follow us on

Journeying to Jakarta On Board Air Asia — Manila to Jakarta Route Now Soaring

On January 9, 2018 friendly-cost airline carrier Air Asia launched its maiden voyage flight from Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia. What was particularly special about it and came as a surprise to some is that captaining the flight for the day was none other than Air Asia Philippines’ CEO himself, Dexter Comendador. He was formerly with the Philippine air force and was once also a commercial flight pilot for a different airline. 

Air Asia Philippines Chairwoman, wanderlust woman Marianne Hontiveros, also joined the inaugural flight with the Philippines’ Indonesian embassy officers led by Charge d'affaires Budi Dhewajani and Hidayat Zakaira in tow. The trip itself was a massive opportunity to forge stronger business bonds between the bustling urban hubs of two countries who largely contribute to the tropical charm of Southeast Asia. 



The flight duration to Jakarta is a little over four hours and in terms of timezone is just 1-hour behind Manila. It was quite pleasant to arrive on Indonesian soil with a gentle landing and bright weather. On board Manila to Jakarta flights guests will be presented with a delicious Indonesian menu boxed meal selection for in-flight meals. 

During our trip homebound for Manila from Jakarta, we particularly enjoyed the Chicken Rice dish and the look of their fragrant Nasi Lemak; rice steamed with coconut milk and pandan topped also with dried fish and peanuts. The food in Indonesia may have the use of more spices, chili, and peanut sauce but in general tourists will find it isn’t a huge leap from our own Filipino cuisine after eating their first few meals in Jakarta. 



A warm Indonesian welcome awaited our media entourage in Jakarta. A spray of batik menswear among our hosts caught our eye, not to mention flower leis, a hefty cake, and a round of smiles. Our immediate observation in the early days of our stay was that Indonesians are strongly known for their peaceful and warm personalities even when driving, though Filipinos are still much more confident when it comes to cracking jokes and taking selfies with foreign visitors.

In spite of the similarity to Manila in terms of road traffic challenges, Indonesians in Jakarta energetically putter all over the streets with a lot less drama on two wheels carrying a great deal more tolerance hence more flow and forward movement on the road despite the volume. There isn’t this sense that anyone local is deeply besieged by traffic 24/7, we observed them quietly working with it. Thousands of individually owned motorcycles fill the gaps between vehicles on main roads, almost like an endless, busy ant colony. If you are a pedestrian, however, you may find crossing the road more than just a tiny bit more challenging. 

It took Air Asia roughly 6 years to plan these fledgling routes. This coming January 19 in addition to the Manila-Indonesia flight Air Asia is adding a Manila-Bali option as well. Bali, being the crowd-favorite this side of the sea when it comes to Indonesian destinations, is likely to draw beach-crazy tourists in by the thousands. Not exactly a beach person? Four hours on the road from Jakarta, somewhat like Baguio from Manila, is Bandung, a high mountain province which is said to be chilly like Tagaytay or Baguio and quite a hub in itself for music, culture, and style, too.

Interested in just heading out on a simple trip somewhere for Valentine’s? Journey to Jakarta and you may be surprised. On Air Asia’s site we test booked a Manila departure for Jakarta February 12th, Monday to return Sunday the 18th and it is only priced at Php5205.00 round trip on their site at the moment. Interested to book? Check out their current promos at