Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Some would think, why on earth I post an article about things to love on one of the most crowded city in the world? Well you know what, there is always something positive in every side of the coin. Even though Jakarta is a metropolitan with its good and bad sides, there are some things you would find interesting in Jakarta. I have been living abroad for nine years now, but there is always something that takes my soul back to that town again. Planning a trip to Indonesia? And having a couple of days of layover in Jakarta? Then here are some tips from me, about how to have a good time in Jakarta.
Luxurious hotels and resorts
Sixteen hours flight. Jet lag, neck pain, migrain and sick of all those noises! Well I have to calm you a bit right there, about the noises, I can not guarantee that Jakarta is noise free. However there are some places where you can turn the volume a little bit low; Jakarta’s luxurious Hotels! First important tip on finding hotels in Jakarta: please do not go to the dodgy hostels and unrated ones. it’s a No Go! Go for the big names and well-reviewed hotels. I assure you, it will worth the penny. If you want to be near the city centre then these are a few places I think would be great for you: Hotel Shangri-La. ,It is situated not in the main street but just a few hundred meters away. Do a few laps on the pool adjacent to a beautiful garden and you won’t feel like you are in Jakarta. Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. This one is situated adjacent to a huge shopping mall in Jakarta, Grand Indonesia. Because of its location you have the best view, facilities and amenities you can imagine from a five stars hotel. For a layover I would prefer this one, because you can also find other amusements in the mall next to it, from fine dining to food courts, from shops to spa, from music to movie. Still sick of all the noises? Than I would recommend a hotel just outside the great main streets, The Dharmawangsa Hotel. This five star hotel is well known for its superb quality and tranquillity. With a touch of Javanese influence, the atmosphere will send you to serenity as you walk into the lobby. It makes you think that you are someplace else in Java and not in hectic Jakarta.
Twenty four Seven
Jakarta is the city that never sleeps. It is also well known as the city of malls a.k.a shopping centres. Jakarta has more than 100 malls! This consumptive behaviour began in the 1980’s and with the globalisation and internationalization this has grown rapidly. One of the positive ways about it, is as traveller you do not have to check your watch every now and then. You want a breakfast very early in the morning? In every hotel you can always have room service treatment. If you want to wander around very early, there are always street vendors serving breakfast meal in every corner of the city. The famous breakfast meals are: bubur ayam (chicken porridge), lontong sayur (spicy curry soup with rice cake and vegetables), nasi uduk (coconut rice with sweet and spicy condiments) and bubur kacang hijau (mung bean sweet soup with coconut milk and palm sugar). Want to get out of the heat of the day after a long stroll along the Jalan Thamrin? Get inside some of the luxurious shopping malls but you do not have to dress fancy for it, like Grand Indonesia, EX, Plaza Indonesia. Go to the food court and get your self some delicious smoothies or ice creams. You can also find some spa stores inside. Malls are open from 10:00 to 22:00. Street vendors from early in the morning until everything is sold out. Delivery service almost 24 / 7. Planning to move in to Jakarta, aren’t you?
Gojek and Uber
Once you Gojek, you never go back! :). Gojek is a recent hype in Jakarta. It is an app where you can order a motor cycle taxi to take you to places. However in the app you also have other options. The motorcycle taxi driver can also pick up your package and bring it to the receiver. He can also pick up the food you order and bring it to you. Since about a year ago this app has many more options: such as go-car, where you can use the gojek car taxi rather than the motor cycle one; go-glam, where you can request a beautician to do your make up at home; go-massage, where you can request a personal masseur to do a massage at home; or go-clean, where you can order a cleaning service company to clean your house. What else would you ask for in life, when you can have all that at a click of a button? Uber taxi has become quite popular as well in Jakarta. When I was there last may, I did not want to drive alone again, because the traffic in Jakarta is pretty much HELL. The Uber taxi driver I used in Jakarta were nice and reliable. We also went to Bandung on our last trip and there we also used Uber and it was terrific. You get a reliable taxi driver / tour guide as well. They were all pretty nice and offered us many things, such as candies or snacks inside the car, cell phone chargers whenever our cell phones needed to be charged, mineral water and other fun stuffs.
Food, Food and for the sake of … FOOD
Indonesians eat spicy food all day long. They eat all day long … small portions, but still… all day long. Food is God, God is food. Unlike in most of Western countries, where “you eat because you live”, many Asian countries believe “you live because you eat!” Food plays a very important role in life! One of the most important items in Indonesian Food is the Sambal. You will see and prove it at every restaurant or eatery all over Indonesia. Here in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, condiments like sauces or mayonnaise are not accesable (free) as in Indonesia. Adding sambal to your dish is something like adding salt, it’s normal and nobody would not stare at you. I love this part because even in European style restaurant where I ordered Spaghetti Carbonara, they served it with two small bowls of parmesan cheese and sambal on the side. Nice! Only in Indonesia it is!
Children play a very important role in the Indonesian culture. I find this very amusing because in comparison to western countries, there are quite abundant facilities for children in Jakarta, whether indoor or outdoor. Please be aware that most of the outdoor amusements will be very crowded during the weekends. From the Ragunan zoo to Sea World, from water park the Jungle to educative playing room Kidzania, your child will sure have fun.
So the next time you book a flight to Indonesia, be sure to experience the surprise Jakarta can give you.