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A Local Guide: Taking Train Around Jakarta

The capital city of Jakarta maybe doesn’t exist in your bucket list. As most of the travelers would prefer Bali, Lombok, or Gili Trawangan as their destinations.

Jakarta maybe not a must visit place for some travelers who are into nature and adventures. But this busy, bustling city, offers some interesting places to visit, including the local transportation worth a try.

I’ve met a lot of backpackers from different countries who spent their times around Jakarta. Some great quality yet cheap hostels are popping up in my town. Not only that, even if the traffic situation is very bad, some travelers still love the city along with the down to earth locals.

Indonesia is the 3rd country, that means, everything is cheaper than Europe, Australia, and the USA. But, there are still some backpackers who want to spend less money so they can save up to the next destination. Or, they simply just want to experience the local’s life.

So they start eating on the street, enjoying the food street stalls and take the public transportation. There are buses – – maybe not very comfortable ones – – and angkot, the mini bus alike, similar to tuktuk in Thailand or Jeepney in the Philippines.

Tap the ticket card to enter and out of the station. | Oi Meira

But because of the bad traffic in Jakarta, some backpackers want to try train to get around the city, even to go to Bogor, West Java up to the old city, Kota Tua and Rangkas Bitung. Actually, the route connects Bogor – Jakarta Kota – Jatinegara – Bekasi – Tanah Abang – Duri. The whole route is called Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, and Bekasi). This means you can commute around and the outside of the city just by train. Of course, to get to some destinations, you need to transit. But don’t worry, as long as you don’t get out of the station, you do not need to pay more.

Unfortunately, as most of the locals don’t speak English very well, some of the travelers get confused on how to buy the tickets. But don’t worry, taking a train in Jakarta isn’t so difficult like you might imagine.

Where to Take a Train?

To start, you need to get to know where you are right now and find the nearest train station by using Google Map. Once you find it, just go there by online ojek, taxi, angkot, or any other transportation you’re comfortable with.

There are some of the stations that do not serve Jabodetabek route.  You can check on the official route map below, published by PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek. The red dots indicate the stations which do not serve Jabodetabek route or it’s where the trains do not stop.

The map of KRL Commuter Line route in Jabodetabek. | Source: krl.co.id

How to Get Around?

On the map above, you can see all the train stations. Point out which station you are at and where you are heading. The stations that have T signs show the transit stations. Those are stations that you can change trains with any different destinations.

Let’s play a little bit. Say you are at Juanda station and you want to go to Jakarta Kota station. It’s easy because you just need to take the train bounds to Jakarta Kota. But, if you are in Juanda and want to go to Bekasi station, you need to go to Manggarai station first and take a train bounds to your destination.

Quick Tips: There are three big stations in the city that serve the Java island route. Those are Gambir, Pasar Senen, and Jakarta Kota station.

Card and Cost

Officially starting on October 1st, 2016, PT KAI has announced a new tariff for Jabodetabek train. The fares vary, depending on the distance. Wait, do you have to count it by yourself? Of course not, here is an image of the price list.

The price list! It’s not a list, though, but whatever. | Source: krl.co.id

Okay, I know everything on the official poster is in Bahasa Indonesia. Let me help you here to translate it. First, you need to consider which card you need to get. There are two types of it; the Tiket Harian Berjamin (THB) and the Kartu Multi Trip (KMT).

THB can be used as return ticket and be resold or refunded. But this card has a guarantee fee IDR10k. When you’re back to where you were or do not want to use the card anymore, you can resell or refund the card at the ticket booth or the vending machine. So, you will get your 10k back. Oh, remember, this card can be used for a single destination only.

While another card doesn’t, this KMT requires a minimum Saldo Rp12k. It’s a non-refundable, but it has a top up advantage. The card itself costs IDR50k and can add as much money as you want, from IDR5k up to IDR1 million.  

The train I usually take every day to work. | Oi Meira

Now, the fares! How much does it cost if you want to go to Jakarta Kota from Bogor station? You need to know how far your destination is. The first 25 km costs IDR3k and IDR1k every 10 km further. Okay, this is confusing and no one wants to count how many km from where you are to your destination. Here, you can check the tariff easily. Hint: stasiun awal is the station you are going from and stasiun tujuan is your destination. Easy peasy! I only pay IDR4000 from Depok to Gondangdia every day, it’s cheap.

Taking Train Might be Faster, But… 

There are rules that sometimes annoy me. But not so much, just a little. First, people used to be allowed to bring a big bicycle, but not anymore. You’re allowed but the bicycle needs to be foldable or maybe you can just see the direction here, about the size of the thing you’re bringing into the train.

These are the rules of your belongings you’re bringing while taking a train. | Oi Meira

Inside the train, of course, there are some rules that are both written and unwritten. But, people still do it and the security won’t do anything. Chill! I even broke one of the rules; eating on the train!

Why do you think the locals want to take the train around the city? Well, it’s cheap! Also by train, we can avoid the horrible traffic jam in Jakarta. It means the train is way faster than car and bus. But unfortunately, train sometimes get stuck and it makes your day even worse!

The problems vary, from the power cut to the queue train. But this is not the only problem you will get. During rush hour, the train is very packed. You can’t even move. My tips for all the female travelers, get into the special female train which is on the back and front of the railway.

This was at 7 am on Monday. | Oi Meira

Due to the rush hour, the train could be super congested, but you can avoid this situation by picking the time wisely. Better avoid taking a train around 6-10 am and 4-8 pm. But again, it depends on the situation. These two weeks I have stuck waiting for the empty train while going home to Depok/Bogor area until 10 pm. The train bounds to Bogor, Jatinegara, and Bekasi tends to be packed in the evening on workdays.

Ha, they will push each other to fit themselves in! I could barely breathe, tbh. | Oi Meira

Even if you still can breathe, I suggest avoiding the rush hour while taking any public transportations. Taking train can be fun and can be used as a trick to cut your expenses while you’re in Jakarta. But, I think it won’t be fun anymore if you cannot enjoy the journey.  Oh, while thinking where you’re going to by train today, why not consider these affordable hostels to stay in the city? You will get a discount if you’re using this search box on the side bar to book accommodation. Also, I will get rewarded if you book a room using either this link, here or a search box. Happy traveling around Jakarta!


Oi Meira

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  • Esther Zaga says:

    When I travel to any city, I always look for the train for transportation, I am looking forward to be using this one. As you wrote, I am not planning on going to Jakarta until I read your article!

    • Oi Meira says:

      I am glad that this post has inspired you to travel to Jakarta. I hope soon, you can make it. You can always contact me to get a direction around the city, or maybe just to meet up for coffee. 🙂 Happy traveling.

  • Liz says:

    Thanks so much, I might be going this year and have already saved your tips 🙂

  • Mel Hattie says:

    This was really useful! Well-laid out and I love that you blog about your home city. Local guides are THE BEST. Any good recommendations for tea spots in Jakarta?

    • Oi Meira says:

      Oh, I promise you to write a guide to take a tea tour around Jakarta. I love old school Chinese tea and I just heard, Indonesia has also its own ancient tea. 🙂 Will email you.

  • Megan says:

    I break the ‘no eating’ rule on my city’s train all the time, too! I’ve not thought of visiting Jakarta before, but I do like to explore via public transportation when in cities, so I might have to give this a go when I visit in the near future.

    • Oi Meira says:

      Most of travelers prefer Bali, Lombok, and the other exotic islands over Jakarta to spend their time in Indonesia. I was born in this city and maybe that is why I am used to its traffic jam and all the bad things people say. But, I found out that there are still a lot of backpackers stay some days in the city, even though just for a transit before heading to the next destinations. But, I think this metropolitan city has its beauty that you can enjoy in a couple of days. Please come to Jakarta. DOn’t forget to see the old town. 🙂 Jakarta is waiting for you 🙂

  • jin says:

    Wow I would have never thought about taking a train in Jakarta! I remember just taxing everywhere! This train bit doesn’t look so bad and it actually looks like a great way to get around! Thank you for sharing!

  • Kristi says:

    Super useful information! Glad to find out they have female only cars, those were a lifesaver when traveling in Tokyo during rush hour!

  • I’ve always wanted to visit Jakarta but really not sure of the transportation and this guide really helped a lot! Hope to meet you when I visit!

  • Rachelle says:

    I love taking public transportation whenever I visit a new city. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can successfully navigate my way around and not get lost (well, at least not many times). I can understand how it might be hard to figure out how to get around if you don’t speak the language, but isn’t that part of the adventure? 🙂

    • Oi Meira says:

      That’s right! That was what I experienced in Manila and Cebu last October. 🙂 I made it to take their jeepneys while exploring around the cities

  • Victoria says:

    This is exactly how the trains are here in Bangkok. In the morning you can forget it. It will easily take you an hour just to get on the train let alone get to your destination lol Thanks for the info in case I decide to visit

    • Oi Meira says:

      oh my, I can imagine how crowded the train in Bangkok every morning. I hope I can try to take the train there someday. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post.

  • This is such a great guide. I feel like now I could take the train in Jakarta with the confidence of (almost) a local!

  • Rylie June says:

    This is defiantly a must read before going to Jakarta! Thanks for sharing!

  • What’s a great place to visit in your country? I love that you really explain the ins and outs of taking the train.. I love DIY travel so will take note of this maybr when I plan a trip to Indonesia..

  • Thanks so much for sharing! Nice post

  • Tania says:

    Thanks for sharing!! very useful information!

  • Tania says:

    Very useful information shared! thanks!!!

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