Long Journey Home: Relocating in The Time of COVID-19 (Part 3)

The decision to relocate in the time of pandemic is a big decision for so many reasons. To be honest, this was the most complicated and the most expensive trip to Indonesia we ever had. Particularly because we were obliged to do the so called quarantine. If things were different, I would rather do a 14 days self quarantine rather than 8 days in a hotel. But because it was not an option, we wanted to make sure that the quarantine would be at least a part of our smooth transition.

That was why my husband and I had a long discussion about where to do the quarantine. We have nothing against the Government facility actually, because the reviews that we heard were mixed. Some say it’s not that bad, some say it’s a big no. But for us, the reason why in the end we chose hotel instead of Wisma Atlet, was because of the Wi-Fi availability.

Since everyone in the family, except the littlest one, needed a reliable internet connection for work and school, the fact that there is no Wi-Fi in Wisma Atlet was a big problem for us. We knew from a friend that we could order a local sim card for our phone there and then buy an internet quota to set a personal hotspot. But for us, that option was a bit risky so we decided to just check the list of the quarantine hotels, even if that meant we had to pay the expense by ourselves.

Why Novotel Tangerang?

At the time when we arrived in Indonesia, there were 40 something hotels that were approved by the Indonesian Government to accommodate repatriate and travellers coming from overseas. We narrowed down the option by focusing on the hotels that are located in Tangerang, not Jakarta. Tangerang is an outskirt city of Jakarta in which Cengkareng Airport is actually located. The city happens to be where my parents in law’s live also, so by staying in Tangerang, it would make it easier for us to go there once the quarantine was over. There were only 6 quarantine hotels in Tangerang in the list that time and 3 of them are located very close to the airport so they were not the best option for us who were not going to have a transit.

I sent emails to the three hotels, asking for the price, facilities and so on. Unlike regular booking, the price for a hotel quarantine is a package price. You pay for the room, the three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), the laundry, the PCR test and other facilities depending on the policy from the hotel, then multiply that by the days and the number of persons. So yes, the price is not cheap! 😀

Our criteria for the hotel were simple: the distance from my in law’s house and the size of the room. We knew that it was not staying for a holiday or something so we kept our expectation low. But we still want to have some spaces so we would not feel too suffocating for being in a room 24/8. From the internet research, the reviews from previous guests, and my impression when I was in regular contact with the person in charge from the hotels, we decided to do the quarantine in Novotel Tangerang. And honestly, that was one of the best decisions we made during our long journey home.

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