Useful tips for traveling on trains in Indonesia


One of Indonesia’s most affordable modes of intercity, interprovincial transportation is the train. Through the service of state railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), people are able to go to cities around Java without having to face traffic congestion in considerably fast traveling time and at a price that is relatively lower than airfares.

In fact, train is one of the most popular transportation options during the national holidays, including school breaks, Idul Fitri, Christmas and the New Year. Seeing tickets being sold out in just hours prior to these holidays is very common, especially as the train tickets can be bought 90 days prior to departure.

If you are planning to take a train ride journey in the near future, here are some applicable tips.

(Read also: 11 essential tips for women traveling solo)

Book as early as possible

Booking your tickets as early as possible will help you secure a seat. During the low season, booking early could get you a good seat at a more affordable price.

Always remember that there are many ways to book train tickets nowadays, be it through offline vendors like minimarket stores, or online merchants like KAI’s website or other official vendors. Picking the most accessible option would be preferable. Remember that you can purchase several seats under one name.

Buying a ticket at the train station

If you happen to be ordering a ticket at the train station, it is advised you buy one from the vending machine rather than at the counter. This machine allows reservation up to hours prior to departure. It only requires personal data, a valid ID number, set destination and cash or compatible e-money to pay for the fare on the spot.

(Read also: How to avoid sexual harassment when traveling solo)

Print your own ticket

KAI provides service that allows you to get your boarding pass through a self-printing machine instead of getting the conventional ticket from the counter. Users just need to scan the barcode attached on their electronic transaction confirmation sheet, or use the booking code if the aforementioned method doesn’t work. Keep the boarding pass and show it along with your ID to board the train.

Buying meals before departure

Meals and drinks are available aboard the train, but ordering it at the stalls in the station might save you some money, and more importantly, time. Instead of waiting for your meal to arrive—which could take longer time if there are many orders—buying your meals before boarding will enable you to eat when you desire. (kes)