How to go from Java to Sumatra by public transport

How to go from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung by DAMRI bus:

Jakarta is big, very big… there are many bus terminal for long distance buses… and they are very far from each other. So is better that you plan your trip from Jakarta in order to avoid last minute stress, special if you travel around long weekends or national/religious holidays.

You can make the trip from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung, step by step by yourself, which means, taking a bus to Merak, from there a ferryboat to Bakauheni, and then another bus to Bandar Lampung or any other destination in Sumatra.

From Jakarta, you can take a bus to Merak at this bus terminal: Kampung Rambutan, Pulo Gadung and from Kalideres. The trip takes about 3 hours and the tickets cost less than 30.000 Rp (air-con). The ferries run 24 hours per day and cost about 15.000 Rp.

The DAMRI (Indonesian state-owned public transit bus company) operate buses directly from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung
The DAMRI (Indonesian state-owned public transit bus company) operate buses directly from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung

 

The DAMRI (Indonesian state-owned public transit bus company) operate buses directly from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung. The buses departure from Gambir station just next to Gambir Terminal (train station). There are three classes of buses: economic, business and executive, according to the number of seats and the comfort but all with air-con.

There are buses in the morning and in the evening (see images below) and stop in have different in Lampung. The prices include the ferry ticket.

All trip takes about 8 hours!!! The first part of the trip is smooth along a good road and takes around 3 hours. Then are 2 more hours on the ferry and then more 3 hours again on the same bus, along with a less confortable road until Bandar Lampung.

As the bus arrives at the city it starts to drop the passengers along the way to the terminal Tanjung Karang. The bus passes by the Tugu Adipura roundabout (crossroad of Jl Sudirman e Jl Diponegoro)… if you are going to stay at Guest House Palapa, you must get out here, and then just need a 300 meters walk!!! We alert as the bus helper will shout “Tugu, tugu”!

Ticket counter of DAMRI buses at Gambir Terminal
Ticket counter of DAMRI buses at Gambir Terminal
DAMRI ticket counter schedule at Gambri terminal
DAMRI ticket counter schedule at Gambir terminal

 

DAMRI buses from Jakarta to Sumatra. Prices and schedule. Bussines class
DAMRI buses from Jakarta to Sumatra. Prices and schedule. Bussines class
DAMRI buses from Jakarta to Sumatra. Prices and schedule. Executive class
DAMRI buses from Jakarta to Sumatra. Prices and schedule. Executive class
DAMRI buses from Jakarta to Sumatra. Prices and schedule. Royal class
DAMRI buses from Jakarta to Sumatra. Prices and schedule. Royal class

The buses departure from Gambir station just next to Gambir Terminal (train station)
The buses departure from Gambir station just next to Gambir Terminal (train station)

 

 

My personal experience with the DAMRI bus from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung:

  • I choose to make the trip during the night to save one night on the trip schedule and to save one night of accommodation. So to get a good sleep I choose the executive class.
  • There’s no point to get a more expensive ticket, like Royal or Executive, as you can’t really have a good sleep anyway…
  • From Jakarta to Merak the bus has very loud music.
  • As the bus gets inside the ferry you must get out… otherwise, you’ll die intoxicated with the gases of the vehicles and from the boat’s engine.
  • Inside the ferry, there are cabins where you can sleep, but I just found them at the end of the trip, so I stayed outside, sitting on the floor… in the middle of the crossing it gets chilly and windy… also not much sleep!
  • When the ferry arrives at Bakauheni you need to get back to the bus… from here there’s no more music until you reach Bandar Lampung, where the cheesy techno music is played loud to wake up the passengers before the bus reaches the terminal.
  • … so I think I could have saved 45.000 Rp choosing the business class… as it was almost impossible to sleep during the trip.
interior of the "executif" DAMRI bus from Jakarta to Bandar Lamoung
interior of the “executive” DAMRI bus from Jakarta to Bandar Lampung
cabins to sleep during the ferry crossing... I just saw them on the end of the ferry trip but thibk that's hard to get a free space here as there were many people sleeping on the outside deck of the boat.
cabins to sleep during the ferry crossing… I just saw them on the end of the ferry trip but think that’s hard to get a free space here as there were many people sleeping on the outside deck of the boat.
cabins to sleep during the ferry crossing... I just saw them on the end of the ferry trip but thibk that's hard to get a free space here as there were many people sleeping on the outside deck of the boat.
cabins to sleep during the ferry crossing… there are also a cafeteria with food and instante noodles, as well a big room with TV and air-com on the ferry boat
inside the ferry where the vehicles travel
inside the ferry where the vehicles travel

 

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