There have been numerous proposals over the years for a Bali railway. Every announcement is archived on the Bali Railway page, which goes back to at least 2011.
To visualise what a Bali rail system would look like, I present this Bali railway concept map.
[View and download the full-size map.]
This is a concept map of a Bali railway system, including an island circle line, a high-speed railway to Java, and an urban rail transit system in South Bali.
This map is made up of previous proposals along with recommendations of my own. I have separated long-distance railways from metro railways, with news links for each proposal listed below.
Regional and National Railway
This section covers the provincial and national railway services.
The Bali Line is a circular railway around the island of Bali. The route is modelled from the map of the National Railroad Master Plan of 2011 by the Ministry of Transportation. The railway shown in this report shows a line that goes three-quarters of the way around the island. Another report from 2011 mentions that it would be a full-circle line.
[View large size.]
The 2017 plan for a national railway network includes a circle line around Bali. This plan as envisioned by President Joko Widodo closes the gap of the original map to form a full circle.
This line would enable a station at either of the proposed locations of the second Bali airport. The airport was initially going to be built in Kubutambahan on an artificial island. The location was then moved to Gerokgak before the project was put on hold indefinitely.
The Bali Line incorporates lines that were proposed to meet the second Bali airport when it was going to be at Kubutambahan.
With a line already established from Denpasar to Gilimanuk, this can form part of a railway from Bali to Java. This would of course require a Bali-Java Bridge, which has been proposed before. In the unlikely event of the bridge being built, it would need space reserved for a railway line.
There is a high-speed railway that is being built from Jakarta to Bandung, and there is talk of extending it to Surabaya. It would then be a matter of connecting to that line to form a Bali-Jakarta high-speed railway.
The problem with this is that the Jakarta-Bandung HSR is a 350km/h railway, which is more expensive to build than a semi-high-speed railway. The circle railway would need to be built to accommodate the Java high-speed rail. Alternatively, passengers can transfer at Surabaya for the high-speed service.
South Bali Metropolitan Railway
The railways in this section are urban transit railways, including metro, light rail and tram systems.
Line 1 (Seminyak Line)
Line 1 (or Seminyak Line as I would call it) is one of two lines that was being studied in 2022. The first line is a train from Ngurah Rai Airport to Seminyak.
The announcements are light on details, such as the route and what kind of railway it is. A report from November 2022 states that the LRT model with underground lines or tunnels is preferable. On this map, I’ve made it an underground line that follows the route of Legian Road.
[A consultant was probably paid to report that you can’t put a light rail down Legian Road.]
There was another report in 2021 where the Indonesian Transportation Minister met with the South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia to discuss the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Bali.
The Ngurah Rai Airport – Seminyak LRT would be 9.46-km in length. The first section would go from the Airport to Central Park Station (5.3-km), and the second section from Central Park to Seminyak Station (4.16-km).
A second phase was also proposed to extend the line from Seminyak to Mengwitani. This would extend the line to the Mengwi Bus Terminal. I have drawn this on the map, but instead of routing the line straight to the Mengwi Bus Terminal, the line is diverted to join the Circle Line. This extension would then put Kerobokan on the transit map.
Line 2 (Denpasar Loop)
Line 2 (or Denpasar Loop as I would call it) is the second proposed line along with the Seminyak Line. A news report mentioned that it would go “from the airport to Denpasar city, Renon, Sanur, and Benoa, via Central Parkir (parking area), and then back to the airport.”
I found a map that shows a possible route for this line, which forms the basis of the route on the concept map.
[Loopline Denpasar and Badung (via SkyscraperCity).]
The news report says that this line goes to the airport, but I have used the loop model shown on this map instead.
Line 1 and 2 (as they are called here) are the two lines under consideration, so I have made a separate map with the limited information available.
[View full size.]
Line 3 (Ubud to Tanah Lot)
It was reported in 2017 that Indonesia offered a Bali railway project to Chinese investors. This included a line from Denpasar to Ubud and Singaraja.
I don’t know how you would build a railway to Ubud, but this is a concept map that visualises proposed lines, so I leave it up to the proposers to provide more details.
As for the Singaraja proposal, there was another proposal that mentioned that it goes via Mengwitani and Bedugul. On this map, I have left it out as Singaraja is connected via the Circle Line. I might add that in Version 2 of this map.
Line 3 is where I have taken the most liberties in drawing this map. Instead of ending the Ubud line in Denpasar (which in itself is a vaguely large area), I’ve extended it west to Tanah Lot. This line will travel along Sunset Road, which is one of the few roads where an aboveground railway could comfortably be built.
[A skytrain on Sunset Road?]
The line would form a junction with Line 1 (Seminyak Junction) and then travel through the rapidly expanding urban area that is marching up the coastline of Kuta Utara. This would connect hotspots of Umalas and Canggu, an area that is overloaded with traffic. The line would mean you could get a train from Canggu to Ubud, or change at Seminyak Junction to get the train to the airport.
This line would provide a connection to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bali. With the metro extended to Tanah Lot, it would be possible to ban tour buses from travelling there.
Line 4 connects Denpasar Central (the mainline train station) to other points in Denpasar and Kuta. There was a proposed railway to the Bukit Peninsula shown on the original transport department map from 2011, but that went from the airport to Nusa Dua.
On my map, I have sent the railway south of the airport to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. From there it would pass through Ungasan and Pecatu to Uluwatu.
Even though this is a fantasy railway map of Bali, I would never have placed a beach tram on the map. The Beach Tram is an real proposal, so it earns a place on this map.
I found these images of a beach tram at the entrance to Double Six Beach. The images show a tram on the actual beach. For a tram to work it would need to be on the road next to the beach, which is already congested and the only access point for beachside properties.
[Beach Tram images at Double Six Beach.]
I’ve placed it on the map to start at Kuta Station, where it will interchange with three other lines and making Kuta a major transit hub. Like I have said before, I don’t know where they will find the room for this unless there is a budding Haussmann in the government who has authority to acquire the land to do this.
Map notes and disclaimers
The map is designed in “subway style” using straight lines and 45-degree angles. The map isn’t to scale and the stations aren’t in geographical positions. Without details provided of stations, I have added stations for illustration purposes only.
I used a Google Map to plot the route, which shows how difficult building an urban railway would be.
[Map of Bali Concept Railway.]
The Bali Railway Concept Map is by James Clark of Future Southeast Asia. The article is free to publish with a link back to this site. Cantact me for media enquiries, or leave a comment below.
Graphic design by mapsbyaisha.com.
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Greg Rodgers says
Watch out. The taxi mafia isn’t going to like this. 😉
James Clark says
dayo beatz says
Then is a new rumour about mengwi – singaraja train integrated with cable car on bali highland town of bedugul, section 1 from mengwi bus terminal – baturiti (land rail), section 2 – 3 baturiti / singaraja with cable car.
saya pikir untuk pembangunan jembatan jawa-bali akan sangat sulit mengingat legenda dan mitos yang kami percaya. tapi jika ada kesinambungan antara pemerintah dan warga bali, mungkin bisa terjadi
This piece is more suited for Comedy Central . In the coming 100 years we will never see any of this . The Gilimanuk toll road project due to be completed by Dec. 2022 has not even begun construction yet !
Halo!!! Did someone actually realize that this is a tropical island and not a lunapark ?!
It’s a tropical island with 5 million people, an urban rail system is a no-brainer at this point.
Bring it on! Current system totally unsustainable,
Visited Ubud in 2019, and traffic truly was crushing. Widening the roads would just add more vehicles, so these musings about rail are not totally out of line. It was so bad that we never even made it to the western half of the country. Bali is one of those places to just pick a corner of it and stay there for the duration of one’s trip.