Review: Sembrani Express Train Executive Class Jakarta to Surabaya

On the end of the past July, PT Kereta Api Indonesia (Indonesia Railways) was running a very good promotion through their first travel fair. I take advantage of this promotion to go along the way from Jakarta to Bali overland.

With the promotion, I can purchase the train ticket from Jakarta to Surabaya for only IDR 150,000 one way in executive class. Well I guess this is a very good deal, considering that the normal price for the similar train ticket can be around IDR 400,000 one way.

Sembrani 48
Jakarta (Gambir Station) to Surabaya (Surabaya Pasar Turi Station)
Date: 23rd October 2017
Depart: 19.15
Arrive: 05.43
Duration: 10 hours 28 minutes
Coach: Eksekutif 2
Seat: 3B

The name of the train is Sembrani, which depart from Gambir Train Station in Central Jakarta. The station itself is very centrally located, in normal condition it takes only 15 minutes from my office in Kemayoran to Gambir station.

Unfortunately I encounter a really hard rain around 5 PM. It give me a hard times to find a taxi and the traffic jam along the way to the station was really bad. Thank God I make it to Gambir Station around 18.45. Then I swiftly check-in through the self check-in machine and rushing to the train departure area, which located at the 3rd floor.

My train was ready at Track 3. There are pursers in the departure platform who greeted me and helpfully direct me toward my coach. I settled in coach Eksekutif 2 at seat 3B.

Except at the row 1 and row 13, the seat in this train is arranged in 2-2 layout, in a comfortable air conditioned cabin.

Waiting at my seat is a small pillow and a neatly wrapped blanket. The blanket is only provided for long-haul train which departing in the evening, like Sembrani. There are 2 electric socket at the side of each seat.

The seat can be manually reclined to the comfortable position (while not a flat bed) by pushing a button at the side of the seat.

The legroom also very generous, far more comfortable than most of the economy class seat in the airplane. There also a foot rest which attached to the seat in front of me. I found the foot rest was rather annoying since it can’t be set into a fixed position.

The train departed from Gambir Station at 19.15. In case you get bored, you can watch some entertainment which they provided via big flat screen television in the front, center, and back of the coach.

Most of the passengers are trying to get some rest on the train. Around 22.00, the cabin lights were dimmed. I’m not sure, but perhaps this procedure is newly applied within Indonesian Railways. I will have a hard time to get some rest if the lights isn’t dimmed. So kudo to Indonesian Railways!

I’m sleeping all night long and just woke up a few minutes before the train arrive in Surabaya Pasar Turi Station around 05.43 the next day. I am transiting in Surabaya before leaving for Banyuwangi at 22.00 in the same day.

Bottom line

If not because of the promotion, I guess I will not think about purchasing an executive train ticket for traveling between Jakarta and Surabaya. As I mentioned before, the normal price can be around IDR 400,000 one way. The price will seems ridiculous if we consider that with more or less same price we can get an airplane ticket instead (and the travel time by airplane is roughly only 1 hour!).

However, Sembrani Express Train isn’t a very bad option tho. If you more of adventurous type, it will be fun to ride a train (instead of meaningless journey by the airplane). My suggest is try to take a daytime train, so you would get much more scenery and experience.

Author doesn’t affiliate and not earn anything from the brands mentioned on this post.

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