Sukarno Hatta International Airport
Jakarta has two international airports. This is about Sukarno Hatta International Airport. In particular terminal 3. At arrival you follow the signs to immigration. When you reach the immigration hall, you will see a counter at your right hand side for visa on arrival. Now be careful, because in case you’re not sure about visa and you hand over your passport and ask about visa on arrival, the officer in duty just tells you to pay $35. You pay, get something like a sticker or ticket and you walk to the opposite counters of immigration.
When you get in line for the counters at immigration with your passport and the sticker or ticket you got at their visa on arrival desk, this officer in duty is asking you how long you will stay. Then he asks to see a plane ticket out of Indonesia. After showing him he tells you that your nationality doesn’t need a visa, but instead get a free 30 days stamp. This means that their own officers at the visa on arrival desk do not know about which nationalities need a visa on arrival and which don’t, or do not inform you as service that you don’t need to buy a visa and can go in line opposite her desk. This is something that should be improved on by the Sukarno Hatta International Airport authorities.
When you ask if you can walk back to get your $35 refunded at the visa on arrival desk, he tells you that it’s impossible. Sound a bit like a corrupt trick that the money will be shared between the two. You won’t get that sticker/ticket back. You just get a stamp valid for 30 days in your passport.
When you passed immigration you walk to the baggage claim area and after that it’s a bit of confusing. There are no signs mentioning where to catch a Grab (Uber). Most probably it falls under public transport of which there is a sign. Another sign mentions to get upstairs for pick up. Isn’t Grab a pick up too? You see many people at the public transport area of Sukarno Hatta International Airport, but you have no clue for which kind of transport they wait. Walk to the left for about a 70 meter and someone will approach you if you need a taxi. Those are the hassle guys who like to make good money by overcharging.
You either negotiate, but that can be hard if you have no clue about a reasonable price indication. Or you keep walking another 20 meters or so where you see normal taxi’s waiting or stopping. When you try to catch one, a guy asks you if you have a ticket and points to the ticket machine. This ticket machine is confusing too. You can push a button for two different things. In order to get a ticket number, push the right button.
Soon you’ll be able to get one of the taxi’s. Be informed that the normal taxi by meter price cost you around $13 to Central Jakarta. This price is including the parking ticket for the taxi at Sukarno Hatta International Airport and the toll way ticket. By Grab it cost around the same. So a meter taxi can be recommended as it’s affordable. Especially when you’ll be able to share a taxi ride.
Grab or pimp
Departure is another thing here. A normal taxi or Grab car to Sukarno Hatta airport will drop you at the right departure terminal point. When you decide to take a Grab motorbike for the 25 km to Sukarno Hatta international airport, for under $5, as you might only have some hand luggage with you and you can escape Jakarta horror traffic easier on a motorbike, you might be in for more confusion.
The Grab motorbike driver can be continuously busy with his phone and hardly looking on the road. He offers you girls, while you’re ready to depart. Shows you pics. Is busy calling with them, even when you say no. This all while driving. It makes you wonder if you ordered a Grab or a pimp. Once you reach the airport area, it’s confusing as motorbikes get separate lanes to drive and suddenly you passed everything. Turn and try to find terminal 3 again. Finally you reach a gate with security that doesn’t allow motorbikes. You’ll be in for a walk crossing roads where you obviously aren’t supposed to. You reach the arrival side, but you don’t know that. It takes time to figure out that you need to get yourself upstairs to departures. Inside the building itself everything is clear and speaks for itself.
Sukarno Hatta International Airport terminal 3 might be relatively new, but certainly isn’t clear for everything to everyone.