Sleepless in Soetta

Last updated: August 16, 2012
Sleeping in Airport

Hints and tips for spending the night at Jakarta Airport.

Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, a.k.a. Soetta, has many evening international arrivals and early morning domestic departures. For example:

International Arrivals | Domestic Departures

Turkish Airlines Logo TK67 Istanbul 18:20 | Batavia Air logo Y6-851 Ambon 01:05
Qatar Airlines logo QR670 Doha 22:05 | New Mandala Air icon RI92 Medan 04:30
Emirates Logo EK358 Dubai 22:30 | Lion Air logo JT34 Denpasar 04:30
Cathay Pacific logo CX797 Hong Kong 22:50 | Lion Air logo JT776 Manado 05:00
pAL LOGO PR535 Manila 23:55 | Express Air logo XN800 Sorong 05:00

Some visitors are therefore choosing to spend the night at Jakarta Airport.

This is not just to save money; with jet-lag and the time difference, tourists may not feel tired yet, especially if they slept on their flight.

Here are some choices for how to spend the night at Jakarta Airport.

Rest | Eat | Other Ideas



Rest

Even with jet-lag, some people find it easy to sleep any time, anywhere.

The authoritative guide on the subject, the website Sleeping in Airports, gives a positive review of Jakarta Airport. Having said that, Jakarta Airport is 1 of 12 nominees for Sleeping in Airports’ 2012 Award for the Worst Airport (i.e. most uncomfortable airport for sleeping) in Asia.

If you want to lie down, here are some suggestions:

  • - Do it inside the secure area (i.e. after the security check), which is passengers and staff only. It is safer than the open/public-access areas.
  • - Have your valuables in a place that cannot be accessed or at least not easily.
  • - The inter-terminal bus may not operate very often overnight. Get to the right terminal first before relaxing. You can see which flights depart from which terminal here.
  • - Take the eyemask and/or earplugs from your international flight with you; failing that, have your sunglasses ready.
  • - Reconfirm your flight’s departure time first; there may have been a last-minute schedule change.
  • - Set an alarm on your watch or phone, so you don’t miss your flight. Don’t forget to set the local time first.

Alternately, Plan B is to book a room at a nearby hotel. Many of them include free airport transfers upon request.


Eat

If you have a severe case of the munchies or your domestic flight does not include food, the following restaurants are available:

McDonalds LogoAs well as the usual assortment of burgers and fries, the Indonesian version of the Golden Arches also has fried chicken, rice and ice tea… but curiously no thick shakes. Open 24 hours in Terminal 2. Local rival A&W is also available during daylight hours in Terminal 1.

hoka hoka bento logoJapanese fast food chain mixes it up with a wide range of package meals for only a few dollars; it is the cheapest place to get a healthy cooked meal. We recommend the Beef Yakiniku, but it is also good for green tea and fruit juice. Open in Terminal 2.

dunkin donuts logoGood not only for donuts and drinks, DD also does salad rolls called “Boston Sandwich”. Branches are in Terminals 1 and 2 but are not open overnight, so best suited for breakfast.

Please note: Indonesian domestic flights do not have restrictions on liquids, so you can bring a drink with you. While AirAsia forbids its passengers bringing their own food/drinks on board (so they have to buy items from the AirAsia menu), personal experience is they do not enforce it.


Other Ideas

Perdana- Buy a local SIM card (“perdana”) for your phone
This avoids potentially expensive roaming charges. Indonesian SIM cards require the user to register before using it, (in theory) to prevent the phone being used for crime; the shop assistant will help you with this, if you ask them nicely or give them a tip. The most popular pre-paid SIM card is Simpati.

- Visit the viewing/observation deck
Ironically, it is one of the few places where you definitely will not be stared at by others. Perfect if you want a bit of quiet/reflection time. The stairs to the deck are to the left of the entrance of Terminal 1A.

ATMs Jakarta Airport Terminal 2- Get some local currency
Some more remote destinations rarely accept credit cards and have few ATMs. As foreign banks charge per transaction, it is usually recommended to take the maximum amount: Rp1 250 000 ($US135) for ATMs that dispense Rp50 000 notes; Rp2 500 000 ($US270) for ATMs that dispense Rp100 000 notes. While ATMs can be found throughout the airport, the greatest concentration can be found in the Departures area (upstairs) in Terminal 2. Don’t forget to set aside some money for airport tax later.

- Use the toilet facilities
Jakarta Airport was recently judged to have the second best airport toilets in the country. So, chances are they are nicer in Jakarta than at your destination. No showers, though.

Jakarta Airport Shuttlebus- Get a free “tour” of the airport on the yellow inter-terminal bus
If you have little else to do, this passes the time in relative comfort.

Have you stayed overnight at Jakarta Airport? What did you do to pass the time? What activities would you recommend to others?



18 Comments on Sleepless in Soetta

  1. avatar David Says:
    August 19th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I’ve never stayed overnight in an airport, so not much use there, although I’d guess it would be a far preferable experience in Jakarta than at some airports in more ‘advanced’ cities/countries.

    I did stay overnight at a train station in Prague once, frightful experience, not sure who was scarier – the weirdos roaming around muttering to themselves or the hair trigger violent security guards.

  2. avatar Chris Says:
    August 20th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Actually, I have only done it once, many years ago at Charles De Gaulle in Paris. That was semi-forced on me by it being New Year’s Eve and there being literally nowhere else to stay (for the 12 hours between midnight and my flight). I didn’t have any problems, although I read that it is now a regular winner for Worst Airport in Europe.

  3. avatar perth guy Says:
    August 22nd, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I had to stay overnight at jakarta aiport.

    The aiport-hotel was fully booked so i slept in the prayer room. others did they same thing…

    Be careful of the benches in the public areas as they are often infested with roaches.

  4. avatar Chris Says:
    August 22nd, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Perth Guy,

    Thanks for your comment. I never thought of that as a possible location.

    One question: Where is the prayer room? Terminal 1 or 2? Near what?

    For visitors’ benefit, it’s ok (not sacrilegious) in Indonesia; people sleep at mosques all the time, especially during Ramadan:

  5. avatar perth guy Says:
    August 23rd, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Hi chris,

    there are a few prayer rooms (musallas) around the airport.

    just remember that there are separate areas for males and females. and to remove shoes before entering.

    they usually dont mind if u wanna take a few hours nap (as above photo)

    but it would be polite to offer the caretaker (who sits outside) a small ‘gift’ of whatever u think is reasonable. i gave around rp50000 ($8AUD) as i left my suitcases with him…

  6. avatar Chris Says:
    August 24th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Thanks Perth Guy,

    You have raised another issue: there are no bag deposit/locker facilities at most Indonesian airports. I think it is probably a security measure, to stop e.g. bombs in bags. Curiously, there is one such place at Denpasar (Bali) Airport, at the international terminal.

    By the way, at the current exchange rate Rp50 000 is more like $A5, not $A8. Having said that, the exchange rate for buying Rupiah at Australian moneychangers is often really bad.

  7. avatar perth guy Says:
    August 24th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    yes chris, now the exchange rate is 1AUD to 10,000 RP

    i was travelling in Nov 2010 :)

    also, are you the guy to contact for the domestic airline bookings/qoutes>?

  8. avatar Chris Says:
    August 25th, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Yes, Perth guy, I am.

    Please note: we encourage people to fill in an enquiry form, not to contact me directly. There are a few small but important questions in the form.

  9. avatar mulky Says:
    September 7th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    subhanallah, our people sleep in mosque

  10. avatar N Mark Castro Says:
    September 11th, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Really hope our airport can provide better accommodations.

  11. avatar Methamazid Rusdi Says:
    September 30th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    hey u know what,,,, sometime they need to delay the departure and that is make me …. ka-boooom in my head … yea i hate it man…
    and sleep ? owh come on … how the heck i can sleep in condition that I will be late to go to somewhere … >:( i disagree about# “easy to sleep anytime, anywhere ….
    this is my opinion …. so please to who is concern or involved in delay-the-departure-time please decrease the mistakes and achieve quality to our airport that will lead to quality for the country also right … ?
    ..
    that’s all for me … thank you

    SALAM HANGAT INDONESIA … garuda selalu di dada ku :D

  12. avatar NATALIE Says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Hey.thanx for the useful advice! I fins it helpfull and can Only add that the airport in Jakarta loks fresker, nicer and safer Tham the rest of the city! I had boken hotel and took me downtown but it is so dirty and everybody was Tyringe To sell me stuff and take pictures With me so i felt Michael safer at the airport and returens there… Clean, free wifi and open restaurangs and stops all night! Relaxing departement, lounge… Much much better Tham the rest of Jakarta! Usch a dirty city… Will nerver again visit it! The airport is nice though!

  13. avatar Chris Says:
    March 16th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Having said that, Jakarta Airport is 1 of 12 nominees for Sleeping in Airports’ 2012 Award for the Worst Airport (i.e. most uncomfortable airport for sleeping) in Asia.

    The results are in:

    Jakarta ranked #6 for Worst Airport in Asia (#1 being the worst, Manila Terminal 1) with complaints being:

    “Scary” Old and Dark Domestic Terminal • Dirty Toilets • Overcrowded

    Bali ranked #10 due to:

    Old Building • Uncomfortable Seats • Mosquitoes • Lack of Air-Conditioning

  14. avatar Oigal Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 11:06 am

    i actually like the Jakarta airport, it grows on you. It is a classic design and absolutely chock full of gardens (but you cannot get to them). Toilets are always clean although typically Indonesian and awash with water. Certainly streets ahead of those souless cookie cutter factories in KL and Thailand.

    On the downside, how hard is it to land a plane and take off from the correct gate? How long before a major accident from some of those idiots driving around the tarmac?
    How much nicer would it be if they cleaned out the scam merchants that swamp passengers as the emerge into thee opolluted humid cesspool that is Jakarta proper.

  15. avatar Arie Brand Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Having just had to spend 14 hrs between two flights at Manila airport (Quantas was delayed) I fully agree with its ranking. The departure hall where you have to stay before check in is a mad house. The section you can get to after check in is not much better though there are some reasonably attractive shops there. But sleeping is out of the question.

  16. avatar Adrian Says:
    September 1st, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Hi,

    I am spending 24h in Jakarta airport Terminal 3, already 12h have passed and I have to say that that Monas Lounge on the Terminal 3 is very overnight friendly! For 55k they have unlimited food and let me stay overnight, the couches are comfy and they even turned the lights off so I was able to sleep quite well! Some mosquitoes were feeding on me though, but the staff is friendly and the food is not all that bad! Pity they got no beer in the lounge.

    I tried to get in the city for the morning, but I totally passed on crazy ppl all over, traffic and being harassed any more, already had enough during my holidays.

    So, if I were you I would be heading to MONAS Lounge @ T3.

    Cheers!
    Adrian

  17. avatar Steve Says:
    February 7th, 2014 at 7:17 am

    hmmm. I have to spent the night there tonight, I will let you know. the prayer room sounds interesting, if not a little disrespectful. Not sure I could bring myself to sully a prayer room with my body. I have been in mosques and acted respectfully, but as a non-Muslim, not sure I could bring myself to do this, any advise?

  18. avatar yum seng Says:
    June 27th, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    the monas lounge as mentioned above is reasonably good value. if stuck in terminal 1 or 2 you can still get to terminal 3 quite easily with the free shuttle bus available 24 hours now.

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