Trains In Bali ?!

Last updated: May 25, 2014
Train Tracks

Train operator sells tickets to/from the island of the Gods.

Despite there being no train tracks in Bali and a few kilometres of ocean separating it from East Java, Indonesia’s railway operator now offers tickets between Surabaya and Bali.

Train Icon + Ferry Icon + Bus Icon = Hello Bali Icon

Calling it a “multi-modal ticket”, Kereta Api Indonesia now sells a trip that includes a train ride to Banyuwangi, a ferry ride to Bali and a bus ride to Bali’s capital city, Denpasar.

View Tourist Attractions Between Surabaya and Denpasar in a larger map

Bromo Tengger Semeru Passengers do not have to commence the journey in Surabaya or Denpasar; they can also board/disembark near other famous tourist attractions, like Mt Bromo (left) and Ijen Plateau (right). Ijen Plateau


Why choose the train over a plane or bus?


In Bali, public buses arrive/depart from Mengwi, while the train-bus terminates/departs in Sanglah. Sanglah is much closer to the tourist areas of e.g. Kuta Beach, saving time and money for the trip to/from your hotel.

Normal/public bus services from Gilimanuk to Denpasar often cease operating in the mid-late afternoon, and there’s almost nowhere to stay near the ferry terminal. Visitors coming from the train or a hike up Ijen Plateau would be more relaxed with a guaranteed bus in Gilimanuk.

For visitors continuing their journey from Mt Bromo (Probolinggo Station), the train departs at suitable times: at 11:04 going to Banyuwangi, at 12:55 to Surabaya.

View Bus Terminals of Bali
in a larger map

It is one e-ticket for all 3 modes of transport. You don’t have to queue up for tickets at the ferry terminal. You can’t be overcharged for the bus ride from Gilimanuk to Denpasar.

Travelling by bus all the way between Surabaya and Denpasar might seem faster, but buses are limited to larger ferries, which depart less frequently. Similarly, around Indonesian public holidays there are long queues for all motor vehicles. This is especially true during the wet season of December to March, when inclement weather and heavy seas can affect the service. Passengers can be “stuck” for hours at Banyuwangi and/or Gilimanuk.

As expected, train tickets are almost always cheaper than flight tickets. It is also worth noting that taxi fares also add to the cost of flying.

In Surabaya, Gubeng Station is in the centre of town, near many hotels; Juanda Airport is a long way from the centre of town.

Denpasar Airport taxis have a monopoly; while the airport is located near tourist areas, pre-paid fares are about double the price of a return journey in a metered taxi.

Executive Class Seats on Cirebon Ekspres TrainExecutive class train seats are more comfortable than economy class aircraft seats and bus seats. There are footrests, cushions and much more legroom.

The bus between Gilimanuk and Denpasar is operated by DAMRI, a government-owned bus company that also runs airport buses. Personal experience is DAMRI buses are driven more carefully and in good condition.

There are also other, more general advantages of Indonesian train travel, discussed here.

A full trip report of the journey from Surabaya to Denpasar can be viewed at Seat 61.

Would you like to book a journey from East Java (not only Surabaya) to Denpasar or vice versa? Please check the schedule and fill in an enquiry.

2 Comments on “Trains In Bali ?!”

  1. Chris says:

    Here is a more detailed Google Map to help you find the Sanglah Bus Terminal in Denpasar.

    View DAMRI Terminal, Denpasar in a larger map

    The terminal is the blue bus. Other nearby landmarks e.g. Sanglah Public Hospital, are also marked.

  2. Chris says:

    A Google Map with directions for the 5-minute walk from Banyuwangi Baru Station to the Ketapang ferry terminal (from where boats to Gilimanuk, Bali depart):

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