Going Solo in Indonesia: Rants About The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Going to the The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport from my hotel was really easy because it was above a mall so there was a taksi stand available.  I got to the airport very early and had dinner at B&W.  Once the gates for our check in counter opened, I immediately went inside.  It was the first time that I was early for a flight and I regretted it immediately.  There were very few seats available and there wasn’t much to do.  Suddenly, the notice boards prompted that our check in counter was moved so, I rushed to the other side of the airport.  But there really was no need for that – the counter wouldn’t open until almost an hour later.  I lined up anyway and I was first.  Lots of people lined up behind me and everyone soon got pretty impatient.

During luggage check in, terminal fee of 150,000 IDR had to be paid.  Then, it was off to the immigration queues.  After getting through the immigration officers, I started exploring the various duty free shops.  About 95% of the shops sold items in USD.  As I didn’t have any more dollars on me, I went to look for a money changer.  I was very surprised to find that the buying rate was 1 USD = 11,875 IDR.  Because of this, I didn’t exchange any money.  I just strolled around looking for a shop that sold stuff in IDR.  I bought a tumbler for my sister at Starbucks and a Jakarta magnet.  And I tried asking one of the stores if they would only sell in USD and found out that they also accepted IDR.  Hooray!  I was able to buy some chocolates to take home.

One thing I discovered was that Billabong rash guards are cheaper in Indonesia than in the Philippines.  But other than that, I think the commodities cost the same.

Anyway, I still had a few coins left with me and I wanted to get rid of them.  So, I bought this small bottle of mineral water before undergoing the final x-ray.  And to my irritation, they would not let my water pass!  I either had to throw it away or drink the whole thing so as not to put it to waste.  Good thing it was a small bottle.

Past the x-rays was a “waiting area” that was separate from the “boarding area”.  The security guys at the boarding area would not let us in until our flight was called, so everyone had to stay at the waiting area. There were about 50 seats available for everyone.  Because of the lack of chairs, people were slumped everywhere.  And we paid about 15 USD for the terminal fee.

The last bone I want to pick with the The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport was that they were not coordinated at all!  Our boarding passes said that we were to go through Gate 2.  But when boarding time came, the lady doing announcements said that we had to use Gate 3.  The electronic notice boards reflected the same but the security people at Gate 3 wouldn’t let us in!  So instead of finally being able to sit and relax on proper chairs at the boarding area, we had to return to the waiting area and slump again on the floor while waiting for the airport people to sort things out.  It was fricken’ annoying.

Soekarno–Hatta International Airport

people in my flight slumped on the floor while the airport people sorted out which gate we should use


Anyhow, despite all my mishaps at the The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, I would have to conclude that my first solo trip abroad had been a complete success!  Alright, except for my failure to catch The Wolverine.  Yes, things could’ve been better but given the circumstances surrounding my trip, I would have to say that I had the best going solo in Indonesia experience 25,000 PHP could buy.

Next time, I will post the breakdown of my expenses plus a complete summary of my itinerary.

August 24-25, 2013

***photo was taken using an iPhone 5


Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.


  1. Nice blog about your Indonesia trip! Just a question. Did you go by using your PH sim to text/call/internet? Or did you bought an Indonesian sim? If you did, please let me know what network and how was the quality. Thank you! 🙂

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