Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

In at least some respects, Jakarta's main international airport is one of the more pleasant and beautiful airports I've ever experienced. The sweeping curves of the main terminal buildings isn't that unusual, but the details are. Few visitors stop to look at them closely, but the columns supporting the roof feature colorfully detailed bases adapted from traditional Javanese designs. The really special feature of the airport is the departure lounges. The lounges are set in large gardens, and reached through glass-walled concourses and corridors. The departure lounges themselves are designed to look like a traditional Javanese pendopo in steel and concrete.

Jakarta Arrivals

If you did not obtain a visa before coming to Indonesia, keep an eye out for the visa counters, which are located near the arrival gates. Visitors from 36 nations, which includes the USA, EU and GCC countries, can get a visa on arrival. The visa needs to be purchased before going through immigration. You do not need to complete any forms or submit photographs to apply for the visa on arrival. The costs is US$25 for a 30-day visa. Do not get in line at immigration until you have your visa.

Note that the visa fees are in US Dollars. If you try to pay in other currencies, they may choose not to accept, or they will over-charge you. I've seen them ask 10 Euros (-10.00 USD) in place of the US$10 fee. Getting your visa on arrival is a two step process. First, you need to purchase a visa coupon at one counter, then take your coupon and passport to the next counter to have a visa placed in it. You will need one completely blank page in your passport for the visa. Entry and exit stamps will take half of another page.

At the immigration counter, submit your passport with visa and the completed immigration form. Immigration will return the passport with the departure segment of the immigration form inside. Be sure to keep the departure card with your passport, since you will need to submit it when you leave.

Once you've passed through immigration, you can collect your bags and proceed through customs. Give your completed customs form to the customs officer, and you'll be asked to pass your carry-on bags through the scanners.

Airport Transfers

On exiting customs at the airport, you'll be practically assaulted by taxi touts offering to take you anywhere. These are best avoided, as they will often charge much more than the going rate. The best advice is to get a taxi from the booth just outside the arrival hall. The ride into the city will take anywhere from 45 minutes up to a couple of hours, depending on the time of day and traffic..

Jakarta Airport Area Hotels

The Sheraton Bandara is the only hotel anywhere close to the airport. The hotel is just inside of the airport zone, about five minutes drive from the terminals, regardless of traffic.

Jakarta Departures

On arriving at the airport, be sure to have your ticket and passport handy. You'll need to show them to security before being allowed into the check-in area of the terminal. You'll also need to have your baggage scanned. If departing on a domestic flight, you also need to have your checked bags strapped at the security stations next to the baggage scanners.

When checking for flights in Jakarta, you will need to pay the departure tax to the ticket agent before receiving your boarding pass. The departure tax is 50,000 Rupiah (3.00 USD) for domestic flights and 150,000 (9.00 USD) for international flights. After checking in, international passengers will need to pass through immigration. There is a fiscal check point before you get to immigration, but this is for Indonesian residents only. You may be asked to show your passport, but usually there is no need to stop at the counter.

Jakarta Departure Lounge & Duty Free

The main international departure concourse is lined with duty free and souvenir shops. The duty free shops are run by multiple operators, so be sure to compare prices before making a purchase. DFS may have the cheapest prices for some things, while Plaza Bali may have lower prices on other items. A number of local products are available, including coffees, batik clothing and wood carvings.

Duty Free Benchmark Prices

Marlboro Cigarettes (Carton of 100) US$ 13.50
Bacardi Light Rum (1 liter) US$ 9.50
Beefeater Gin (1 liter) US$ 12.00
Chivas Regal (1 liter) US$ 26.00
Jack Daniels (1 liter) US$ 19.00
Chanel No. 5 (50 ml) US$ 72.00
Toblerone Gold (6 x 100 gram) US$ 13.00

See our duty free guide for full price comparisons.

There are a small number of business lounges available for both international and domestic passengers. In the international terminal, Garuda operates its own lounge, while most other airlines use a shared lounge open to Star Alliance and Priority Pass members. The lounge has a nice view of the airport, and a good buffet spread offering snacks, salad, soup, juices and beer, but no hard alcohol. There is no wi-fi but there are three internet computers available for use. A smoking room is available along with a couple of massage chairs.