Ins and outs
Facilities at the airport include car rental, currency exchange booths, ATMs, left- luggage facilities (outside the arrivals hall), hotel booking counter, a taxi desk, tourist information desk (with maps), the Transit Hotel, the Transit Restaurant, fast-food outlets, a 24-hour post office, long-distance calls, and internet and fax facilities.
The Gambir railway station is also a major arrival point in Jakarta. There is a Blue Bird taxi rank just to the north of the station, which charges a 4500Rp surcharge. The journey to Jalan Jaksa costs around 20,000Rp (the centre for budget accommodation). Alternatively, those with little luggage will be able to manage the 10-minute walk. Air-conditioned Damri buses also run to Blok M, Jalan Bulungan, and Kemayoran (former domestic airport). There are also some buses running to Bogor, for those that want to avoid Jakarta. Many of the first-class hotels lay on transport. In addition, if travelling on Merpati, it is possible to check in at Gambir and then take advantage of their free airport shuttle. If you are travelling straight to Bogor, there is a frequent direct bus service from Terminal 2, recommended if you can’t face Jakarta on Day 1.
Daily flights to most major cities in Indonesia. Fares are generally good value flying out of Jakarta. Mandala (http://www.mandalaair.com), Lion Air (http://www.lionair.co.id) and Air Asia (www.air asia.com) offer online booking.
Bajaj, orange motorized 3-wheelers, Indian made, pronounced bajai: sometimes known as ‘panzer’ bajaj because of their tank-like behaviour. There have been rumours that the government would like to do away with bajajs, as they have been deemed ‘anti-humane’. They are already barred from Jakarta’s main thoroughfares. Nonetheless, they remain the cheapest way to get around other than by bus or on foot. Negotiate price furiously before boarding and expect to pay a minimum of 10,000Rp for a short journey.
Many bajaj now run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), similar to ones seen in Delhi, and are significantly greener than the standard (painted red) smoke belching motorized models. The government eventually hopes to replace all motorized bajaj with CNG vehicles in an attempt to help clear some of the city’s horrific air pollution. CNG bajaj are painted blue.
Jakarta’s port is Tanjung Priok, 15 km from the city centre. Take bus No 60 from Jl Pos or bus No P14 from Jl Kebon Sirih, off Jl Jaksa. Or take a taxi. Allow at least 1 hr. It is less than 1 km from the bus station at Tanjung Priok to the dock. The state-owned shipping company PELNI has its head office at Jl Gajah Mada 14, T021 633 4342/45. Its ticket office is at Jl Angkasa 20, T021 421 1921. A counter on the 2nd floor of the building is much less crowded for ticket purchase (entrance on right of building). 2 photocopies of passport are required (photocopying shop on left of building, as you face it). The PELNI ships Kelud (for North Sumatra, Riau), Leuser (Kalimantan, Java), Dobonsolo (Sulawesi, Kalimantan), Bukit Raya (Kalimantan, Riau) Ciremai (Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua), Lambelo (Sulawesi, Maluku, Riau), Sirimau (Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara), and Bukit Sigantung (Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, Sulawesi, Papua), dock here. There are also more PELNI agents in town, which though they levy a small charge are often more convenient – try ticket offices on Jalan Jaksa. The Jakarta Tourist Board, in the Jakarta Theatre Building, has approximate sailing schedules.
Most fares 2000Rp around town. Crowded, especially during rush hour, and beware of pickpockets. Express buses (marked ‘P’ for Patas) are smaller and less crowded, 3000Rp. Patas a/c express buses, 6000Rp.
Booking bus tickets: private bus companies have their offices at these terminals. Alternatively, purchase tickets from a travel agent. Getting bus tickets on Jl Jaksa has become increasingly difficult recently, but they can still be bought from Wisma Delima, Jl Jaksa 5, T021 3190 4157. Another option is to ring the company and reserve a ticket, and pay for it on arrival at the terminal. Your hotel should be able to help you do this. Make sure you find out which terminal your bus from Jakarta departs from. Companies worth trying include: Lorena, Jl Hasyim Ashan 15C, T021 6341166, and Kramat Jati, Jl Sultan Iskandar Mudar 9B, T021 7290077.
The Jakarta Transjarkarta bus lines have taken a little away from the stress of city travelling, with clean a/c buses travelling along designated corridors that are for these buses only. There are 10 lines running at the moment, although more are in construction. Fares from point to point are 3500Rp, including any transits.
Corridor 1: Blok M–Jl Jend Sudirman–Jl MH Thamrin–Merderka Barat–Harmoni–Jl Gajah Mada–Stasiun Kota.
Corridor 3: Kalideres (bus terminal)–Daan Mogot–Tomang Raya–Harmoni.
Corridor 7: Kampung Rambutan (bus terminal) – Otto Iskandardinata – Letjend MT Haryono.
There are 4 city bus terminals, all some distance from the city centre. Kalideres Terminal, on the west edge of the city, 15 km from the centre, serves the west coast, including Merak with a handful of connections on to Sumatra (most Sumatra buses depart from the Pulo Gadung terminal). Take Transjakarta busway corridor 3 buses to get here. Kampung Rambutan, about 15 km south of the city, serves Bogor, Bandung and other towns and cities in West Java. Take Transjakarta busway corridor 7 buses to get here. Pulo Gadung Terminal, 12 km east of the centre at the junction of Jl Bekasi Timur Raya and Jl Perintis Kemerdekaan, serves Central and East Java including the towns of Cirebon (5 hrs), Yogya (12 hrs), Surabaya (15 hrs) and Malang (18 hrs). Pulo Gadung is also the main bus terminal for Sumatra, with buses going to all the major towns – even as far as Banda Aceh, some 3000 km north. Bali is served from Pulo Gadung. Lebakbulus Terminal has buses going to Bandung and Bali. This terminal is 10 km south of the city.
Fares from Jakarta include: Denpasar (24 hrs) US$37, Surabaya (18 hrs) US$23, Probolinggo (20 hrs) US$26, Yogyakarta/ Surakarta (12-14 hrs) US$18 and Padang (32 hrs) US$36.
Most international companies strongly recommend a driver and local expats believe it is pure madness to attempt tackling the streets of Jakarta oneself. Visitors do, though, and survive. Cars with driver can be hired by the day for about US$50. Avis, Jl Diponegoro 25, T021 3142900, F021 331845, also desks at Soekarno-Hatta Airport and the Borobudur Intercontinental Hotel. Bluebird, Jl Hos, Cokroaminoto T021 7944444. National, Kartika Plaza Hotel, Jl MH Thamrin 10, T021 333423/3143423. Toyota Rentacar, Jl Gaya Motor 111/3, Sunter 11, T021 6506565, F021 6512621, considered to be the best in town, with new cars at a very competitive rate.
Also known as Travels. Door-to-door services are offered by 4848, Jl Prapatan 34, T021 3644488, and Media Taxi, Jl Johar 15, T021 3140343. Fares to Bandung are US$8 and to Yogya US$19. Bear it mind that it can take an excruciating amount of time to pick people up in a city of Jakarta’s size, and then there is the traffic to contend with, making this a more stressful and less scenic option than the train ride.
The most comfortable and convenient way to get around the city. There are numerous companies in Jakarta. Blue Bird, T021 79171234/7941234, www.bluebird group.com, is the only company worth using. They can be distinguished by the large Blue Bird Taxi sticker on the windscreen. Most drivers speak English and no smoking is allowed in the cabs. Drivers work reasonable shifts, unlike in other companies so there is less chance of them falling asleep at the wheel (although it happens).There are plenty of imitators who have taken to painting their taxis blue, and whose drivers will try to hustle as much as they can. The fare is 6000Rp and 3000Rp for each subsequent km (after the first). Blue Birds can be found outside most major hotels, shopping malls and condo complexes. Tipping is normal, so round up to the nearest 1000Rp if you wish.
Jakarta has 6 railway stations, which are more central than the bus stations. The main station is Gambir, on the east side of Merdeka Square (Jl Merdeka Timur). There is an English-speaking information service that advises on timetables and costs, T021 692 9194. Regular connections with Bogor (1 hr 20 mins) economy class only, 2500Rp, or the non-stop a/c Pakuan Express trains (50 mins) from 0730-1640, 11,000Rp.
For Bandung, (2½ hrs) there are the useful Parahiyangan trains, departing nearly every hour from Gambir (bisnis 20,000Rp /eksekutif 30,000Rp). There are also 6 daily departures on the Argo Gede, a little more upmarket and costing 45,000Rp for an eksekutif seat.
For Yogyakarta (8 hrs) there is the Taksaka, 2 a day (bisnis US$12/eksekutif US$20). The eksekutif-only Argo Lawu departs at 2055 and calls in at Yogya before Surakarta (Solo) at 0430 (US$20 for either city). The Argo Dwipangga does the same trip departing at 0800 and arriving at Solo at1600 (US$22).
There are numerous trains to Surabaya(9 hrs) including the Argo Anggrek, 2 daily at 0920 (arrives at 1829) and 2045 (arrives at 0555) on eksekutif class for US$22.
There is 1 daily train to Malang, the Gajayana departing at 1730 and arriving the following morning at 0815, US$24.