Jakarta is probably everything you imagine about big metropole, except it is much worse. It is huge, busy, messy, loud, polluted, full of people and cars.
The 10 million capital of Indonesia is the economic center for the whole country, attracting people from Indonesian archipelago in the desire to find better jobs, a higher standard of living and dream life. Thus, the city is a mixture of Indonesians with a different background, religion, language and social status. Even though Jakarta offers some interesting places to see for tourists, it is far far away from being a must-see city in Indonesia. What have I learned while spending 2 days in Jakarta?
1. Why Jakarta?
If you tell someone you are traveling to Jakarta for few days and he replies loudly: “Why Jakarta?” with eyes wide open full of disbelief mixed with confusion, trust me, he knows what he is talking about. I got this reaction many times. And now I understand. The only reason why you should visit Jakarta is that you are going to visit someone. Otherwise, don’t go there.
2. Only 48 hours in Jakarta? Use Grab Car, Go Jek or UBER!
Download Go Jek, Grab car or Uber apps to be able to travel around the city. Jakarta does not have a very sophisticated public transportation system, so without a car or a motorbike you are not gonna get anywhere. Go Jek is for motorbike rides, Grab Car and Uber are for cars or motorbikes. Unlike Uber, Grab Car sets the price up front, so you know what you gonna pay thus avoid surprises.
3. odd-even license plate policy
Traffic in Jakarta is so terrible that odd-even license plate policy has been introduced. On odd days only vehicles with odd number license plate can enter 3 major area in the center of Jakarta, while on even days those areas are only for even number license plates. To be able to go through city center every day, be sure you marry someone with the other license plate 🙂
4. No underground needed
Jakarta was trying to prove to the whole world, that city of 10 million people doesn’t need an underground transportation system. Well, now when the traffic got unbearable, they are finally starting with the construction. Let’s see how long it is going to take them.
5. Must-see in Jakarta
Monas is the number one sightseeing attraction in Jakarta. It is a 132 m tall national monument that has been built after Indonesia gained independence from Netherlands. If you like crowds and waiting in a queue you can also go up to the monument to see the view.
6. Group activities lovers
Indonesians like to do everything that encompasses a lot of people around. That is why you can always see them in big groups. When you enter restaurants, there are mostly big tables for big families. When you go to Monas, you see a group of Indonesians waiting in a line to get up. They just love to be with a lot of people.
7. shopping in Chinatown
Kopi Es Tak Kie is a traditional Chinese cafe in Chinatown, that has been founded in 1927. Apart from coffee, they are serving really good Chinese food. So if you wanna enjoy the vibes of Chinatown, this place is good to hang out for a bit. Go there early morning. Also, shops in Chinatown really has everything you desire for, so if in a shopping mood, you gonna love this place.
8. give interviews at Fatahillah square
Wanna feel like a celebrity? Then definitely visit the main square in old town. Apart from traditional dutch architecture, you will shortly get surrounded by locals who want to take a picture with you. Another level of interaction are students that want to do an interview with you for their English classes. For first 2 minutes it’s okay, but shortly you will find out that if you will not run away, you can easily spend a whole afternoon taking pictures and giving interviews.
9. Learn about Indonesian history
If you wanna learn about Indonesia more, Museum Bank Indonesia is the place to go. Entrance ticket is 5k for approximately one hour tour. They have all information in English, to make sure everyone understands.
10. Taste of colonial era
Batavia Coffee is a famous cafe on a Fatahillah square in old town.The ambiance reminds the 19th century of the colonial era in Jakarta, thus as soon as you enter you feel like entering the completely different world. If Jakarta is your last stop in Indonesia, do not forget to taste traditional civet coffee and fried bananas with cheese and chocolate ice-cream. Yummy.
Hope you liked the article. What have you learned while being in Jakarta? Let me know via comment or mail, I would love to incorporate your tips as well. Happy Travels and don’t forget to share this post.