The start of a journey

With a fresh new visa stamp in my passport I am starting another mini-adventure in Indonesia. The first leg of the trip will be from Medan to Padang. I checked my Lonely Planet and it said the bus takes around 20 hours. I don’t mind traveling by bus or train, but I have a tolerance level of around 10 hours. So I decided it would be better to fly.

Indonesia Matters has a great article on the pros and cons of booking airline tickets in Indonesia. Where available, I will go with Air Asia, which is a Malaysian based airline and are usually cheap and I have a bit more confidence flying with them than Indonesian airlines.

Unfortunately AirAsia don’t fly Medan-Padang, so I checked Mandala Air. I don’t have an Indonesian credit card I needed to pay and pick up the tickets at the sales office at Medan airport. Since I wasn’t actually sure what we would do, I didn’t make the booking on the website. At the airport the staff asked us how much the prices were on the website. Isn’t it their job to tell us the price?! I think they just wanted to try and get more money out me being a foreigner.

I know traveling by bus has its dangers but I couldn’t help typing in “Mandala Air Safety” in Google. Wikipedia reports just one fatal accident after taking off in Medan in 2005. They are also on the European Union’s airline blacklist and is currently forbidden to fly into the European Union.

Although now they have been placed in Safety Category 1 by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). How reassuring!


  1. ammanda Said,

    May 3, 2009 @ 2:19 am

    yups,, i agreed with u,,
    coz by bus u need 20hours 2get padang..
    u’ll stop 5 or 6 times in restaurant 2hv some foods 4afew minutes..
    so it will b more than 20hours 2get there..u also will spend more money 2hv some foods on the way.
    afew months ago the ticket 2padang by bus about 350 rupiah,, the bus has AC,, TV,, toilet but u’ll b tired coz mayb u’ll get there about 24 hours. so if u go 2padang by plane,, u’ll get there about 2hours n the ticket 4plane also same price as u go 2padang by bus..

  2. Izecson Said,

    May 4, 2009 @ 12:03 am

    Check out this link for Indonesian airlines safety record

    Mandala had some troubles with an unruly passenger(???) back in December.

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