- Discover Indonesia Online

You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Some railroad trips

EINDHOVEN (THE NETHERLANDS) - On several different occasions, I travelled by train over Jawa. Some of the trips were made in the evening or at night, so there wasn’t much to see except some white lights from distant villages and every once in a while a train station where we made a short stop to let other trains pass, since most of the rail network still is single-lined.
There are some trips however, mostly during my first few visits to Indonesia, which I made a broad daylight. From that, I still remind the very first long distance train ride from Jakarta to Yogyakarta, the Taksaka train which had a scheduled depart at seven in the morning back in 2000. As I arrived at the train station with a friend, there was no train yet. As it was quite early in the morning, the train station, Jakarta Gambir, was not yet overcrowded with travellers, of which most of them were waiting to board eksekutif trains to various destinations all over Jawa.

As we departed from Gambir station just before eight o’clock, I was probably excited as a little kid, but I wasn’t really showing it. I had my one-time-use camera ready to make pictures, but since I only had a few of them, I didn’t want to make too much pictures because there was so much more to come. Slowly the train picked up some speed as we entered the vast Jakartan outskirts. The sun was rising fast along the sky.
Nothing much happened for some time. The landscape could be compared to with I was used to back in Holland, green and somewhat flat in between towns and villages. Okay, in Holland, the green is mostly pastures and potato fields, and the ‘almost flat’ was all created by humans, but well, green is green and flat is flat. A stop in Cirebon, stretching legs and before we knew it, the train departed again. Still many hours to go. Refreshments and snacks were included in the already cheap ticket price.
After Cirebon the landscape started to change more dramatically. As we left the coastal plains, we entered the Jawanese ‘highlands’ with it’s mountains and volcanoes. All of a sudden I realised it would be the first time that I would see a real life volcano from a distance so it would really look like one as well. I had previously visited Gunung Tangkuban Perahu near Bandung, but that was just a drive onto it and a view into it’s sulphuric crater. This was different, I would see big volcanoes rising in the Jawanese landscape.
Some time later I was quite amazed to actually see some of them. Majestic volcanoes with high peaks, no trees and all this against a virtually blue sky. Some of the summits had a little cloud with them. Yeah, that was my first encounter with real volcanoes and ever since I’m kind of trying to climb one. It’s wasn’t high on my list of things ‘to-do’ for years, but every time it got higher on the list. Maybe it’s time to climb one soon.

Bogor to Jakarta

What I did on one august day back in 2003 was probably the thing that most people advised me not to do because of various reasons. I’m not the one who is never listening to people, but in this occasion I felt I had to do it once, just the same as a horrifying bus trip I made in 1999. After I heard a number of stories about why I should avoid the third class train (also known as kelas kambing, animal class) I was suddenly confronted with travelling it as I had spend my first two days of holiday in Bogor and I wanted to go to Jakarta in the morning after my late breakfast.
I had the choice of waiting for some hours until I could take a bisnis train to Jakarta, or I could hop onto a crowded commuter train. I had seen images of people jammed into one such train, with even people on top of it, talking about dangerous. It shortly flashed my mind, but I bought a ticket. Forgetting the low price, Rp. 2500 for a single-way karcis, I wanted to pay with a Rp. 50.000 bill. After correcting myself I found it more proper to pay with a smaller bill, I even had the exact amount.

The train was empty when I entered it. Soon I found out that it was the wrong train. This train wasn’t scheduled to leave for another half an hour, so I was advised to get into the first train, in which a handful of people had parked themselves on the few wooden banks near the windows. It wasn’t crowded at all. Maybe because the rush hour was over already? I didn’t really know what to expect, but a crowded train in Holland was even more populated than this one, so it was quite hard for me to imagine this was just everything.
There are more short stops in Bogor itself. As soon as the train started to pick up some speed, it was time to slow down again to stop for the next station. It was almost of no use to make some speed at all, but well, at least we were moving towards Jakarta Juanda station and it still wasn’t crowded. More and more people started to board. After the wooden banks were filled, people stuffed away their boxes, bags and other objects and found their place along the side of the train, near the banks and the windows, of which most sliding windows were busted out. Fresh air? It was fresh enough now. I had given up my seat to a young woman with baby.
Soon I realised that I, as a foreigner travelling on this kind of trains, would get what I paid for as well, a cramped space somewhere in the middle of the wagon, somewhere between a big sweating guy and a group of noisy youngsters. As the train stopped at the next station, my fears were honoured, more people entered the train. We weren’t even in Jakarta yet! Normally this ride should take about one hour, but that hour had already passed. I didn’t know where we were, all I could see were roofs of houses, some railroad crossings and a lot of black hair.

What did I do!? I was starting to sweat as the natural fan of fresher air stopped when we drove into another train station. The ventilator above me seemed to move away from me, although I realised it was me that was losing his good position near that fan. Other people’s arms and heads blocked the direct line from the fan. Some people from the middle of the wagon had to go out. Not the most smart way to hold your positions there only until the train stopped at the station, but well moving out while the train was driving is not really an option too.
Now I could imagine how it was for a young woman to be in such conditions… daily, simply because you have to work in Jakarta, somewhere, and you are living in Bogor, somewhere. I can imagine those looks from people. They are not the same as I get them, but well. Maybe it’s not just only looks. Dozens of people cramped in a tiny space like that is an attractive location for touching people. The best excuse is to say that your hand had nowhere else to go (true too), but holding up your hands doesn’t work either. I was happy I gave away my place to the woman with the baby, just an example of such a young woman.

The train stopped more often and the building around the train weren’t just small houses anymore. We had arrived in downtown Jakarta, but I still hadn’t a clue yet how long we still had to travel. Now, more people got off the train than on, but still it was a silly situation I was in. I still had a hard time keeping my bag with me, me being wary about ‘cutters’ who simply cut open your bag to slide out your mobile phone. In my case there was no mobile phone in my backpack, nor was there anything really valuable, but of course it’s no fun when your bag is damaged for nothing, while you still have to travel around for weeks. Still I wonder what is worse, my bag cut open, being looked at by the commuters which only seem to think why I took their little space or being touched ‘by accident’ being a women.

Train information
Taksaka timetable and pricing
Bogor to Jakarta Juanda timetable

Posted in Travel @ 30 October 2004 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!

Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
·  At 14 July 2020 08:32 newnight reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:05 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:48 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by · feedback & contact · © 2000-2020
Other websites by · · ·

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 138,979,586 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at