Indonesia Travel Guide
Java travel tips

Travel around in Java

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Airports

Jakarta:

  • Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is located 20km west of Jakarta.

  • Jakarta is served by any other domestic airport, and is also one of the few Indonesian airports, which receive international flights, especially with Europe and North America.

  • By this airport you can reach the sights of the city of Bogor and Puncak Pass very easily.

  • Terminal information: Terminal 1 for domestic flights, but without the airline Air Asia, Mandala, and Garuda. Terminal 2 for all international flights and domestic flights by Garuda. Terminal 3 for low-cost airlines, including domestic flights by Air Asia and Mandala.

  • Between the terminals a free shuttle bus is operating. If you are short in time, however, a taxi would be more recommendable that costs about Rp 50,000.

  • A taxi to the centre costs Rp 100000-150000. On the way to the exit of the airport taxi travelers pass several counters where they can book a taxi. Please, in any case, take a Blue Bird Taxi. These are the safest and most reliable taxi service in Indonesia. If you pass the taxi information desk and left the airport building, you will be harassed by many taxi drivers that all want to make a deal.

  • The DAMRI bus service departs from the airport to the City Center, to Gambir train station, the seaport of Tanjung Priok, to Bogor and to many other destinations. To travel by bus is indeed a inexpensive and fast alternative - there is a bus way congestion-free - but inside a bus it is very narrow.

Yogyakarta:

  • Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta is located just 8 km from the city center.

  • It is a very small airport that serves mainly domestic flights and is located in the middle of Java. But there are also a few international flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

  • The big advantage of this airport is its proximity to some of the biggest attractions on Java. In addition to the lovely city of Yogyakarta itself, with the Prambanan Temple and the Royal Palace, is also not far from Borobudur.

  • Another big plus of Yogyakarta's airport is the direct link to the rail network on Java. A pedestrian tunnel connects the airport with the train station Maguwo, near which there is also a bus station. Maguwo station connects the airport with Yogyakarta town and Solo.

  • To travel from the airport to town by taxi costs about Rp 50,000.

Surabaya:

  • The Juanda International Airport is located 20 km south of Surabaya, in the village of Sidoarjo.

  • This is the second largest airport in Indonesia. For travelers who want to visit the Bromo region flights to Surabaya airport are most suitable.

  • Terminal information: A (international flights) and B (domestic flights).

  • There is a link to the bus station Purabaya . This, however, is also 15 km from the city. Purabaya station offers several intercity bus services, eg to Solo, Semarang and Malang.

  • From the airport you can travel to each destination in Surabaya by Primkopal Juanda Taxi service at a fixed rate.

Airlines

Garuda Indonesia:

  • Garuda Indonesia is the national airline of Indonesia. After having a ban for flights in the EU because of safety concerns, improvements were introduced by the company in 2009, and Garuda was again removed from the ban list. The average age of the fleet currently stands at 10.3 years (as of 2010, German Lufthansa 12.2 years).

  • Garuda Indonesia has naturally the densest network of flight services of all airlines in Indonesia. You can take a flight virtually from any airport in Indonesia to any other airport in the country. At Garudas website travelers find their desired travel information.

  • The Garuda Indonesia flight magazin is well worth reading, not only during flights, and offers many interesting articles and information about Indonesia.

Air Asia:

  • Air Asia is a low-cost airlines based in Malaysia. The company was labelled the World's Best Low Cost Airline by Skytrax. A subsidiary of Air Asia is Air Asia Indonesia, which operates out of Jakarta in Indonesia.

  • While Air Asia is certainly on of the better low-cost airlines, Indonesia Air Asia lost its rights for flights in the EU because of safety concerns.

Sea

Cruise

  • An island nation such as Indonesia is of course equipped with a strong network of cruise lines. Pelni is the national shipping company and operates 28 cruise ships which travel to 80 ports. There is practically no alternative to travel on sea.

  • On the cruise ships of Pelni different comfort classes are offered to travelers. In the lower classes heat, smoke and animals must be expected. And quite a lot people sleeping in one cabin. The First Class offers a four-bed cabin with a bathroom and everything is clean.

  • The First Class tickets of the Pelni cruise ships sometimes cost more than a plane ticket and the trip takes much longer. But if you want to come in contact with the local population, you should travel with these vessles, as this offers unsuspected opportunities. You can set that you are the only tourist on board and are considered a small attraction.

  • The cruise ships stop at any port for a few hours so that you can also go short on land.

  • Like many areas in Indonesia, the Pelni cruise ships are heavily air-conditioned. It is recommended to bring warmer clothes with you.

  • To travel from Surabaya to Jakarta, for example, costs €55 and lasts 24 hours (as of 2010). On the website you find all routes (English language available) and other information. A cruise should be booked about 1 week in advance. This can be done directly on the website, but we recommend to visit one of the Pelni offices, whose current addresses also can be found on the Pelni website.

Harbour

Tanjung Priok (Jakarta):

  • The port of Tanjung Priok is located in the city of Jakarta and is about 13 km from the city center.

  • The ships of the shipping company Pelni can be found at dock 1. Pelni offers direct links to Padang (West Sumatra) Surabaya, Semarang, Belawan (North Sumatra), Batam and Bintang. Tickets can be purchased through the Pelni offices, see the information on the shipping company Pelni on our website.

  • At the port area there is a train station, which is newly renovated and offers train services to Kota and Kemayoran. The station is about 1 km away from dock 1.

  • Next to it you can also find a bus station. There is, however, to expect long waiting times and the buses are regularly overcrowded.

  • A taxi ride to the city center costs about Rp 40,000.

  • The distance to the airport is 33 km. A travel time of min. 2 hours should be taken into account.

Merak:

  • From Merak there is a boat line over the Sunda Strait to Bakaheuni (Sumatra).

  • The crossing by cruise ship takes 2 hours. These ferrys are available 24 hours a day, every 30 minutes and cost Rp.10.000.

  • You reach Merak from Jakarta either by train or by bus. The train runs once a day and costs Rp 18,000. Most buses leave from the bus station Jakarta Kalideres and cost about Rp 20,000. The trip lasts about three hours.

Tanjung Emas (Semarang):

  • From the port of Semarang, there are direct cruise ship connections from/to Jakarta and to major seaports in Kalimantan (Pontianak, Ketapang, Kumai and Banjarmasin). Tickets can be purchased through the Pelni offices, see the information on the shipping company Pelni on our website.

  • The port is only 6 km from the city center, so a taxi is the best transport option.

  • On the port area there is a information desk, a souvenir shop, a restaurant, a Post Office and other facilities for tourists.

Tanjung Perak (Surabaya):

  • The port of Surabaya is one of the largest seaports in Indonesia.

  • From Surabaya the Pelni cruise ships offer direct connection to Makassar on Sulawesi and to Pontianak on Kalimantan.

  • There is a half-hour connection to Kamal on the island of Madura. The trip takes 30 minutes and costs only Rp 5,000.

  • See the information about Surabaya airport on this website, in order to get more information about flights to/from Surabaya.

Ketapang:

  • Ketapang is actually a tiny harbor. However, from here the fastest boat line from Java to Bali is offered. A trip takes 1 hour and costs around Rp 6,000.

  • The ships sail around the clock, so 24 hours a day, every 30 minutes from Ketapang to Gilimaniuk on the island of Bali. However, in the evenings and at night, travellers should not necessarily count on the availability of a taxi in Gilimaniuk.

  • Approximately 2km north of the port lies the bus station Sri Tanjung. To Surabaya it is about 300 km, or 6 hours by bus on the road.

  • In the nearby city of Bayunwangi there are a train service, too. To travel by Executive Class to Surabaya costs around Rp 100,000, and the journey takes 7-8 hours.

  • Through the airport of Surabaya some international flights and many domestic flights are availabel.

Getting around

Train:

  • Traveling by train on Java is a quick and cheap travel alternative. Many train services run overnight, so you can save valuable holiday time.

  • Tickets can best be purchased at the train station, or at one of the many travel agents. There is some language barrier because you can not expect English skills from staff. If you bring a map to the train station and explained your request by your hands, you might be successful.
    Alternatively we recommend the booking service of Tiket.com on this website.

  • There are various comfort classes. It is recommended to book Eksekutiv class, in order to avoid travelling with chicken and vegetables. You sit here almost like in a plane and you can stretch your legs and sleep.

  • Prices in the Eksekutiv class are still low, so is the fare from Jakarta to Yogyakarta Rp 300,000, and you travel about seven hours. Travelers should not expect that every train arrives on time. Actually, you can expect the opposite.

  • An Indonesian train is usually cooled by a very powerful air condition. Be sure to bring a jacket with you.

  • All major cities in Java can be reached by train services. The ports of Merak (boat service to Sumatra) and Ketapang (ferry connection to Bali) are also connected to the train network.

  • The best connection between the train service and an airport offers Yogjakarta airport, as there is a walkway between the airport and a train station available. However, at Yogjakarta mainly domestic flights are available.

Bus:

  • The main transport of the native population is by bus, because traveling by bus is very cheap. Therefore, each bus on Java is usually hopelessly overcrowded.

  • It is generally differed between a bus without air conditioning ( ekonomi ) and a bus with air conditioning (AC or eksekutiv ). If you don't want to find yourself between chicken and vegetables, you should travel with a AC or eksekutiv bus. These buses go mostly to the longer distances between major cities. Tickets for such a bus should be booked in advance.

  • On Java there is a huge number of bus terminals. In the ekonomi class you are free to get on a bus and pay the fare directly to the driver. But you should go in the early morning hours to the bus terminal to to get a free seat. For journeys with a AC or eksektutiv bus you should purchase the bus ticket in advance. Tickets can be bought through an agent, see the list for Lorena Karina agents, or you can ask directly at the hotel information.

  • There is a number of different bus companies in Java that operate mostly regionally. The Lorena Karina bus service is one of the few nationwide operating bus companies.

  • Inside the eksekutiv buses there is also little space for luggage. In addition, you should generally keep your valuables close to the body.

MiniBus:

  • In smaller cities and rural areas, where taxi services are not available, a minibus is the travelers alternative.

  • A Minibus has a fixed route plan and picks up and drops off passengers everywhere along the road. No bus stations do exist.

  • Altough ticket prices are extremely low, foreign travelers should ask for the price beforehand, in order to avoid getting overcharged.

Taxi:

  • Unfortunately, taxi services are not available everywhere on Java. Travelers will find taxi services only in bigger cities and at airports.

  • In order to get a taxi you can go directly to a taxi stand or call it by phone. Therefore, the website of the most reliably and secure taxi service Blue Bird Taxi offers a comprehensive list of phone numbers.

  • In general, you should make sure that the meter is used. If no meter exists, it is important to bargain the fare in advance.

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