Warning at Kualanamuda Medan Airport Sumatra
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 28, 2013 1:32 PM Last Post By: chattster
Oct 26, 2013 8:51 PM
Warning at Kualanamuda Medan Airport SumatraAS A REGULAR TRAVELER TO MEDAN , I DO LIKE TO SHARE THE FOLLOWING EXPERIENCE ; MOST EXPATS AGREE THAT THE NEW AIRPORT IS WORSE THEN THE OLD POLONIA AIRPORT . FIRST ; TRANSPORT TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT IS A NIGHTMARE , WITH A CAR / BUS ETC IT TAKES YOU 2/3 HOURS TO MEDAN ; THE TRAIN IS UNRELIABLE ; MANY OLD TRAINS FROM KOREA. ENTERING THE AIRPORT , YOU WILL SEE ON THE RIGHT 2 DESKS ; ONE FOR PAYING THE AIRPORT TAX ; BE CAREFUL , THIS IS THE FIRST SCAM ; AS LONG AS YOU PAY US 25,- YOURE OK ; DO NOT PAY WITH ANYTHING ELSE , BECAUSE THE EXCHANGE RATE IS HORRIBLE......NEXT IS IMMIGRATION ; WELL THIS GUY WAS LOOKING INTO HIS COMPUTER LIKE A MONKEY IN A RUSTY WATCH.. AFTER 40 MINUTES HE GAVE UP , AND WALKED TO THE " LOCALS " DESK AND AFTER 15 MIN. I GOT MY VOA , AND TO BE CONFRONTED WITH A COMPLETE CHAOS OF TOUTS , PROSTITUTES , AND LOCAL FAMILIES WHO USE THE ARRIVAL HALL AS A TEMPORARY HOMESTAY. SO , NEXT SCAM ; IF YOU BOOKED A TAXI TROUGH A HOTEL / GUESTHOUSE ETC , YOU HAVE A PROBLEM , BECAUSE MANY DRIVERS ARE CARRYING BADGES FROM DIFFERENT COMPANYS , ONLY CHARGING A LOT MORE ; IF YOUR DESTINATION IS LAKE TOBA , AND YOU ARRIVE IN THE AFTERNOON , BETTER GO STRAIGHT FROM THE AIRPORT TO PARAPAT , AND STAY ONE NIGHT IN A CHEAP HOTEL ; LET,S HOPE THINGS ARE IMPROVING IN THE NEAR FUTURE....
Oct 26, 2013 9:02 PM
Oct 27, 2013 2:12 AM
2Hi guys ... We used this airport only leaving Medan .. Only drama we had was buying a ticket .. Took 1/2 he in the queue and then guy at desk said no more tickets (despite 10 mins to depp) .. Luckily a local guy stepped in and got the guy to sell us 4 tickets ... So my advice is get there early for your ticket (BTW there may have been some auto ticket dispensers but with 2 kids and partner waiting closer to train ...loathe to give up queue position:-) )
Our train was on time, friendly staff, clean. .. No complaints)
Oct 27, 2013 2:12 AM
Oct 27, 2013 4:16 AM
Oct 27, 2013 5:49 AM
5When you arrive you pay VOA - USD25 but other currencies accepted. There has been a lot of movement in the IDR (downwards) so there may be differences in what seems to be right to you.
You pay airport tax when you are departing Medan IDR 75,000 - only IDR accepted. Other airports like Denpasar and Jakarta are different IDR150,000. (International rates.)
Oct 27, 2013 7:15 AM
6Sounds like an airport arrivals experience in anyone of thousands of airports across the developing world. But prostitutes in the arrival hall? haha, that takes the cake! Otherwise this is all quite normal for Indo, you need to figure out the best way to get to where you want to go form the airport, and allow time, in case it takes 1 hour to get a visa. That is just how it goes sometimes!
Oct 27, 2013 8:41 AM
7well, i arrived two weeks with airasia at kuala namu from jakarta. bags arrived very fast. got out of the arrival hall and was approached by a local who offered me a ride to parapat for 500k idr. didn't haggled at all cuz i expected a lot more and within minutes we were on the road.
last week i took the flight from kuala namu with airasia to kuala lumpur. flight started at 5am. organized a cab through my guesthouse in medan. of course, no traffic at this time. few people at the airport. checked in, paid airport tax, cleared immigration and security checks within minutes and had some nice and cheap breakfast.
couldn't face any of the above problems. very convient, clean and well organized airport.
Oct 27, 2013 12:01 PM
8Please turn off caps lock.
"MOST EXPATS AGREE THAT THE NEW AIRPORT IS WORSE THEN THE OLD POLONIA AIRPORT"
In some respects, yes. However the departures experience is significantly improved (albeit that the location is less convenient). The old airport was a relic from the past and it needed to be closed. As with most cities in the world, the new airport is now located outside the city.
" TRANSPORT TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT IS A NIGHTMARE , WITH A CAR / BUS ETC IT TAKES YOU 2/3 HOURS TO MEDAN ; "
This simply is not true. Typical journey time is 1 hour. As with any city in the world sometimes there is traffic and it can take more than that, but 1 hour or a little over is the realistic time.
"THE TRAIN IS UNRELIABLE ; MANY OLD TRAINS FROM KOREA. ENTERING THE AIRPORT "
The trains aren't particularly old, they are quite pleasant air-conditioned trains (not 'many', they have two, maybe three units) and nothing wrong with them at all. I don't know about reliability, but the schedule is not convenient and the price is too high.
"ONE FOR PAYING THE AIRPORT TAX ; BE CAREFUL , THIS IS THE FIRST SCAM ; AS LONG AS YOU PAY US 25,- YOURE OK ; DO NOT PAY WITH ANYTHING ELSE , BECAUSE THE EXCHANGE RATE IS HORRIBLE......"
Well you might be out an extra $2 because of an inferior exchange rate? It's not the end of the world. Every airport money changer in the world gives poor rates IME. I was given a terrible rate in Dubai and then they charged me a 'transaction fee' of something like $5 (equivalent)
Also depending on what currency you are holding it could be more expensive to change for $ before arriving than to take the horrible rate.
".NEXT IS IMMIGRATION ; WELL THIS GUY WAS LOOKING INTO HIS COMPUTER LIKE A MONKEY IN A RUSTY WATCH.. AFTER 40 MINUTES HE GAVE UP , AND WALKED TO THE " LOCALS " DESK AND AFTER 15 MIN. I GOT MY VOA , "
This isn't normal. And it wasn't 40 minutes there's just no way. Perhaps you mean 10 minutes but are just exaggerating like the rest of your post.
But again my experience in billion dollar Dubai airport recently: arriving from Singapore, queue for immigration that moved very slowly because of computer wasn't working properly.
And then on the way out of Dubai again the immigration was incredibly slow and then at the last minute they told us to move to a different queue full of people in wheelchairs and small children. We went back to the original queue because it was faster and the immigration man was rude to us and said we should have got the airport on time. We told him that we did but it took nearly an hour to check in firstly because of the long queue and secondly because the check-in assistant (also rude) couldn't find any seats on the plane for us together.
"AND TO BE CONFRONTED WITH A COMPLETE CHAOS OF TOUTS , PROSTITUTES , AND LOCAL FAMILIES WHO USE THE ARRIVAL HALL AS A TEMPORARY HOMESTAY. "
Prostitutes? I didn't see any. There are some families, but it's easier to get through than say Heathrow airport, which is much more crowded and chaotic.
I've been to many many airports with taxi touts, and trust me that Kuala Namu is very far from being plagued with touts. We got asked once, maybe twice, if we wanted a taxi, and just said no. No big deal. And if you do go with the tout you pay maybe $10 more than you should? There are plenty of airports in the world where you could pay $100 extra for a taxi tout. Hell, I paid £70 ($115) for an official licensed London Taxi (black tab) to take me from the airport to my home 24km, 30 minutes drive away. And that's the everyday price.
" SO , NEXT SCAM ; IF YOU BOOKED A TAXI TROUGH A HOTEL / GUESTHOUSE ETC , YOU HAVE A PROBLEM , BECAUSE MANY DRIVERS ARE CARRYING BADGES FROM DIFFERENT COMPANYS , ONLY CHARGING A LOT MORE ;"
I'm not really sure what you are claiming here. Different drivers work for different companies.Ok.
" IF YOUR DESTINATION IS LAKE TOBA , AND YOU ARRIVE IN THE AFTERNOON , BETTER GO STRAIGHT FROM THE AIRPORT TO PARAPAT , AND STAY ONE NIGHT IN A CHEAP HOTEL ; LET,S HOPE THINGS ARE IMPROVING IN THE NEAR FUTURE"
Yes that's because the airport is between Medan and Parapat, so it makes sense to stay in Parapat rather than in Medan, which is in the wrong direction.
Basically Kuala Namu is a normal Indonesian airport and it's not an all-caps drama or catastrophe, and anyone who was flown even a little bit around the world would find nothing shocking.
Of course it's not a modern Singapore Airport-style marvel, but it's perfectly acceptable and unremarkable, and only really of note because people miss being able to take a taxi in 10 minutes from the airport to their Medan hotel.
Oct 27, 2013 9:48 PM
9Sorry , i can,t help you on that ; been there 4 times but no ticket counters / bluebell taxis ; You can try the parking , but that,s a complete chaos ..( worse than the "old " one at Polonia...; I can,t comment on the train ; my destination is Lake Toba ( i live there..) so your not travelling south to Medan for 3 hours and after that north to Parapat 6/7 hours.
Oct 27, 2013 10:50 PM
10Hello " The Lawnet " So , no caps lock this time ( found my glasses..) I,m glad that you have a different opinion of Kualanamu airport , like a couple of others . Hope i can share your experience ; maybe i expected to much from a new airport. I,m 65 years old ex offshore worker and been backpacking for 40years ; been in every dirty airport in the world ,but always prepared . Well there,s always something to improve ; so hopefully in the near future everybody will be happy. Now it,s time to take a plunge in the beautiful Toba Lake....Horas !
Oct 28, 2013 7:07 AM
Oct 28, 2013 1:32 PM
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