How to travel from Yogyakarta to Bali in economical way

In general traveling in Indonesia or other Asian countries is quite cheap. Just one “small” detail – you need to have time. Like some destinations are quite far from each other (even if in the map looks closer) and the cheapest way of traveling is by land.

One of the most popular destinations in Indonesia – Bali island. But people try to travel around and not stay only in Bali. Most common that travelers fly to Jakarta, then through Java island (visiting Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo and Ijen) reach Bali. There people stay longer or go to other islands (Lombok, Komodo, Gilis and etc.).

The economical way to go from Yogyakarta to Bali is take “economi” train (yes, they have other train types as well – Executive (Eksecutif), Business (Bisnis)). The cheapest way would be hitch-hiking, but not all people likes it and most of travelers have limited time for holidays.

Technically you can’t get from Yogyakarta to Bali only by train because it’s 2 separate islands (Yogyakarta is in Java island). With train from Java you can reach only Java island port. From there you still need to use ferry to get to Bali harbor and use other transport (bus, taxi, car, motorbike) to get to any city in Bali island.

How to get to Bali
All train stops from Yogyakarta to Bali

So, how to travel from Yogyakarta to Bali in economical way?

  1. Take “economi” train from Yogyakarta Lempuyangan railway station. It leaves every day in early morning. Journey takes 13-15 hours. Cost 1 way/per person  100 000 Rp (~7,5 USD).
  2. From Banyuwangi Baru railway station go straight to Ketapang port (it’s ~10 min. by foot from train station).
  3. Take a ferry from Ketapang port to Bali Gilimanuk harbor. Ferries goes 24 hours. It takes ~40 min. (can be less or more, depends on the “traffic” in the sea). Cost 1 way/per person  7 500 Rp (~0,55 USD).
  4. From Bali Gilimanuk harbor catch other transportation to go to needed Bali city. For that you have couple options:
  • In the ferry look around if there are any cars with 1-2 people or motorbikes with 1 person. Go to ask those people if they could bring you to any city in Bali (depends on their own destinations, but most probably they will go to Denpasar, Ubud or Kuta). As well you can see buses – go to talk with a driver if  there are any free seat for you (but for this they will ask extra money. Amount depends on the driver, so you can try to negotiate with him).
  • If you feel too shy/uncomfortable to speak with local people – you can try to catch a bus in Bali harbor, just nobody knows exact night bus timings. Maybe you will need to wait 1 hour maybe till the morning. The bus stop is on the right side after you will exit harbor (but most of the time drivers already try to catch travelers in harbor and invite them to follow). But it’s not so nice to stay in empty harbor. There are few “warungs” (“street cafes”) which works all night long but sometimes people there a bit strange and you can feel uncomfortable there. Usually bus takes to Denpasar 3-5 hours (depends on bus type, one stopping in each corner to collect people, other – go straight to Denpasar). Price from Bali Gilimanuk harbor to Denpasar cost 1 way/per person  30 000-50 000 Rp (~2,16-3,60 USD) depends how good you are in bargain :) But at night price can be a bit higher.



Pros for traveling from Yogyakarta to Bali by train
  • It’s the cheapest way (not counting hitchhiking) to get to Bali.
  • You can see beautiful nature and local people daily life views through the window on the way from Yogyakarta to Bali.
  • You don’t need to worry about oversize backpack, there are no limitations for stuff that you take with you.
  • If you are friendly, curious person, during the trip you can speak with local people and know them better. They will spend all 13 hours with you, so would love to chat as well.
  • There are power sockets, so if you have laptop with you – can “kill” your time with watching movies or do other things.
  • On the way to Bali, you can stop in Probolinggo and visit Bromo, Ijen. Later can continue your trip to Bali by bus.
Cons for traveling from Yogyakarta to Bali by train
  • “Economi” train stops in almost every train station. As well they called “polite trains” – “economi” train stops and always allow the “faster” trains to pass by. Also there are stops, where train stop for longer time (for example in Surabaya stop for 30 min.). So, this train not the best for those whose stay in Indonesia short.
  • If you want to buy cheapest economic train ticket (especially during local holidays, weekends) you should do it at least 1 week in advance. Before/during/after Ramadhan even couple weeks before. Like many Indonesians will go back to visit their families and it’s the cheapest way for them to do that. Yes, you can try your luck by buying ticket in the train station day before or couple hours before departure, but it’s very rare be so lucky :).
  • If you don’t like to get a lot of attention – traveling by economic train – not for you. Most of the local people who is traveling by train rare see foreigners, so they are very curious. They can stare at you all the time, try to talk with you. And if you will be “lucky” – kids will stuck around you and will make pictures of you. In other hand it can be pros as well – you have possibility 13 hours to know Indonesian people better, “kill” your time.
  • Most of the seats are made for 2 or 3 people, but there is no separation. So if you can’t stand that all journey somebody will touch you – don’t choose travel by such train.
  • If you are too sensitive for kids scream, noises, different food smells – as well don‘t choose this train. Mostly people in the train feels and behave like at home.
  • The train will delay all the time. So even if official trip duration is 13 hours. It can delay till ~2 hours.
Tips for traveling from Yogyakarta to Bali by train (ferry and bus)
  • In economic train is working air-condition (or can be fans), so even if outside will be hot, inside will be colder. Take something to cover yourself.
  • There are simple squat toilets but no toilet paper so have it with you.
  • In the train there is café and time to time guys are coming with some snacks, food, hot drinks – but don’t expect anything luxury :D. Better to buy water, snacks before the trip – will be cheaper and can eat when you want without waiting for the sellers.
  • There are power sockets, so during the trip you can charge your equipment, but don’t forget that other will do the same. Don’t leave your charger all trip long :).
  • Come to the train at least 40 min. before departure. Then you will have chance to put your bags above your head. Later all places will be fully complete with local people stuffs (ant they will have a lot off them :)).
  • Have small bag with you, where you will have all needed things for journey. Like every time go up and take something from big bag will be not comfortable.
  • Keep eye on your stuff during the stops. Even if people not allowed to enter train station are without showing the ticket, still some sellers from outside get inside the train.
  • In Banyuwangi train station, many taxi drivers will suggest to take you to the port. But it’s no need – it’s so near. Except if you have a lot of stuff and don’t want take them by yourself.
  • Before getting inside the bus be sure to which bus station they will arrive. Sometimes different buses goes to different stations in Denpasar.
  • If you have chance, don’t sit in the end of the bus, it’s a place for people who is going short distances. Of course you can sit there, just won’t be comfortable when around you will put many boxes, other travelers stuffs, people will ask you to move and etc.
How to by train ticket from Yogyakarta to Bali
  • You can buy straight in Yogyakarta Lempuyangan railway station (need to have your ID).
  • You can buy in “Indomaret” supermarket. You just need to have your ID, tell for the cashier where, when you want to go. She/he will print the check with your trip details. Usually for this service they charge extra 7 5000 Rp but as well most of the time they make some advertising, like “buy ticket – get free drink” or no charge fee and etc. (every time it’s different offer). But this check is only reservation – at least 1 hour before departure you should come to train station and change this check to the real ticket.
  • You can buy ticket online in Indonesian railway website (only in Indonesian language, but navigation quite easy and main words you can find in google translator :)). Here, after reservation, you should buy ticket during 24 hours (you can do it “Indomaret”, “Alfamart” and other supermarkets (it the end of reservation will be shown the the list) or show reservation letter in train station, you will get it to your email).
  • You can buy ticket online in private agency Tiket. There is everything written in English so much easier to buy. But they can charge small fee for service. As well in this website you can book hotel, rent a car. Sometimes I find there cheap flights inside Indonesia.

If you will decide to travel to other places in Indonesia by train, here is more information about other train routes.

How I traveled from Yogyakarta to Bali by train?

How to travel from Yogyakarta to Bali in economical way

I traveled by train twice. First time, we decided not to go straight to the ferry but stay overnight in the hostel that we found in the train station area. We went to Bali next morning. Second time – I went straight to Bali harbor where my friend pick me up with motorbike. But believe me it was very tiring and long journey. We reach Sanur only at 6 am (took ~5 hours go by motorbike).

If you will decide to stay overnight in Banyuwangi as well. We stayed in simple place. Nothing fancy, rooms are small, without proper windows. One type rooms have shared bathroom (cost 75 000 Rp), others – private (price 100 000 Rp) per night. In this place they don’t make any reservation. Who comes first get a bed. It’s clean place but made just for overnight stay. In the morning you can order coffee, breakfast for additional money.

I met one traveler who told that he stays in other place for 45 000 Rp but I don’t know exactly where that place is, as well at night I didn’t want to search for it :). But here you can see other places to stay.

Hostel in Ketapang port, where we stayed.

If you want to make your trip more memorable and you have extra time, I suggest on the way to Bali stop in Bromo and Ijien volcanoes. It will be things that for sure you won’t forget. Just check Lili’s practical guide to Kawah Ijen and enjoy your journey!

 

What is your experience traveling by trains in Asia? Would you recommend it for other travelers?


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Facing my fears – first scuba diving in Bali

Do you know that feeling when you scared of something so bad that everything what is related with it, makes you feel uncomfortable? You don’t have such fear? Then you are the lucky one.

Because of few accidents in my childhood I need to admit that I’m scared of being in deep water. I could say – scared to drown. I can swim but I never swim to a places where I can’t touch the ground. So almost all water activities, no matter how entertaining, fun they are – not for me. I never tried surfing, I tried snorkeling twice but both of the times were unsuccessful. About other activities in the water I even don’t want to think. Probably you can imagine what does it mean to try scuba diving for person with such fear?

Cuttlefish - first diving in Bali
Cuttlefish. Photo by Wira Wijoga

Indonesia is one of the best dive sites in the world and I’m not able to enjoy it? I feel like my fear punishing me double. But after seeing many colorful, inspiring photos from diving in Bali, hearing the stories and seeing how easily people do it for first time, even getting diving certificates – I took all my courage and decided to try it. I didn’t know how it will be, but I was stressed already couple days before going for scuba diving. But I did it – my first scuba diving in Bali. Here is how I cope with my fear and what I discovered.

Preparation – know what you want before choosing where to dive

Diving in Bali - pinterest
Pin it for later! Photo by Wira Wijoga

When I was thinking about my fear I wanted to feel safe. For me, the most important things were:

  • patient, experienced, knowing how to deal with people who has deep water fear instructor. And who could speak properly in English;
  • dive alone with instructor, not in a group (usually 1 instructor dives with 4 divers). So instructor could be beside me all the time and I could feel calm that in any case I will get a help immediately;
  • I wanted to go to diving site where is not so deep but as well to see the turtles (I can’t explain why – but I really wanted to see them in their natural surrounding).

You can find many good instructors for diving in Bali, beautiful diving sites like Tulamben, Amed, Pemuteran, Padang Bai. Around Bali – Lembongan, Gili islands. Everything depends what kind of underwater world you want to see.

But after talking with experienced diver about my wishes, we decided for first time dive to choose Padang Bai. Mostly because of the recommended instructor and possibility to see turtles.

How everything went – dealing with the fear

We came in early morning. I had instructions about equipment, how to use it in underwater, how to communicate with instructor when you can’t speak and many other needed to know things about diving. Later on we went by boat to the first diving site. After it I understood that I scared not only to drown but as well breath underwater. So I got more stressed.

First diving site was near the shore. No corals, only sand and some small fishes – we went there just to see how I manage with being underwater with all equipment, how I understood and can follow instructions.

The first thing I needed to deal with is to go to the water from the boat without any equipment. It’s easier to put equipment on, when you are in the water. Even holding the boat side but knowing that in that spot is ~9 m depth already was too scary for me. Instructor was convincing me that it’s safe but only after 3rd time, I resolve to do what instructor was asking. This is how big is my fear to drown.

Flying gurnet - diving in Bali
Flying gurnet. Photo by Wira Wijoga

After testing the mask and equipment we dive. My breath wasn’t normal – I was so stressed that my breathing looked like I‘m doing some heavy physical exercises. After being underwater ~30 min. and going to ~3 m depth I show the signs that I want to go up. We had some rest in the boat and I decided that I need to go back, like if I won’t do it now, I won’t do it again later.

Second time we went straight to deeper place – ~9 m. There I saw already octopus, many different size, colors fishes and etc. My wonder of the things that I saw became bigger but I still was scared and intense.

Later on, we had ~1-hour rest in the boat but probably stress, moving water, changing the pressure in the water made me sick a bit. But in the second dive site we should see more colorful fishes, corals and probably turtles. I came to see turtles – so I wanted to dive again even if felt not so good already.

Scuba diving in Bali
My body language shows how scared I was. Photo by Wira Wijoga

And here you go! Still panicky breathing but feel a bit more comfortable moving in underwater we went a bit more than ~9 m. depth. There I saw 1st turtle, then 2nd one and the 3rd one! My instructor told me later that I first time smiled when I saw a turtle. Yes, in this diving site was already similar view that I saw in all those underwater pictures before. I saw even that cute small one fish (clown-fish) from cartoon “Finding Nemo”. I still didn’t feel free, I was trying to understand how to move properly and not to hit corals or go up, down too quickly. But with instructors help everything went well.

Green turtle - diving in Padang Bai
One of seen green turtles. Photo by Wira Wijoga

But most probably because of the same stress, excitement and etc. I felt not good and showed the signs that I need go up. We reached the boat and here came after-effect of half of the day intense, stress – I felt so dizzy and weak, I felt that my blood pressure went down as well. I just wanted to reach the shore as soon as possible.

After talking with experienced divers, they explained me that it’s normal condition after 1st time scuba diving, especially with my fear. That I just need to have good rest and I will feel better later. And it was like that – after half of the day rest – sleep, proper food, next day I felt like nothing happened. Even couldn’t believe that I did scuba diving in Bali.

Here are some useful articles if you want to try scuba diving but have the fear for it:

My discoveries after first time scuba diving

  • To put on the diving costume takes much more time and effort that I thought. I even got some scrape on my fingers when was I putting it on.
  • Ocean water is so salty that after I got it to the nose and mouth (by accident) I thought it will destroy everything inside.
  • Being underwater I was so thirsty, inside mouth was so dry I even couldn’t swallow saliva.
  • I expected that just after first scuba diving I will see those beautiful colors of underwater world but being intense I was mostly concentrated to do everything correct and not to drown, so haven‘t seen everything that was around.
  • I didn’t expect that I will feel dizzy, weak and willing to vomit – it’s as well normal thing for first time divers (not for all of them but it happens).
  • Try snorkeling was harder for me than scuba diving in Bali. After second dive I didn’t feel that I can drown.
Moray eel - diving site
Moray eel. Photo by Wira Wijoga

Tips for first time scuba diving

Please note that these tips are based on my own experience and advice of professional instructors but before first time scuba diving talk about it with your instructor.

  • Day before diving is recommended not to drink any alcoholic drinks and have good rest – quality sleep. I would say, even better stay overnight before diving day near scuba diving place.
  • All preparation, diving, rest after it and etc. will take more than half of the day. Don’t plan too many activities after diving, most probably you will feel tired.
  • One of the best time for diving is in early morning when the water is still clear. But every day the condition in ocean is changing so before diving talk with instructor if it’s good time to do it.
  • Ask questions – everything that is in your mind. Once my ex-boss told me “there are no stupid questions only stupid answers”.
  • Not all diving center provide snacks during rest time, so take with you some water and snacks. Can be that you will feel hungry and thirsty.
  • Take some remedies for bathing to wash salty water from your body and towel.
  • You won’t be able to make photos underwater on your first time dive but you can ask instructors to make some pictures of you while you will be diving.
  • Things your scuba diving instructor will never tell you
Lion fish - scuba diving in Bali
Lion fish. Photo by Wira Wijoga

Where I did my first scuba diving in Bali

First of all, you should try scuba diving in Bali. Why? Here are 10 reasons for diving in Bali.

Scuba diving in Bali I did in one of the diving centers near Padang Bai fast boats harbor. It’s a small diving center (you even won’t find them in internet) but I choose it because of recommendations from experienced diver. I’m very thankful for my instructor Wayan for patient, positive energy, help, dealing with my fear and all understanding my first time scuba diving.

If you will decide to have diving or snorkeling trip in Padang Bai, here are the places where you can stay.

 

Scuba diving in Bali - pinterest
Pin it for later. Photos by Wira Wijoga

 

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you tried scuba diving in Bali? Where and how was it?
  • If you didn’t try scuba diving, would you like to do it?
  • Do you have any other favorite water activities that would recommend to try?

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Photos made by Wira Wijoga in Padang Bai diving sites where I made my first diving.

 


 

My days in Bali beaches

Bali is a small island with different types of beaches. Some beaches have big, sharp rocks, created by corals or lava, others are covered with white, yellow, and gray or black sand. Some people say that Bali is a dream island for a vacation :). Maybe, depends what you are searching for and what is your vacation “habits”. Even if I live in Indonesia, I as well have trips – “vacations” sometimes :D. This time I decided to explore more of Bali beaches in the South part, to see what is so “magic” about those places that attract so many tourists.

In which Bali beaches I have been so far?

Sanur beach

Romantic dinner on the water

This beach is on the coast next to the village of Sanur, on the west side of the island. It is several kilometers long. The sand here is golden yellow and consists of small coral particles that fly on windy days. The beach is covered with thousands of small shells and snails that you can collect. Ocean current is very weak here therefore only tiny waves show on the surface. It is perfect for children and non-swimmers. This beach is really depends on the sea tides, so if you want to swim there you should ask people in the place you are staying which concrete timing of tides. You can have here romantic dinner on the water (probably in many Bali places it’s possible to have;)), a bit further go to watch Balinese kites competition, eat delicious see food, have relaxation procedures, do some sports and organize your trips to other places in Bali.

Travelers usually gives “labels” for concrete places – I heard that Sanur beach named like beach for retiree people :D. But I disagree – yeah, it’s more quite comparing with other beaches, but you can have here everything that suggest any other Bali beach and as well here is a bit cheaper;).

Kuta beach

Surfers paradise

Waves here are high, and ocean currents are strong, so if you decide to swim you need be very careful, like almost every time you will see warning “red” flag on the coast. However, it is perfect for surfers who congregate at this beach in large numbers. Unfortunately, the currents here are also strong and sand and water are not white, but rather gray, as well very trashy :(. Usually this beach quite crowd, like here comes not only tourists from abroad but Indonesians from other places. In this beach you won’t find usual bar/restaurants on the beach, just some people sells drinks, snacks. After the sunset (many people comes to see it), some street musicians come to play there but not stay too long, like there is no lightening.

Kuta as well known as parties, surfers, short love affairs place and one of the cheapest in Bali. If you want quite place, not to see many almost undressed tourists walking around – you shouldn’t choose this place :D.

In any case if you will decide to choose Kuta, check Tara’s from “Where is Tara” survivor’s guide to Kuta.

Seminyak beach

Beach bar

Only ~15 min drive from Kuta beach you will see different view. In Seminyak beach the waves here as well quite high, but the water much cleaner, the beach has already more yellow sand. As well in all coast are aplenty of beach bars where is very nice to have a drink, see the sunset and listen for live music in the evenings :). Seminyak beach is most fashionable area. There are luxurious resorts, a number of fine restaurants and boutiques. Fashion stores and top dining spots with international chefs. That’s why this place is more expensive than Kuta but I really enjoyed the evenings here and “felt in love” with beach bars atmosphere :).

If you are looking for peaceful place you should come here, like after the sunset seams that Seminyak is “dead” even if there are some luxurious dance clubs. Seminyak in general is filled with family-friendly hotels with pools, situated in parks full of flowers and trees.

Pandawa beach

Pandawa beach

Another more beautiful, less heard, hide behind large carved limestone cliffs – Pandawa beach. Often called as “the secret beach”, like officially it was opened only in 2012. Over the last few years, seeing the potential held in the beach’s majestic and pristine beauty, the Badung Regency Administration opened about 1.5 kilometers of access roads. So now it’s fast-gaining popularity among local weekenders and international visitors. If you want to see almost not touched beach – better go here now :D. Here you will be greeted by five statues carved into the cliffs: Yudhistira, Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sadewa. These are the Panca Pandawa, five brothers who are characters in the shadow puppet theater, from which the beach takes its name. The sand here is golden yellow and consists of small coral particles, the sea low tide comes after the lunch, so you can enjoy time in the water till that time. It is perfect for children and non-swimmers as well for those who want some privacy.

The water at Pandawa Beach is an exotic combination of blue and green. On clear days with mild winds, it is a great place to swim, or you can hire a sea kayak,  grab a surfboard to catch a wave beyond the reef breaks. Also you can do here paragliding. You will find here only couple simple “warungs” (not fancy ones:)), so better to take some snacks with you. Also it’s not the place to see the sunset, like the cliffs covers it. But if you spend all day in Pandawa beach for sunset you can go to Uluwatu temple, which is quite near and finish the day with seeing the famous “kecak” dance (as well called “monkey dance”) there :).

Important: There are no coast guards on duty in this area, so be careful when you are swimming or canoeing as the condition of the sea can be unpredictable

Nusa Lembongan beach

Nusa Lembongan

Lembongan is a small and very pretty island, only 7 km away from the main island of Bali. It is well known for its tranquil sandy bays, which offer a great opportunity for a romantic getaway. It is dry and rocky, and there are no rice fields. Only cacti, snakes, and lizards are enjoying themselves here. The sand here is golden yellow and consists of small coral particles. The beach is covered with thousands of small shells and snails that you can collect. Ocean current is very weak here therefore only tiny waves show on the surface. It is perfect for children and non-swimmers. Even if recently here comes more people, still it’s not overcrowded.

If you come to this island you should stay here at least couple of days and explore more of this island, like the island not so big but have some interesting places to see. While you are here you can visit and another island, Nusa Ceningan, that you can reach through the hanging bridge. This island is on the southern side of the Lembongan. Nusa Ceningan is a small island only 4 km long and 2.5 km wide.

 

All these beaches on the map

What is your favorite Bali beach or experience in my mentioned ones?

 

Some information used from internet sources. Some of the links above use affiliate codes. By clicking them, you won’t be extra charged. I will receive a small commission, which helps to keep this website running. I don’t recommend a company I don’t trust, and I stand behind my recommendations for all products and companies listed on this page.

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