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  1. #1
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    Traveling Central Java by Train: Jakarta to Bandung

    Traveling Central Java: Bandung

    Bandung is about 3 hours drive from Jakarta, in Central Java. I've done the drive before, for a highway it is reasonably picturesque. However, I've heard that the train trip is very pretty, and being a fan of Paul Theroux I liked the idea of a train trip.

    Trains can be booked cheaply, but not so easily. We found the timetable on the internet (but no english version, lucky I was using google chrome which can translate). Choose your class of train, drop down menu's for location and destination. Then what? You cannot book online! If you have a particular ATM card (Bii, BRI, Mandiri) not much good for tourists or even myself. In the end I sent my driver to the train station to pick up the tickets. I suppose a tourist could use a hotel or travel agency could send a messenger. I think the total price was about $5-6. Executive class train, air con carriage with comfortable cushioned seats. Non-smoking.



    Trains leave hourly from jakarta to bandung. However, the first class train that we chose to travel had two morning options. 05.45 or 09.15. Leaving from Stasion Gambir (located in sth jkt near Monas) Booked an early morning taxi the roads were empty at 4.30 am and it took us less than 30 mins to cover what normally takes almost 2 hours.

    Plenty of people at the station, staff, taxi drivers, travelers etc. But the signs had me confused, no names of towns/cities. The signs have the names of the trains. So I had to find the sign for the Argo Parahyangam train, go figure, again not very tourist friendly imo.

    The actual station looks like any train station around the world. No smoking signs were mostly adhered to, but not 100% this is still indonesia! Surprisingly enough (or maybe I'm just too jaded the train left on time. Ticket in hand we checked with a helpful staff member if we had the right train, then found the correct carriage and seats.

    In the morning darkness, cool breeze and drizzly rain, the iron train began creeping out through the back alleys bordered by the slums and shanties while the city still slumbered, like a guest sneaking out before his hosts awakes... The romanticism of my thoughts was broken by the concession to the modern world, each carriage had a 38 flat screen tv blaring out news, music and Indonesian soaps!



    Actually I'm being unfair the tv is at a rather muted, almost background noise level.

    Staff came by within 25 mins, firstly a free newspaper to all, the girls brought around a trolley of food, coconut rice and a bottle of water.

    To be continued...

  2. #2
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    The slums have made way for the industrial factories interspaced with rice paddies and coconut trees. This pic was taken at Cikarang, a nothing place clinging to the edges of Jakarta, I'd never heard of it before and doubt that I'll hear it again. Which is probably unfair to the inhabitants whom call it home, but it is the reality also and perhaps they are too busy selling noodles from a roadside cart to make ends meet to care what some outsider whizzing passed on a train thinks. But for a few brief minutes I wondered about their daily lives.

  3. #3
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    When I mentioned the coconut rice, or nasi uduk I meant to say coconut rice includes, beef, fried liver, beans, an egg and sambal (chilli sauce). It tasted a lot better than it looked, I haven't paid for it yet, the girls said they'd come back later, but I assume it will be something like 8 or 10,000 rupiah which is roughly $1.00.

  4. #4
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    Good stuff Wilson. Are you in jail?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by withnallstoke View Post
    Good stuff Wilson. Are you in jail?

    Now now.
    1. It is train food.
    2. I already said it tastes better than it looks.




    Becomming a little more country side now. The train is possibly averaging 35km/hr.

    I've noticed one other foreigner on this train, a few seats ahead of mine, but no picture, he might think I'm a bit of a weirdo. I wonder if he reads Teakdoor? My cover will be blown if so, cos I've been running around like an excited child on their first train trip (which it is and I am).

    He's looking a lot more bored, in fact he's actually watching the TV which has got one of those god awful candid camera style comedy shows on. I'm guessing that he has done this trip before, which makes me wonder what he does, teaching? He looks about 30odd. Maybe. Why is he going to Bandung this weekend? Perhaps he has a jeans export business because Bandung is famous for its named brands textile discount wholesalers. (It really wasn't thay smart of an idea to take MrsSW here for the weekend, was it?).

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    Definitely outside jkt, banana trees, bamboo, mountains and rivers. Since the day is grey and raining (actually sitting inside the air con one could be forgiven for thinking that we are in England somewhere and it looks like it is about 12 degrees outside)

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    Good. More please.

  8. #8
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    Cheers JJ. I will, though bear in mind that this is a live thread, so I can only upload pics as they come, write as I think of something meaningful to say ( in fact I hope some of the previous was not too pretentious, it was beginning to have that 'scumpy' feel about it. I'm also not sure how much more battery this BB has got, its been running hot since 4.00am.....




  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Wilson
    Since the day is grey and raining (actually sitting inside the air con one could be forgiven for thinking that we are in England somewhere
    Do you mean Scotland. Sure thats a scottish window in the photo.

  10. #10
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    Well spotted, it tis.







    That's the tollway. Massive.



    Must be getting close to destination, this is a railway crossing at Pandalarang, if I recall correctly.
    Last edited by kingwilly; 25-06-2010 at 09:09 AM.

  11. #11
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    Bandung station, and this is where I have to confess I cheated cos iwe don't need to deal with taxi drivers etc, cos I sent my driver ahead to meet us here! He thinks I'm crazy catching the train anyway, but to send an empty car to meet me here





    For train spotters.

    Last edited by kingwilly; 25-06-2010 at 09:32 AM.

  12. #12
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    Weather got better as well. Nice report.

  13. #13
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    We are staying at this I think 4 star hotel, room rates start at $85++ but I think MrsSW has got them for about half that.



    Anyway all that work has made me hungry, we off to lunch now.

  14. #14
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    Lunch at Suis Butcher.

    Ribs were damn tasty, and a bargin at $4.00 (the veggies were a bit crap) They serve beer but since I'm an elite athlete I chose a natural yogurt drink instead.

    Last edited by kingwilly; 25-06-2010 at 11:49 AM.

  15. #15
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    Ah gawds, I should have known, should have realised, lulled into a false sense of security by a heavy steak and BBQ ribs lunch with beers. She's dragged me into a factory outlet! 15 hectares of your shoppoing delight, there must be thousands of women shopping in here! *aaaaaaah. Rumah Mode for any sickos interested.

  16. #16
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    Looks nice and inviting on the outside fish ponds and statues (trick you entering)



    But once inside it is a shopping hell, mazed to keep you in there longer.


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Wilson
    But once inside it is a shopping hell
    For men yes. For the ladies it's paradise.

    Good thread. Keep the pics coming.

  18. #18
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    Fish ponds at the factory outlet, only interesting for so long.


  19. #19
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    A nice for dinner is an area in the hills outside of Bandung called Lembang, takes about an hour or so. A quite famous restaurant complex is Kampung Daun. It can be cool and the dining is in small private gazebos so don't forget to bring a jacket. Pics to follow...

    Ok. Edit: we are not going to Kampuing Daun, we've stopped at a different place in the same area. This one has each gazebo surronded by rice fields, and is quite pretty, Sundanese music playing in the background. Website here : .:Welcome to Sapulidi:Cafe, Resort & Gallery:. or ring them on +852 70277435 the name of this place is SapuLidi
    Last edited by kingwilly; 25-06-2010 at 08:23 PM.

  20. #20
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    One sight problem, the table is 2 high. I'm sure that great for young able folk, but once you get to my ripe old age it makes sitting rather difficult. Other than that tis lovely, but the pics will have to wait since the night time pics with BB are rubbish. Hopefully that link has a few good pictures in it.

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  22. #22
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    Is it double track all the way?.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikem View Post
    Is it double track all the way?.
    Yes it is, there are trains to cities all over Java. (I don't know if they are all double track though)

  24. #24
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    Great Thread Guy.keep It Coming.

  25. #25
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    Great photos and nice to see some familiar food. I did the JKT-Bandung-JKT trip every two weeks for more than a year. Much better service than say, the Malay railways and a lot cheaper.

    BTW: if you're a pensioner, as I was, the Indonesian train service will give you a concession rate.

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