Friday, May 31, 2013

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia,  Southeast Asia

By. Tyara P Hansel

The City
As a capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta sure has a lot of interesting to offer. Whether you’re an
adventurous traveler, party traveler or just looking for a new destination or your next family holiday, you will always find anything you want in the city. Jakarta is divided into five areas; Central Jakarta, West Jakarta, South Jakarta, East Jakarta and North Jakarta. Each area has its own uniqueness. Central Jakarta is popular for its business district, but it has also abundant of historical sites and museums. South Jakarta is possibly the hippest area of the city with numerous shopping centers (Pondok Indah Mall, Plaza Senayan, Senayan City, Lippo Mall Kemang and Lippo Mall Kemang –just to name a few), restaurants, bars and interesting hang out spots.

If you love some outdoor or aquatic activities, North Jakarta is the best place. From Ancol, you can take a boat ride to some beautiful islands of the city. Yes, you read that right. Jakarta has several islands that worth the visit, it’s called Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Island), with many islands to discover including Tiger Island, Pramuka Island, Pari Island, and Tidung Island. If you’re looking for a nice object to shoot, spend a day at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah –a miniature of the archipelago- in East Jakarta, or if you want to shop for more, take a cab to two humongous malls in West Jakarta: Mall Taman Anggrek and Central Park, I’m pretty sure you won’t leave the mall empty handed.

The Food
If food is your main concern, then you can relax. The city has a wide range of food available for every pocket –from modest street hawkers to an exclusive fine dining restaurant, so you’ll be good. If you don’t have sensitive stomach, you can try some of the low budget streetside food stalls, as they offer local dishes in a very affordable price. Soto Betawi (coconut milk soup with gravy, mixed beef, lungs, liver, tripe and celery, usually served with rice and emping crackers), Kerak Telor (traditional spicy omelette dish made from glutinous rice cooked with egg and served with fried shredded coconut, fried shallots and dried shrimp topping), Nasi Gila (sausage, chicken, meatballs and lamb ladled liberally
over white rice and garnised with a handful of crackers) and Gado Gado (traditional salad consist of vegetables, tofu, potatoes and peanut sauce dressing) are a must-try. Or else, you can just point at any international restaurant in the city –from Chinese, German, Korean, Thai, American, French, Middle Eastern, Indian to Japanese food, Jakarta got it cover. One thing though, never drink the tap water anywhere.

The People
People are mixed, some are nice and friendly, and
some are just impatience and ignorance. Don’t depend yourself by asking a guidance from strangers on the street. First, most people on the street doesn’t speak English, and second, they just don’t have a clue. I hate to break it to you, but you probably already hear this from anywhere else anyway, Jakarta is not the safest city in the country so make sure to keep your belongings safe, and if you take a walk in the city, make sure not to look so flashy.

All the vendors only accept Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR). Credit cards are accepted in medium to large vendors, but travellers cheque is not widely accepted. However, money changers are available every here and there, so it should be easy.

When travelling in Jakarta, plan a your itinerary ahead as you have to list down all the places you want to visit. Remember, the city’s not designed for walking, so you will probably have to either take a cab or rent a car. The most reputable taxi in Jakarta, and in many big cities in Indonesia, is Blue Bird (and
Silver Bird), so just forget the rest. Other public transportation like the city bus Trans Jakarta or city train (Komuter Line) is not recommended for tourist as they tend to be too much of a hassle. I won’t recommend you to drive in the city, as well. So if you plan to rent a car, make sure you hire the driver as well. The city’s traffic is unbearable, especially during the rainy day and peak hours. Just a quick trivia, in Jakarta, car driving is on the left side.

It’s quite unpredictable nowadays, but we only have two seasons –rainy season and dry season- with high humidity and lots of rainfall that even during the dry season there are some rainy days. Dress lightly, because due to Jakarta’s proximity to the equator, temperatures do not vary much which is about 28 – 31 Celsius. Of course, if you plan to stay during the wet season (normally from November to June), you might want to prepare for an umbrella or even a pair of plastic boot shoes as it is more likely to be flooded in most of the city’s spot during the season.
How to get there:
Jakarta has an international airport, Soekarno Hatta International Airport, so there must be quite a lot of direct flights from every city in the world. For example, from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Thailand you can fly with Singapore Airlines, AirAsia or Garuda Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia has direct flights from Amsterdam and London (operated by Garuda Indonesia and KLM), Lufthansa has direct flights from Frankfurt and Turkish Airlines from Istanbul.

You can pick any accommodation that suits your budget -from guest house to a luxurious five-star hotel. Some of the most popular budget guest houses are Kamar Kamar,  perfect for backpacker), Griya Patria (, big house with function hall in one of the prestigious area in South Jakarta) and Bangka Bed and Breakfast (, walking distance to the restaurant and bars in Kemang area, suitable for long stay and can be a good choice if you want to improve your Bahasa). If you prefer to stay in a hotel, then my recommendations are: Morrissey (, Kemang Icon by Alila (, Pullman Jakarta Central Park ( and the rest will be the chain-hotels you have already familiar with, such as The Ritz Carlton, Grand Hyatt, Shangri-La, etc.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Albert,

    Just saw the post, looking great:)

    By the way, do you mind to change a little on the first paragraph? It's written "(Pondok Indah Mall, Plaza Senayan, Senayan City, Lippo Mall Kemang and Lippo Mall Kemang –just to name a few), restaurants, bars and interesting hang out spots."

    I think I made a mistake there, it should be: "(Pondok Indah Mall, Plaza Senayan, Senayan City, Lippo Mall Kemang and Gandaria City –just to name a few), restaurants, bars and interesting hang out spots."

    Thank you:) Oh, and you don't have to approve this comment :)