Category Archives: Garuda

Singapura to Jayapura

Garuda Indonesia commences flights between Makassar and Singapore, aiming to reduce travel times to the remote cities of East Indonesia.

On 1 June 2011, Garuda Indonesia began daily flights between Makassar (a.k.a. Ujung Pandang) and Singapore, using Boeing 737-500 aircraft with a capacity of 96 passengers.

Here is the schedule:

Flight Number Route Departs Arrives
GA848 Makassar to Singapore 15:00 17:50
GA849 Singapore to Makassar 18:50 22:00

It was widely reported that Garuda'a new route is:

in line with the carrier’s plans to develop Makassar as its third domestic hub after Jakarta and Bali, and as a gateway to East Indonesia.

Flights To/From Makassar Newspaper advertisements for Garuda - see right for an excerpt - have also promoted Garuda's strategy of increasing the number of flights and routes to/from Makassar. The lines in red denote new routes. (Click on the image to see full-size).

Makassar, we have a problem

Yet the new flight's schedule has an issue: to create a successful hub airport, an airline needs to have good connection times to other flights. In real English, passengers travelling via a hub airport shouldn't have to wait a long time between their international flight and the connecting domestic flight, or vice versa.

And everyone - Garuda management included - seems to have forgotten this, creating a schedule that either has poor connection times or misses Garuda's connecting domestic flights all together.

The flight from Singapore (or "Singapura" in Bahasa Indonesia) to Makassar arrives at 10pm. By the time visitors have bought a tourist visa and changed terminals, there are virtually no domestic flights to connect to.

The only flight with a good connection is Garuda's red-eye special overnight flight from Jakarta to Biak and Jayapura, which transits Makassar at 1am.

This means visitors wishing to travel from Singapore to e.g. Gorontalo will have a compulsory overnight stopover in Makassar - incurring the additional expense of a hotel room - before continuing their journey the next day. (It might also be possible to sleep at the airport, but it is not known whether this is permitted, let alone comfortable or safe.)

TorajaTourists also arrive too late for an overnight bus to South Sulawesi's biggest attraction - Tana Toraja - at the nearby bus terminal, adding a day to their journey too.

Once again, only the flight from Jayapura to Makassar connects nicely. Flights from Manado, Kendari, Gorontalo, etc. all arrive too late to connect for passengers to Garuda's flight to Singapore, and from Ambon far too early.

What is the solution - other airlines?

Unfortunately, there are very few domestic flights on any airline from Makassar in the middle of the night, only flights to Jayapura or Sorong at 3 or 4am.

You could fly Air Asia to Makassar from Kuala Lumpur instead, but it arrives at 5pm. This is also too late for most connecting domestic flights to East Indonesia, but is at least a more passenger-friendly hour of the day.

However, tourists flying back from East Indonesia to Singapore have more choice: other airlines with better connection times.

Raja AmpatFor example, you can fly Batavia Air to Makassar from Sorong, the nearest airport to the increasingly famous Raja Ampat diving paradise in West Papua.

Airline Flight
Batavia Air Y6-846 10:20 11:20

togean-islands-sulawesi-indonesiaSimilarly, you could fly Lion Air to Makassar from Gorontalo, where you get the boat to the Togean Islands, Central Sulawesi's #1 tourist attraction.

Airline Flight
Lion Air JT793 11:05 12:30

You can view the Makassar Airport Wikipedia page for a more general guide of other airlines' flights to/from Makassar.

Is Garuda's Hub in Makassar Doomed to Failure?

Some would also argue that Garuda's strategy of increasing flights from Makassar to East Indonesia has a competitive disadvantage compared to Indonesia's other government-owned airline:

Merpati Nusantara Airways
Merpati Nusantara Airlines

Merpati's mission is to serve remote cities/destinations - especially in East Indonesia - and recently moved its headquarters to Makassar. It operates several flights from Makassar that no other airline operates; some of the more useful routes for visitors are Makassar to Kupang (West Timor), Makassar to Maumere (Flores), and Makassar to Yogyakarta direct.

Merpati Unique Flight Map
Useful Routes Only Flown By Merpati Airways

Sometimes, Merpati also receives government subsidies to maintain routes that are necessary (because there are no other air, road or sea links) but unprofitable. Garuda is majority owned by the government, but does not receive government subsidies in this way.

Merpati already operates flights on many of Garuda's new routes from Makassar to remote cities in East Indonesia. If budget-conscious travellers prefer the cheaper no-frills service of Merpati to the more expensive full-service of Garuda, Garuda's new flights to/from Makassar may quickly become unprofitable.

In conclusion, for its new Makassar hub to be successful in encouraging more tourists to visit Makassar and its more remote areas in the east of the country, Garuda will need to reconsider and reconfigure its flight times between Makassar and Singapore, along with its domestic connecting flights. Alternately, Garuda could give passengers a free Makassar hotel stay in both directions; however, that is unlikely to happen because it would be prohibitively expensive.

But without any further action, Garuda's competitors will continue to have an advantage, and Makassar's "great expectation" (sic) of becoming a successful Garuda hub airport will fail.


For more information or to make a booking enquiry, please visit the Mau Ke Mana flight booking service.

Singapura to Jayapura is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

Expats & Credit Cards

Why is it so hard for expats to get a credit card in Indonesia? And is it worth having one anyway?

To recently arrived expats, Indonesian credit cards seem an amazingly good deal compared to back home.

HSBC Restaurant DiscountAnnual fees are much lower, the benefits such as:

are much easier to obtain, and all expats' salaries are well above the minimum threshold to qualify.

And yet, personal experience is Indonesian banks almost never approve applications for non-Indonesians, even the one where you have a savings account.

For many expats, the issue is they don't have a relative/emergency contact that doesn't live with them. You would think this problem is overcome after dating and marrying an Indonesian, but again personal experience is it hasn't.

Below is a guide to the benefits and obscure requirements/problems you may encounter:

HSBC Credit Card

Air Asia HSBC Card

Good For: Discounted restaurant meals and Air Asia flights, free entry to airport executive lounges.

But the problem is: You must have a home telephone number. If you live in a new house with no home phone or prefer to use a CDMA mobile phone (e.g. Flexi, Esia) instead because it's cheaper, too bad.

American Express Charge Card

American Express Charge Card

Good For: Buying international flights online in $US, thereby avoiding currency conversion fees.

But the problem is: After you apply, you never hear back from them. Last time, they said their computerized approval system was "masih trouble", meaning still not working.

Garuda Citi Card

Garuda Citi Card

Good For: 5% discount on Garuda international and domestic flights, free entry to airport executive lounges, earning points more quickly on the Garuda Frequent Flyer Program.

But the problem is: Citibank cannot issue new credit cards while Bank Indonesia investigates allegations of Citibank staff stealing money from customers' accounts and its violent debt collectors.

Lion Air BII Credit Card

Lion Air BII Credit Card

Good For: Discounted flights on Lion Air.

But the problem is: You cannot find an application form at Lion Air ticket office, BII branch or anywhere else. Possibly application forms are even rarer than those for the Lion Air Passport Club, the virtually non-existent Lion Air frequent flyer program.

Also, the low annual fee hides other fees that may not exist in your home country: a bill payment fee; stamp duty; credit card surcharges of 2-3% that are more the rule than the exception. In addition, Indonesia is still a cash-based economy; many shops and businesses still don't accept any credit cards.

Having said that, an Indonesian credit card is almost essential when:

So the key questions are:

  1. Are Indonesian credit cards useful, a necessary evil, a waste of time or something else?
  2. Are there any expat-friendly banks that are more likely to approve non-Indonesians' credit card applications?

Please share your experiences and opinions below.

Expats & Credit Cards is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

Indonesia Tourism Awards

Tourists polled, their favourite hotels, restaurants, malls, and holiday destinations in Indonesia.

The Indonesia Tourism Awards (ITA) 2010 were announced in early December, the awards organised by the Department of Tourism and SWA business magazine, and not to be confused with intense rivals Indonesia Travel Tourism Awards.


Between 16th August-14th October 2010 1,619 tourists were polled, 1,470 Indonesians and 149 foreigners in 25 towns and regencies, with the results gathered through focus group discussions and questionnaires.

Menbudpar Tourism Awards

The winners:

Areas & Destinations

Area/Regency with best tourist facilities

  1. Bukittinggi, Sumatra
  2. Denpasar, Bali
  3. Toraja, South Sulawesi

Favourite Area/Regency

  1. Denpasar, Bali
  2. Cianjur, West Java
  3. West Lombok

Favourite Destination

  1. Bedugul (Tabanan), Bali
  2. Sanur beach (Badung), Bali
  3. Londa (Toraja), South Sulawesi


Favourite Hotel - 5 star

  1. Shangrila Hotel, Jakarta
  2. Sheraton Hotel, Jakarta
  3. J.W Marriott Hotel, Jakarta

Favourite Hotel - 4 star

  1. Hard Rock Hotel, Bali
  2. Swiss Belhotel Hotel, Jakarta
  3. AryaDuta Hotel, Jakarta

Favourite Hotel - 3 star

  1. Ibis Hotel, Jakarta

Favourite Hotel - Cheap

  1. Legian Village, Bali

No other hotels reached quota for these last two categories.


Favourite Restaurant - Seafood

  1. Bandar Jakarta

Favourite Restaurant - Javanese

  1. Ayam Goreng Mbok Berek

Favourite Restaurant - Sundanese

  1. Kampung Daun

Favourite Restaurant - Padang

  1. Simpang Raya


Favourite Mall - Jakarta

  1. Plaza Senayan

Favourite Mall - Java

  1. Ambarukmo Plasa, Yogyakarta

Favourite Mall - off Java

  1. Panakukang Mall, Makassar


Favourite Airline - Full service

  1. Garuda Indonesia

Favourite Airline - Budget

  1. Lion Air
  2. Air Asia
  3. Batavia Air

Travel Services

Favourite Travel Agency

  1. Panorama

Favourite Taxi Company

  1. Blue Bird

Related Industries

Favourite Spa

  1. Martha Tilaar Salon Day Spa

Favourite Golf Course

  1. Damai Indah Golf

Indonesia Tourism Awards is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

EU Banned Airlines

Indonesia remains on the updated European Union blacklist, while a number of carriers continue to obtain exceptions.

On 23rd November 2010 the Mobility and Transport department of the European Commission issued an update to its airline blacklist of international airlines; no changes affected Indonesian airlines.

Airlines in Indonesia remain blacklisted by default, unless they obtain an exception; currently six Indonesian airlines have managed to persuade the EU on safety issues, they being:

The following airlines remain expressly banned:


EU Banned Airlines is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Garuda joins SkyTeam Alliance

Garuda Indonesia to sign onto membership of the Skyteam international airline network alliance.

National carrier Garuda Indonesia will on November 23rd 2010 sign an agreement with international airline alliance Skyteam.

SkyTeam is based at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and was founded in 2000 by Aeroméxico, Air France, Delta Air Lines and Korean Air. It has grown to become the second largest airline alliance in the world in passenger number terms and members, behind Star Alliance but ahead of Oneworld.

Its current full membership is:

  • Aerosoft
  • Aeromexico
  • AirEuropa
  • Air France
  • KLM
  • Alitalia
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Kenya Airways
  • Korean Air
  • TAROM (Romanian Air Transport)
  • Vietnam Airlines

The president director of Garuda Indonesia, Emirsyah Satar, enthused about the prospect of joining:

It will mean that our passengers will be able to fly anywhere with just one joint ticket.

Taiwan's China Airlines and the mainland's China Eastern Airlines will also become new members of Skyteam; these two airlines signed agreements with Skyteam earlier this year, and it is expected that they will have fulfilled the full membership criteria by mid to late 2011. Based on this timeframe, it is likely that Garuda Indonesia will become a full member of SkyTeam in early 2012.

Garuda joins SkyTeam Alliance is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Indonesia Travel Tourism Awards

The winners of the Indonesia Travel Tourism Awards 2010/2011, as announced at the Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place, Jakarta in late October:


Resorts, Suites, and Villas

Tourist Attractions

  • Best independent spa - Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa
  • Best amusement park - Bali Safari and Marine Park
  • Best theme park - Waterbom Jakarta
  • Travel Agents & Tourism Boards


  • Airline of the year- Garuda Indonesia
  • Best budget airline - Mandala Air
  • Best international airline - Emirates
  • Best online travel portal -
  • Best travel writing - Trinity Traveler
  • Best tourism financing bank - Bank Danamon

  • The judging panel comprised the following people:

    • Sapta Nirwandar (Director General of Marketing, Ministry of Culture and Tourism)
    • Meity Robot (Indonesian Tourism Community)
    • Wuryastuti Sunario (Care Tourism Indonesia)
    • Johnnie Sugianto (Miss Tourism Indonesia Foundation)
    • Roy Sembel (Financial Analyst)
    • Indira Abidin (Public Relations Expert)
    • Enda Nasution (blogger, internet entrepreneur)
    • Demson Goeltom (Director of Pelita Harapan School of Tourism)

    Indonesia Travel Tourism Awards is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

    Family-Friendly Flying

    children flying

    How to get where you family needs to go with minimal stress? Which Indonesian airline is best suited to bringing the wife and kids?

    Like Ross who when his family grew sacrificed his love of Jakartan public transport for Jakartan taxis, many people have to reconsider how they travel if they are bringing children, especially babies and toddlers.

    But what about flying domestically in Indonesia, when you have a baby on board? Is family-friendly flying possible, and if so which airline is the most family-friendly?

    We will look at some relevant issues below:

    Price | Punctuality | Facilities | Baggage | Safety


    Parents are already paying extra to bring their children. Which airline has the most family-friendly pricing policy?

    You may not realise that currently the only Indonesian domestic airline which gives a cheaper price to children aged 2-11 is Citilink, the budget wing of Garuda Indonesia.

    Citilink logo
    Children fly for less than adults, only on Citilink

    All other airlines charge the same for adults and children. (And curiously, when booking some airlines online you still need to enter the child's date of birth, despite the fare being the same as for an adult.) You might have thought that this was because on more budget-oriented airlines (e.g. Air Asia, Lion Air) there are few or no in-flight services (e.g. free food) which are cheaper for kids. However, Citilink also only gives a plastic cup of water and a snack to each passenger, so maybe not.

    Note also, this does not necessarily mean that Citilink will always have the cheapest fare for families; other airlines' adult price may be cheaper overall.


    Being stuck in a crowded airport because the flight has been delayed is no fun, especially with children. Which airlines have the best record for punctuality?

    This is hard to verify independently.

    Mandala Air logo

    Mandala Air publishes its On-Time Performance here (last month 83%), and claims to be the first. Citilink used to publish its OTP on its homepage, but it was always 100% - seems unlikely - and has recently disappeared.

    So, here is some general guidance: The younger the planes, the less likely there is to be a delay caused by plane issues or unscheduled maintenance. Next question: which airline has the youngest fleet of planes? Mandala Air's webpage used to invite passengers to fly on "the youngest armada" of aircraft, while Lion Air is the official "first to fly" airline of the Boeing 737-900ER. Garuda is ordering new Boeing 777 planes, but they will be used on international routes only.

    Different airlines claim to have the newest planes

    There are some impartial statistics at the Indonesian Inspector-General of Civil Aviation's domestic airline statistics page. It says when each plane in the airline's fleet was manufactured, etc. However, I can't vouch for how up to date they are.

    However, it is not only the airlines' fault. Many of Indonesia's airports are operating above their intended capacity. For example, Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport had 37 million people fly to/from its airport last year; it's designed to handle a maximum of 22 million. Similarly, Surabaya's Juanda airport's capacity is 6.5 million passengers; it received 10.8 million last year.

    Of course, better late than never. In this regard, Merpati has a reputation for the most cancellations, with Batavia Air running a distant second.


    Which airline offers the most complete facilities for families?

    Garuda logo

    Garuda Indonesia wins this one because it is the only full-service airline. An added bonus: in Jakarta and Surabaya, passengers can also use the less crowded nicer international terminal for domestic departures. For recently arrived passengers on international flights, this removes the need to change terminals.

    However, even for Garuda there are some areas for improvement. It doesn't offer baby bassinets on domestic flights; maybe that's not so much a problem for e.g. Surabaya to Denpasar (50 minutes), but it would be on e.g. Jakarta to Manado (3 hours 10 minutes) or Jakarta to Jayapura (over six hours, overnight). And in my experience, Garuda is also the only airline that makes passengers place their prams/strollers in checked baggage when checking in, rather than at the departure gate.

    At the other end of the scale, Air Asia and Mandala Air now operate from the new Low-Cost Carrier Terminal 3 in Jakarta. While Terminal 1 has air-bridges for some flights, Terminal 3 doesn't; all passengers must walk upstairs to enter the plane; this may not be so nice with small children, especially in inclement weather.


    Having your baggage damaged or lost is no fun, especially with children. Who has the best or worst record?

    Again, it is difficult to accurately verify or make impartial judgments.

    My extended family and I have had the following negative experiences, over the years:

    • Lion Air: Pram broken beyond repair.
    • Garuda Indonesia: Bag slashed while transiting Denpasar, but no items/valuables missing.
    • Batavia Air: Wheels broken off one side of a suitcase

    United Breaks Guitars, Lion Doesn't; Lion Breaks Prams Instead

    However, it's not all bad news.

    • Unlike Dave Carroll and the Sons Of Maxwell (see above) the author's electric guitar has survived trips on Merpati and Lion Air; no, the guitar wasn't in the cabin, it was in the cargo hold.
    • Fragile items and electrical appliances have survived trips on Batavia Air, Garuda, Lion Air, Air Asia and Merpati.

    As long as any complaint is resolved competently and quickly, that is probably just as important. Lion Air couldn't help with the broken pram, but what was more annoying was there no form or way of reporting the damage; the ground crew just suggested leaving it there for them to repair (when it was clearly irreparable).


    You aren't going to bring your family on an unsafe airline. Which airline has the best safety record?

    This area is discussed in more detail here, so this is the short version.

    These airlines are currently permitted to fly in EU airspace:

    Air Asia logo Batavia Air logo
    Citilink logo Garuda logo
    Mandala Air logo

    Meanwhile, Lion Air is currently "in consultation" with the EU about its status, suggesting it will soon join them.

    However, this doesn't necessarily mean the other airlines are unsafe, nor that you are guaranteed an incident-free flight on one of the five above.

    I have personally flown on all of the airlines listed above, and do not have any major concerns about the safety of any of them.

    But this is just the author's opinion and experience; maybe yours are different.

    Which airline would you say is Indonesia's most family friendly? Please add a comment with your vote and a reason why.

    Questions on the topic are also welcome.

    Family-Friendly Flying is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

    Darwin Awards 4 Indonesia

    Celebrating Indonesians' contributions to natural selection by way of careless deaths.

    Is it just me, or does it seem some Indonesians are perpetually on a death wish?

    Every time I look through the newspaper, I see stories and pictures of people doing highly unusual/dangerous things.

    Perhaps you may have already read about Bonek taking the train to/from Bandung:

    Bonek taking the train

    Bonek prefer a/c alam

    But not to be outdone are Jakmania, fans of Persija in Jakarta:

    JakMania taking the bus

    JakMania taking the bus

    Fourteen fans died on the way to matches last season, reports the Jakarta Post. For example:

    "There was a guy, who tried to wave a heavy flagpole on top of a bus. He could not lift it, lost his balance and fell, just as a huge container truck passed by," Riko said.

    Police also recently seized 104 home-made weapons from fans before an Indonesian Super League game.

    You might be surprised to know that Indonesia's biggest killers are not earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanoes.

    Yes, Indonesia has more active volcanoes (129) and historically has had more volcanic eruptions causing death than any other country. But there are other lethal activities that do not make the news as much.

    1. Smoking: approx. 400 000 per year:

    2. Road toll (people killed while driving): Approx. 15 000 - 30 000 per year

    This latter statistic really doesn't surprise me. Looking out the window, I increasingly see people riding motorcycles also doing things like using their mobiles and even writing sms-es while driving with one hand. Thanks to Benny the Great for these pictures:

    Calls while driving, one hand
    Indonesian policemen using mobile while driving

    Then there are other common practices, like:

    - Packing all the family on to a motorcycle.

    Family Travelling By Motorcycle

    - Using busway lanes and overtaking the buses when they are at stops.

    Motorbikes in busway lanes

    So these frequent occurrences make me wonder if Indonesia should give up trying to curb these practices and just recognise them, using a vehicle like The Darwin Awards.

    As the Darwin Awards website says:

    Named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, the Darwin Awards commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it in an idiotic fashion.

    Every year, it produces a short list of winners, usually stories that readers submitted. It is widely read and has produced a number of spin-off books and even a movie:

    darwin awards books
    Darwin Awards Movie

    As such, I feel Indonesia is somewhat under-represented in the Darwin Awards. A search for "Indonesia" reveals only five matches.

    How does this compare to its regional neighbours? It is only one more than the much smaller Malaysia, the even smaller "little red dot" Singapore and the Philippines, and two more than Vietnam. It is the same as Thailand. Curiously, its far less populous southern neighbour, Australia, has many more matches: 30.

    So if you agree with the concept, please send in your suggestions for:

    1. Stories of Indonesians involved in Careless Deaths

    E.g. Defecating man eaten by crocodile in Kalimantan:

    2. A suitable name for an Indonesian Darwin Awards Ceremony

    Captain Marwoto Komar

    I personally would call them the Marwoto Komar Awards (after the pilot of Garuda flight GA200 who ignored 15 automated warnings before crashing the plane), except he didn't die. However, he did subsequently become the first pilot to be jailed for negligence while flying a commercial aeroplane.

    Darwin Awards 4 Indonesia is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

    You’re Outta Here!

    Plane Sailing (Part 2) - Tips for booking international flights from or in Indonesia.

    If you thought booking a domestic flight in Indonesia was tricky, booking an international flight ticket can have even more traps for new players.

    And tourist visa regulations stipulate that international visitors still need to have a ticket out of the country within the 30-day period too, regardless of whether they are wanting to renew their visa (for a 60-day stay), looking for work, etc.

    The biggest issues are: Which currency? and Payment Method.

    - Which currency?

    Almost all international flights have prices in $US/USD, not Rp/IDR.

    However, there are some exceptions:

    Air Asia logo Lion Air logo
    You can book flights out of Indonesia on these airlines, and pay in Rupiah.

    While many banks offer $US bank accounts, many people don't have them due to e.g. large minimum account balances. Even those who do can find it difficult accessing the funds; while it seems every branch has a list of exchange rates/kurs (see below), very few actually hold stock of any foreign banknotes.

    Exchange Rate Board
    Exchange Rate Board

    Commonwealth Bank and HSBC have selected (not all) ATMs that dispense $US, and that is only in multiples of $US100 up to $1000. (Not enough unless you are travelling alone and/or nearby).

    Commonwealth Bank hsbc
    Want to be Mr Dollar? Visit one of these banks' ATMs.

    Other banks require you to go to the branch, sometimes visit/phone ahead a day before, and sometimes you can only withdraw $US at the branch where you originally opened the account.

    Having said that, if you bring Rp cash travel agents and airlines' ticket offices can charge a particularly crap exchange rate, perhaps as a secret/back-door way of increasing their profit margin. Garuda's exchange rate of the day is usually on public display in their offices (good), and is about Rp500 below the official Bank Indonesia exchange mid-rate (not good, about Rp300 worse than a money changer).

    The latest $US/Rp exchange rate
    The Bank Indonesia Rp/$US exchange rate, for the last two weeks.
    It updates itself automatically, so will remain current.

    Another problem keenly felt sometimes is Rp is a volatile or less stable currency. If you only have Rp and the currency suddenly decreases in value against the $US (as happens from time to time), that international flight ticket suddenly gets a lot more expensive.

    So you need to make your own judgment based on the factors above.

    - Payment Method

    (i) Travel Agent
    It can be difficult for expats to get a local credit card, so often they have to try to use their foreign one. However, if you use it at a travel agent (assuming they accept a foreign credit card; many don’t), you could pay double currency conversion fees: $US to Rp, and Rp to your card’s currency e.g. $A, $US, Euro, etc.

    So, what is a way around this? You could pay with cash (whether $US or Rp), although this is less safe and requires a reliable moneychanger or helpful bank – both of which can be hard to find.

    (ii) Online
    While almost all travel agents in Indonesia prefer payment in cash (whether Rp or $US), buying online requires a credit card.

    As mentioned above, almost all international airlines sell tickets in $US. If you’re an American with a credit card from back home, no problem. For everybody else, if you want to avoid losing out in currency conversion fees, you could try getting one of these:

    American Express charge card
    an American Express Charge Card

    Not to be confused with their credit card, it is offered online and through their local agent Bank Danamon, and has a dual-currency billing function; i.e. you pay Rp transactions in Rp, and $US (or any other currency) transactions in $US. However, you have to be a permanent resident of Indonesia to get one, and I (on a KITAS) have applied and failed multiple times. The annual fee is relatively high also, starting at Rp650 000.

    Another way is Jetabroad.


    For expats who still have a credit card from “back home”, it will let you buy tickets in one of Aussie/Canadian/Hong Kong/New Zealand/Singapore/US Dollars, British Pounds, Euros or South African Rand. So you will minimise/avoid hidden currency conversion charges.

    In addition, unlike airline websites the credit cardholder doesn’t have to be a passenger, i.e. it will let you book and pay for somebody else’s ticket. This is really unusual these days, and very handy for people e.g. wanting to buy a ticket for their family to visit them. I have done this for a friend myself; they just called me first to verify that it was me who booked the ticket.

    Plus, it will sometimes give you a multi-airline combination ticket that would not appear from a single airline’s website, and will let you purchase online tickets from airlines that don't offer online booking e.g. Garuda international flights.

    Of course, there are some limitations. It doesn’t have every airline, and none of the budget/low-cost ones. Flights that don’t depart on the dates selected – e.g. which only depart three days/week - don’t appear at all, so you have to fish around a bit to see whether changing the dates gives a cheaper fare, more direct flight, etc.

    It may often turn out to be a little more expensive than buying from an airline’s website, but it gives a good general starting guide.

    So where do you want to go on your next holiday? Look at the general guide below - direct flights only - correct as at May 2010:

    I want to go to: I am coming from: Possible Airlines
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Jakarta Etihad
    Adelaide, Australia Denpasar Pacific Blue
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands Denpasar
    Garuda, KLM
    Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Jakarta
    Royal Brunei
    Royal Brunei
    Bangkok, Thailand Denpasar
    Air Asia, Thai Airlines
    Air Asia, Garuda, Thai Airlines
    Beijing, China Jakarta Air China, Garuda
    Brisbane, Australia Denpasar Jetstar, Pacific Blue
    Dammam, Saudia Arabia Jakarta Garuda
    Darwin, Australia Denpasar Jetstar
    Dili, East Timor Denpasar Batavia Air, Merpati
    Doha, Qatar Jakarta
    Qatar Airways
    Qatar Airways
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates Jakarta Emirates, Garuda
    Frankfurt, Germany Jakarta Lufthansa
    Guangzhou, China Denpasar
    Shenzhen Airlines
    Batavia Air, China Southern, Garuda
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Jakarta Air Asia, Lion Air
    Hong Kong, China Denpasar
    Cathay Pacific, Garuda
    Cathay Pacific, Garuda
    Cathay Pacific, Garuda
    Istanbul, Turkey Jakarta Turkish Airlines
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Jakarta Garuda, Lion Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines
    Johor Bahru, Malaysia Jakarta Air Asia
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Banda Aceh
    Air Asia
    Air Asia
    Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines
    Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines
    Air Asia
    Malaysia Airlines
    Air Asia
    Air Asia
    Air Asia
    Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Merpati
    Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines
    Kuwait City, Kuwait Jakarta Kuwait Airlines
    Manila, Phillipines Jakarta Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air

    Melbourne, Australia Denpasar
    Garuda, Jetstar, Pacific Blue
    Nagoya, Japan Denpasar Garuda
    Osaka, Japan Denpasar Garuda
    Penang, Malaysia Banda Aceh
    Air Asia
    Air Asia, Firefly, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air

    Perth, Australia Denpasar
    Air Asia, Garuda, Jetstar, Pacific Blue
    Garuda, Jetstar
    Phuket, Thailand Jakarta
    Air Asia
    Air Asia
    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Jakarta Garuda, Lion Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines
    Sana'a, Yemen Jakarta Yemenia
    Seoul, South Korea Denpasar
    Korean Air
    Korean Air

    Shanghai, China Denpasar
    Shanghai Airlines
    China Southern, Garuda
    Singapore Bandung




    BDG: Air Asia
    DPS: Air Asia, Garuda, Singapore Airlines, Valuair/Jetstar
    JKT: Air Asia, Batavia Air, Garuda, Lion Air, Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways, Valuair/Jetstar
    LOM: Silk Air
    MES: Silk Air, Valuair/Jetstar
    PDG: Tiger Airways
    PAL: Silk Air
    PON: Batavia Air
    SEM: Batavia Air, Garuda
    SOL: Silk Air
    SUB: China Airlines, Silk Air, Valuair/Jetstar
    YOG: Air Asia
    Sydney, Australia Denpasar
    Garuda, Jetstar, Pacific Blue
    Garuda, Qantas
    Taipei, Taiwan Denpasar
    Eva Air, China Airlines
    Eva Air, China Airlines
    Eva Air, China Airlines
    Tokyo, Japan Denpasar
    Garuda, Japan Airlines
    Garuda, Japan Airlines

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