AAMAS-16: 28 Hours in Jakarta

This series is written by Katie about her trip to AAMAS 2016 in Singapore, Singapore.

Arriving in Jakarta I easily cleared customs, thinking little of the ATM I noticed in the customs area.  In hindsight, I should have withdrawn a bit of cash from this ATM, as I found no ATMs in the baggage reclaim area (note: there are ATMs in the departures area).

I searched for a while trying to find an ATM after baggage reclaim, with no luck.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I felt rather spooked in Jakarta – it was such a different culture than Singapore, and the many touts trying to sell me tours or taxi rides in the arrivals area as well as the high level of security guards made me feel uncomfortable.

I eventually opted to just order an Uber to my Holiday Inn Express.  I figured this would eliminate the need for cash as well as potentially be a bit safer than getting into a random cab.

Unfortunately, my Uber driver spoke no English.  I confirmed it was the correct driver by comparing the license plate to my app, and put the hotel address into the app.  However, it seems that the driver expected me to pay the toll at two toll booths.  Since I had no cash, I kept saying this (in English).  I’m not sure he ever got the point, as he seemed to keep asking for cash.  I felt bad, but Uber should tell users that (1) they need cash for tolls and (2) approximately how much tolls should be on the route.  It would be ideal if these tolls could be included in the app, so that cash isn’t needed.

The driver had lots of trouble finding the hotel.  Once we finally arrived, I exited and went up an elevator to about the 10th story of a mall/office building complex.  The Holiday Inn Express occupied the upper stories of this building.  From the elevator I had to go through security before walking down a hall and finally reaching the hotel lobby.

Not a bad room for ~$45/night

Check in at the Holiday Inn Express was very friendly, but difficult to understand. My room ended up being on the 6th floor, which was effectively the 16th floor of the building.  Once I got to my room I realized that the Uber driver had kept my ride going until he returned to the airport (a few weeks later and two additional complaints later, the charge was fixed).

Views of Jakarta once morning came
The view down to the street was a bit vertigo inducing.

My room had sweeping views over Jakarta.  It was dark out and I didn’t need to leave my room, so I didn’t.  I worked for a while before going to sleep.

The next working I woke up and ate the complementary breakfast in the lobby.  I knew I needed to find an ATM before trying to take another Uber back to the airport, so I asked at the front desk.  The front desk staff said there was one in the attached mall, but I couldn’t understand them enough to figure out where in the mall it was located.

I wandered all over the entire mall before finally finding an ATM in the basement outside a large grocery store.  The mall was an interesting experience, because it was incredibly empty besides the many mall employees working in the stores.

After getting some water from the grocery store, I worked in my room until it was time to check-out.  After check-out, I sat in the lobby and continued working.

Shortly before it got dark out, I called an Uber for my return trip to the airport.  The driver spoke a bit of English this time, and almost seemed surprised when I offered money for the tolls.  This Uber trip went much more smoothly.

Once at the airport, passengers needed to present a ‘ticket’ to enter.  I had a printed copy of my itinerary, which I just continued to offer until they finally allowed me to enter.  I’m not sure how long it might have taken if I hadn’t happened to have a printed version.

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