Jakarta, Indonesia (ID)
Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (known locally as Cengkareng Airport) lies 20km west of the city. It has three terminals: Terminals 1 and 2 are semicircular in shape and face each other. Terminal 3 is smaller and separate to the other two.
A high-speed rail links the airport to the center of the city. It takes around an hour to ride from the airport to Sudirman Baru.
Cost: IDR 70,000 to Sudirman Baru
Location: arrivals, out of the terminal buildings
Operating hours: 04:40-00:40 daily
Tip: Tickets can be bought at the station or via the Railink App, or online here.
The journey into Jakarta takes 45 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. Make sure you choose a reputable taxi firm, though, and a taxi that uses a meter, to avoid being overcharged. Blue Bird (blue), Express (white), Taxiku (yellow) and Gamya (green) are known to be trustworthy. You could also book your taxi at the counters outside Customs and you'll get a nice car and jump to the head of the queue.
Cost: IDR 125,000-150,000 to the city center (plus airport surcharge and road tolls), or around IDR 175,000
Location: Blue Bird and others have booths outside Arrivals
Tip: To determine a good cabbie, ask “Argo?” (“Meter?”). If they say no, or “Tidak”, keep looking.
There are several buses running from the airport. Take the Damri bus to Gambir Railway Station to get to the center of the city - it's only a few minutes walk to Jaksa from there. Journey time is around 70 minutes.
Cost: IDR 40,000
Location: Bus stops outside all terminals: Terminal 1, Arrival; Terminal 2F, eastern wing of Arrivals; Terminal 3, Departures
Expect traffic jams
Always allow lots of extra time for unpredictable traffic when traveling into Jakarta. Journey times into the city range from 30 minutes at night to 90 minutes during rush hour and up to two hours if it’s raining and on Thursday and Friday evenings. Weekends are much quieter.
Try the Taman Sari Spa at the far end of Departures in Terminal 2F, just past the small Starbucks. They provide massage packages from about IDR 120,000 (USD 12), with slippers, a sarong, disposable underwear and towels included. A shower’s also included, and these aren’t provided free at the airport.
Soekarno–Hatta International Airport has an 18-hole course just to the left of the main gate of the airport, next to the Sheraton Bandara Hotel. A taxi will get you there in 10 minutes. A round costs USD 60 (USD 75 at weekends) as a non-member; you can rent clubs there. You’ll need 9 hours layover to get over there, enjoy a game and make it back to the airport.
While in Indonesia, consider buying a SIMpati Telkomsel SIM card from the taxi counters by Customs in Arrivals. A Telkomsel SIMpati prepaid SIM costing IDR 25,000 (about USD 2.50) comes with IDR 5,000 in credits; an extra IDR 100,000 should last you two weeks. Ask the shop assistant to load the airtime for you as well, as all instructions are in Indonesian. Tip: dial 01017 before overseas numbers to get a reduced overseas call rate.
Pass the time reading a book or get some fresh air in this beautifully-maintained garden area next to Terminal 2F. The area also houses ticket booths for buses into Jakarta.
FM7 Resort is 15 minutes’ drive from the terminals, with well-organised free transfers to and from the airport and large, clean, well-insulated rooms. (Always book your outgoing shuttle when checking in, and staff will suggest the best shuttle to use in the morning, factoring in traffic and roads). A great base if you need to be at the airport early. Rooms from EUR 47.
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Terminal 3 is connected to Terminal 1 and 2 by the SkyTrain and by free shuttle buses. You can connect from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 within 5 minutes and to Terminal 1 within 7 minutes.