Surabaya Night Train and Around Jakarta

Cemoro Lawang

After our Bromo Sunrise Tour, we returned to our hotel for a quick breakfast at half past 9 in the morning.

An hour later, we were ushered to the van that will take us to Surabaya. No one really mentioned that as we reached the town of Probolinggo, near the registration area, we have to switch vehicle. To our surprise, all those going to Surabaya will take the public Aircon bus. We left some fellow tourists waiting for their service to travel back to Yogyakarta or further to Ijen and Bali. We were with the other couple who is heading to Surabaya airport.

It was a dreaded 5 hours journey to Stasiun Pasar Turi (Pasar Turi Station) in Surabaya. Now, I know why they dubbed traffic in Indonesia a nightmare. It’s terribly bad.

From the Surabaya Bus station, we hailed a cab to take us to the train station.

Fortunately, one lady from the train station counter can speak english. We asked for Eksekutif train to Jakarta (Gambir Station) and she suggested Sembrani which leaves at 6:30 PM. Tickets are priced at IDR 310,000 each. Great, we still have two and a half hours to explore Surabaya and catch a late lunch.

We deposited our luggage at the store which offers safekeeping and walked outside the station to find a place to eat and when we got too tired, Mr. HavenHunter hailed an Angkot, a local minibus transport. We went down to the nearest mall with a supermarket and some fast food chains.

There aren’t any large malls nearby, so we decided to go back and kill time at the train station instead.

Night trains are a backpacker’s bestfriend. It’s a great way to save money for accommodation and pay for the cheap train fare instead. We get to lose no time and will be waking up to a different city. Not as comfortable as hotel bed though.

Sembrani is  a little worn out and for business class and executive class train, it’s not a posh one. I’m on the verge of exchanging our tickets to Argo Anggrek which I learned is a newer train. It will leave at 8:00 PM that night.

When traveling to Indonesia, forget about the time, because everything don’t normally come on time. Our supposedly 6:00 AM arrival at Jakarta’s Stasiun Gambir was late by two and a half hour.

Upon arrival, we freshened up and changed clothes at the restroom. I even heard splashing of water, so I’m guessing visitors can use the restroom to bathe.

We deposited our luggage for safekeeping as our prior decision to go explore Jakarta before our red eye flight to Manila.

Our first stop is the National Monument (MONAS tower) located at Merdeka (Freedom) Square park next to  Gambir station.  This 422 ft. tower symbolizes the fight for Indonesia’s independence.

There is a beautiful pond along the park that sits  beyond Indonesia’s national hero, Prince Deponegoro statue.

The Istiqlal Mosque can be seen from afar. It is the biggest moque in Southeast Asia where a Cathedral Church towers right in front of it.

We headed to Mangga Dua to check out the shopping scene. We first indulge ourselves with an appetizing lunch at A&W.

Mangga Dua is a cluster of large shopping center selling cheap finds from clothings to footwear, accessories, etc. at wholesale and retail prices. It’s like Divisoria’s 168 of Indonesia.

Our next stop is Jalan Surabaya to find some local handicrafts. I still find it a little pricey than Yogyakarta – Malioboro market. Too bad we missed out a good shopping at Yogyakarta. The whole stretch of Jalan Surabaya is a feast for antique collectors searching for  Wayang Golek (Javanese Puppets), Indonesian Traditional Batik and old handicrafts.

We also went to Pasaraya Grande Shopping Mall at Blok M to check out the Indonesian Antiques and handcrafted goods.

We decided to head back to Gambir Station and pick our things when Mr. HavenHunter find it difficult to maneuver his sprained feet. Just outside the train station are Damri bus going to Soekarno Hatta International Airport Terminal 2.

At the airport, I couldn’t resist spending my last Indonesian Rupiah with this Javanese Dolls, Rama and Shinta. I like Shinta’s dress much than Sita.

A few more Indonesian Batiks (sarong) for souvenirs too.

Mr. Haven Hunter checked the counter for lost baggage to claim the tripod we missed out during our arrival in Jakarta. He was taken to the warehouse, but after tedious search along with a lot of Cebu Pacific passengers claiming for lost items too, the tripod is nowhere to be found.

Our whole Indonesia backpacking took us into a roller coaster of culture, heritage and breathtaking nature.

We reached Manila at half past 5 in the morning.

See our full itinerary to Backpacking Indonesia here.

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7 Comments

  • Reply thepinaysolobackpacker August 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I’m getting more and more excited! thanks for sharing! :)

  • Reply chyng August 25, 2010 at 1:14 am

    hala, nawalan kayo? sayang ang tripod.

    anyway, indonesia’s not boring at all! and i love those javanese dolls! how much yun?

    • havenhunter
      Reply havenhunter August 26, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Hi Chyng, yup we lost the tripod. :( Wala tuloy kaming nagamit during the whole trip. The Javanese dolls are priced at P800+ for two, pero sa Airport na kami nakabili, for sure mas mura yun sa Yogyakarta.

  • Reply thea September 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Looks like a great trip, but 5 hours traffic? That’s bad. I don’t think I have the patience to do this, LOL.

    The batik is, of course, beautiful. I love your travel photos ;-)

  • Reply chris September 30, 2011 at 10:05 am

    hi,ang trains ba from surabaya to jakarta hihinto sa yogyakarta station.i plan to drop by at yogya kasi from surabaya.I’ll be fying in from KL to surabaya then punta cemoro so ang problem ko is the transportation from surabaya to yogya.hope you can help me.thanx.sana you can reply to my email

    • havenhunter
      Reply havenhunter October 23, 2011 at 1:27 am

      Hi Chris,

      Sorry for the late response. From what I know, ibang train lines ang Jakarta to Yogyakarta vv. Yogyakarta to Surabaya vv (not sure kung meron). Jakarta – Surabaya vv eto meron. From Surabaya, you can probably arrange for a van, sa may tourist center in Surabaya, where the van will be dropping you off from cemoro lawang. Medyo mahaba lang ang byahe as in whole day trip yun going to Surabaya.

      Enjoy your trip! Or if you already did, how was it? I’d love to go back to Bromo. :)

  • Reply Backpacking Indonesia Itinerary | Weekend Haven January 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    […] ETA Jakarta – Gambir Station Freshen up. Leave luggages at Locker center. Explore Jakarta Monas Mangga Dua Jalan Surabaya 17:00 […]

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