On A Train From Bandung To Yogyakarta
I love to take the train when traveling. Most of the times it's cheap, comfortable and you get to meet the locals and experience daily life. Even in India the trains were comfortable and we took many for hours on end. There's just something about train travel. It's adventurous and romantic. For me, it's what traveling is all about and we've had some memorable rides especially in India and Indonesia.
The train from Bandung to Yogyakarta
Where train rides in India were all about culture and local life, in Indonesia the landscape was the star of the show. Trains in Java are super comfortable and much cleaner than in India for example. It takes away a bit from the adventure and cultural experience but the landscapes make up for that.
One ride that's famous for its landscapes is the train from Bandung to Yogyakarta. The first hundred miles after leaving Bandung are especially beautiful. We arrived at the train station early in the morning and a few hours later the train left with the sun rising.
If you ever take the train from Bandung to Yogyakarta, make sure you sit on the left. I think the scenery on that side is the best and you'll get some dramatic views on rice fields, mountains and down cliffs. The light of the rising sun makes everything even better.
Taking photos from a moving train
Photographing the landscapes from a moving train is no problem at all. Depending on where the sun is you'll have to avoid some reflections and if some of the windows have blue you'll have to adjust in post. Other from that it's pretty straight forward.
The difficult part is taking photos of the people you see along the tracks. First of all, you have to spot the interesting scenes far enough ahead so you can actually capture it. If you spot something that's already next to you, it's too late.
Focusing was the real challenge and I had to try different things. The servo setting on the middle point worked pretty well most of the time but I also had to focus manually on a distance where I expected the subjects to be and then go with that. You'll have to find what works for you depending on what you want to shoot.
How comfortable are the trains in Java, Indonesia?
Honestly, there's no reason not to take trains in Indonesia. There are three classes and all (Eksekutif, Bisnis and Ekonomi) have air conditioning. Ekonomi class has more seats than Bisnis or Eksekutif but honestly, I think it's just as comfortable if you want to save some money.
There's a catering car and they'll go up and down the train to sell food and drinks. You can order lunch or dinner and once microwaved it will be brought to you. If you want to eat something, we recommend getting it yourself, because a lot of times they run out of meals or end up with really limited options.
How to buy tickets for trains in Indonesia
You can buy tickets at the train station but we always booked online. There's a small extra fee but it's just easier and you'll avoid disappointment and frustration at the station if the train is fully booked. We always used tiket.com and it worked like a charm with our foreign credit card which sometimes is a problem.