Business Traveller

1,500 people, 2 elevators and 500 tons of luggage -- here's how the Saudi king travels

Juliet PerryUpdated 1st March 2017
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(CNN) — The King of Saudi Arabia certainly knows how to travel in style.
In the first visit by a Saudi ruler in almost half a century, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud arrived in Indonesia Wednesday for a nine-day tour of the world's most populous Muslim nation.
The King will spend a few days in Jakarta and West Java before heading to the popular tourist island of Bali on the Indonesian leg of a month-long Asia tour that's already taken him to Malaysia and which will also see him going to China, Japan and the Maldives.
And according to media reports, he isn't traveling light.
Adji Gunawan, the president of airport services company PT Jasa Angkasa Semestar, said the King will be traveling with 459 metric tons of luggage, approximately 505 US tons, the Jakarta Post reported.
For anyone struggling to wrap their heads around how that compares to your more traditional -- if slightly meager by comparison -- 40 pound luggage allowance, the average African Elephant reportedly weighs between 2.5 and 7 US tons.
So take your oversized suitcase, and replace it with two hundred of the world's largest land-based animals.

What on earth does he have in there?

The more unconventional things in his luggage include two Mercedes-Benz S600 and two free-standing electric elevators, according to the Jakarta Post.
Two Mercedes-Benz S600 were flown to Indonesia.
Two Mercedes-Benz S600 were flown to Indonesia.
This might seem odd, but it isn't even the first time the lavish leader has traveled with an elevator.
In 2015, the King's installation of an elevator on a beach in France caused an outcry, as locals protested its installation as well as the beach's closure, according to Reuters.
The elevators have reportedly already been delivered -- one arrived in Jakarta on February 21 and the other in Denpasar, Bali on February 22.
People sit and stand by the water as workers disassemble an elevator on the public beach near the Saudi King's villa in the Golfe-Juan seaside resort in Vallauris, southeastern France, on August 3, 2015.
People sit and stand by the water as workers disassemble an elevator on the public beach near the Saudi King's villa in the Golfe-Juan seaside resort in Vallauris, southeastern France, on August 3, 2015.
JAS president director Adji Gunawan said 63 tons of the cargo was being unloaded in Jakarta, with the remaining 396 tons being taken to Denpasar, Bali.

Is it all just for him?

No, the King also comes with an epic entourage.
According to Indonesian news agency Antara, King Salman is traveling with no less than 1,500 people -- including ten ministers, 800 delegates and 25 princes -- who traveled to Indonesia in 36 different flights over a period of three weeks.
Adji Gunawan from JAS said that he was deploying 572 members of staff to handle the Saudi King's trip.

This sounds like a logistical nightmare

It's expected that the King's highly anticipated arrival will cause some disruption to travel services on Wednesday.
Security is tight. According to local media reports Indonesia's national police force has readied 10,000 officers across Jakarta, West Java and Bali.
And good luck finding a hotel in Jakarta this week: the King and his extensive entourage are reportedly booked into hundreds of rooms across four of the most exclusive hotels in the city, including the Ritz, Raffles and Marriott.
However concerned honeymooners and bikini-clad holidaymakers need not fear disruption to any once-in-a-lifetime trips to Bali taking place next week.
At a press conference in Jakarta, the Saudi ambassador for Indonesia assured people that tourist destinations and beaches across the island would stay open, Antara reported.
"There is no special agenda in Bali. King Salman and his entourage will enjoy the natural beauty of the island," the ambassador said.
According to CNN Indonesia, once on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali, the King and his entourage will be staying in three luxury hotels -- including the Bulgari, where the most exclusive villa costs up to $4,400 a night.
The resort also boasts a private beach -- accessible only by an elevator.