A Short Trip to Yogyakarta

My wife needed to go to Yogyakarta to give a talk, so I decided to follow her and to bring along the kids. Normally we’d fly but thought it would be interesting for the children to experience the almost eight hour long train journey through the beautiful scenic landscape of West Java and Central Java. Our train departed Bandung at 7.20am on Monday morning and was scheduled to arrive in Yogyakarta at 3.12pm. We planned to return on Thursday morning so with one day for my wife's talk, that gave us slightly more than two days for our quick getaway. This is an account of our journey.

The name of our train was "Lodaya". This was one of the older trains and while still fairly comfortable certainly showed it's age. The trains with names that begin with "Argo" such as the one we had booked to return trip back to Bandung on are a newer train and nicer.

My wife booked the entire trip. The tickets were bought online and at Bandung Station we exchange the confirmation for the actual tickets. Identification documents are required for adults such as a Passport, IC, Kitas, Kitap or driving license etc.

The cost of the tickets for Eksekutif was between Rp250k to Rp350k per person for each way, the cost depending on which train you take. There is no charge for children under four years of age.

The train was scheduled to stop at several station along the way. This is the route that we took. There were actually a couple more stations where the train would stop.

The route shown on a map of all Java Island.

The nice thing about these trains is that you can swing the seats around so if there are four of you as we were, we can face each other. On return trips all the seats are turned around by the train staff. The seats are comfortable enough and can recline and have built in trays under the armrests similar to on a plane. The train is air-conditioned and there is a TV at each end of the carriage.

Food is available although the choice was quite limited. I didn't enjoy this Nasi Goreng.

As for the toilets, they are extremely cramped and a little difficult to get in and out for western people. They are made of stainless steel and sometimes a bit smelly. My wife won't go near them, and I will only use them standing up.

The scenery in West Java is quite beautiful with many hilly areas with volcanoes and valleys with lakes and rivers and terraced rice fields. In the mornings the area is often covered with mist or clouds and only when leaving West Java and entering Central Java does the scenery change to low flatlands with rice fields, a few metres above sea level.

Wow, very nice.  When i get to Bandung I am going to take the train around Java.  Very nice pics and overview Hansson.

Yup Java is indeed beautiful and traveling by train is a great way to explore it. I've added a couple more locations to my list of interesting places to visit since taking the train to Yogya.

The train journey took us through several small stations. Sometimes we stopped for 15 minutes or so but more often than not it was just for 5 or 10 minutes.

This station is at Tasikmalaya. The station is at an elevation of 349m above sea level.

Here is our train at Tasikmalaya Station, still in West Java

This is station security

The guard helps a worker to bring steps to the train for passengers to board and alight

As the train starts to descend into Central Java, the elevation reduces and we can see huge swathes of flat land with rice fields and plantations. The temperature is already increasing from the cooler freshness of West Java.

This is Ijo Station, a very small station at an altitude of just 25 metres above sea level. Ijo station was built in 1880 and apart from being a very small station it is also one of the oldest train stations in Indonesia.

Again the heavy steel steps are carried to the train, this time by one of the on trip cleaning staff with another fellow

We pass through a few more stations

And finally, after almost eight hours we arrived at Yogyakarta Station.

Yogyakarta Station is a bit of a mess once you get outside, not too different to Bandung Station and many others. People offering you taxis at exorbitant rates, but if you go out on to the road and walk a little then you'll come to the area where many taxis drop off customers and it is easy to find a cab that uses their meter.

This reminds me of a story that my wife repeated to me when we were in Yogyakarta. She had taken a taxi from her event to the hotel and the taxi driver started telling her how he didn't like taking Bule (foreign) passengers. My wife asked why, thinking that most taxi drivers would be happy. And the reason is that in Yogyakarta there is a minimum taxi fare of Rp25,000. This means that if the taxi meter which starts off at around Rp6,000 finishes at say Rp12,000, you are supposed to pay the minimum of Rp25,000. But so many foreign visitors would get angry and accuse him of trying to cheat them, often shouting at him. This poor man was really seriously upset by his experiences. He asked my wife to WhatsApp him some simple English sentences that explained that the minimum fare was Rp25,000. Of course, I was wondering why all the taxi's don't just place a sticker on the door or window as they do in some other places. But is did surprise me that some foreign tourists were so stingy and quick to get angry. But the worse thing is that the taxi driver has to pay to his company so when foreigners refused to pay the minimum he often lost money.

My wife had arranged this entire trip for us, booking the train tickets and the hotels. The first hotel we stayed at was called the Gallery Prawirotaman Hotel. I think she showed me a photo of the swimming pool area at night on her computer and I said it looks nice, so here we were. I believe the cost was about Rp680k per night inclusive of breakfast. Here are a couple of pics.

As always, we book twin beds and push them together to make one large bed

Hanson when you wil continue the story?

He left, sorry

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