It was only my second time to Indonesia and I was really excited since I’ll be traveling independently. I was fortunate enough to travel to Indonesia a month before, prior to my trip. It was an on assignment to cover an event for a magazine in the North of Sulawesi Island. The trip was a great introduction to Indonesia and made me familiarize myself with the airports and transportation. But then again, traveling independently is a different thing, no guides to point the direction. I was traveling to Central Java this time. I’ll be flying from Jakarta to Yogyakarta then a Prameks to Solo. A trip which I would consider as my first venture to Indonesia.
Soekarno Hatta Airport
I arrived in Jakarta about 1am on a red-eye flight. There’s a 1-hour time difference here from Manila. While the two main terminals ofSoekarno Hatta operates in 24 hours, most of the establishments are already closed when I arrive. The open air public hallway connecting the gates to the is now reduced to littered baggage carts and people either sleeping on the floor or the large wooden benches. I for one hand had to ask around where and how to go to Terminal 3.
Free Shuttle Bus at Soekarno Hatta Airport
Sometimes it takes being duped to learn the better or more efficient way to do things. I asked a guard how I could go to Terminal 3 early that morning. He said I should take a taxi since the shuttle bus only starts at 5am. When I asked for a price, he quoted an 80k Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) (US$8.6) since it was night. I said I’ll think about it and went to the ground floor area to look for a taxi myself. I asked another security personnel and found a cab that quoted 70k rupiah a d bit into it. The drive to Terminal 3 took only minutes. Probably 10 minutes and I could also see there was really no way I could go on foot.
I got to the Terminal 3 then a few minutes later I saw a yellow shuttle bus and the foreign couple I saw earlier at Terminal 2 where I came from alighted with the rest of the passengers. It was the free shuttle bus connecting all the terminals and it operates 24 hours. I felt bad I had to pay the taxi a large sum. I did took advantage of this shuttle when I got back here. The free shuttle bus comes in and go every 15-20 minutes at their bus bay. But what with all the police and security in the area not telling me about it? Are they in cahoots with one another?
The Terminal 3
I was hoping to get a short shut-eye at the new terminal when I arrived there a little past 2am. But Terminal 3, which caters to AirAsia and LionAir flights doesn’t operate in 24 hours. I had to wait outside, a small area by the gates. Good thing it opened around 3am and I think I was one of the few who checked in the brand spanking new airport. It’s a good-looking airport with stylish murals, high breathable ceiling and boarding areas with trees inside.
Prameks to Solo (Surakarta) from Moguwo Staion
I was knocked out during my 1 hour flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. Adi Sucipto Terminal was a lot smaller than I expected but it was very convenient because a lot forms of transportation out of the airport was just outside the exit door – trains, taxis and provincial buses. The money changer there also offers good exchange rates for dollar along with a number of eateries.
I wanted to take the train to Solo (Surakarta) and Moguwo Train Station is just there beside the airport. I learned from friends who went to Solo that the cheapest way to get there is by train. Sure is, as the Prameks (Prambanan Ekspress) is only 10k IDR (US$1). I did miss the early train though so I had to wait for the 10am train.
The Prameks is really a local passenger train very similar to our local PNR LRT but there is no airconditioning inside the carts. But the windows are open so it wasn’t that hot. First half-hour of my trip I was standing by the doorway since seats were full. But it was interesting to see local life of people there, a few children trying to amuse themselves looking out the window or playing with their parents. Passengers lost at their daily paper, or just zoning out to sleep. Several vendors would pass by and there are officers who would check the tickets.
I finally arrived at Solo before noon. I hopped off the train, got out the station and hired a motorbike for my accommodation. With the mid-day sun bearing at my back, I’m off to discover Central Java.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.