Some other nationalities including Australia can get a tourist visa on arrival for a stay of up to 30 days. ) and your passport checked at the entrance gate to the platforms.
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The countryside is largely flat, rice paddies, villages, towns, palms and the occasional mosque.
After Semarang there's a brief stretch where the train skirts the Java Sea, and around Cirebon you'll see the vast shadow of Mt Cereme in the distance to the south, its summit usually hidden by cloud.
The train keeps up a relentless 110 km/h (75 mph) between the few stops it makes, hooting ceaselessly at each level crossing, speeding non-stop through most smaller stations on its 9 hour dash - the same journey would take 15 hours by road.
As you pass through each station, look for the station master in his red and gold hat, standing to attention outside his office watching the train pass through.
You can check train times & fares using English) or tiket.id (in Indonesian).
(via Y) = runs via Yogyakarta & Solo, not Semarang, see route map at top of page.
Indonesian trains run on narrow-gauge 3' 6" tracks, but are pretty fast and usually very punctual.
The Indonesian for train is Kereta Api - literally 'fire carriage'...: How to buy tickets Eksekutif, Bisnis & Ekonomi class explained Luggage on trains Food, drink & travel tips A train ride from Jakarta to Bali in pictures Jakarta airport train link Recommended hotels on Java & Bali Useful country information: Visas, currency, etc.
A local bus or taxi will then take you the 94km from Bakauheni to the main southern Sumatra town of Bandar Lampung in about 90 minutes.
Once in Bandar Lampung, there's a twice-daily train to Palembang.
Jakarta - Surabaya Jakarta - Bandung Jakarta - Yogyakarta & Solo Yogyakarta - Solo Bandung - Yogyakarta & Solo - Surabaya Surabaya - Probolinggo - Banyuwangi (for Bali) It's easy to travel by train & ferry between Java and Bali, or Java & Sumatra.