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.
So, how to travel from Yogyakarta to Bali in economical way?
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).
From Banyuwangi Baru railway station go straight to Ketapang port (it’s ~10 min. by foot from train station).
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).
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 ticketfrom 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?
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?
7 thoughts on “How to travel from Yogyakarta to Bali in economical way”
hi, really nice information, very helpful.
here check this out Yogyakarta Bromo Ijen, there is some place you can visit after yogyakarta.
I am about to visit Indonesia for second time. The first time I took a train from Yogya to Probolingo, went to Mt. Bromo and after that by bus to Bali. It is worth visiting and doable. This time I plan to take a train directly from Yogya to the harbour to get on a ferry to Bali. In Bali I visited Ubud and its surroundings, Kuta, Seminyak, Changgu, the three “must” temples, including Besakih, Mt. Batur, rice terraces. Do you have any suggestions what is worth seeing and not so crowded. Any nice, not crowded beaches? And what do you suggest about transfer to Lombok? And what to see there? Any useful tips for a couple of mid-aged low cost travellers?
Great that you are coming back to Bali! Besakih so far is closed because of Mt. Agung – so before visiting – you should check if it’s already open :) About Kuta – I’m not sure if it’s really worth to visit. And about fewer tourist places – depends on how you are planning to travel around Bali? About Lombok I wrote a bit here http://lifeinbigtent.com/lombok-island/
I love how real you travel. I don’t mind catching the train or staying in cheap accommodation but long journeys do my head in. You are one tough inspiring cookie.
Like many people I like to travel, as well, I like to know as much as I can just to not be involved in unexpected situations :) Thank you for appreciation :)
We ended up flying for lack of time, but this is an awesome resource. It’s surprisingly tough to get between Javanese islands! Thanks for sharing, we’ll be sure to check this out when we’re back to Indonesia.
Your welcome :) Hope it will be useful and during your next trip in Indonesia :)
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