Jakarta to Yogyakarta by Train: A Scenic Eight-Hour Train Ride I Slept Through

Itinerary & Expenses

It has been a goal of ours to travel the countries of South East Asia through its railway system. This is the first post of a series that I will be calling ‘SEA by Train’. Hmmm… I like the sound of that, SEA by Train! :)

You haven’t experienced backpacking if you haven’t slept at a terminal. Well, I’m not really what you’d call a backpacker. Neither am I a luxury vacationer. I fall somewhere in between. We do, however, try to find ways to save our pocket money as much as we can. If that means sleeping at the airport to let pass a few hours, instead of checking in at a hotel, so be it.

This was the case during our trip to Indonesia. Arriving at Soekarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta a few minutes after midnight, we decided to sleep at the benches at the airport. We were waiting on a bus that will take us to Gambir station then on a train to Yogyakarta. Bus trips starts at 1 am until 9 pm.

Airport

There are airport buses that has direct routes to Gambir train station. These buses go around all three airport terminals. Unfortunately, we did not know this. Several locals pointed us to a different terminal each time we ask. We actually went to all three terminals, only to get on a bus from where we originally were.

From the airport take a DAMRI airport bus that has a Gambir signboard. Fare is Rp 20,000. Travel time is about 1.5 to 2 hours. Pick-up and drop-off points are strictly enforced within the airport terminals.

You may also hire a taxi from the airport to Gambir station. We decided against this as most forums say that tourists are usually taken advantage of. In our experience, Blue Bird taxis are the most trustworthy ones.

Gambir Station

It’s a short walk from the bus stop to Gambir station. The station doesn’t look like it services long-haul trains. It’s just like Manila’s MRT. Tickets are sold at the ground floor while the train tracks are elevated.

At the upper level is where it becomes apparent that the trains here travel long hours and distances. It can get a bit crowded, with those traveling from Jakarta to the province carrying huge baggage and boxes. Everything was still orderly though.

The Indonesian National Monument, Symbol of the fight for Indonesia, can be viewed from the station. The flame at the very top of the monument is covered with 50 kg of gold foil. Ooohlala! :)

Train

I suggest taking the Eksekutif class trains. These are air-conditioned trains and are said to be the most comfortable. There is also Bisnis and Ekonomi class. One way Eksekutif class train ticket from Jakarta to Yogyakarta is IDR 325,000.

There are several personnel at the station, ready to help. We boarded the Taksaka Pagi, train number 40. The train left the station at the exact schedule printed on the ticket.

It’s an 8-hour train ride from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. Good thing there’s a lot of leg room. The train is clean. Remember to bring a small blanket or bandana, it can get a bit nippy.

Though I slept through most of the journey, I was able to experience the scenic countryside of Indonesia through videos taken by my travel buddy. There’s just something about the chugging and gentle rocking of the train that lulls me to sleep.

If you need more information on schedules and pricing on train travel (anywhere in the world), I suggest visiting seat61. I found this site to be most informative during my research.

Food &Service

The train attendants are very accommodating, always have a ready smile to greet the passengers. Most understand and speak English.

Unlike the trains in Thailand, food is not included with the ticket. If you were not able to bring anything to nibble on for the 8-hour journey, fret not. There are train attendants carrying menus for those who want to grab a bite. We tried Ayam Goreng (ayam = chicken, goreng = fried). The price is around IDR 10,000-20,00, if I remember correctly. The portions were really small.

Final Thoughts

We arrived at Yogyakarta at around 6:30 pm, as was printed on our ticket. It didn’t feel like an 8-hour journey. Maybe because I slept through most of the eight hours. Haha!

The friendly service and the well-maintained train makes a whole lot of difference, especially when it comes to long-haul journeys. Passing the scenic countryside of Indonesia also makes for a wonderful train experience. Good thing my companion took videos. :)

On top of this, the train being on time and not having any hassles along the way really makes for a positive experience. Now off to explore Yogyakarta!

Updates

01 Oct 2015 – Added DAMRI bus schedule

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32 Comments

  1. rainbowjournal

    Hi Cherrey! Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

    The buses operate almost 24 hours a day. They start as early as 1 am until 9 pm in the evening (I should put that on the post…).

    We also opted to stay at the airport. Looking back, it was a good decision since there are a lot of people at Gambir station and it’s much more comfortable lounging in the air-conditioned comfort of the airport terminal. Hehe!

    Do you have the train schedule? I used this site to check.
    http://www.seat61.com/Indonesia.htm#Jakarta_to_Yogyakarta_by_train

    Hope this helps! And good luck on your trip! :D

  2. Cherrey

    Hello,

    I have been visiting your blog since July to plan for the Imdonesia trip that we’ll be having next week. We will be doing the Jakarta-Yogyakarta route as well. What is the earliest time we can take the Damri bus to the train station? We will be arriving in Jakarta airport midnight. We are willing to hang out for hours to wait until we can take the Damri bus. Hope I can get a response before we depart for the trip.

    Regards.

  3. rainbowjournal

    Hi MJ, First, thanks for visiting my blog. :)

    Thanks also for sharing your travel experience with us. Seemed like you had a lot of fun and really enjoyed your vacation with your friends! I too enjoyed watching the scenery during our trip (the very few times I was awake, that is). Hahaha!

    I really appreciate all the tips you gave. I’m sure the readers will find them very helpful. We weren’t able to really discover Jakarta, since we immediately headed east. Hopefully you’re having a good time there, it being your first year to live in that wonderful city. Cheers! :D

  4. MJ

    If I could recommend for the best train travel to discover Java, Use the late nite flight from Manila to Jakarta. My pinoy friends landing at 3.00am and we joint with them about 30 minutes after they take the baggage.
    With my car (my wife drove), we go to Gambir station, to go to Bandung and buy the executive train tickets arr. at 7.00 am. The landscape out of Jakarta was excellent in the morning. The panorama was combined Toll road, paddy terrace, forest and the hills.
    The journey is about 2.15 hour and we arrived in Bandung at 9.20 am. We took a daily tour to saw Tangkuban Perahu and then go to Kawah Putih. The travel van was picked up us from Bandung station, and bring back to the hotels near the station to prevented miss train tomorrow morning.

    Event we still had to shopping the local blue jeans at cheap market at Cihampelas Walk.

    In the morning, we continued the journey with the other executive train to Yogyakarta. And you know what, the panorama was quiet amazing even better than the first track journey. The train was go along the mountain, hills, valley and the tunnels. sometimes we pass the bridge over the big rivers and saw the shepherd with their cows among the rice field. Yes the train journey will show you the deep wonderful landscape of Indonesia….

    I am Indonesian, but worked in Korea about 10 years and this year is my first year leaving in Jakarta. Salam for your family :-)

  5. Rainbow Journal

    That is true. There's a lot of leg room, you can walk around and there's no traffic. Hehe! :)

  6. Jhojo Villas

    I prefer to travel by train rather than bus because it would be more comfortable and you will come to your destination at the exact time indicated on your ticket.

  7. Rainbow Journal

    It is important to earn a living of course. Though a vacation every now and then really helps in keeping you sane. Hehehe!

  8. Rainbow Journal

    I would like to think that the Philippines is on its way to making a better public transport a reality. Slow, but on its way. :)

  9. Slick Master

    Say, seeing this photos can be really appealing. Maybe if the Metro wasn't that crowded, we could have seen such mass transportation means like this!

  10. Cla Martinez Badong

    I miss travelling again, had to set it aside for now because I have to be full time at the factory, but reading travel posts like this somehow make it a little better (or not) :).

  11. Rainbow Journal

    Indonesia is indeed a beautiful place. And tons of activities to be had. :)

  12. Jen Maslang

    My friend just recently got back from her vacay in Indonesia. And seeing these pix, I'm convince that I'll put this on my must have travel destination. I would love to try their train. :)

  13. Rainbow Journal

    Too tired from the midnight flight and lack of sleep. Hehehe! I was able to see a bit of the countryside still. The rest I watched on video. :P

  14. Ma Katrina Camille Enerva

    Awww why did you sleep

  15. Millie Manahan

    Rainbow Journal hahahahaha.. yeah power nap is always the best!

  16. Rainbow Journal

    Coming straight from a midnight flight and sleeping very little on one of the benches at the airport helped. Hehe! :)

  17. Millie Manahan

    Hi Ranil, I am not sure if I'd be able to sleep looking at those jaw-dropping sceneries!

  18. Rainbow Journal

    Hi Jennifer! We travel for leisure. I believe travel enriches us, so we want to see as much as we can whenever our budget allows it. :)

  19. Jennifer Lopez Gana

    hi rainbowjournal, you've been everywhere. You travel because of your day job? or for leisure only?

  20. Rainbow Journal

    Hahaha! When we were in Indonesia, we often have to compute everything in peso to check if we are paying more than we should. Everything just seems much more expensive with all those zeroes.

  21. Jerome Lupisan

    I told me Indonesian friends about our money. I told them how 5000 can buy you a good phone. They're the ones amazed by the lack of zeroes. I'd rather have many zeroes than ringgit or SGD. It's harder to imagine whether prices are expensive or not when the numbers are smaller. Hehe.

  22. Maria Theresa Dalagan

    Rainbow Journal hmm, interesting. The digits must have just intimidated me. Thanks

  23. Rainbow Journal

    Yeah… Good thing I don't have a hard time getting sleep on such long journeys. Hahaha!

  24. Mecheel Caseñas

    Such a long trip but worth it.. I can't imagine if I was awake with that 8 hour journey of yours…=)

  25. Rainbow Journal

    We decided to go eksekutif because of the long travel time. I'm sure your wife will appreciate the comfort of riding eksekutif should you travel to Yogya. Hehehe!

    Thanks for clarifying. Just writing from memory. I need to make notes next time. :)

    We're already back in the Philippines. Only getting the chance to write about it now.

  26. Rainbow Journal

    We decided to go eksekutif because of the long travel time. I'm sure your wife will appreciate the comfort of riding eksekutif should you travel to Yogya. Hehehe!

    Thanks for clarifying. I didn't really research on the translation of bakar. I assumed it was friend because everywhere we went, Ayam Goreng was always fried. Hahaha!

    We're already back in the Philippines. Only getting the chance to write about it now.

  27. Jerome Lupisan

    Smallest denomination is Rp. 1000, which is roughly around P5. I got so used to the numerous zeroes now that every time I go home to the RP, I miss 'em at the end of each price tag. Hehe.

  28. Rainbow Journal

    Hello, it just looks like the price are high, but not really. If converted most of the food, service, etc. are priced much like here in the Philippines. Sometimes cheaper. :)

  29. Maria Theresa Dalagan

    Seems like a lot of things are priced high in Indonesia

  30. Jerome Lupisan

    I'm currently based in Bandung, Indonesia, which is 150 km away from Jakarta.

    When I rode the train from Bandung to Yogya in 2010, I took a lesser class train. It's not air-conditioned, but it wasn't as bad as the train ride I had in Medan in 2006. The train ride to Yogya was good for group of single guys, but not for a group travelling with their GFs or wives. Travelling eksekutif class looks good and my wife will surely not chop my testicles off if we take that ride. Your description and photos say it all.

    By the way, just to clarify: ayam bakar means roasted chicken. Fried chicken is ayam goreng.

    Are you still in Indonesia, by any chance?

  31. Rainbow Journal

    I haven't really computed all of our expenses. Hehe! But we always have a budget of USD 1K (for two people), excluding the plane tickets. I remember we went over that. The entire trip was two weeks and we traveled from Jakarta to Bali, Will post more articles soon. :)

  32. Raymond Nicolas

    Hi! If you'll convert it into pesos, how much would be the total gastos for this trip? Thanks! :-)

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