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The Premier Guide for Those Traveling to Jakarta for the First Time

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Admittedly, Jakarta does not get as much hype as Bali or other tourists destinations in Indonesia. However, that does not change the fact that it is one of the most vibrant and friendly cities in Indonesia.

If you decide to take a leap and visit this exciting city, then there are a few tips you need to keep in mind to ensure you enjoy your trip to the maximum.

1. Visa Requirements and What to do on Arrival

When traveling to Jakarta, chances are high you will arrive via the Soekarno Hatta International Airport. On arrival, note that you must complete two forms—an immigration form and customs form.

Also, remember you need to enquire beforehand whether you are entitled to visa-free entry, must get a visa in advance or can acquire a visa on arrival. If you are getting a visa on arrival, then in addition to the two forms, you need to pay for the visa first before proceeding to immigration.

Otherwise, head to the foreigners’ immigration desk, and once clear, you are free to proceed to baggage claim. Collect your bags, and head to the customs exit. At the customs exit, an officer will ask for the customs form, and then he/she will also direct you to get your bags x-rayed.

Once those responsible are done with your bags, you can then exit the airport. Note that while there are exchange booths outside the airport, it is advisable to wait and find better rates in the city.

2. Taking Care of Your Transport Needs

With regards to transport, it is always advisable to get your hotel Jakarta to arrange transport from the airport. If you do so, then someone from the hotel will pick you up eliminating the hassle of getting yourself there.

However, if you pride yourself in toughing it out, then immediately after leaving the airport head straight to the taxi line. Remember that there are numerous options and touts will probably accost you trying to coax you into picking other transport options.

Nevertheless, taxis are your best bet. They are safe, modern, clean and they will use a meter. The most popular taxi company is the Blue Bird group whose taxis are blue. Other reputable taxi companies include Express (white), Cipangati (burgundy) and Gamya (green).

3. Get a SIM Card at the Airport

When in Jakarta, the internet is key. The fastest and most reliable way to access the internet is via a local sim card and a data bundle. The Internet is affordable at approximately $8 or 100,000 Rupee for thirty days of phone and internet coverage.

Note that there is a site that allows one to prepay for a sim card and pick it up at the airport on arrival. Advantages of getting a local sim card include,

  • The ability to track your destination via Google maps. That way, you will be at ease when in a taxi.
  • You will be able to call your hotel in Jakarta if you get lost.
  • Using Google translate to communicate with taxi drivers.
  • You will be able to download the taxi app which will make it easier for you to hail taxis. The Blue Bird taxi app, for instance, is a good option.

With regards to the sim card, XL is a good company to use, especially, if you are traveling to Jakarta and nowhere else. However, if you will visit other places such as Bali, then go for Telkomsel.

4. Pre-book a Hotel Beforehand

For a first-time visit, you must of necessity pre-book a hotel. Jakarta is home to a range of high-quality accommodation. From five star hotels such as Ayana to midrange and budget hotels.

After booking, ensure you write down the hotel’s address, the phone number and even the street name. That way, when traveling by taxi, you can give your driver all the information he/she needs to get you to your hotel.