How to explore Ìbàdàn in one weekend: Part 1.

Everything you need to know about taking the train from Lagos to Ìbàdàn.

I have to start this from the very beginning. I was scrolling through Instagram a couple of weeks ago and saw @bolanle’s post on taking the train to Ìbàdàn. I sent DMs to my friends - Seyi, Benie and Victoria and they were all down to go!

It all started with a DM

This is probably the easiest trip I’ve ever tried to plan. Everyone was down from day one and no one bailed.

Here’s timeline of our Ìbàdàn trip and how it all went down.

Trains

We all met up at the Railway station in Yaba. Seyi, Benie and I arrived at 7:50am because Victoria had told us the train departs by 8am. Turns out she lied! 😂 And it worked, we got there on time. The train was billed to depart at 8:30am.

Buying tickets at the Train station in Yaba

Our temperature check was done before we were let into the ticketing area. There certainly wasn’t a lot of social distancing being done. I that this point we’re all just living on vibes and inshallah when it comes to staying safe in public places. How do you eat in a restaurant, for example without taking off your mask?

We decided we were going to buy the business class tickets.

I had a bit of Nostalgia remembering my Uncle taking the trains from Ebute-metta to Alagbado many years ago.

Walking from the station to the train terminal

Ticket pricing for Lagos to Ìbàdàn train

*You’ll require a valid ID Card to purchase a ticket.

  • Standard — N2,500. N2,000 to Abẹ́òkúta.
  • Business — N5k to Ìbàdàn and N4, 500 to Abẹ́òkúta.
  • First — N6000

Train times

Lagos to Ìbàdàn

Weekdays — 4:00pm departure / Boarding 3:30pm

Weekends (Saturday only) — 8:30am departure

Ìbàdàn to Lagos

Weekdays — 8:00am departure

Weekends (Saturday only) — 6:00pm departure

When they finally got to the top of the queue, the person selling the tickets asked Benie for all our IDs — something we didn’t plan for. We had to send our passport data page to Benie’s whatsapp so she could show them to the woman.

With our tickets bought, we decided to start out picture taking and flooding the gram while also keeping an eye out for the train leaving because if you missed that train, OYO lọ wa.!

Departure times for the Lagos to Ìbàdàn Train service

  • Weekdays, Departs Moniya station in Ìbàdàn at 8:00am and Departs Èbúté-metta station in Lagos at 4:00 pm
  • Weekends (excluding Sundays), Departs Lagos at 8:00am and Departs Ìbàdàn at 6:00pm
  • There’s a 5mins stop at the Laderin station in Abẹ́òkúta
  • The trains do not currently run on Sundays.

Make sure to confirm the times sha because the service isn’t fully operational yet and certain things may change from time to time.

What’s up with these trains sef?

The Chinese company CCECC are building a huge Railway station right in the heart of Yaba, Lagos to replace the old one that had been there for decades. They’ve constructed railway lines running from Lagos to Ìbàdàn. They’re also currently building and maintaining the train itself and I suppose not surprisingly, driving the trains too.

Once we had our tickets, we headed off to take some pictures around the station before boarding.

Ongoing construction work at the Ebute-metta train station
The Front of the trains. Peep the driver
The Lagos train station under construction
Me at the train station
Seyi and Benie being goofy

We took pictures as fast as we could so that we could hop on the trains for 8:00am. Once we hopped on, we spoke to the conductor who told us that the train is scheduled to depart at 8:30am. We figured we had more time to take pictures and videos and we did!

Business Class Cabin walkthrough
Business class

I think I should mention at this point that traveling in a group with other people passionate about taking great pictures changes everything!

We asked the conductor if we could see the First class coach. She said we could only go in one at a time so we all took turns going in.

The first class coach had less seats (duhh) and more leg room. I think that was basically it.

First class coach

Here’s a video of Seyi saying what he thought of it.

Seyi reviewing the first class coach

Once done checking out the First class coach, we explored the rest of the train and of course, took moreeee pictures!

They had a nice, simple kitchen area with a coffee maker. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get some Bobba teas in the future🤞🏿 with scotch eggs?

Kitchen?

Our first impressions were that the trains were very clean, the charging ports worked and everything felt well maintained.

We even got to take mirror selfies.

Victoria and I taking mirror selfies

All passengers on the train are told to keep their masks on for the entire duration of the journey.

The train left the Lagos station on time. It was interesting to be able to look out the windows at the different areas we were passing through and seeing people going about their daily lives.

Seyi and Victoria looking like they own the trains

What was more interesting was how once we were out of Lagos, there were far more green spaces to see. I’m not sure we saw a single green area while on the Lagos stretch of the journey.

Me feeling like a cool kid
Best seats in the house

We got the window seats with plenty of leg room. These are definitely the best seats in business class.

You could play board games or get some work done on the table if you wish. We prefer the board games option.

Benie and Seyi

There’s currently no food being served on the trains so bring your own puff puff.

As you pass through each potential station, there’s an announcement mentioning the name of the station we were passing through. These stations aren’t currently functional so the trains do not make a stop there.

Laderin station, Abẹ́òkúta

We arrived at the Laderin station in Abẹ́òkúta station at around 10:00am.

The station is still largely under construction. Some passengers disembarked and some new ones boarded.

Recreating the train scene from Lupin. Shot by Benie

Five minutes later, doors were locked and we were off to Moniya station in Ìbàdàn.

Moniya station, Ibadan

Moniya Station Ibadan

We arrived at the Moniya station at around 11:13am.

Moniya station, Ibadan

Once out of the train, a cab driver approached us, carried one of our bags to his taxi and then we started to discuss prices to Bodija.

He was insistent that his last price was 5k and we told him we couldn’t pay 5k. Eventually, we let him go and he picked up some other passengers.

There weren’t a lot of cabs around and it seemed some people had organized their own private cabs to pick them up.

We waited and waited and apart from a few kekes, we didn’t see any cab we could take. The train station itself is still largely under construction and it’s quite a distance from town.

Eventually, Seyi and Benie — the ginger givers of our group walked into town, took a bike to a taxi park and brought a taxi back to pick us. We eventually ended up negotiating and paying N750 pp for the Nissan micra(the primary taxi vehicle in Ìbàdàn) cab into Bodija.

Ibadan — the town of the Nissan Micra

If you plan on taking this trip, make sure to make arrangements for how you’ll leave the train station. There are cabs available, just not enough.

Once we entered our Micra taxi and were heading out, a soldier told the taxi to stop. He headed towards us and asked our cab driver if he could speak English — baba said he couldn’t. Now that I think about it, I wonder how Seyi and Benie were able to communicate with him in the first place 🤔.

The soldier asked how much he was taking us for. I think we mentioned something like N500. The soldier wanted to ensure that we weren’t being duped. He said the cab drivers were overcharging people for the trip into town. It was a nice gesture sha.

Driving out of Moniya

Then we began the drive out of the Moniya station.

Group picture after a long day and a long climb up Bower’s Tower

Read Part 2

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