Category Archives: Makassar

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.

SINGAPORE TO MAKASSAR
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.

MAKASSAR TO SINGAPORE
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?

GOING FROM SINGAPORE TO EAST INDONESIA
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.

RETURNING TO SINGAPORE FROM EAST INDONESIA
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
Number
Departs
Sorong
Arrives
Makassar
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
Number
Departs
Gorontalo
Arrives
Makassar
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.

visit_makassar_2011


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.

Confusion!

A guide through the maze of bemusing and ever-changing world of Indonesian city, airline and airport names.

Travelling around Indonesia can be a little confusing if you aren’t aware of the plethora of Indonesian cities’ alternate names, spellings and airport names. Some have changed names, others have changed spelling and some have changed multiple times.

This is one of the reasons why the Mau Ke Mana Flight Booking Service doesn’t just have an automated system of spitting back a list of flights and fares.

Wikipedia has a useful reference list of city and airport names/codes, but even it doesn’t cover all bases.

Here is an attempt at an all-inclusive list of all these issues, in alphabetical order:

Ambon | Bali / Denpasar | Lion Air and Wings Air | Lombok / Mataram / Ampenan Makassar / Ujung Pandang

Here are some alternate spellings, the current/official “Indonesian” one on the right:

Yogyakarta & Jogjakarta | Manado & Menado | Sumatra & Sumatera

Confusing directions

Ambon (Airport Code: AMQ) (a.k.a. Pattimura Airport, Laha Airport, Ambon City, Kota Ambon, Ambon Island, Pulau Ambon)

Map of Ambon

Ambon City/Bay/Island/Airport

The city of Ambon is located on the island of Ambon, while Ambon Airport is located in Laha, 36km from Ambon City on the other side of the horseshoe-shaped Ambon Bay. Apparently no other names were available at the time…

Confusing directions

Bali (Airport Code: DPS) (a.k.a. Denpasar, Ngurah Rai Airport)

Bali Airport MapBali is not a separate country from Indonesia, but it is an island and province with its own unique culture. Some airlines, e.g. Air Asia, also use “Bali” as the name of the airport because Bali is much more well-known than “Denpasar”.

Officially, the name of the airport is Ngurah Rai Airport or Denpasar Airport, and is located about 10km south of Denpasar, the capital city of Bali.

Confusing directions

Lion Air v Wings Air
Both airlines are part of the group/corporation and work together, like American Airlines and American Eagle in the United States, or Singapore Airlines and Silk Air in Singapore.

However, unlike Singapore Airlines/Silk Air or Garuda Indonesia and their budget wing Citilink, Lion Air and Wings Air continue to use the same website, airline code and booking system.

Their levels of service are mostly the same; the small differences are:

Wings Air plane Lion Air B737-900ER
Wings Air ATR72-500 Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER

– Wings Air operates smaller ATR72-500 planes (see above left) on shorter/less popular routes. Lion Air uses mostly Boeing 737-900ER planes (see above right) and operates on the longer/more popular routes.

– Lion Air’s baggage allowance in economy class is 25kg for domestic flights, 20kg for international flights. Wings Air has a smaller – but not strictly enforced – baggage allowance: 15kg.

– Lion Air offers business/executive class on some routes.

You can tell which flight is operated by which airline in two ways:

Lion & Wings Air 2 Lion & Wings Air
  1. The logo next to the flight number.
  2. Usually a four-digit flight number also indicates a Wings Air flight.

Confusing directions

Makassar (Airport Code: UPG) (a.k.a. Ujung Pandang, Hasanuddin Airport)

Visit Makassar

Makassar was renamed Ujung Pandang in 1971 by an Indonesian government that wanted to give the city a more Indonesian or less Dutch name (around the same time that Djakarta became Jakarta). However, it was changed back to Makassar in 1999 by then President Habibie. These days, some airlines use Makassar, others Ujung Pandang.

Confusing directions

Mataram (Airport Code: AMI) (a.k.a. Ampenan, Lombok, Selaparang, Selaparang Airport)

The capital city of West Nusa Tenggara province, Mataram is actually one part of a conurbation of a few smaller cities. The airport is actually located in the city of Ampenan (what Garuda Indonesia’s website currently calls it). It is also the only airport on the island of Lombok, so Selaparang Airport also has the working name of “Lombok Airport”. Some smaller airlines flying from Denpasar/Bali also use Selaparang as the destination city name.

New Lombok Airport
The new Lombok International Airport, still under construction

A new airport in Central Lombok, tentatively named Lombok International Airport, is also under construction. It was due to open in 2010, but still has no scheduled opening date. It is not yet determined whether the existing airport in Mataram (West Lombok) will reduce or cease operations when this new airport opens.

Map of Old and New Lombok Airports
Old and New Lombok International Airports,
located in Mataram/Ampenan and Praya respectively

The new airport is located in Praya, Central Lombok; it is closer to (the other) Kuta, but quite far from Mataram and the tourist beaches of Sengigi and Gili Islands, so a complete closure seems unlikely. Any affected passengers will be informed if when the airport is about to commence operations.


If you have any other questions or areas of concern, please write a comment below, and we’ll answer it.

Confusion! 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.

Method

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

Hotels

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.

Restaurants

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

Malls

Favourite Mall – Jakarta

  1. Plaza Senayan

Favourite Mall – Java

  1. Ambarukmo Plasa, Yogyakarta

Favourite Mall – off Java

  1. Panakukang Mall, Makassar

Airlines

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.

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.

jetabroad
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
Jakarta
KLM
Garuda, KLM
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Jakarta
Surabaya
Royal Brunei
Royal Brunei
Bangkok, Thailand Denpasar
Jakarta
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
Denpasar
Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways
Dubai, United Arab Emirates Jakarta Emirates, Garuda
Frankfurt, Germany Jakarta Lufthansa
Guangzhou, China Denpasar
Jakarta
Shenzhen Airlines
Batavia Air, China Southern, Garuda
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Jakarta Air Asia, Lion Air
Hong Kong, China Denpasar
Jakarta
Surabaya
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
Bandung
Denpasar
Jakarta
Lombok
Makassar
Medan
Padang
Pekanbaru
Solo
Surabaya
Yogyakarta
Air Asia
Air Asia
Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines
Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines
Merpati
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
Jakarta
Garuda, Jetstar, Pacific Blue
Garuda
Nagoya, Japan Denpasar Garuda
Osaka, Japan Denpasar Garuda
Penang, Malaysia Banda Aceh
Jakarta
Medan
Firefly
Air Asia
Air Asia, Firefly, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air

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

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

Jakarta

Lombok
Medan
Padang
Palembang
Pontianak
Semarang
Solo
Surabaya

Yogyakarta

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
Jakarta
Garuda, Jetstar, Pacific Blue
Garuda, Qantas
Taipei, Taiwan Denpasar
Jakarta
Surabaya
Eva Air, China Airlines
Eva Air, China Airlines
Eva Air, China Airlines
Tokyo, Japan Denpasar
Jakarta
Garuda, Japan Airlines
Garuda, Japan Airlines

Do you have any other tips you would like to share (or questions you’d like to ask) about buying international flight tickets in/from Indonesia? Please add them with a comment below.

You’re Outta Here! is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, which also features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Ubud hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.