Things to Know if You Travel to JOG

JOG — airport code for Jogjakarta, commonly referred to as Jogja by locals, otherwise known as Yogyakarta. Boy, this Indonesian city in Central Java doesn’t make it easy, does it? That’s just the beginning. What til you get to the airport.

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If you’re flying into Indonesia from another country, check to see whether you need a visa. As an American, I did. So I started to reconsider, but then did a little research and found that for $25, I could purchase a ‘Visa On Arrival’ at the JOG airport as long as I had a return ticket out of there, and some good old American cash. Once I arrived, I found that they accepted other currencies as well. But here are a few tips, in case you go:

1. Book a seat toward the front of the plane so you can hurry off and line up at the one-man ‘Visa on Arrival’ window. Nearly half the flight were visitors to the country, so the line was long and snakes out of the tiny arrival area inside. It could not even hold a planeful of people. If you’re claustrophobic, maybe you’d be better off waiting outside.

2. No one asked to see my return ticket, but of course you should have one, just in case.

3. After you get your visa, you still need to go through the one-man customs & immigration desk to get your passport stamped. Then, once you have your bag, it needs to go through the customs security scan. This is all in the space about the size of a McDonald’s restaurant — if that.

4. Lots of people will offer to taxi you. Arrange your ride beforehand or you’re likely to get ripped off.

5. SAVE SOME CASH!! There is a departure tax of 100,000 rupiah (about $10) when you leave Jogjakarta. Cash only. Be prepared.

The best part about arriving in Jogjakarta? Once you exchange your currency, you suddenly feel like a millionaire. That, and a few other things I’ll get to. Come with me…

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