Day 1: Boarding the PELNI KM Kelud at Batu Ampar Port

On first impression, the crowd wasn’t intimidating after all. When I joined the queue, there was a grand total of 4 passengers – that’s number of people and not groups – ahead of me, so I was processed rather fast by the guy scanning my ticket, tearing his portion off and stamping my hand with the “PELNI Seal of Approval”. Boarding only looked messy because there are a few parallel lines, including one for the porters’ entry.

(Of course it isn’t called that, in case you’re actually wondering. It’s more of a big red circle instead.)

My stamped and validated ticket.

After getting my ticket checked, I processed through customs which was a mess thanks to the Indonesian Customs having only one x-ray machine and the porters shoving their way through, but they probably get paid per item or trip they do, so they are forgiven. Yes, even on a domestic ferry service, bags are scanned for hazardous goods presumably.

After the x-ray scan, I was directed to the waiting room for the transfer bus, except that there’s no one waiting in the waiting room. Toilets are available here though.

The exit of the waiting room to the transfer bus.

Total time spent waiting in the waiting room: 0 minutes and 0 seconds

The transfer bus to the ferry is operated by a Trans Batam Hino bus. Not sure if the port, PELNI and DAMRI is actually one giant transport company or it’s actually chartered.

Inside the transfer bus. While crowded, it still wasn’t at the true maximum capacity as everyone still had a bit of space to twist around while standing.

Leaving the passenger terminal.

The ship was immediately visible when the bus made a right turn when it departed the terminal. Seems pretty near to me, how nice of them to still provide the bus service.

In case you’re thinking if this is a cargo port rather than a passenger ferry terminal, you are right. The KM Kelud is the only passenger ferry that uses this place though, because of its size.

Approaching the KM Kelud. Somehow this feels exciting.

The Trans Batam bus dropping us off at the ship.

This ship is bigger than I imagined it to be.

The gangway to board the Economy Class portion of the ship. No crowd rushing up the gangway, but probably the crowd is regulated by the transfer bus and not a free-for-all system.

I was ushered up here by the staff at the wharf.

The welcome panel up the gangway on board the KM Kelud.

In case you’re wondering, KM isn’t part of the actual name of the ship. In the English-speaking world, you might be more familiar with the abbreviation MV in front of ships instead, which stands for Motor Vessel. KM stands for Kapal Motor, which is the same thing in Indonesian. The ship’s namesake, Kelud, is a mountain on West Java which you will see in an upcoming post.

Seeing that this is the Economy Class portion of the ship and that there weren’t any signs pointing to the Class 1A cabins here, I asked a staff for help, to which he explained that I got up the wrong gangway and led me on the right staircase to Deck 6. Maybe I looked local enough to pass off as one to get ushered onto Economy Class.

Luckily, there were these information boards at every set of staircases.

And here’s my check-in desk. A Rp50,000 deposit is required for the room key.

The check-in staff ushering me to my first cabin. I’ll explain why later. The staff are actually the stewards serving the first and second class passengers throughout the journey.

As I put my bags down while he waits for me to bring me to lunch (Surprise surprise.), I was greeted by this sign behind the door informing me of where to go in case of an emergency. Well this ship seems rather safe.

Since I enquired about the WiFi on board, he brought me back down to Economy Class to point out a PELNI Mart outlet where I can purchase a voucher from should I feel like getting WiFi. They only open once the tickets have been checked after the ship sets sail though.

And lunch is actually served. I wasn’t expecting this. Turns out that they prepare a small lunch portion for the early birds who board early, since boarding starts at 11am and the ship sets sail at 1pm. How nice of them.

Rice and fruits can be taken from the main buffet table.

There’s absolutely no other passengers in the restaurant now.

Me at the dining table, sort of Padang-style.

On the lunch menu was chicken, fish, beancurd and fresh vegetables.

My portion of lunch, in case there were other early birds coming to join me.

There weren’t any.

Lunch was promptly closed at 12pm.

Where are the other passengers?!

As I took more pictures than required during this journey, considering the lack of information currently available, as much as I would love to condense the information into a single post, I won’t be doing it just yet, so that all aspects as far as possible can be covered. A summary post will be done after I finish my story.

Next post: Day 1: PELNI KM Kelud from Batam (Batu Ampar) to Jakarta (Tanjung Priok)


  1. You were lucky then.
    In my case,Customs did not open until 12:10
    No shops,restaurant or cafeteria open at 13:00
    The ship is dirty with no proper maintenance.

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