Sunday, December 19, 2010

Travel: Jakarta

I just return from Jakarta for 4 Days 3 Nights trip. Jakarta is amazing! The trip was superb. The weather condition was good, sunny and windy. I stayed at Ibis Hotel, Manga Dua. Jakarta is very popular with its food, historical sites and shopping malls with more than 10 million people from all over Indonesia living and working there.

Let's learn something about travelling in Jakarta.


C25 Gate, KLIA

My breakfast

Chicken Noodles, Malaysian fruit cake, orange juice, Ferrero Rocher, a cup of tea and vanilla flavor of Hagen-Daz

Jakarta is is the capital and the largest city of Indonesia, located on the northwest of the island of Java. Jakarta is administratively divided into the following named districts:

Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat) - An aptly named district and the site of Jakarta's symbol, the National Monument. The old part of Jakarta (Batavia), The Presidential palace, office buildings, hotels, Mangga Dua shopping center, Bundaran HI (Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle) and the elite Menteng residential area are all found in Central Jakarta.

West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat) - Jakarta's Chinatown, this district includes museums, trading centers, nightlife entertainment centers, shopping centers and malls. This is also the site of Jakarta's old town.

South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan) - Where you can find upscale shopping centers, malls, restaurants, hotels, nightlife the entertainment center, Blok M, Senayan sports complex, and affluent residential areas.

East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur) - Location of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Utan Kayu art community, Cibubur camping ground, industrial parks and Halim Perdanakusuma airport.

North Jakarta (Jakarta Utara) - Beautiful Thousand Islands, Ancol Bayfront City, and Kelapa Gading shopping centers.

Tangerang - Soekarno Hatta International Airport, golf course, industrial parks, Lippo Karawaci
Bogor - Beautiful palace, world class botany garden, golf course.
Depok, Bogor - Home to the University of Indonesia
Bekasi - Industrial parks.

Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, tends to be difficult due to poor signage and chaotic street names. Sometimes, the same name is used for different streets in different parts of the city, and it's often difficult to find the correct street/address without the postal code/region. A sign with a street name facing you indicates the name of the street you are about to enter, not that of the cross street.

Alleys off a main road are often simply numbered, in a sequence that may not be logical, so a street address like "Jl. Mangga Besar VIII/21" means house number 21 on alley number 8 (VIII) off or near the main road of Jl. Mangga Besar.

If you don't want to waste time, ask for the descriptions/name of nearby buildings, billboards, color of the building/fence and the postal code of the address. If you still cannot find the address, start asking people in the street, especially ojek (motorcyle taxi drivers).

Jakarta's nickname among expats is the Big Durian, and like its fruit namesake it's a shock at first sight (and smell): a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 10 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl. The contrast between the obscene wealth of Indonesia's elite and the appalling poverty of the urban poor is incredible, with tinted-window BMWs turning left at the supermall with its Gucci shop, into muddy lanes full of begging street urchins and corrugated iron shacks. 

The city's traffic is in perpetual gridlock, and its polluted air is matched only by the smells of burning garbage and open sewers, and safety is a concern especially at night. There are few sights to speak of and most visitors transit through Jakarta as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind that rules and regulations are very rarely enforced in all aspects of life in Jakarta. This is not to abet you to break the rules, but simply to explain why many of its citizens act so haphazardly, particularly on the road.

All that said, while initially a bit overwhelming, if you can withstand the pollution and can afford to indulge in her charms, you can discover what is also one of Asia's most exciting, most lively cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from cosmopolitan shopping at the many luxurious shopping centers to one of the hippest nightlife scenes in Southeast Asia.

The port of Sunda Kelapa dates to the 12th century, when it served the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran near present-day Bogor. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, who were given the permission by the Hindu Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran to erect a godown in 1522. Control was still firmly in local hands, and in 1527 the city was conquered by Prince Fatahillah, a Muslim prince from Cirebon, who changed the name to Jayakarta.

By the end of the 16th century, however, the Dutch (led by Jan Pieterszoon Coen) had pretty much taken over the port city, and the razing of a competing English fort in 1619 secured their hold on the island. Under the name Batavia, the new Dutch town became the capital of the Dutch East Indies and was known as the Queen of the East.

However, the Dutch made the mistake of attempting to replicate Holland by digging canals throughout the malarial swamps in the area, resulting in shockingly high death rates and earning the town the epithet White Man's Graveyard. In the early 1800's most canals were filled in, the town was shifted 4 kilometers inland and the Pearl of the Orient flourished once again.

In 1740, there was a rebellion by Chinese slaves against Dutch. The rebellion was put down harshly with the massacre of thousands of Chinese slaves. The remaining Chinese slaves were exiled to Sri Lanka.

In 1795, the Netherlands were invaded and occupied by France, and on March 17, 1798, the Batavian Republic, a satellite state of France, took over both VOC debts and assets. But on August 26, 1811, a British expedition led by Lord Minto defeated the French/Dutch troops in Jakarta, leading to a brief occupation of Indonesia by the British (led by Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame) in 1811-1816. In 1815, after the Congress of Vienna, Indonesia was officially handed over from the British to the Dutch government.

The name Jakarta was adopted as a short form of Jayakarta when the city was conquered by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, the Indonesian war of independence followed, with the capital briefly shifted to Yogyakarta after the Dutch attacked. The war lasted until 1949, when the Dutch accepted Indonesian independence and handed back the town, which became Indonesia's capital again.

Since independence Jakarta's population has skyrocketed, thanks to migrants coming to the city in search of wealth. The entire Jabotabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi) metropolitan region is estimated to have 16-18 million people, a figure projected to double to 30 million by 2016. The official name of the city is Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta Raya (DKI Jakarta), meaning "Special Capital City Region".

How to Get There?

By plane
Soekarno Hatta International Airport at Tangerang, Banten. All international and nearly all domestic flights land here 20 km (12 miles) to the northwest of the city. The unintuitive airport code comes from Cengkareng, a district near the airport. During the rainy season the road to and from Cengkareng was prone to flooding but this problem has now been eleviated with the building of a raised, duel carriageway, toll road between the city and Cengkareng. If you don't have non-stop options between your origin city and Jakarta, try connecting via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur as there are more than a dozen flights a day between these cities and Jakarta.

Soekarno Hatta International Airport

Immigration Counter

Check-in Counter

The Soekarno Hatta airport has three terminals, further split up into subterminals, which are really just halls in the same building:

Terminal 1 (A-B-C). Used by domestic airlines except Air Asia, Mandala, Garuda.

Terminal 2. All international airlines (D-E) and domestic Garuda flights (F).

Terminal 3 (Low Cost Carrier Terminal). The newest and nicest of the bunch, Pier 1 serves Air Asia domestic flights and all Mandala flights.

A free but unreliable shuttle bus runs between the terminals; if you're in a hurry, it's a safer bet to take a taxi, although they'll ask for a rather steep Rp50,000 for the service (not entirely unjustified, as half of this goes to paying their parking fees).

Visas on arrival are available at the airport, see the main Indonesia article for the details of the rules. If possible, use exact change (in US dollars) and ignore any requests for bribes. ATMs and currency exchange services are available in the baggage claim hall, and Terminal D has a left luggage service. Exchange rates are not significantly worse than the centre of town and better than you will get from hotels. Bear in mind that you will need some cash and Jakarta is not a place where you can just stroll down to the nearest bank in town as it is pedestrian unfriendly.

To get to the city, the easiest option is to contact your hotel to pick you up in the airport, as many hotels in Jakarta provide free airport transfers. Getting a taxi is a little more complicated:

If you book from the counters right outside Customs, you'll get a nice car, jump to the head of the queue and pay around Rp. 175,000 for a trip to the Golden Triangle. These counters can also sell you SIM cards and refills.

If you head past the counters, you'll get to the ordinary taxi ranks - and encounter many touts, who can and should be ignored. Silver Bird is a very reliable operator with good drivers and plush Mercedes cabs, but pricier than the rest at around Rp 120,000 to the Golden Triangle. Other operators will charge you in the vicinity of Rp 70,000-90,000.

The older Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, to the southeast of the city, is used by military, VIP flights, charter flights, helicopter leasing companies and private jets.
Susi Air to local destinations across Western Java from Halim Airport. +62 811 211 3080

By train
Trains at Gambir Station in Central Jakarta
Information about train tickets from PT Kereta Api (Persero) is available on the Web, but no on-line reservation is possible. In Jakarta, you can buy your tickets in the major stations up to 30 days in advance. Except in weekends, you can generally buy a ticket just before departure. Beware of ticket scalpers! They will offer their wares even to people waiting in the queues in front of the ticket sales points. You should expect to pay 50-100 percent more if you do so, and you might find that your coach has empty seats anyway.
Jakarta has several train stations.

Stasiun Gambir
The current main station for long distance passengers in Jakarta is the Gambir station, located in Central Jakarta, just east of the Monas. Eksekutif (AC) and some bisnis (non-AC) class trains arrive at this station.

Most trains from big cities in Java (Purwokerto, Yogyakarta, Solo, Semarang, Malang and Surabaya) arrive in late afternoon or evening.

From Bandung: trains are frequent, with one arriving almost every 2 hours. Duration: 3-3.5 hr, in bisnis or eksekutif (the only air-conditioned class, 60,000rp). Economy class trains are slower. Very nice landscapes of rice and agricultural fields.

From Surabaya: the very good Argo Bromo Anggrek travels twice a day. Duration: 10hours 30minutes, 265,000rp during the week in eksekutif. Prices rise during the weekend and on public holidays. Be aware that the AC is extremely cold, thus bring some warm clothes. Moreover, the television is usually very loud during the whole trip. It is possible to order meals: 18,000rp for a nasi goreng, 3000rp for a hot tea.

From Semarang: The Semarang-Jakarta route is served by the comfortable Argo Muria, which departs from Tawang Station in Semarang, as well as Argo Bromo Anggrek, Argo Sindoro, and Sembrani which transit in Semarang. Rp170.000-Rp210.000 or more during peak season.

An airport bus service connects Soekarno-Hatta International Airport with Gambir station.

Stasiun Pasar Senen
Cheaper trains without air-conditioning generally use the Pasar Senen station located two blocks east of Gambir. Beware that the location is rife with crime, although the station itself has been spruced up recently. Anyway, these ekonomi trains are not really suggested for tourist travel: they are slow, facilities are poor, they are overloaded.

Stasiun Jatinegara
Most trains arriving in Jakarta also stop at Jatinegara station in the eastern part of the city, giving better access to the eastern and southern parts of the city.

Stasiun Kota
Jakarta Kota station is located in the old part of the city, and serves as the departure point for commuter trains and some trains to Merak. It is an interesting Art Deco style building that is currently being restored.

By bus
Passengers from other cities arrive in bus terminals such as Rawamangun (East Jakarta) Kampung Rambutan (Southeast Jakarta), Pulo Gadung (East Jakarta), Kali Deres (West Jakarta) or Lebak Bulus (South Jakarta). You'll need to speak at least functional Indonesian to manage, and the terminals are notorious for muggers and pickpockets, so observe the safety precautions under. Stay safe.

By boat
The national ferry company, PELNI, and other sealines, operate passenger services to destinations across the archipelago from Tanjung Priok port in the North of the city. Some smaller speedboats, particularly to the Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu), depart from Ancol also on Jakarta's north shore.

Bajaj front view

Bajaj could carry 3 adult 
The Jakartan equivalent to Thailand's tuk-tuk is the bajaj (pronounced "bahdge-eye"), orange mutant scooters souped up in India into tricycles that carry passengers in a small cabin at the back.

They're a popular way to get around town since they can weave through Jakarta's interminable traffic jams much like motorbikes can. Although slow, boneshaking (suspension is not a feature in a bajaj), hot (locals joke about the "natural A/C") and the quick way to breathing in more exhaust fumes than you ever thought possible, riding around in these little motor-bugs can really grow on you.

There are no set prices, but a short hop of a few city blocks shouldn't cost much more than Rp 5000. Be sure to agree to (read: haggle) a price before you set off! Bajaj drivers are happy to overcharge visitors, and often can ask double or even more of what you would pay by meter in air-conditioned Blue Bird taxi (obviously, the normal price should be less than even for a cheaper variety of taxi). Locals who regularly use the bajaj know what a typical fare should be and are happy to tell you. 

Also, since bajaj aren't allowed on some of the larger roads in Jakarta, your route may well take you through the bewildering warren of backstreets. Try to keep an eye on what direction you're going, because some unscrupulous bajaj drivers see nothing wrong with taking the "scenic" route and then charging you double or triple the price.

If you're poking around narrow back streets, or just in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb or more to get there, then Jakarta's motorcycle taxis (ojek) might be the ticket for you. Jakarta's ojek services consist of guys with bikes lounging around street corners, who usually shuttle short distances down alleys and roads but will also do longer trips for a price. Agree on the fare before you set off. And insist on a helmet, and wear it properly. No need to make it more insanely dangerous than it already is. (The ojek drivers will insist you're safe with them and that they'll drive carefully, but this has little to do with reality.)

Ancol Dream Park (Taman Impian Jaya Ancol): consists of Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy world), Seaworld (for the largest aquarium in South East Asia), Gelanggang Samudra (Ocean Park), resorts, hotel, beach, marina, and great restaurants. It's one of the biggest park in Asia. Entrance ticket, weekdays : Rp. 133.000,-, weekend: Rp. 163.000,-

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: Just Like Its name which mean Beautiful Indonesia in Little Park we can see the whole Indonesian Culture from here. It offers an exciting tour of 30 provinces of Indonesia with samplings of the country's more than 250 cultures. Highlight features are the Museum Indonesia and the Keong Emas IMAX theater.

Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Theater): This neo-renaissance structure was meticulously restored, and now one of the proud landmarks among the many Jakarta buildings which have been conserved. Some of the city best performance by both local and visiting artists are often held here.

Museum Nasional: The museum houses vast collections of prehistoric, ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, including one of the world's largest collections of Southeast Asian ceramics and Hindu Javanese art. The museum was opened in 1868. Entrance ticket : Rp. 750,-

Welcome to Pasar Baru

The Arch or Main Gateway to Pasar Baru

'Passer Baroe 1870'

This flea/street market in Pasar Baru open daily from 11am until 5 pm


Mangoes and other fresh fruits like Salak Madu, Grapes and Strawberies could be found here

Local foods and beverages like cakwe (cakoi), cincao, cendol, lumpia (popiah) and many more

Besides market and street arket, you could also find Indonesian best tailors here!

You could bargain and offer lower price to the seller

3 pairs of slippers = Rp. 30, 000

Pasar Baru Mall

Pasar Baru: Although the name means New Market, it doesn't mean the place is new at all. Dating back to the Dutch colonial era, it has been one of the main hub for commodities trading. And nowadays, it has been nothing short of a mixture of stores packed up in a very limited space. You can bet to find unbranded items with good quality and good price here.

Monas (National Monument): Jakarta's best known landmark, the 137 meter monument is located in the center of Merdeka (Freedom) square. From the observation deck, you can view the city. At the basement there are dioramas that portray the dramatic story of Indonesia history. Entrance ticket : Rp. 2500,-, ticket to the top of monas : Rp. 7500,-

Presidential Palace: Located north of the National Monument, the official residence and office of the Indonesian president is open to the public on weekends for free, preferbly make reservation first and use formal clothes, no sandals.

Textile Museum: The museum houses a large collections of textiles related to the religious and social practices of the major islands of the archipelago, including batik, ikat and kain ulos.
Gedung Proklamasi(Proclamation Building): The historical site of Indonesian independence, where on August 17th, 1945 Soekarno-Hatta (Indonesian first president and vice-president) declared the nation's independence.

Lubang Buaya: Another historical site, despite a darker one in Indonesian history. It marks the site where a failed coup d' etat by Partai Komunis Indonesia (Indonesian Communist Party) met its end, alongside the bodies of several high-ranking generals who were tortured to death for not cooperating the revolutionaries.
Museum Sasmita Loka

Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum): This museum is dedicated to puppetry, one of Indonesia's most famous traditional art forms. On display are the wayang kulit shadow puppets, three-dimensional wooden puppets and special dance masks. Wayang performances are presented on Sunday at 10 am.

Jalan Surabaya (Surabaya Street): For a unique shopping experience, visit this lively open-air antique market on the fringes of the Menteng residential neighborhood. A good place to bargain for exotic treaures.

Sunda Kelapa Port / Old Harbour: The old port area of Sunda Kelapa remains today as a bustling hub for inter islands trade. Graceful Bugis phinisi schooners, the world's last wind-powered sailing fleet used for trade, still berthed at the quay as they have for century.

Ragunan Zoo: Located to the south Jakarta near Pasar Minggu, this 185-hectare city zoo contains a comprehensive collection of some 3600 species of wildlife from throughout Indonesua. Look for the rare Komodo dragon. The animals live in natural habitats. Pusat Primata Schmutzer consists of gorillas and other various primate fauna.

Istiqlal Mosque: the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia and Cathedral Church located right in front of it)

Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands): Located north of Jakarta in the Java Sea, these stunning Kepulauan Seribu, easily accessible by speed boat from Ancol marina. This spray of some 300 hundred sandy, picturesque islets offers invigorating respitee for those wishing to escape from the bustling city.

Museum Adam Malik: A small museum dedicated to Mr Adam Malik, one of the renowned figure, who represented Indonesia in the United Nations, among many of his other feats as Indonesian foreign minister then.

Museum ABRI (Military Museum)
Jembatan Kota Intan (Kota Intan drawbridge): The bridge was developed coincide with the development of Batavia by Jan Pieterzoon Coen in 1628, and the only one of the rests of many suspension bridge ever decorating Batavia city.

Bird Market: Located at Jalan Barito in South Jakarta and Jalan Pramuka in Central Jakarta, here you can find various colourful tropical birds on sale.

Fish Market and Museum Bahari (Maritime Museum): Located at the mouth of the Ciliwung river, this market area bustles with activities related to the sea. The Museum Bahari situated at the harbor, is housed in restored Dutch warehouses dating back to the first trading post of the Dutch East Indies.

Bird Island (in Thousand Islands)

Atmosfear Dry Slider Located in FX Lifestyle Center Mall Sudirman, one of the world's longest slider and fastest

Museum Bank Mandiri : Located in the Old Town area opposite the Northern Terminus of Corridor 1 of the Busway and Kota Station,see the history of banking in the Dutch colonial era. Sections include the history of how the Dutch segregated the services offered to bankers by race, the history of the creation of Bank Mandiri and it's memorabilia , Colonial Era Bank Governors and Rupiah bank notes through time.

If you're stopping in Jakarta, consider buying an extra suitcase, because there's lots of good shopping to be done.

Shopping Malls: Despite the crushing poverty exhibited in many parts of the city, Jakarta has a large number of giant, glittering malls. Note that, for imported goods, prices in some of the Plazas' designer shops could actually be higher than what would be charged in the same shop in other countries. 

The up-market malls in Jakarta are Grand Indonesia (Anchored by: Seibu, Alun-Alun Indonesia and Harvey Nichols), Plaza Indonesia (Anchored by: Marks and Spencer), Pacific Place(Anchored by: M Department Store, Kidzania Theme Park), Plaza Senayan (Anchored by: Sogo and Metro), Pondok Indah Mall (Anchored by: Sogo and Metro), Mal Kelapa Gading (Anchored by: Sogo), Mall of Indonesia (anchored by Centro), and Senayan City(Anchored by: Debenhams).

Mangga Dua Mall

Upin Ipin dolls for children, Rp. 10, 000 = RM 6 only!

Markets: In addition to malls, there are also numerous extremely large shopping centers, quite a few of which can be found in the Mangga Dua (Two Mangoes) area. These include the huge Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua and the gigantic WTC (Wholesale Trade Center) Mangga Dua, massive indoor markets with hundreds upon hundreds of shops selling everything at wholesale prices. When you shop in those places, you can always bargain the price. Tanah Abang and Pasar Baru are hugely popular among Malaysian tourists.

Antique shop: If you are looking for some antique product such as local handicrafts, Indonesian traditional batik, wayang golek (Javanese puppets), you can go to Jalan Surabaya in Central Jakarta where you can find many antique shops along this street. Pasaraya Grande shopping mall at Blok M, South Jakarta has one dedicated floor for all Indonesian antiques and handicrafted goods. Pasar Seni at Ancol is the centre of paintings and sculpture, you can ask the painters to make you as the model for your paintings. Sarinah department store also has a vast section of traditional gifts for sale.

Duty Free Shops: Duty Free shops are available at Soekarno Hatta airport and small number of shops in the city. Bring your passport to the shops.

Nasi Padang

Colonial swank at Cafe Batavia
Jakarta has a vast range of food available at hundreds of eating complexes located all over the huge city. In addition to selections from all over the country, you can also find excellent Chinese, Japanese, and many other international foods thanks to the cosmopolitan population. Longer-term visitors will wish to dig up a copy of "Jakarta Good Food Guide" (JGFG) or "Jakarta Java Kini". The JGFG, as its affectionately known to Jakartans, is now in its 3rd edition, with the latest version published in 2009 and covering over 600 restaurants and causal eateries in the city. The JGFG has now also been made into an iPod Touch & iPhone Application, so you can download all 600 reviews and have them in the palm of your hand for whenever you're craving a bite of some good local food.

You can find Jakartan versions of many dishes, often tagged with the label Betawi (Indonesian for "Batavian").
Sop iga sapi, beef spare rib soup that takes a simple Dutch dish and piles on Indonesian spices.
Soto betawi, coconut milk broth with beef tendons, intestines, tripe.

Kerak telor, omelette from egg cooked with glutinous rice and served with shredded coconut and a dried shrimp topping.

Ketoprak, rice roll, tofu, bean sprout, crackers in peanut sauce.

Bubur Dingin, lit. Cold Pouridge with beef sweet soup

Nasi Ulam, rice cooked in coconut milk served with fried minced beef, sweet fried tempe, many other toppings, cucumber, and sambal (chilli sauce).

Street Food, Jakarta is famous for its street delicacies. Every Region of Jakarta has its own unique offering of street foods. Some areas for looking for great /exceptional and unique. street food are Kelapa Gading (Seafood), Muara Karang/Pluit (Seafood), "Nasi Uduk" (Kebon Kacang, Central Jakarta) and Tennis Sized Meatballs (Blok S, South Jakarta). Beware though, as these foods may take a toll on your stomach. It is advised to be used to the Indonesian climate for at least 2 weeks before eating street food. Price= Rp. 5,000-Rp. 25,000