In the last several years we had quite a few annual trip to Indonesia and our port of entry is Soekarno Hatta airport. And every year we always come across confused travelers at the arrival area. Lack of signage was one of the issue. Another one was the long line at the immigration line.
A few things I would like to share here if you're coming through Soekarno Hatta airport :
- When you reach the arrival area, look for sign for VOA, it's usually a very short or no line at all. Prepare exact change of US$35 and your passport. I doubt they even need to see your passport, because the payment is actually collected by an onsite bank. But I always prepare my passport anyway. Once payment is collected, they'll give you a receipt/voucher.
- Bring your receipt/voucher along with your passport and arrival card and find the line to the immigration. This is usually a very long very slow moving line.
This time coming through Soekarno Hatta we overheard a conversation from some travelers in front of us. They looked like businessmen and they've been to Jakarta numerous times. The group they were conversing with was a few older ladies. One of the ladies said she paid US$40 and was given change of IDR55000. One of the businessmen pulled out his calculator and punched in some numbers and told the lady that she was shorted IDR10000 (almost US$1). And the businessman continued to say that wasn't as bad as one of their friends who was shorted around US$40 because he gave US$100 for the VOA fee. Hmm..
As usual, the immigration line we were in moved very slowly or almost not moving at all. Because apparently there was only one counter opened. WTF ? There were at least 100 people on our queue. This is going to be a long day we thought. About 15 minutes in the wait, finally a bunch of people on our queue walked away towards the immigration line for the locals which was further down the arrival area. Apparently one of the official thought it's time to move us faster. So all he did was waiving at people and pointed to the counters for locals. But given minimal instruction, a few people still had doubt and anxiously waiting at the newly formed immigration line. Especially because the line was meant for Indonesians and ASEAN countries.