I leave for Indonesia next week with a start in Bali and am supposed to be taking the train through Java to see Mt Bromo and then to Yogyakarta before catching a boat near Jakarta. However,with so much going on with the eruption of Mt Merapi I am wondering if the trains are still running and if I need to skip over Java and Sumatra and catch a flight straight to Singapore or stick with my original overland route. Having a tough time finding info on the local situation. Does anyone have any information or suggestions on if/how I need to change my plans? Thanks!
I have recently returned from Yogyakarta and Jakarta, on the day the volcano erupted.
The Indonesian railways website is at http://kereta-api.co.id/
The railways are not affected. In fact, there are additional carriages to cope with the increase of passengers. You can refer to the news here: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/11/07/yogya-flight-suspension-forces-travelers-take-train.html
Let me know if you need more information regarding Indonesia. I have been to Surabaya and Mt Bromo last April too.
Thanks for the fast reply! I've had some ups and downs with the kereta-api.co.id/ site over the last month (it has a seizure of sorts if you ask for a schedule or fare) but the Jakarta Post site was super helpful. Here is the official US Embassy statement - but nothing has been posted to update since 10/27... someone might find it helpful, though outdated..
U.S. Embassy Warden Message - October 27th, 2010October 27, 2010 U.S. citizens are advised that volcanic activity at Mount Merapi in Central Java, and seismic activity in West Sumatra, continues and may disrupt travel and public services there. We urge U.S. citizens to monitor the news, consider that volcanic ash disrupts air and other travel for great distances, understand that Indonesian emergency capabilities are limited and consider deferring travel to affected areas, which are currently West Sumatra near Padang, and Central Java near Jogjakarta and Solo. We also urge U.S. citizens to always register their travel plans at https://travelregistration.state.gov and keep their families, colleagues and friends informed of their whereabouts. We again remind Americans to exercise prudence and assume personal responsibility for their own wellbeing and security. Public health and safety response capabilities in Indonesia are severely limited in the best of times, and Americans who find themselves in areas hit by natural or manmade disasters may be on their own and out of touch for some time.
If you are looking to travel from Yogyakarta to Jakarta, you should look out for the schedule from the following stations:
Yogyakarta: Tugu station
Jakarta: Gambir station
The other train stations in these cities serve different routes and the site may act up if you request for an 'invalid' route.
For comfort, I suggest taking the executive carriage, which is air-conditioned and has ample legroom. The journey across the countryside is quite scenic too, so take the day train if you don't have a tight schedule.
I don't think mainland Sumatra was very badly affected by that quake, from what I have read, so there's probably no need to skip it, unless it is difficult to access because of cancelled flights.
Jakarta is apparently pretty unaffected by the Merapi eruption.
There are reports that there is quite a lot of ash falling in Yogyakarta from Merapi... it might be wise to check if attractions like Borobudur and Prambanan are still open while the volcano is still erupting. If Yogya town is a bit messy from the ash, you could always go on to Pangandaran and hang out there, which is a great beach town with some good natural attractions, then head up to Jakarta and on to Sumatra.
Indonesia is way cooler than Singapore, just saying. But if you really get stuck in terms of transport on Java, it's easy to fly out to Singapore (there are direct flights from Surabaya), then catch the ferry to Batam Island, then get a really cheap flight to Medan... from there you can take in all the cool stuff in North Sumatra and travel down to West Sumatra. It's a great part of the world.