How to book a train in Indonesia

My first rail trip in Indonesia and I have one thing to say, it’s great! We love booking a train in Indonesia. Using Tiket we will take you through the steps to book your tickets for trains in Indonesia.

Book your first train in Indonesia

I’m always a little uneasy in flying in Indonesia. The bumpy air seems to be in disagreement with my anxiety. Unlike most of the planes, I travel on in Australia, the barf bags in Indonesia are very prominently placed hanging over the edge of the seat pocket. Never a good sign!

Riding a train was a welcome respite. There are a few simple things to note that will help you have a smooth trip.

Use Tiket to book trains in Indonesia

The first hurdle you are likely to come to is booking your tickets. The first place to go is where you will book your ticket. In the top right-hand corner is a pull-down for English.

Click on the train icon and select your destination. If your not a frequent rail traveller you will want to check the closest train stop to your hotel. With planes, we usually book the city while on the rail this may take you much further from your destination.

The frustrating bit with is the actual purchase of your tickets. All will seem fine while you type in your credit card details then the problems begin. You will find that your foreign credit card, no matter the issuer will decline. Before you get frustrated here are the steps to get you through.

  1. Write down the booking number that you attempted to make and take a screenshot.

2. At the bottom right corner there is a live chat button, click on it and type in the relevant details. From this point on you will need Google Translate to navigate the conversation. Just be honest with them up front about your lack of Indonesian.

Copy this:

Maaf, saya tidak bisa bahasa Indonesia. Bisakah Anda membantu dengan pemesanan saya? Kartu kredit telah ditolak. Saya menggunakan kartu kredit asing.”

Which roughly translates to:

Sorry, I can’t speak Indonesian. Can you help with my booking? Credit card has been declined. I use a foreign credit card.

3. The good news is you are not the first person going through this, and they are more than happy to help. Just keep the chat going back and forth with Google Translate. Eventually, they will tell you that they need to white list your credit card.

4. The online support will then request a photo of your ID and your credit card (only last four digits showing) together and emailed to Additionally, they will want a screenshot of the booking you attempted to make. No this is not normal in the country you are from; however, I had no issues taking this step.

5. You will receive a confirmation that your card is whitelisted and you are set to book your travels.


Train stations in Indonesia

I checked in at the Yogyakarta station; however, I assume the check-in process is much the same everywhere. You will have an eTicket that will have been mailed to you or is accessible on the site. Once you arrive, you will see someone waiting to check your ticket before you enter the station. To the right and left of this person, in Yogyakarta are terminals set up to scan your eTicket. On the top right-hand corner of your eTicket is a bar code, scan that, and a paper ticket will print. You’re now all set to check in.

If you have a long trip, I would advise buying food and water while you are in the station. There is a food trolley on the train as well.

In my experience on the train, I had no problems charging my devices as there were power outlets readily available along the wall next to the chair.

Do note that the train I was on didn’t dim their lights so if you are on a late night train you may want to bring a sleeping mask. Like any semi-public transport, you should also expect some level of noise (children, phones, talking etc.) so ear plugs may help you sleep. I never do any of that but its worth noting. Cell reception along the train lines from Yogyakarta to Surabaya was present half of the time so do be aware that you may be offline.

Finally, arriving in a new city, I would recommend that you take a GO-CAR from the terminal. I made the mistake of thinking I could navigate my way from the terminal to the hotel. The roads in many cities Indonesia I have found are not always pedestrian friendly around the train stations, and I would be hesitant to attempt to walk again. Having an active SIM card will solve nearly all of these problems so make sure you have one.

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