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Bali’s New Railway Will Be An Underground Line Connecting Tourist Destinations

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Transportation officials in Indonesia have given an update on the long-anticipated railway line in Bali. The project has, in theory, been full steam ahead for some time.

But with planning becoming an evermore time-consuming task, the project is moving in a new direction…underground.

Metro LTR Train.jpg

Indonesia’s National Planning Agency has confirmed that the new Light Rail Transit will be an underground system.

The Deputy for Facilities and Infrastructure at the National Planning Agency, Evran Maksum, said that the construction of the railway line can only go ahead in alignment with traditional land management regulations in Bali.

This legislation dictates that the construction of buildings or infrastructure cannot displace temples, sacred spaces, or most agricultural land and cannot be taller than a coconut tree. 

Maksum explained, “In Bali there is a big problem, buildings can’t be taller than coconut trees, they can’t go up. If you want to widen the road there are lots of temples. So how do you do it? You have to go down, the only way.”

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The LTR system in Bali is being created to help alleviate some of the mounting traffic congestion on the island. Bali is currently welcoming an average of 18,000 tourists by plane every single day.

This figure is only anticipated to rise over the next decade. His high volume of tourist traffic is putting huge amounts of pressure on the island’s road systems, which were never designed to support so many vehicles. 

The railway system is set to connect I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport directly to the most popular resorts in the southern part of the island.

Maksum explained, “In Bali, it can take 2-3 hours to get to the airport at peak hour. The problem is that time is expensive, and even though Bali is small, it’s a problem. One solution is to use trains to speed up mobility in pockets.”

“Because of tourism it is clustered in there in Jimbaran, Seminyak, Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur.”

The National Planning Agency has confirmed that they will be pursuing the project as an underground train network.

Over the last few years, the project has been discussed as an overland rail network but with time ticking on, it seems that the government is willing to invest more money into the project if it means getting the job done quicker and with less of an impact on the landscape. 

Maksum revealed that just 4.9 km of underground railway would cost IDR 5 trillion. He added, “If you go underground, it can be three times the price than if you go overground.”

The investment for the whole railway line to be built as an underground metro system is now set at USD 592 million, or IDR 9 trillion.

The proposed railway line will depart from Bali Airpot and travel in two circular systems. One will loop from the Airport into Central Denpasar, Reno, through to Sanur and Benoa.

The second loop will travel out to Seminyak with stops at the popular beach resorts of Kuta and Legian.

While this is an unprecedented construction project for Bali, the transportation authorities are working with partners in Jakarta to help bring the railway to life.


In an agreement signed before his time as Governor of Bali ended earlier this month, Governor Koster signed an MoU with the Jakarta City Government to establish a bilateral knowledge exchange.

Officials in Jakarta will be consulting on the LTR project, and leaders in tourism in Bali will be working to develop new hospitality and travel programmers in the capital city.  


The Main Director of MRT Jakarta Tuhiyat, confirmed earlier this year that the MRT Jakarta will also be helping to fund the rail project in Bali.

Once operational, Bali’s railway line will completely change the way in which tourists first experience the island. 


Right now the traffic situation in and around the airport and the popular resorts of the southern coast are going from bad to worse.

The railway line is just one solution in progress; the load leading into the resort area of Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula will be widened in parts and reconstructed in others to better cope with the growing influx of tourism traffic due to the surge in development in the area. 


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