Batu Karas is a sleepy fishing village in West Java, at least for most of the week! On weekends, it draws in flocks of local city-dwellers looking for a beach escape or to learn a few tricks in what is dubbed as one of the best spots in Indonesia to learn how to surf.
If you want to enjoy Batu Karas in its full glory, time your visit on a weekday. This way you can make the most of the swells at the black beach and explore the town, all while it’s not too busy. You’ll inevitably find yourself mingling with the locals as Batu Kara’s residents are renowned for being really friendly!
If you’re eager for a slice of this welcoming paradise, you have 3 options when travelling the 345km from Jakarta to Batu Karas: a 11.5 hour train; a 1.5 hourflight; or the bus for 11.5 hours. Fares range between 125,000 IDR ($8.50) and 954,000 IDR ($64).
The train is a good combination of comfort and budget. You’ll need 3 transfers, but the first and the longest leg will be spent on a train, where you can rest and enjoy the beautiful countryside views. Total fares start from 220,000 IDR ($15) for the 11.5-hour journey from Jakarta to Batu Karas.
The flight is the fastest but most expensive option. Fares, including the land transfer to Batu Karas, cost from 954,000 IDR ($64). Travel time is only 1.5 hours.
Although the bus is the cheapest option from Jakarta to Batu Karas, the buses operating on this route aren’t exactly comfy, especially for long journey’s like this. However, if you’re travelling on a tight budget, it might be worth the few dollars you save. Fares start from 125,000 IDR ($8.50) and travel time is 11.5 hours.
A quick visit to Pangandaran
If you’re taking the train or bus, you’ll have to go to Pangandaran first before you can reach Batu Karas. The same goes for on your way back to Jakarta. So why not make a short stop at Pangandaran too?
Pangandaran shares the same laidback vibe as Batu Karas, but with calmer waters. It offers both white and black-sand beaches, some of which are backdropped by forested hills that are home to exotic animals like monkeys and buffaloes.
It’s a good place to escape for a day or two, whilst stuffing yourself with fresh seafood and amazing views!
Thanks to an initiative launched in 2019 to boost tourism in West Java, a fast and efficient train journey from Jakarta to that region is now possible.
However, you cannot take the train all the way from Jakarta to Batu Karas. You’ll have to get off at Banjar Station, located 300km east of Jakarta. From there you’ll need to take the bus the rest of the way to Batu Karas.
Step 1: Jakarta to Banjar by Train
Duration: 7.5 hours Cost: 100,000 IDR ($7)
Four trains operate from Jakarta’s Gambir Station to Banjar daily. The journey takes around 7.5 hours and you can get a ticket for 100,000 IDR ($6) to 200,000 IDR ($12), depending on your preferred seat.
Below are the 4 available train schedules:
Argo Wilis 2
7 hours 20 minutes
8 hours 06 minutes
7 hours 47 minutes
Mutiara Selatan 104/105
7 hours 53 minutes
Keep in mind that from Banjar, you will still need 2 bus rides and 4 hours of travel to reach Batu Karas. For that reason, it might be best to take only either of the 2 trains leaving Jakarta in the morning. You will be travelling through small towns and there is no guarantee that buses will be available if you arrive in Banjar late at night.
Step 2: Banjar to Pangandaran by Bus
Duration: 2.5 hours Cost: 80,000 IDR ($5.50)
From Banjar Train Station, you’ll have to take a 15-minute taxi ride to the bus terminal. Rates start from 50,000 IDR ($3).
Once you arrive at the terminal, transfer to a bus bound for Pangandaran. A ticket costs 30,000 IDR ($1.80) for the 2.5-hour journey to Pangandaran Bus Terminal.
At Pangandaran Bus Terminal, you can immediately transfer to a blue minibus bound for Cijulang. Travel time is around 1 hour and a ticket costs 10,000 IDR ($0.70).
Cijulang is located just 10km west of Batu Karas. From here, the ojek (motorcycle taxi) is the popular choice to reach Batu Karas. A ride costs between 30,000 IDR ($2) to 50,000 IDR ($3.40), depending on your destination.
Alternatively, you can take a direct taxi from Pangandaran to Batu Karas. Fares start from 250,000 IDR ($17).
The nearest airport from Batu Karas is in Cijulang, which is located just 10km away.
Susi Air is the only carrier operating the Jakarta to Batu Karas route. It uses a small 12-seater aircraft so seats can sell out fast. Also, if you’re luggage weighs over 10kg or if you’re taking a surfboard with you, you’ll have to pay an extra fee.
Something to keep in mind is that the flights only run three times a week, so this may dictate whether this option can work for you. These depart from Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (HLP) in Jakarta at 12:05 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Airfares from Jakarta to Batu Karas start from 924,000 IDR ($62) and the flight takes 1 hour. Note that this can only be booked directly on the Susi Air website.
From Cijulang Airport, you can take an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to your hotel in Batu Karas. Fares range from 30,000 IDR ($2) to 50,000 IDR ($3.40) for the 15 to 30-minute journey.
Alternatively, you can take a taxi for around 89,000 IDR ($6).
Jakarta to Batu Karas by Bus
Duration: 11.5 hours Cost: 125,000 IDR ($8.50)
As with the train, taking the bus from Jakarta to Batu Karas also requires you to head to Pangandaran first. From here, you can take a minibus bound for Batu Karas.
As a heads up, buses for this route are nowhere near as comfortable as the train. We don’t really recommend taking them for such a long journey.
Still, the bus is the cheapest option and might be worth the few dollars you save.
Step 1: Jakarta to Pangandaran by Bus
Duration: 10 hours Cost: 85,000 IDR ($5.50)
Buses bound for Pangandaran depart from Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal in Jakarta city centre. You can choose between aircon and non-aircon buses. For the small difference in price, it’s worth treating yourself to some aircon for a bit of comfort.
Bus tickets cost from 85,000 IDR ($5) and buses depart every hour from 06:30-18:30. The buses arrive at Pangandaran Bus Terminal after around 10 hours.
At Pangandaran Bus Terminal, look for the blue minivans bound for Cijulang. A seat costs only 10,000 IDR ($0.70) for the 1-hour journey.
The minibus parks at Cijulang, which is still 10km away from Batu Karas. From here, you can take an ojek (motorbike taxi) to Batu Karas. The ride takes around 30 minutes and costs between 30,000 IDR ($2) to 50,000 IDR ($3.40).
If you don’t want the hassle of making transfers, you can also just take a taxi directly from Pangandaran to Batu Karas. Fares start from 250,000 IDR ($17).