I am writing this blog as a ‘how we got from Bali to Java’ for family and friends and a ‘how to get from Bali to Java’ for those who need the tips! It took us 20 hours in total to get here so we were a little bit tired when we arrived! We booked an online ticket in advance which was a combined bus, ferry and train ticket from Ubung bus station in Denpasar, Bali to Surabaya Gubeng train station in Java. We did this on tiket.com which is really easy all in English and they take a small admin fee, they have a link with Kereta Api the Indonesian train service. You can book online through Kereta Api but it’s more difficult as they don’t take most credit cards and it’s all in Indonesian. We can really vouch for tiket.com and it is well worth saving the hassle.
Our ticket was given to us as one and all it had was a booking reference and start and end times so no defined times for the ferry train etc. All we knew is that our bus left Ubung station at 14.30 and we had to exchange our ticket an hour before. Ubung Terminal is very overwhelming with people trying to sell you tickets to lots of different places so be wary of that, once we told them we already had a ticket they directed us to gate 20 and said our bus leaves at 3 (not half 2) and the company was Damri. So we sat in the terminal at Gate 20 for an hour and a half hoping for the best. Now what we weren’t told is that you don’t actually need to be there an hour before for the bus just the train! At 14.50 a pretty old looking bus with Damri written on pulled up called our our names and we jumped on, to be honest the bus was ok even if the seats were a bit cramped.
They put our big bags at the back and then small bags with us. The bus set off at 3 and the guy told us it should take about 3 hours to the ferry. As I mentioned before the bus seemed a bit old and was making some pretty funny noises! About an hour in the bus started to smell and there was a loud bang as we were going downhill and the bus veered to the left – turns out the suspension went and we had to wait an hour for a healthier much nicer bus. We were just unlucky and I wouldn’t let it put me off using them again to be honest.
Even without the stop the bus ride was more like 4 hours it was quite comfortable as we didn’t have anyone sat behind us so we could recline our chairs and the scenery was lovely! As we got to the ferry terminal the bus driver just sorted everything out, we just stayed on the bus until we were parked onboard. The ferry wasn’t the nicest and the toilets were horrible but for an hour crossing it was fine and it got us from Bali to Java! There was an inside section where they were playing Indonesian karaoke with aircon so we sat in there until an announcement in Indonesian told us to go back to the bus (or so we gathered).
Back on the bus and the next stop was Banyuwangi station (nearest to the ferry) for the final train to Surabaya. We had an hour and a half wait here in the station. We had to exchange our ticket at the manned desk and were given a print out which we thought was our ticket, but it wasn’t. We weren’t told but you then had to go to the computer, scan the barcode and then get your proper ticket. It was very easy to read the departures in the hall and when our train arrived the staff were very helpful letting us through scanning our tickets (have your passport handy). We also didn’t know Kereta Api actually have a bag size limit we have got away with it so far as our rucksacks just go on our back and we walk through, but we did see a few people with suitcases get stopped though! We have three other trains to get yet though so I will let you know how we get on.
On the train we had opted for business class which wasn’t much more expensive, and a bit comfier. It was hard to sleep on these though but we eventually sorted ourself out so that Chris leant against the window and I leant on him! This train left at 10pm (remember Java time is back an hour from Bali) and arrived at 4.26am so it took 6.5 hours. Remember to take snacks unless you want stale bread or a pot noodle!
Once we got to Surabaya we were actually carrying on another 2 hours to Malang on the train for our trip to Bromo so the journey wasn’t over for us! We actually had 1st class executive seats on this train and I would say if you have the little bit extra spare, do it! The seats recline it’s quiet and a much happier journey, we have just changed our other two upcoming 7 hour train rides to executive!
We had a 5 hour sleep when we get to the hotelat 9am and we have to be up at 1am to get to Bromo for sunrise. I have written this at the hotel after a lovely meal out at Tugu Hotel (it’s 6pm), up in 7 hours might get some more sleep!
Hope this blog has been funny/ helpful.