on airplanes. Amenities include surround-walls, flat-screen TVs, and blankets, providing a luxurious experience for discerning travelers. However, the premium price tag reflects the heightened level of comfort and privacy, making it a less common option on select routes with limited seating availability.

In conclusion, Indonesia's train classes cater to a diverse range of preferences and budgets, ensuring that passengers can find a suitable option for their journey.