Taxi or rental car may be the most comfy way to get to and from Salatiga, but it is also the most expensive way. There is ample choice of cheaper public transport:
(1) Economy bus; very cheap, but not recommended because slow (stops everywhere), dirty, crowded and no AC.
(2) PATAS bus; airconditioned, with reserved seats and limited stops on the way. At double the price of an economy bus still very priceworthy. But you have to go to the bus station on the border of town.
(3) Shuttle bus; a point-to-point minibus service, doing a fixed route on a fixed schedule. You can hop on in the centre of town.
(4) Travel; a door-to-door minibus service. Convenient because of the door-to-door service, but because of that not very punctual, taking time to pick up and drop off passengers.
Cipaganti Travel Service recently included Salatiga in their shuttle bus network. They offer a 7 times daily minibus service between Salatiga and Solo and between Salatiga and Semarang. This is a relatively comfortable way of travel, at Rp 20,000 one way the price is double the price for a PATAS bus trip. The minibus seats 8 passengers only and leaves from Jalan Sudirman in front of the market at 07.30, 09.30, 11.30, 13.30, 15.30, 17.30 and 19.30.
From Solo and Semarang you can connect to other cities: Yogyakarta, Purwokerto, Pekalongan, Cirebon, Bandung, Surabaya, Malang. The network is steadily being expanded.
For the Cipaganti shuttle as well as other bus and travel services, apply at the agent: Toko “Ria", Jalan Jend. Sudirman no 40, phone 0298.325518 and 0298.7105757. Their location is in front of the Pasaraya II market building, half way between Hotel Wahid and Hotel Beringin.
Semarang Office: Jalan Sutan Agung no 92, tel. 024.70500000, 024.91288588
Solo Office: Hotel Anugerah Palace, Jalan Slamet Riyadi no 331, phone 0271.7065050, 0271.9300093.
There is no train station in Salatiga. Like if you come by air, you have to take a train from Jakarta to Semarang or Solo and there get a taxi or bus for the 1 to 1.5 hour drive to Salatiga.
The train schedules you can find at: http://kereta-api.co.id/. Unfortunately in Indonesian only, but the search boxes at the right are easy to understand. Executive and business class trains have numbered seats. Executive class also has air-conditioning. On ordinary days you may try to walk into the station and by a ticket a few hours before departure. But if all seats are sold out you have to wait for another train. So it is wiser to buy your ticket a day in advance; on busy days (when prices go up about 10%) even several days in advance.
From Gambir (Jakarta) to Semarang Tawang, via Cirebon and Pekalongan, about 6 hours
Prices range from Rp 130,000 to Rp 240,000 depending on class, date and time.
ARGO BROMO ANGGREK, departure 09:30, 21:30 (most expensive)
ARGO MURIA, 07:15
ARGO SINDORO, 16:45
GUMARANG, 18:00 (cheapest business class)
From Gambir (Jakarta) to Solo Balapan, via Cirebon, Purwokerto and Yogyakarta, about 8 hours
Prices from Rp 190,000 to Rp 220,000.
ARGO DWIPANGGA, 08:00
ARGO LAWU, 20:00
The easiest way to get to Salatiga is by air via Semarang, Solo or Yogyakarta.
At the airports you can get a taxi at the counter for a fixed price. The taxi ride from Semarang takes about one our and costs Rp 185,000 (August 2009). The ride from Solo takes slightly longer and we estimate to cost Rp 210,000. The distance from Yogyakarta is longest, takes two hours, and we paid Rp 340,000 in September 2009.
If you come from overseas, most likely you have to make a stop over in Jakarta. However, it may be convenient to bypass Jakarta by flying Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur to Solo or Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Yogyakarta. Visa On Arrival is available at the Solo and Yogya airports (not at Semarang airport).
Here is the choice of flights you have:
Jakarta to Semarang
Garuda (www.garuda-indonesia.com) eight flights daily
Batavia (www.batavia-air.co.id) one flight per day
Mandala (www.mandalaair.com) three flights daily
Sriwijaya (www.sriwijayaair-online.com/ three flights daily
Jakarta to Solo
Lion Air (www.lionair.co.id) one flight per day
Sriwijaya (www.sriwijayaair-online.com) two flights daily
Kuala Lumpur to Solo (from USD 60 round trip)
Air Asia (www.airasia.com) twice daily.
Kuala Lumpur to Yogyakarta
Malaysia Airlines (www.malaysiaairlines.com)
Flights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays only:
MH0857 departure from Kuala Lumpur at 9:15am, arrival at Yogyakarta at 10:50am (flight duration 2h35m)
MH0856 departure from Yogyakarta at 11:40am, arrival at Kuala Lumpur at 03:05pm (flight duration 2h25m)
For domestic flights it is advisable to book in advance. If you just walk in at the airport to fly the same day, you usually pay the maximum price. If you cannot book via internet, walk in at any travel agent's and ask them to find the cheapest flight for you.
Like most cities and regencies nowadays, Salatiga also has an official website.
Most of it is in Indonesian language.
However, you can find here a map of Salatiga (click About > Peta Salatiga, save and print the JPEG file)
The dokar (or 'andong') is a form of horse carriage and is quite unique to Salatiga, not many cities in Indonesia have them anymore. This is a form of transport which gets you to most places in Salatiga -- with the exception of the main street (jl. Jendral Sudirman).
The dokars are not tourist items. The locals use it as a form of transport.
Fare is by negotiation and depends on distance. Rp5,000 to Rp10,000 is reasonable. While a bit more expensive than the minibus ('angkot') it gets you door-to-door, fun, and environmentally friendly.