City Guide


Chicago, ORD, All Carriers

Multiple Hotels adjacent to the airport

Subway to City Center 75 Mins $3 or Taxi 40 Mins $60

Destinations: Miracle Mile. Aquarium. Museums. Hancock Tower top floor bar/rest.

New York, JFK, All Carriers except United; Newark, EWR, United. (120 mins between JFK-EWR. 30 mins between domestic LaGuardia (LGA) Airport and JFK.

Multiple Hotels adjacent to the airport

Subway to City Center (combines rail and subway service with changes).

90 mins $10.

Taxi 45 mins $60.

Destinations in Manhattan: Broadway. Midtown. Ferry Tour around Manhattan. Museums. All Professional Sports.

Tokyo, NRT, Terminal 1: American Air, Japan Air, Delta. Terminal 2: United, All Nippon Air (ANA). Terminal 3 contains deep discount carriers. Tokyo is also served by Haneda (HND) airport. 90 mins between airports.

Multiple Hotels adjacent to the Airport.

Train to City Center: 75 mins $30 roundtrip. Connect to subway. Or Bus to downtown. Note, last train from airport 19:00. Last train from City Center 20:00.

Taxi $200 one way.

Destinations: Tuna Market, Bars and Restaurants, Karaoke, Temples

Hong Kong (HKG). All US Carriers. Cathay Pacific.

Hotels adjacent to the airport.

90 mins by train to city center. $7 Taxi 60 mins $50

Use for hotels, but note neighbourhood locations.

Destinations: Harbor Ferry, Dim Sum including 3star Michelin Dim Sum at the Four Seasons Hotel, Tai-O Fishing Village, Kowloon Shopping, Disney World Hong Kong,

Doha, Qatar (DOH). American, Qatar.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (AUH). Etihad.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (DXB). Emirates.

For all 3, sleeping pods airside. At airport hotels are limited and usually in town. No train service. Taxis 30 mins $30 to town.

Destinations: Shopping, markets, gold shopping, desert excursions.

Singapore, SIN. Singapore Air, Delta.

In Airport Hotels. If you are transiting SIN overnight you do not need to clear customs to stay in a hotel. There are bunk beds, and standard hotel rooms on the air side. Google Singapore In Airport Hotels to learn more. Crowne Plaza Hotel also operates in T3 on the landside after clearing customs.

60 mins by train to city center $5. Taxi 45 mins. $50.

Destinations: Boat tour, Chicken Rice, Marina Casino, Museums, Lions Head fountain. Western Shopping. Traditional markets. Singapore Sling at Raffles.

Regarded as the finest transit airport in the world, you can skip the city and enjoy a 24 hour food court, gym, movie theatre, and butterfly garden. There are 3 terminals with airside trains connecting the terminals, but the terminals are big, really really big, so allow lots of time to get to the gate. Between terminal trains do not operate overnight.

Kuala Lumpur, KUL. T1 Malaysian Air. T2. Air Asia.

Hotels adjacent to airport. There is also a hotel in T2, airside.

Train to City Center $20. 45 mins.

Destinations: Excellent discount deals for Asian travel on Air Asia. Petronas Towers. Hawker food. Traders Hotel Sky Bar at sunset. Hookahs at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel after sunset. In July, see the Saudi tourists!


Island of Java

Jakarta, West Java. Timezone WIB. Population, Local Language and Culture: 10 Million. Now a melting pot. Originally the Betawi people.

Jakarta Airport (CGK) International and Domestic. See more detailed transit notes above in Planning Travel for Detailed Transit Details.

Buses & Taxis Available. Taxis Non-Peak, 30 mins, $15 Bluebird, $25 Silverbird. Peak, 90 mins. Add $10 to taxi fare. To town peak hours 06:00-09:30+15:30-22:00. From Town peak hours 15:30-20:00.

In Airport Hotels. T1 Landside. T2, Landside. Also, 5 mins from airport.

Jakarta Halim (HLP) Airport. Limited domestic routes. No Airport Hotels.

Taxis Non-Peak, 15 mins, $10 Bluebird, $15 Silverbird. Peak, 60 mins. Add $10 to taxi fare. To town peak hours 06:00-09:00+17:00-19:00. From Town peak hours 16:00-20:00.

City Center Hotels

Many options to google. Ritz Carlton (there are 2), $300+, Mandarin Oriental $150+, Borobodur Hotel $80, Holiday Inn Express multiple locations $60 especially Wahid Hasyim; and the best bet in 3 star hotels is the Aston Kuningan Suites for its space and price.

Destinations: The big mosque and small church located next to the big mosque. MONAS. National Museum. Malls: Grand Indonesia adjacent to Plaza Indonesia, Pacific Place, Casablanca. Bars: Shangri-La Hotel Bats. Murphy’s Bar. Loewe’s (pronounced Louies), Skybar & Resturants, 50th Floor BCA Bank Building (reservations for dining a must). The sleepy Jimbaran Outdoor Bar Waterfall Bar at Ayana Hotel. MCI Culinary School to learn to cook. Multiple dance clubs that change – try Alexis for loud music and young people.

Traditional crafts: $5-$200 crafts from all over Indonesia at Passaraya Blok M, Jalan Iskandarsyah II Blok 2, Blok M, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta. $100 – $1,000 crafts at Alun Alun Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Grand Indonesia Mall.


Transiting Jakarta and have 12 hours? Here are 5 things you can do:

Hours 1 and 2 – arrive – re-check for your connecting flight and leave your luggage. Alternatively take with you. Either take the Airport Train or take bluebird to city center (130,000 – 30 mins between 21:00 and 06:00; 1 hour between 10:00 and 2:00; 2 hours between 06:00 – 10:00 and 14:00 – 21:00. Saturday and Sunday is faster except for severe traffic delays in City Center Friday and Saturday evenings 17:00 – 22:00. Or take Silverbird with driver who speaks conversational English at 250,000. Waiting time is aprox 60.000/hour in Bluebird and 90.000/hour in Silverbird. Take a picture of the license plate, taxi driver license and get the cell number of your driver. Call the driver to make sure phone rings.

Hour 3 + 4- visit MONAS – a 40 story monument and display. Best to arrive 9:00 – 11:00.

Hour 5 – visit the Big Mosque to beat the drum and rest in the little church adjacent.

Hour 6 – enjoy one of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Borobodur, near the mosque.

Hour 7 -9 – go to the National Museum – 20 cents admission

Hour 10 – see and be seen at Skybar out door patio bar or indoor dining, floor 57, BCA Bank Tower – great sunset views

Hour 11 – return to airport

Hour 12 – having completed checkin already proceed directly to Immigration (less than 20 mins waiting) and to your gate (boarding starts 45 mins before departure and ends 25 mins before departure)

Estimated taxi costs:

Bluebird 130,000 + 600.000 waiting + 130.000

Alternatively – take the taxi to Borobodur Hotel direct from the airport and store bags here pretending you will check in later and get business card of hotel to show taxi driver – proceed on foot to most sites. National Museum is a very short taxi or trike ride. Backtrack to Borobodur to claim bags. Then take another taxi to BCA sky bar Building where u will require a taxi from Borobodur Hotel and have them wait at Skybar. Skip Skybar Friday and Saturday 16:00 – 21:00 as this bar is located in the entertainment hub and traffic stands still. Confirm all destinations, hours of opening, costs, addresses and telephone numbers using the Lonely Planet Indonesia Guide or the www. Write down all addreses to give to the driver and use your cell to call the destination if the driver is lost. NEVER leave money, passports, plane tickets or cell tel in a waiting taxi.

Bogor. Population, Local Language and Culture: 1Million, Sunda and some Java people.

90mins south of Jakarta by train or road. Collaborator: Bogor Agricultural Institute. Note heavy traffic on weekends as Jakartans sample the restaurants of Bogor.

Bandung, West Java. Timezone WIB. Population, Local Language and Culture: 2 Million, Sunda people.

Airport: BDO. Domestic Service (Jakarta service is HLP-BDO) and KUL+SIN.

Taxi to Bandung City Center 20 mins, $5.

Service to Jakarta by travel car $8, private driver $70, Silver Bird $100. 2.5 hours-4 hours. Note, there is no peak time. Even 03:00 am can be a peak time.

Service to Jakarta by train. 3 hours. Take the Express Executive Class. $10.

Hotels: Padma or Intercontinental. Stunning views. Or Crowne Plaza, City Center.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: UPI

Destinations: Restaurants. Parks. At altitude. Evening temperatures below 20C/70F. BEWARE: Severe local traffic Friday 12:00 – Sunday 18:00 due to Jakarta tourists.

Semarang, Central Java. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 2 Million, Javan

Airport: Domestic Service and KUL+SIN.

Time, Cost to City Center: 20 mins $5

Rail: Jakarta/Surabaya overnight. Take express executive class.

By road to Yogya=3 hours. Bus $8. Private driver $70. Insist on Jalan Tol from Salatiga to Semarang Jl Tol exit.

Hotels: 3 star – Holiday Inn Express Simpang Lima, Louis Kienne Simpang Lima (Check out the roof top pool and cafe with the best views of Semarang), Hotel Santika Premiere. 4 star – Po Hotel. UNNES Guest House. Mall: Paragon. Food: Lumpia Semarang on Gang Lombok, No.11 – this shack only serves Spring Rolls and locals love it. For Western Food try Bowery or Eastman, across from Holiday Inn.”

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: UNNES

Destinations: Simpang Lima, downtown market, Chinatown. Wayang kulit shadow puppet show long form version in Javanese (22:00 – 04:00). S3 restaurant complex across from Hotel Grand Candi. OnOn Pub. Sakapatat Bar. Nearby Candi Gedong Songo.

Yogyakarta, Special District of Yogyakarta located in Central Java. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 3 Million, Java People

Airport: JOG.

Time, Cost to City Center: Airport is located adjacent to city center and is scheduled to move to a more distant location around 2019. 5mins-15mins $5 depending on destination.

By Road to Semarang – see Semarang City Guide.

Train: Jakarta/Solo/Surabaya. Executive Express.

Hotels: Tentrem (best). Ambarukmo (adjacent to mall). Phoenix Hotel (Historic). Sheraton (dated, but near airport), Platinum Adsicupto Hotel (adjacent to airport entrance), Melia near Malioboro Street.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: UNY, USD.

Destinations: Malioboro Street Shopping including Batik + Java style on-the-ground eating. Prawirotaman restaurants. Bars: Sakapatat, Agenda, Oxen Free. Restaurants: Gajah Wong, Parsley. Borobudur (Buddhist Temple), one of seven wonders of the world, and Prambanan (Hindu Temple of the same time period). Palace. Waterworks. Tourist version 1 hour of Wayang Kulit shadow puppets.

Surabaya, East Java. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 7 Million, Javanese.

SUB has 2 terminals on separate sides of the airport, so you need a taxi to get between them, or you can take the irregularly scheduled shuttle. All international arrivals and all Garuda flights are at the new terminal 2. All domestic flights except Garuda are at Terminal 1. Tell your taxi driver the airline and if it is international or domestic.

Time, Cost to City Center: 30 mins. $15. Say ‘Jalan Tol’ which means take the Toll Route. In the old T1 go to the taxi stands outside bag claim. Probably a blue bird there. In new T2 go to the machines that let you select your destination and bring the ticket outside to the taxi starter.

Hotels: Adjacent to Airport. Alana Hotel is next to UNESA. There is also a Marriott farther away from UNESA and the historic Majahapit.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: UNESA

Destinations: Malls – Ciputra World, Pakuwon, Tunjungan Plaza 1-5, Grand City.

Historic monuments, including Tugu Pahlawan. Museums: Transportation, History. Local tour bus with guide. Holycow steak house. Citilies, 21st floor, Java Paragon Hotel. Mazeltov Beer House.

Malang, East Java. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 2 Million, Java People

Airport: MLG (NO service to Surabaya).

By road to Surabaya: 2 – 3 hours. Travel car: $8. Private Car $50.

Train: Local service to Surabaya. 3 hours. $8.

Time, Cost to City Center: 30 mins $10.

Hotels: Ibis adjacent to the Mall and U Negeri Malang. Hotel Tugu has a ghost and small museum + pool and a great restaurant. Go to Hok Lay for the best Lumpia

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: U Negeri Malang

Destinations: Mt. Bromo (active volcano).  Leave the hotel at midnight or shortly after and return the next morning so you can see the boiling lava in the cauldron at night and watch the sunrise.  Shop in the small shops on the city square. Toko Oeno restaurant.


Medan, North Sumatra. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 2 Million, Batak, Medanese,

Airport: MES. International service to SIN, KUL.

Time, Cost to City Center: 45 mins. $15.

Hotels: Marriot.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: UniMed.

Destinations: Lake Tobo

Padang, Central Sumatra. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 1 Million, Minangkabau. A matrilineal society, the ‘people of the bull’ commemorate their culture by designing buildings in the shape of bull horns.

Airport: PDG

Time and Cost to City Center: 45 mins. $10.

Hotels: Hotel Mercure. Pangeran Beach Hotel.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: U Negeri Padang

Destinations: Padang food served in small bowls dim sum style. Hands instead of cutlery. Off shore islands. Surfing. Burial rituals of the aboriginal people. Nearby: Bukitingi canyon and traditional market. Conservative area. Women should cover areas from their neck to their knees, including when swimming. In the surfing area off shore western swim wear is acceptable.

Pekanbaru, Central Sumatra. Timezone WIB. Local Language and Culture: 1 Million

Airport: PKU. International Service to SIN, KUL.

Time, Cost to City Center: 15 mins. $10.

Hotels: Aryaduta

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: IAIN Pekanbaru

Destinations: Traditional market


Timezone WIT. Local Language and Culture: 1Million Denpasar City, 4 Million Bali Island. Balinese Hindu.

Airport: DPS

Time, Cost to City Center: See DPS transit information in the Travel Section above.

Hotels: There are over 500 hotels on Bali. The most elite is Bulgari down to the cheapest kost. See for all 500.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: Ganesha University, Singarajah and Bali Boarding School, grades 10-12.


Bali is the shape of a large diamond. At the bottom point is the airport. Imagine a much smaller diamond turned upside down and the point would also touch at the airport. Neighbourhoods from the airport going to the northwest: Kuta (a beach popular with Java people and Beachwalk Mall. Try Sheraton Hotel $350 or Harrison Hotel $80), Legian (dance clubs and bars, try SkyGarden Bar near the Bali Bombing Memorial), Seminyak (high end hotels, try the W Hotel). Neighborhoods from the airport going due North: Denpasar City. Three hours beyond this is Singarajah (Try Lovina Hotel and Spa $100). Neighborhoods from the airport going Northeast: Sanur (Mercure Hotel, muddy lagoon like beach). To the far Northeast is Ubud (in the forest). To the southwest of airport is Jimbaran (try Intercontinental Hotel for beach and sunsets). To the southeast of the airport is Nusa Dua (Western resort style beach hotels and morning sun, try Regis ($300), Mulia ($200) or Indonesian owned Ayodya Resort for comparable amenities at a lower price ($120).

In Balinese, there is no word for ‘art’. It is just something you do to live. Each community has its own art. For example, one community may be filled with painters and another sculptors and so on. Talk to a driver and tell them what you want to see. We can recommend a driver. Seeing originally created jewelry being made by the artist is possible. Silver is most common (mined in Indonesia) and there is also some gold.

Lombok, the island east of Bali is a 40 minute flight and less touristy than Bali (try Sheraton Hotel).

There are also 3 very small islands (Gili Air, Gili Meno) off the west coast of Bali accessed by small boats from west Lombok. One of the 3 islands (Gili Trawangan) can be accessed by high speed boat from Bali. GT is the most touristy.

Tanah Lot, a temple on the west coast of Bali is the most popular and very touristy but there are thousands of temples to visit. Visitors will be provided with a sari to cover from the waist down.


Samarinda, East Kalimantan. Timezone WIT. Local Language and Culture: less than 1M. Melting pot including Bugis and Dayak.

Airport: Samarinda-SRI. Balikpapan Airport – BPN

Samarinda Airport is located in the middle of the city and can accommodate only small planes, mostly from Balikpapan. Renovation is planned.

Time, Cost to City Center: 5 mins, $3. From Balikpapan, 15 mins $5 to BPN city center. 3 hours, $20 to Samarinda.

Hotels: Swiss-Bel or Mesra

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: Mulawarman U

Destinations: Explore nature.

Makassar, South Sulawesi. Timezone WIT. Local Language and Culture: 2 Million. Makarese, Bugis, Dayak and more. Makassar is also named Ujung Pandang, the name used at airports.

Airport: UPG

Time, Cost to City Center: 30 mins, $20.

Hotels: Aryaduta

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: U Negeri Makassar

Destinations: market, Fort Rotterdam

Gorontalo, Gorontalo Province in north/central Sulawesi. Timezone WIT. Local Language and Culture: Less than 1M. Gorontalese

Airport: GTO

Time, Cost to City Center: 50 mins. Usually by driver. Taxis available.

Hotels: Maqna

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: U Negeri Gorontalo

Destinations: Nature encounters. Enjoy a sleepy small Indonesian town where chickens roam the streets.

Manado, North Sulawesi. Timezone WIT. Local Language and Culture: Less than 1M. Manadonese Christians.

Airport: MDC

Time, Cost to City Center: 25 mins $10. By driver to the main campus, 2 hours.

Hotels: Novotel at the Airport if you’re going to main campus. If you’re spending time in town, Aryaduta Hotel.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: U Negeri Manado. Note the Graduate School is located in the city, but the main campus is located 2 hours up the mountain next to a lake.

Destinations: Underwater marine park with world class diving, easily accessible by ferry from downtown Manado.


Jayapura, Papua. Timezone WETA. Local Language and Culture: 250,000 people. Papuan Christians but many people in the city are Javanese.

Airport:  DJJ

Time, Cost to City Center: 45 mins. By driver. Taxis available.

Hotels: Aston.

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: No partner, but Cendawarsih U is the big institution in town.

Destinations: This is where Indonesians go when they want to get away. The mountains that jut out of the ocean have an ethereal quality. A jumping off point to Papua New Guinea or central Papua Indonesia, travellers should exercise caution because of a sometimes-violent separatist movement in rural areas.

Raja Ampat Marine Underwater diving area can be accessed by air from here although Manado Marine Park in Sulawesi is more accessible.

Merauke, Papua. Timezone WETA. Local Language and Culture: 200,000 people. Papuan Christians and immigrants from Java working for government.

Airport: MKQ

Time, Cost to City Center: 5 mins. $3.

Hotels: SwissBel

Partner/Collaborating Institutions: No partner, but Musamus U is the big institution in town.

Destinations: Nature interactions. Beach. Papua New Guinea is 30 miles/50kms. Merauke is a sleepy town located on a river delta with broad flat beaches. All flights arrive and leave within 1 hour of each other, leaving the other 23 hours of the day quite isolated. Here, and the town of Ambon in the spice islands are about the 2 places you can fly into on commercial aircraft and still have a very very quiet existence. The great American novel can be written here.

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