Category Archives: Indonesia

Building an equal partnership of mutual respect

The Jakarta Post, Retno LP Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Jakarta,March 11, 2020

President Joko Widodo (right) accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo (second left)
and Dutch King Willem Alexander (second right) accompanied by Queen Maxima planting
trees during a state visit to Bogor Palace, West Java, Tuesday (10/3/2020). (Antara/
Sigid Kurniawan)

“The ongoing global economic and geopolitical volatility will not keep Indonesia and the Netherlands from advancing their long-standing cooperation” — that may be the right tone to begin the narrative on the state visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to Indonesia.

On Tuesday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo greeted the Dutch king and queen at Bogor Palace in West Java.

The visit sends the clear message that the two countries aspire to advance their ties going forward. It will surely create a new momentum for the Indonesian-Dutch partnership. The visit also instils not only increased confidence of Dutch investment in Indonesia but also strategic trust in the long run.

The visit produces numerous concrete deliverables in various sectors at the government-to-government as well as the business-to-business level. These include eight government initiatives in important sectors such as sustainable palm oil production, cooperation on infectious diseases control, waste management, the circular economy, water management, aviation cooperation, capacity-building of healthcare professionals, as well as women, peace and security.

On the business side, the king’s 190-strong business delegation has met with hundreds of Indonesian business counterparts and concluded investment and business deals amounting to US$1 billion. These include agreements on dairy products, oil and gas, agriculture, infrastructure and renewable energy.

However, these achievements did not come overnight. In fact, in the last seven decades, both sides have taken significant steps to strengthen bilateral ties.

I was the Indonesian ambassador in The Hague in 2013, when Indonesia and the Netherlands signed a joint declaration on a comprehensive partnership that laid out the modalities for concrete cooperation. This was an important building block to mature our bilateral cooperation into what we have today and what we will harvest tomorrow.

After more than 70 years, it is undeniable that the bond between the two countries has had its share of challenges. While we cannot deny the past of Indonesia-Netherlands relations, we can choose to fully capitalize on the potential of future cooperation for the benefit of both nations.

Therefore, the goal for our shared future must be clear, which is pursuing a forward-looking partnership that really benefits both countries and peoples.

There are three things that the two countries should advance together to attain common goals for a solid and mutually beneficial partnership.

First and fundamentally, both countries must remain committed to the common values of mutual respect and principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Second, the Indonesian-Dutch partnership must produce long-term and concrete economic benefits for our two peoples.

The Netherlands is and should continue to be Indonesia’s strategic partner for trade and investment. In 2019, the Netherlands was Indonesia’s largest investment partner in the European region, the second-largest trading partner and the fourth-largest tourism partner.

Our political solidarity in furthering the common cause of sustainability is also strong. In promoting sustainable palm oil in Europe, for instance, it is evident that we can rely on the Netherlands as our friend. Last year, together with my colleague, Sigrid Kaag, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and cooperation development, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on joint production of sustainable palm oil in New York, the United States. King Willem-Alexander’s current visit has also brought an impetus toward the progression of sustainable production of palm oil through the conclusion of a technical arrangement that will focus on capacity-building for Indonesian smallholder farmers.

This is a good reflection of how trust is an important pillar of bilateral cooperation, as also exemplified through the Netherlands’ support in the establishment of the Indonesia-European Union Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in 2016.

Third, Indonesia and the Netherlands must continue to promote the universal common values of multilateralism, diplomacy and democracy, promoting habits of dialogue and peaceful dispute settlement to tackle shared global challenges amid rising tensions, intolerance and unilateralism.

Peacekeeping and counterterrorism are among our signature areas of collaboration on the world stage.

Indonesia and the Netherlands were among the core countries facilitating and supporting the Untied Nations' secretary-general’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative to rally member states and other crucial stakeholders to fulfil their obligation in strengthening UN peacekeeping operations.

Both nations also need to stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

Deepening the promotion of democracy, pluralism and tolerance are other important areas of cooperation to further develop. The Bali Democracy Forum could become the platform to jointly advance these shared values.

Women, peace and security shall be another hallmark of our bilateral cooperation. The partnership aspires to deepen the capacity of women to promote peace and security, in line with the formation of the ASEAN Women Mediators Network and the Afghanistan-Indonesia Women Network last March.

In conclusion, another historical step was taken with the king of the Netherlands’ visit to Indonesia, in the very year when Indonesia celebrates its 75th year of independence.

The history binding our two countries together is not an easy one. This dark period should not be repeated in the future.

King Alexander stated that “today, we warmly congratulate the people of Indonesia as you celebrate 75 years of independence. The past cannot be erased and will have to be acknowledged by each generation in turn.” King Alexander also expressed his regret and apologized for excessive violence on the part of the Dutch in those years.

Let us together build a better and stronger relationship, one that is based on mutual respect and mutual interests.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.

King Willem-Alexander and Indonesian president Joko Widodo. Photo: AP Photo/
Achmad Ibrahim, Pool 

Related Articles:

From left, Dutch Queen Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, Dutch King Willem-Alexander, 
President Joko Widodo and Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim observe 
Prince Diponegoro's golden kris at the Bogor Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday. 
(Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Shoveled: Garuda Boss Fired for Smuggling Harley Davidson Bike and Brompton Bicycles

Jakarta Globe, NUR YASMIN, December 5, 2019

The disassembled parts of a smuggled Harley Davidson Shovelhead are shown 
by customs officials in Jakarta on Thursday. (B1 TV Photo)

Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia's president director I Gusti Ngurah Ashkara is soon to be fired for allegedly smuggling a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two Brompton bicycles, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said on Thursday.

The items were smuggled inside Garuda's brand new Airbus A330-900 Neo being delivered from its factory in Toulouse, France, in mid-November.

There were 22 passengers on the plane and four of them were Garuda directors: the president director, better known as Ari Ashkara, technical and services director Iwan Joeniarto, cargo and business development director Mohammas Iqbal and human resources director Heri Akhyar.

"As the SOE Minister, I will dismiss the Garuda president director. We will not stop there; we will look for other people who might have been involved in this case as well," Erick told a press conference in Jakarta.

The used Harley Davidson motorcycle had been disassembled prior to delivery and smuggled as parts. Customs officials found them wrapped in 15 boxes inside the plane's cargo area.

The Brompton bikes and accessories were found in three other boxes.

Erick said an audit by the customs office showed the smuggled items belonged to the president director, despite the baggage claim tags carrying different names.

Ari had instructed his subordinates to find him a classic Harley Davidson Shovelhead from the 1970s.

The used motorcycle was purchased in April 2019 with the help of a Garuda finance manager in Amsterdam.

"It's really sad that this [personal] transaction had to drag down an SOE," Erick said.

The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhur Binsar Pandjaitan said during a visit to Tongxiang, China, on Thursday that he fully supported Erick's decision.

"[An act like] this will hurt our investment climate," he said.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati meanwhile said smuggling the Harley and the Bromptons had cost the country up to Rp 1.5 billion ($107,000) in unpaid taxes.

"The Harley bike is valued at Rp 800 million and the Brompton bicycles cost Rp 50-60 million each," Sri Mulyani said.

"Everyone should always obey existing regulations," she told reporters.

After the Indonesian tsunami: Cashing in on the dead

The devastating tsunami has shattered the lives of thousands of people. More than 400 families have lost members — and in the hospitals, of all places, people have been cashing in on the survivors' suffering.

Deutsche Welle, 2 January 2019

A hearse in front of a hospital in Indonesia (DW/J. Küng)

When the relatives of the tsunami victims come to collect the mortal remains of their loved ones from Serang District Hospital in the province of Banten, around 150 kilometers from Java's ravaged coastal region, they are in a state of shock. Jackson Sinaga from Jakarta is one of them. He lost his nine-month-old son to the floodwaters, triggered by the collapse of the Anak Krakatoa volcano just before Christmas. "Satria was fast asleep in a rented villa on Carita Beach when the tsunami crashed through the building," he says. "It happened so fast — I didn't have time to save my little boy."

Traumatized and plagued by feelings of guilt, Jackson has come to collect the boy's lifeless body from the hospital in Serang. However, instead of being met with sympathy, the 29-year-old father is presented with a hefty bill. He's told he has to pay 800,000 rupiah (€50, $55) which he owes for the transport of the body. "In cash," the forensics department employee adds. That's a lot of money in a country where the average monthly wage is less than €240. Jackson, however, is not capable of thinking rationally, and hands over the money.

Family members of the victims are being ripped off

Three more victims' families meet outside the building. They've also been told they owe money — around four million rupiah. This despite the fact that Indonesia's Ministry of Health is paying all costs resulting from the tsunami disaster, in full, with money from the government's coffers. A debate ensues among the relatives of the dead. One of the people who've been swindled collects the receipts and promises to take them to the local authorities.

Receipts issued on forged letterhead

DW confronts the hospital with the accusations, and is invited to speak to its deputy director, Rahmat Fitriadi. When asked if the hospital knew about the illegal takings, Fitriadi bursts into tears. "Neither the management nor our doctors have charged for any services. We have nothing to do with these schemes," says Fitriadi, sobbing. The official letterhead on the receipts is forged, he continues, dabbing the tears from his eyes. "This is a tragedy for our hospital. I hope this scandal doesn't damage our reputation. We support the authorities' investigation and are providing them with all available information."

Fitradi says his hospital has nothing to do with the scam

Investigators from the provincial police in Banten interrogate doctors, forensic scientists and hospital personnel — and open a can of worms. It seem that at least 15 million rupiah have vanished into the pockets of hospital employees. So far, six of the families cheated have been identified. A forensic department employee and two people working with the emergency services have been arrested on suspicion of corruption. The authorities' investigation is ongoing.

Long jail sentences

It's nothing new in Indonesia for workers in public institutions to demand backhanders or issue illegal invoices. Traffic departments will only issue driving licenses within a reasonable time if you make an "extra payment." Teachers at public schools can be bribed to give out the answers to exam questions. President Joko Widodo has repeatedly promised to clamp down on rampant corruption. What is new is people cashing in on the misery of tsunami victims. If those accused are convicted, they could be facing life sentences; they'll certainly go to prison for at least four years.

Right now, though, for Jackson Sinaga, the arrests are of little interest. "I just hope that no more surviving relatives are swindled and met with such lack of empathy," he says. The Sinaga family has certainly lost all confidence in Serang District Hospital. Jackson's brother and sister, who were also badly injured in the tsunami, are no longer being treated at Serang, but at a hospital in Jakarta.

Flying with Wings Air

Chris takes off with Indonesia’s biggest regional airline, and is pleasantly surprised.

Wings Air is the partner airline of Indonesia’s most popular airline, Lion Air. It specialises in flights to smaller airports, e.g. Labuan Bajo, Nias, Malang, Sumba and Sumbawa, Maluku and West Papua. These airports have shorter runways, so it uses smaller aircraft:

Wings Air ATR72-500
Wings Air ATR72-500, with 68 seats

Why Propellor Planes?
Sometimes, clients are concerned about flying a plane with propellors, not jet engines. They consider it to be “old” technology, or perhaps they have never flown on a similar aircraft in their home country.

However, propellor planes (a.k.a. turboprops) are still used frequently throughout the world for shorter routes and remote locations/smaller airstrips. ATR is part-owned by EADS, the parent company of Airbus. ATR aircraft are IATA-certified and permitted to fly in EU airspace.

ATR Wings Air Signing Ceremony

After an initial purchase of 30 ATR72-500 aircraft in 2009, last year Wings Air agreed to buy 30 more. At the signing ceremony in Jakarta, the purchase was witnessed by then French Finance Minister (now IMF Director) Christine Lagarde. This suggests both Wings Air and the French government are confident in the safety and reliability of the aircraft.

Other more well-known airlines that operate ATR72 aircraft include:

Air New Zealand logo China Southern Airlines logo Aer Lingus Regional logo

Smaller aircraft also have certain strategic advantages over larger aircraft. Many Indonesian airports in smaller cities have runways that are too short for larger aircraft. Building larger airports or extending runways is often not possible due to problems with land acquisition and obtaining adequate financing. This situation is unlikely to change soon.

Garuda Bombadier CRJ1000 NextGen
Garuda Bombadier CRJ1000 NextGen, with 102 seats

Even Garuda Indonesia is starting to use smaller aircraft for smaller airports and shorter routes. The first of 18 Bombadier CRJ1000 NextGen aircraft recently arrived in Makassar.

Personal Experience
Of course, it is one thing to say, but another thing to do.

So, yours truly tried flying with Wings Air earlier this month (on a work trip, not a freebie).

On-Time Peformance of Indonesian AirlinesWings Air was recently found to have the second-best rate of on-time performance: 83.8%. Perhaps Wings Air has a slightly unfair advantage in this area. It commenced boarding at the usual time: 30 minutes before departure. However, the Wings Air plane has only 68 seats, or about half those in e.g. a Boeing 737. All passengers had boarded (even the slow ones) 15 minutes before departure, and the flight left 10 minutes early. On the return journey, the flight still departed on time even though boarding started late. The smaller plane had another fringe benefit: no queue when checking-in. As seasoned Indonesian travellers can attest, this doesn’t happen often.

Wings Air ATR72-500 planeOne different feature was having to board at the rear of the plane. The only doors at the front are the emergency exits and the cargo/baggage door. Talking about baggage, the baggage allowance is a loosely-enforced 15kg for checked baggage, 7kg for hand luggage.

Wings Air in-Flight materialsIn-flight comfort was better than on Lion Air planes. Legroom was adequate; every seat had an in-flight magazine and the usual items, including invocation card. The flight was quiet and smooth, apart from the occasional wobble during take-off and descent (same as for larger aircraft). Like Lion Air, there is no in-flight food or drink for free or for sale, but flights are short enough that this is not a problem. There were two air hostesses; apart from the safety demonstration, ascent and descent, they were invisible. Curiously, there were no announcements to the passengers from the pilots, so everyone was blissfully unaware about our cruising altitude, the weather at our destination, etc.

To summarise, this passenger had a positive experience flying Wings Air and would happily do so again.

Would you like to fly Wings Air? Please make an enquiry here.

North Sumatra & Aceh Tour

The 15 day “Sumatran Highlights tour allows you to see all the major attractions of northern Sumatra, while also bringing you very close to the people, history, and culture of the region.

You will

  • meet and stay with local people
  • experience the unique Batak Toba culture
  • spot orangutans in the Gayo Highlands
  • see the world’s largest volcanic lake, Toba
  • encounter endangered wildlife in Gunung Leuser NP
  • hear first-hand accounts of the 2004 tsunami
  • go snorkelling on unspoilt Pulau Weh island
  • and much more

Fast Facts

North Sumatra Tour Map

Tour: Sumatran Highlights
Operator: Intrepid Travel

Length: 15 days
Group Size: 1-12 people
Cost: $1700+, €1000+, £1000+

Provinces: North Sumatra, Aceh
Cities: Medan, Banda Aceh
Major Sights: Lake Toba, Gunung Leuser National Park, Sipisopiso waterfall, Mt. Sibayak, Gayo Highlands, Pulau Weh

Accommodation: 9 nights hotel, 3 nights guesthouse, 1 night homestay, 1 night camping
Transport: Plane, bus, ferry, minivan
Meals: 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Book this tour at Intrepid Travel


Medan Grand MosqueDay 1: Medan. Start off your tour in the North Sumatran capital of Medan; if you’ve arrived early see some sights like Maimoon Palace or the Grand Mosque.

Lake TobaDays 2-3: Lake Toba. Off to world renowned volcanic Lake Toba. Your tour of the Lake Toba area will give you an insight into the distinctive culture of the Batak Toba people.

Dokan HouseDays 4-5: Berastagi. See Sipiso-piso Waterfall and Simalungun Palace before resting at a Dokan village homestay. Then go hiking up to the top of Sibayak Volcano to experience the amazing summit views. Nearby hot springs will afford some relaxation at the end of the day.

Sumatra tiger in Gunung LeuserDays 6-7: Ketambe. Learn about the many endangered species that call Gunung Leuser National Park home, including tigers, elephants, and rhinoceroses. Take a guided walk in search of orangutans, and camp by the river.

Gayo HighlandsDays 8-9: Gayo Highlands. Take in the majestic Gayo Highlands, with undulating hills covered with coffee plantations. Next day visit the enigmatic Loyang Koro Cave.

Banda AcehDays 10-11: Banda Aceh. Visit the Tsunami Musuem and learn of the experiences of local people during the 2004 tsunami catastrophe. Take a tour with Network for Tsunami Aceh to understand more of the calamity.

Pulau WehDays 12-13: Pulau Weh. Visit the tropical island playground of Pulau Weh, and go snorkelling in pristine waters.

Graha Bunda MariaDays 14-15: Medan. Use your initiative to explore the city of Medan, perhaps taking in the Tjong A Fie Mansion, the colonial district, or Graha Bunda Maria.

Book this tour at Intrepid Travel

Read some interesting comments on this tour and Sumatran travel in general: Sumatra For The Intrepid.

Need to book a hotel or arrange a domestic flight in Indonesia? Browse through listings of Medan hotels and arrange domestic flights.

“Beautiful Bali” Tour

Enjoy a 9 day tour of “Beautiful Bali a little off the beaten track, exploring inland and north Bali.

Highlights of the tour:

  • explore the cultural heart of Bali in Ubud
  • visit tiny villages and learn age old craft-making
  • walk up volcanic slopes for sweeping views of valleys
  • cycle past majestic temples and verdantly green rice terraces
  • go snorkelling/diving in a coastal national park
  • meet the dolphins off Lovina beach
  • dine on sumptuous Balinese cuisine
  • get up close to Bali’s iconic Ulun Danu Bratan temple
  • and more

Fast Facts

Bali Tour Map

Tour: Beautiful Bali
Operator: Intrepid Travel

Length: 9 days
Group Size: 1-12 people
Cost: $1000+, €600+, £600+

Provinces: Bali
Towns: Ubud, Sidemen, Lovina, Seririt, Bedugul
Major Sights: Ubud markets/shops/temples, Mt Batur, West Bali NP, Seririt Market, Banjar Hot Springs, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

Accommodation: 7 nights hotel, 1 night guesthouse
Transport: Mini-bus
Meals: 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Book this tour at Intrepid Travel


Ubud MarketDays 1-2: Ubud. Take in Bali’s cultural capital with trips to a night market and an evening performance. Visit the monkey forest, go rafting, or just browse around the many art shops.

Bali rice paddiesDay 3: Ubud & Sidemen. Go bicyling into the surrounds of Ubud through rice fields and by Hindu temples. Later head to the hilly village of Sidemen to meet some locals.

Songket WeavingDay 4: Mt Batur. Learn the art of golden thread ‘songket’ weaving. Later head into the mountains for some awe-inspiring views.

Mt BaturDays 5-6: Mt Batur & Lovina. An early morning start with a trek up Mt Batur to watch the sun come up. Afterwards head towards Lovina on the north coast for some snorkelling or diving. In Lovina take a boat tour to see dolphins while exploring this charming fishing village.

Banjar Hot SpringsDay 7: Bedugul. Leaving Lovina head to Seririt Market and Banjar hot springs. Further inland come to the mountain-top village of Bedugul.

Bedugul Lake & TempleDay 8: Bedugul & Ubud. Visit the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple in the middle of a lake. Back in Ubud do some further shopping and end your tour with a Balinese banquet.

Book this tour at Intrepid Travel

Need to book a hotel in Ubud? See ratings of Ubud hotels.

Kiwis Can’t Fly In Indonesia

New Zealanders ask the Indonesian Ambassador why they can’t book Indonesian domestic flights online.

Journalist and expert in Indonesian affairs (including romantic ones) Duncan Graham recently joined a small but enthusiastic audience for a speech by Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand at the Havelock North Social Club in Napier.

Antonius Agus SriyonoThe ambassador, Antonius Agus Sriyono (right), opened with a presentation about recent developments in his home country.

Then the floor was open for questions. Surprisingly, the first wasn’t about the subjects that many often associate with Indonesia – e.g. religious intolerance, terrorism or natural disasters – but another topic:

Why is it so difficult to book internal flights in Indonesia using the Internet, asks a man keen to plan his own tour.

The ambassador replied:

Indonesians use travel agents and don’t trust Internet payments, while Kiwis are DIY (do it yourself) people.

The author commented it was:

A neat illustration of cultural differences.


While it is true that online shopping and payment is less common in the land of Komodos than the land of Kiwis, there are other contributing factors. Some are discussed here; others include:

– Almost all Indonesian airlines websites accept payment from Indonesian credit cards only, NOT foreign credit cards
The only major exception is AirAsia. However, its website is hosted in its parent company’s home country: Malaysia.

– Only 7% of Indonesians use any form of online banking or payment. Source
For example, the website of Indonesian budget airline Citilink accepts ATM payment, but recently dropped klikBCA, the website of Indonesia’s largest private bank.

Kiwi PilotThe Kiwi (right) is a small bird found only in New Zealand that cannot fly. By contrast, Kiwis – an affectionate term for the people of New Zealand – can now fly in Indonesia. They can book flights via the online booking service Mau Ke Mana and pay with their Kiwi credit card via Paypal in New Zealand Dollars.

Indeed, in per capita sales – i.e. sales divided by number of residents – New Zealand is Mau Ke Mana’s third largest market, only trailing Indonesia’s nearest neighbours: Australia and Singapore.

Kiwis considering a trip around Indonesia can read the feedback of their fellow citizens here. Kiwi travel agents use Mau Ke Mana too; read a comment here.

Kal-Star Raises The Bar

Kal-Star sets a new standard for Indonesian regional airlines.

As well as several national airlines, Indonesia also has a number of smaller, regional airlines. They include:

Express Air logo TransNusa logo Susi Air logo
Eastern Indonesia
(Maluku, West Papua)
e.g. Sorong
Nusa Tenggara
(a.k.a. Lesser Sunda Islands)
e.g. Labuan Bajo
e.g. North Sumatra,
West/Central Java

These airlines have some shortcomings compared to their larger peers:

– Despite having e-tickets, they still do not offer online booking.

– They often only accept bookings up to 30 days (i.e. less than a month) in advance.

– Because the airport runways they use are shorter, the planes are smaller. As a consequence, the baggage allowances are often smaller (10kg or 15kg) too – this is understandable. However, it does not explain why regional airlines often do not say the baggage allowance on each flight.

But now one airline has improved in these areas, and is raising the bar for Indonesian regional airlines:

Kal-Star Aviation
serving Kalimantan
(the Indonesian half of Borneo)
e.g. Pangkalan Bun

Kal-Star clearly states in the booking conditions that the baggage allowance on its Boeing 737-500 jets (top picture, above) is 20kg, and 10kg for its ATR42-300 turboprops (bottom picture). Tickets can be booked up to 90 days in advance, on its website.

However, foreign visitors to Indonesia wanting to book Kal-Star flight tickets will still have a problem: same like its larger competitors, the Kal-Star website does not accept foreign credit cards.

Fortunately, Mau Ke Mana can assist people in this situation.

If you are interested in flying Kal-Star, please fill in an enquiry form here.

Indonesian Train E-Tickets

Finally! Indonesians trains have e-tickets.

In a long overdue but still unexpected move, railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia has introduced online booking and e-ticketing on its website.

train online booking advertisement

This is another sign of KAI management’s greater focus in recent times on customer service, comfort and convenience. As well as increasing the maximum advance booking period from 40 days to 90 earlier this year, KAI has stopped selling standing room tickets and banned smoking on all trains and station platforms.

As recently as a few years ago, customers could only buy tickets a maximum of 7 days in advance, and only from the station where the train departed from. Customers had to fill in a form to buy tickets, payment was cash-only, tickets were paper tickets, and this inefficient system resulted in long queues. Now, passengers can book tickets for any train on the website, pay by ATM/credit card and receive the tickets by email as a pdf/Acrobat Reader file.

However, foreign visitors to Indonesia wanting to book train tickets will still have a problem: the KAI website does not accept foreign credit cards.

Fortunately, Mau Ke Mana can assist people in this situation.

If you are interested in booking a train ticket, please fill in an enquiry form here.

Indonesian Train E-tickets and Online Booking

Sleepless in Soekarno-Hatta Airport

Hints and tips for spending the night at Jakarta Airport.

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, a.k.a. Soetta, has many evening international arrivals and early morning domestic departures. For example:

International Arrivals | Domestic Departures

Turkish Airlines Logo TK67 Istanbul 18:20 | Batavia Air logo Y6-851 Ambon 01:05
Qatar Airlines logo QR670 Doha 22:05 | New Mandala Air icon RI92 Medan 04:30
Emirates Logo EK358 Dubai 22:30 | Lion Air logo JT34 Denpasar 04:30
Cathay Pacific logo CX797 Hong Kong 22:50 | Lion Air logo JT776 Manado 05:00
pAL LOGO PR535 Manila 23:55 | Express Air logo XN800 Sorong 05:00

Some visitors are therefore choosing to spend the night at Jakarta Airport.

This is not just to save money; with jet-lag and the time difference, tourists may not feel tired yet, especially if they slept on their flight.

Here are some choices for how to spend the night at Jakarta Airport.

Rest | Eat | Other Ideas


Even with jet-lag, some people find it easy to sleep any time, anywhere.

The authoritative guide on the subject, the website Sleeping in Airports, gives a positive review of Jakarta Airport. Having said that, Jakarta Airport is 1 of 12 nominees for Sleeping in Airports’ 2012 Award for the Worst Airport (i.e. most uncomfortable airport for sleeping) in Asia.

If you want to lie down, here are some suggestions:

  • – Do it inside the secure area (i.e. after the security check), which is passengers and staff only. It is safer than the open/public-access areas.
  • – Have your valuables in a place that cannot be accessed or at least not easily.
  • – The inter-terminal bus may not operate very often overnight. Get to the right terminal first before relaxing. You can see which flights depart from which terminal here.
  • – Take the eyemask and/or earplugs from your international flight with you; failing that, have your sunglasses ready.
  • – Reconfirm your flight’s departure time first; there may have been a last-minute schedule change.
  • – Set an alarm on your watch or phone, so you don’t miss your flight. Don’t forget to set the local time first.

Alternately, Plan B is to book a room at a nearby hotel. Many of them include free airport transfers upon request.


If you have a severe case of the munchies or your domestic flight does not include food, the following restaurants are available:

McDonalds LogoAs well as the usual assortment of burgers and fries, the Indonesian version of the Golden Arches also has fried chicken, rice and ice tea… but curiously no thick shakes. Open 24 hours in Terminal 2. Local rival A&W is also available during daylight hours in Terminal 1.

hoka hoka bento logoJapanese fast food chain mixes it up with a wide range of package meals for only a few dollars; it is the cheapest place to get a healthy cooked meal. We recommend the Beef Yakiniku, but it is also good for green tea and fruit juice. Open in Terminal 2.

dunkin donuts logoGood not only for donuts and drinks, DD also does salad rolls called “Boston Sandwich”. Branches are in Terminals 1 and 2 but are not open overnight, so best suited for breakfast.

Please note: Indonesian domestic flights do not have restrictions on liquids, so you can bring a drink with you. While AirAsia forbids its passengers bringing their own food/drinks on board (so they have to buy items from the AirAsia menu), personal experience is they do not enforce it.

Other Ideas

Perdana– Buy a local SIM card (“perdana”) for your phone
This avoids potentially expensive roaming charges. Indonesian SIM cards require the user to register before using it, (in theory) to prevent the phone being used for crime; the shop assistant will help you with this, if you ask them nicely or give them a tip. The most popular pre-paid SIM card is Simpati.

– Visit the viewing/observation deck
Ironically, it is one of the few places where you definitely will not be stared at by others. Perfect if you want a bit of quiet/reflection time. The stairs to the deck are to the left of the entrance of Terminal 1A.

ATMs Jakarta Airport Terminal 2– Get some local currency
Some more remote destinations rarely accept credit cards and have few ATMs. As foreign banks charge per transaction, it is usually recommended to take the maximum amount: Rp1 250 000 ($US135) for ATMs that dispense Rp50 000 notes; Rp2 500 000 ($US270) for ATMs that dispense Rp100 000 notes. While ATMs can be found throughout the airport, the greatest concentration can be found in the Departures area (upstairs) in Terminal 2. Don’t forget to set aside some money for airport tax later.

– Use the toilet facilities
Jakarta Airport was recently judged to have the second best airport toilets in the country. So, chances are they are nicer in Jakarta than at your destination. No showers, though.

Jakarta Airport Shuttlebus– Get a free “tour” of the airport on the yellow inter-terminal bus
If you have little else to do, this passes the time in relative comfort.

Have you stayed overnight at Jakarta Airport? What did you do to pass the time? What activities would you recommend to others?