Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 9 October 2016 • Tips
There are two gateways of getting in and out of Jakarta through air: Soekarno Hatta International Airport and Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport. Jakarta is not only the governmental capital of Indonesia, it is also the capital of business. Occupying about 7.659 km2 of land and water, it is huge and is crowded with too many people, cars and business meetings. So it’s only right to (finally!) have two – not one – Jakarta airports operating for commercial flights.
Soekarno Hatta International Airport is geographically located in Banten Province, but administratively under DKI Jakarta government – these are two provinces bordering to each other on the western part of Java Island. It is abbreviated as SHIA, but the IATA code is CGK, derived from Cengkareng, a district close to where it is actually located. (Check it out on the map here)
SHIA now has 4 terminals, named as Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 3 and Terminal 3 Ultimate. I’m not sure why they don’t just call it Terminal 4. I’m guessing they’re avoiding number 4 as it means bad luck in Chinese belief, but there’s also rumor that Terminal 3 is not going to be used anyway, so might as well stick with number 3 for the new one. Whatever the name is, the 4th terminal has been operating since August 2016.
Transiting for a few hours, arriving too early for your flight, or if your flight got delayed for a few hours, can be a total bummer especially if it happens to you in SHIA. I mean, there’s not much you can do there besides eating, reading, shopping, or getting a massage.
Fast food chains like KFC and A&W are easy to find at most of the terminals, as well as convenient stores. If you want a taste of traditional food, there are abundant at SHIA, from snacks to rice menus.
Meaning to bring souvenirs for those at home but didn’t have enough time to shop? You could do it at any terminal of SHIA, from keychains to branded batik. There are also some clothing stores, travel gears stores, electronic ware stores where you can get extra memory cards for your camera or even a new camera, a few bookstores and reflexology places for your tired feet.
There are a few money changers at SHIA, especially at Terminal 2 because that’s where international flights are. But they’re not open until late at night. So if you arrive late at night, you should either exchange to Rupiah before you’re flying to Jakarta or draw money at the airport’s ATMs.
Because there’s not much you could do to kill time at the airport, make sure you have a book or fully-charged smartphones handy. You could also charge your phones at a few charging stations, for example at Terminal 3 waiting room or in the lounges at Terminal 2, that I recall.
I wish I could say that SHIA has that awesome sleeping areas like in Singapore’s Changi Airport, but I can’t because there’s none. Even empty seats are sometimes scarce. But there are hotels nearby, though not in walking, where you could rest overnight without having to go through traffic to the city, such as Pop! Airport Hotel, Amaris Hotel, Ibis Styles Hotel, Sheraton Bandara Hotel. Also I’ve read here that there’s a hotel within Terminal 2 called Jakarta Airport Hotel.
Arriving at the wrong terminal? Continuing flight in different terminals? You might need to get on a free shuttle bus between terminals, unless you don’t mind paying for cabs. It’s a yellow midi bus, has 25 seats, air conditioned, and comes about every 20-30 minutes.
SHIA is about 25-30 km from Central Jakarta. You’d need about 1 hour ride in super light traffic, but I recommend at least 2 hours spare especially when it’s rush hour. Here are a few types of transportation you could take from Jakarta to SHIA or the other way around:
Taxi would cost you about IDR150-180,000 from Central Jakarta, but it will depend greatly on traffic jam. My personal taxi recommendations are Blue Bird group, Express, Gamya and Taxiku.
DAMRI bus collects passengers at several points in Jakarta, including Gambir train station and Halim Perdanakusuma airport. It costs from IDR35-40,000 / pax. Check out the bus schedule and the list of routes here. If you’re taking DAMRI from the city, make sure you tell the ticket guy (on the bus) which airline and destination you’re going to, so he can tell you in which terminal you should get off.
Agra Mas bus serves only the route between SHIA and PGC (Pusat Grosir Cililitan), besides the routes to other cities in Java. It costs IDR50,000/pax, and check out the schedule here.
X-Trans shuttle or as locals call it, ‘travel’. These minibuses collect passengers in Semanggi (or Hollywood KC on Jalan Gatot Subroto to be exact). It is also, by far, the only shuttle that has a route from SHIA to Jakarta city. It costs IDR50,000/pax.
Uber, GrabCar, or GoCar. It is okay for these guys to drop you off at SHIA, but the drivers might bump into trouble if the airport security caught them picking up passengers at the airport. Until now I’m not sure whether these online cars have obtained permit from the SHIA or not, but a lot of people still prefer these guys to regular taxis. The reason is obvious, these online cars charge lower price – when they’re not in very high demand – than regular taxis. About IDR100-150,000 from Central Jakarta to SHIA.
Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport
Halim Perdanakusuma airport (HLP) is located in the city of Jakarta, on Jalan Halim Perdanakusuma, East Jakarta to be exact. (Check it out on the map here)
HLP is far smaller than SHIA and has only one terminal, which serves mostly domestic flights. It also serves hajj flights. It used to be a commercial and military airport until SHIA opened in 1985. Since 2014, to reduce the load of SHIA, it is open for commercial flights again, and still serves as the military and presidential airbase until now.
There are diners and cafes outside, and I think a few stores in the waiting area inside. There are even less things you could do to kill time in HLP compared to SHIA. But if you’re traveling with little kids and your flight got delayed, there is at least a small playground in the waiting area.
Unfortunately I have to say that I’m not aware of any money changer at HLP. But there are ATMs, so you should be alright.
There isn’t a spot where you could transit overnight at HLP. But since it’s located in the city, it’s easy to find a place to stay nearby, though not in the normal walking distance. Names such as Hotel Ibis in Cawang, Pomelotel, Harris and Pop! Hotels in Tebet, and Fave Hotel PGC Cililitan would pop up when you look for ‘hotels near Halim Perdanakusuma Airport’ in Google. Though I’ve only stayed in one of them (Harris Hotel in Tebet), these are mid-range to budget hotels that I wouldn’t mind staying at.
In general, HLP is less hassle to get to. Here are the details:
Taxi is a much cheaper option to get to HLP than SHIA, except if you’re leaving from West Jakarta.
Uber, GrabCar, or GoCar has no problem dropping off and picking up passengers at HLP.
GrabBike, UberMoto and Go-Jek (these are ojeks or motor taxis booked online) are also welcome to drop off or pick you up at HLP.
DAMRI bus serve from several points including Gambir train station and SHIA, costing less than IDR40,000/pax. More of the schedule, click here.
TransJakarta bus or busway. From reading other blogs* I found out how: Take the busway/TransJakarta bus and get off at PGC mall, then take angkot Trans Halim that goes to Dwikora and tell the driver you’re getting off at the airport. Prepare IDR3,000-5,000/pax for angkot, and IDR3,500/pax for busway (better yet a commuter card).
Commuter Line. Also taken from other blogs*: Take the commuter line and stop at Cawang station, continue with ojek or taxi to the airport, prepare about IDR30,000 for taxi. Or take commuter line and stop at Duren Kalibata, take KOPAJA number 57 that goes to Rambutan for IDR4,000/pax (I think) and get off at PGC mall’s Cililitan crossroad. Cross the road and take the angkot Trans Halim that goes to Dwikora. Get off at the airport.
*Blog References (in Indonesian language):