To celebrate The Guardian a.k.a my favorite newspaper reporting about Jakarta this week, it seems obligatory and natural for me to write about Jakarta guide. Known as the Big Durian, this city is longing to be loved yet has a lot to detest about. As someone who’s been living in this city for 8 years (gosh!) and spent my first few years going here and there covering stories, here’s my take on The Bad and The Good about this city.
Seriously, people. Just accept this, there’s no compromise when it comes to Jakarta’s gridlock during commute hours. The only acceptable way to travel here will be using motorcycle taxis or ojek. However, now that online ojeks are everywhere, I can’t really decide if motorbikes are making Jakarta’s traffic better-or worse.
When the in-laws visited the capital for my wedding, they were surprised of how luxurious the city was, and yes, that’s because all they saw were the central area: Sudirman and Thamrin streets where the big malls, high rise buildings, and government centres are located. Once you’re out of the city by like 15 – 20 km away, you will be able to see people living in slums area and old-even-not-so-well-maintenanced buildings everywhere. Indonesia’s GDP is probably largest in Southeast Asia but, if you consider how big this country is and how many people live here-we can do so much better.
Entrance to Paradise
By saying this, I mean, not so many people know much about this country except for Bali-yet, Indonesia has thousands of beautiful islands to explore (like Belitung), with soft powdery sands and white coastlines, as well as breathtakingly beautiful mountains to see. This makes your trip to Jakarta worth your while, because if you have two to three days to spare-do go around!
A Culinary Smorgasbord
When it comes to eating, people are spoilt for choice. Go eat the world’s famous rendang beef from Garuda restaurant in Sabang street, or embark on a culinary journey to the Jakarta Chinatown to savour traditional Chinese dishes and bakmi ayam. Jakarta’s international fancy restaurants also offers you to try authentic Japanese sushi (go to Kaihomaru in Blok M), North Indian feasts (Ganesha en Sanskriti in BRI Sudirman) or…. if you’re feeling adventurous- eat Ketoprak from a street vendor. This mix of freshly cooked beansprout, rice noodles, fried tofu and peanut sauce will make your mouth waters everytime you think about it.
As I’ve mentioned above, Jakarta’s traffic can be deadly at times and this has made people to think creatively – like founder of Gojek who makes online ojeks – or Jakarta shopping malls which are just everywhere sitting right to one another at every corner, giving you plenty options to kill time from eating mains followed by ice cream to watch movies.
Do you have anything to share about #Jakarta?