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Given that Indonesia is a country comprised of thousands of islands, none of which is linked by bridges or tunnels, flying is the only way to get to Jakarta (which is located on the island of Java) from, say, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or points farther afield. There are ferries that run between the islands (between Java and Bali, for example), but the ride can be long and slow when you factor in bus rides to and from the ferries and frequent delays.

By Plane

The vast majority of tourists get to Jakarta by plane, with all international flights to and from Jakarta arriving and departing from Terminal 2 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, located in Cengkareng, West Jakarta. Domestic flights from Garuda and Merpati also arrive and depart from Terminal 2 while other domestic flights arrive and depart from Terminal 1.

The Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (tel. 021-550-5175, 550-5307, 550-5308 or 550-5309; www.jakartasoekarnohattaairport.com), located in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, is 20km (12 miles) from the city center and opened in 1985. The airport is often called Cengkareng by Indonesians. It was designed by the French architect Paul Andreu using elements of the traditional Javanese house. Both Terminals 1 and 2 have banks, currency exchange, food outlets and shopping, while Terminal 2 also has ATMs, a post office and 24-hour telecommunications services. The three-star Jakarta Airport Hotel is located inside Terminal 2E (tel. 62-21-559-0008; www.jakartaairporthotel.com), while the 4-star Sheraton Bandara (tel. 62-21-559-7777; www.starwood.com) is just two miles from the airport.

Getting into Town from the Airport

Taxis are the most convenient way to get into central Jakarta -- there is no direct rail link, and shuttle buses make multiple stops. Taxi touts hang out at the airport's exit doors; avoid them. It's best to stick with the licensed transportation companies that have counters inside the arrival terminals; their representatives wear uniforms with an ID. Among the most reputable is the Blue Bird Group (tel. 7917-1234; www.bluebirdgroup.com), which has a counter inside the arrivals terminal. The company's Silver Bird and Golden Bird taxis are black limousines; the Blue Bird taxis are smaller and blue. An airport surcharge plus toll road charges will be added to the metered fare, which should cost about 100,000[IRD] to 150,000[IRD] and takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending (of course) on the traffic.

Shuttle bus service from the airport into Jakarta is offered by two operators in the arrivals terminal, Damri and Primajasa. The buses are air-conditioned, and the Primajasa buses even have a TV and a rest room. The fare into Jakarta is 20,000[IRD], and the journey takes at least an hour, with stops including Rawamangun, Blok M/Kebayorana and Gambir.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.