Pt I: Prologue
Pt II: Getting There
Pt III: Phoenix Hotel and Yogyakarta
Pt IV: Borobudur
Pt V: Kaliurang (and rest of the day)
Pt VI: Village Cycling Tour & Paprika
Pt VII: Going Home
Pt VIII: Epilogue
During the week leading up to the trip, Singapore was blanketed with haze not seen since 1997. On the night before we were due to depart, Singapore’s air quality measured 321 on the Pollutants Standards Index, the highest reading ever recorded. Anything above 300 is considered to be at hazardous level and boy was I glad to escape Singapore for four days.
I woke up at 4.20am and caught a bit of Confederation Cup’s action between Brazil and Mexico before getting ready for Ying’s pick-up. She reached my place at around 5.30am and soon we found ourselves at T3.
Passengers heading towards Indonesia were already forming up at the check-in counters at Row A despite the early hours.
I had called Garuda’s office the day before to request for a fruit platter breakfast (for Ying) and I asked the agent if it was loaded. She wasn’t sure and asked her colleague ‘FPML apa?’. Turned out that it stood for ‘Fruit Platter Meal’ and we were good to go.
Ying had a craving for McDonald’s breakfast and between us we shared a Breakfast Deluxe Meal. I got the buns, turkey bacon and hash brown while she had the pancakes and burger patty.
It wasn’t cheap at S$9.80 (changed drink to Milo); got me thinking if McDonald’s is more expensive at the airport than elsewhere.
There was no queue at the immigration and from there it was a looooooong trek to Gate A16. Ying entertained herself while I used the toilet en-route.
There were two Garuda flights leaving SIN in the early morning; GA823 to Jakarta and GA841 to Bali. I had noticed a group of rather noisy Chinese passengers at the Garuda check-in counters earlier and luckily for us they were on the Bali flight.
Garuda invited its business class passengers, its Frequent Flyer elites and passengers with elderly or young children to board first before the rest of the economy class passengers. Every boarding pass had a colour-coded sticker indicating front, middle or rear. The gate agents enforced boarding by zone strictly; I saw passengers being asked to hold until their zones were called. Thought it was a good boarding process.
Flight: Garuda Indonesia GA 832
Depart: Singapore (SIN) – 7:25
Arrive: Jakarta (CGK) – 8:15
Distance: 549 miles (884 km)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 17 A
Both Singapore and Indonesian newspapers were offered at the door but somehow we missed it.
We settled down quickly in our seats which we were happy with. There were individual screen and pillow at each seat.
As usual I foraged through the seat pocket content.
Strange that there wasn’t an inflight magazine among all the publications.
It wasn’t before long that the crew came around with pre-departure drink.
The haze situation still hadn’t improved from last night and the colour of the rising sun seemed more like a setting one.
There wasn’t much of a variety when I looked out of my window.
While pushing back, I noticed a plane taking off.
The rather long taxi to the runway allowed me to spot planes at the remote stands.
The most interesting one got to be this:-
I only found out later that ZK-OVA is Air New Zealand’s first A320 with sharklets and it was on its delivery flight from Paris to Auckland. Cool.
The plane took off from the runway 02C/20C (parallel to T2) towards Straits of Singapore.
As soon as the plane reached cruising altitude I fired up the IFE system to see what was on offer. It was my first time operating an IFE with a touchscreen and the controls were definitely not sensitive enough. I had the problem with the headset as well; the audio was really soft and barely audible. Decided against to ask for another pair since it was such a short flight.
In the mean time, Ying’s special meal arrived ahead of the rest of the meals.
By the time the meal service reached me, only duck fried rice was left. I never got to know what the other option was.
The rice was quite dry and the pieces of duck was chewy. Not the best of meal.
As Garuda was the official airline for Liverpool FC, it was no surprise to find clips from Liverpoolfc.tv.
The advertisements were longer than the clip itself and I had to restart the clip a few times before getting the video to work.
After having enough of exploring the IFE, I switched to view the flight map.
The captain came on the PA that we would be preparing to land soon and the crew went about with the preparation.
Despite the delay at SIN, we were only a few minutes late arriving in the haze-free Jakarta.
It took us a while before we disembarked but luckily for us the immigration counters were queue-free. After handling in the customs form, we spotted a sign for passengers transferring to Garuda domestic flights (turn left after customs instead of walking out to land-side).
A security staff checked our boarding passes before allowing us to enter the domestic arrival area. We just kept walking until we came to the escalator which brought us up to the Departure level. While it wasn’t very difficult to make the transfer, the signages were lacking and I wondered to myself a few times if we were going the correct way. Honestly Garuda could still improve its transit/transfer process at CGK.
As we had gotten our boarding pass at SIN and had no check-in luggage, we didn’t have to go to the check-in counters. Despite a myriad of lounges at CGK (ran by the different banks for their customers), we couldn’t make use of any and had to make do with the general waiting area.
I decided to go around if I could do some spotting. Not much to see except for this:-
When the time came, we went through the security and headed for our gate. I couldn’t see the plane’s registration until we were about to board.
Flight: Garuda Indonesia GA 206
Depart: Jakarta (CGK) – 10:05
Arrive: Yogyakarta (JOG) – 11:25
Distance: 283 miles (455 km)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 17 F
There was no welcome drink but welcome FOX sweets.
The safety card was different from the previous plane’s and it had Colours, Garuda’s in-flight magazine.
Flipped through Colours and came across some interesting stuff:-
We got a pleasant surprise to see the plane in retro Garuda livery parked beside us.
Spotted these en-route to taking off:-
It seemed that there would always be a delay of half an hour or so out of CGK and this flight was no exception.
As soon as the flight reached cruising altitude, the crew started the in-flight service. Halfway through they were interrupted by turbulence and had to stop for a while.
Finally my snack reached me.
Meanwhile outside the window:-
Thought that it was really challenging to serve a full plane their snacks and drinks within such a short flight. The crew managed to do it while remaining courteous and professional. Pretty good job in my opinion.
Despite the delay in CGK, we were only 10 minutes late when our plane landed at JOG.
It was a small airport compared to CGK and I only saw two other planes.
There was no aerobridge; only good old stairs. This meant that we could take photograph of the aircraft up close.