Jakarta International Airport
Arrivals and departures
Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is located to the north of the city, some 30 kilometres from the urban centre. It is composed of three main terminals, with international flights using terminal 2, as do internal flights by the national carrier Garuda, and the independent airline Merpati. Air Asia uses terminal 3. Terminal one is reserved for all other domestic flights. A free shuttle service is available for transport between terminals which are far from each other.
Due to recent legislation, citizens of some 190 countries (list has not been fully updated. Check with your nearest Consulate) that include Australia (added in March 2016), New Zealand, USA, Canada, and the European Union members no longer need a Tourist visa to enter the country for up to 30 days (not one month! in fact, 28 clear days as it includes the days of arrival and departure). The visa is not extendable, the passport must be valid for a minimum of six months, and the passenger must hold a return ticket. The facility only applies for entry and exit through a number of approved airports (Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport being one), seaports, and land entry points.
Visitors from the few countries that still require an entry Visa to visit Indonesia should obtain it before leaving through the Indonesian Consulate of the area of residence, especially as there might be specific regulations as in the case of Israeli nationals, that are not allowed into Indonesia under any circumstances.
The rest may obtain a 30-day paid Visa on arrival at the airport in Bali, providing the passport is valid for the the following six months; have return or onward tickets; and have enough funds to cover the intended stay. In fact, it is much cheaper: US$35 as against £40 if obtained in the UK; $50 in the USA; CAD$65 in Canada; AUD$60 in Australia. Business visitors must apply for the visa through their local Consulate.
You should weigh the pros and cons of the Visa on Arrival: queues after a long and tiring flight (much shorter since the new Visa-free regulations), against the higher cost and time wasted in visiting the Consulate or the uncertainty of successful postal deliveries. If you plan to spend more than 30 days in Indonesia, you could apply for the paid Visa-on-Arrival, as it may be extended for a further 30 days. The free visa cannot! However, there has been some reluctance, recently, on the part of the Immigration authorities to allow such extensions... Be aware!
Before the introduction of the visa-free facility for most foreign nationals, you could avoid the queues, especially if you needed visa-on-arrival, by being met just before you came to the passport control area, and be fast-tracked through the formalities, saving valuable time and the annoyance of further delays after a long and tiring flight. This saving is now mostly obsolete, unless you are one of the few that do not qualify to enter without a visa, or for business visitors who may need to go to the Visa-on-Arrival desk.
Recently, the fee was $30 per person, plus the cost of the visa, if needed: US$35, which you should pay, preferably, in US currency. That way, you were accompanied with minimum delay through all the formalities, including Customs.
Some time ago, the Government prohibited what was basically a form of corruption, whereby Immigration officials allowed foreigners through in exchange for some financial recompense by the agents involved. However, it is now understood that since March 2016 the government lifted the ban and that some agencies are again able to operate legally.
In any case, passengers travelling with very small children may be allowed to bypass the queues, although there is no guarantee that this will happen as it is at the discretion of the Immigration authorities.
There are various hotels in the vicinity of the airport. The 3star Jakarta Airport Hotel (www.jakartaairporthotel.com/) sits atop Terminal 2 and can be convenient for transit passengers with only a few hours between flights. In the vicinity of the airport there is a variety of accommodation of all categories. You can book directly with the Amaris Hotel Bandara or the Swiss-Belinn by clicking on their logos below to enter their websites. The 4-star Sheraton Bandara is also within a short distance from the terminals.
Baggage storage facilities are available in the arrivals hall.
There are banks in the arrival area, outside customs. It is advisable that you only exchange a small amount as needed for tips and transportation to your hotel. Later, you can compare exchange rates in banks and money changers, which are found in the Centre, especially in most malls. Besides, you will arrive tired and may get confused with the astronomical exchange rates, which run into a million for amounts of around US$100. Making sure that you are not taken advantage of in the amount of money that you get will be your first major obstacle.
To get to the city there are basically two alternatives:
The DAMRI airport bus is air-conditioned and the only recommendable to arriving foreigners. Unless you speak Indonesian, know the city well, are going to the last stop, are an adventurous or low-budget traveller, cheaper options are not for you. The fare of about IDR 25000 is payable to the driver.
There are official taxi counters inside the terminal where you can pre-pay the fare to your destination, avoiding the usual problems with overcharging and a sense of insecurity. The more reputable taxi companies are Silver Bird, and Blue Bird. The general consensus is that Silver Bird is the best and safest for foreigners.
The trip into central Jakarta will depend on traffic and can take anything between 45 minutes and a couple of hours. There is a toll on the expressway, the payment of which is the responsibility of the passenger. Make sure that you know whether it is included in the pre-paid fare. The taxi fare should be around £15 pounds sterling.
A pre-arranged transfer, especially if you are arriving late at night is the most advisable option. It can be arranged with your travel agent before you leave, or by advance arrangement with your hotel. The cost of a private transfer for a standard car taking up to 5 people is around US$ 60.
Please note, that as from 9th February, 2015, the departure tax is no longer collected from the passenger. It is included in the price of the ticket.
For tickets that were issued before that date and that do not have the tax added on, it must still be paid in cash at the airport.
The international departure tax is IDR 200 000 for each passenger, from two years of age. For domestic flights the tax varies from IDR 40 000 to IDR 75 000.
Transit passengers in possession of through tickets and continuing their journey the same day, providing they stay within customs area/transit room, are exempt.