En route to Yogyakarta to visit the popular UNESCO sites of Borobudur and Prambanan, we found ourselves spending a night over at Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. It was rather unfortunate that our flight arrived a bit late, nevertheless, we are pretty much satisfied with our quick stop in this underrated metropolis which is usually overshadowed by Jogja and Bali. Have we had the benefit of at least a whole day or more, we would have explored quickly some of its accessible and popular spots worth exploring and sharing here. But this only gave us more reason to return. We wish to share our quick transit in Jakarta for reference to fellow travelers who will spend the night here.
From Manila, we took the Cebu Pacific flight to Jakarta. We landed a little past midnight at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) Despite its old structure, it is still beautifully-designed and projects a traditional Javanese feel to first-timers like us. It is also serves some of the busiest routes in Asia. We passed through immigration smoothly and went straight to the arrival area.
Since our connecting flight to Jogja is still in the morning, we decided to avail of an overnight accommodation right within the airport vicinity. And although taxis are available round the clock at the airport, we made it sure to pick a hotel that provides free airport transport service.
WHERE TO STAY
A quick search via Agoda led us to this bubbly and colorful accommodation called Pop Hotels. Aside from its proximity to the airport, the budget rate also comes with private room, free breakfast for two (2) and free shuttle service to/from airport. We learned later on that the hotel is a a popular budget hotel chain in Indonesia, with presence in key tourist areas including Jogja, Bali, and Surabaya and has 5 branches all over Jakarta.
Upon booking, we advised them that we are arriving late and requested for pick-up. True enough, an apple green-colored coaster later fetched us from the airport and went straight to the hotel.
We stayed in a spacious matrimonial bed in the upper floor with a great view of the airport’s vicinity, perhaps a great plane spotting point.
We also found their toilet pod as quite unique. We woke up early to have breakfast. A mix of local veggie-based meals, soup and sandwiches were served (since it was Ramadan season), which are generous actually. By 7am, we again took the shuttle back to the airport.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
If you have more time to spend like a day in Jakarta, it is a must to visit some of its attractions right at the city center or the old town of Batavia. This massive metropolis is divided into 5 main regions: Central, East, South, West and North Jakarta. When in central Jakarta, one must not miss National Monument that stands over 100 meters and symbolizes Indonesia’s independence. It has an elevator that will bring you to the top where you can catch a great view of Jakarta’s metropolis. Stroll around Merdeka Square, one of the world’s largest of its kind. It is surrounded by key government buildings including the Presidential Palace (Merdeka Palace) and the Supreme Court. Within the vicinity are two religious landmarks, the Masjid Istiqlal, the largest in Southeast Asia and Jakarta Cathedral, the seat of Roman Catholicism in Indonesia.
It is also worth visiting their museums, including the National Museum, Jakarta History Museum and Wayang Museum and get to know Indonesia and Jakarta’s history and cultural heritage. Familiarize with Indonesia’s architecture, clothing and traditions showcased inside the Taman Mini Indonesia Inda.
Until this year, only Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines serve the the direct flight from Manila to Jakarta. Good thing, Air Asia has recently announced that it will start flying to Jakarta (and Bali) from Manila starting January 2018. The other longer option would be taking a flight to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore then to Jakarta.
Unless your hotel offers shuttle service to and from central Jakarta, you are then left to take public commuter vehicles. A more convenient but pricey would be the taxi which are always available at the arrival area. A cheaper option is taking the “Metromini” or Transjakarta bus going to Gambir Station. You can also look for Damri bus. From Gambir Station, hail a taxi or the local taxi called ojek or you can walk to your preferred sites. Take note however that traffic situation can get bad in Jakarta so better allot enough time to get back to the airport for your onward flight. You can this for more detailed guide.
Special thanks to Indonesia Tourism / Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia