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


Rest

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.

Eat

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?

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