Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is a hustle and bustle and with over 9 million people living there it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Yet Indonesia’s ‘Big Durian’ as the capital is affectionately referred to need not put travelers off. Instead let the loud and confusing city draw you in and reveal its secrets.
With many people only transiting in Jakarta or stopping over for a short time, here are the 5 things to do in Jakarta.
- Go to: Pasar Senin
This is a vintage shoppers dream come true. A multi-storied building turned open air market, here second hand clothing from all over the Asia Pacific region comes together. You can find beautiful one of a kind pieces for only a few dollars from Australia, Korea, Japan and China to name a few. Some of the dresses I have found have been vintage pieces. The experience of walking through the markets sweating like crazy as hawkers shout their wares is as authentic Indonesian as it comes.
- Get Pampered
Jakarta is full of different ways to treat yourself. From a relaxing massage or a manicure there are numerous ways to feel fresh again for everyone price range. Try getting a cream bath, a local favourite, for your hair. The local hairdressers will also style your hair into a fabulous blow dried creation. Strangely enough it will withstand the intense heat and humidity too!
- Sample the local cuisine
Again there is something to suit every travellers taste and budget. My favourite was to go to one of the local street side ‘warungs’ or small shops where there are dishes set up that you pick and choose from. You can eat in or take away and the more authentic places will wrap your rice and chosen dishes up in paper for you.
- Explore the city during Car Free Sunday
That’s right if you happen to be in Jakarta on a Sunday take advantage of the cities ban on cars in parts of the city in the morning. The closures are on some of the cities main roads and you can walk, run, jog, cycle or dance your way along for some fun exercise on an otherwise normally congested part of the city.
- Soak up the history and culture
Go and see ‘the monas’ or the National Monument of Indonesia. A great place to visit in the morning, during the day or as the sun sets. Nearby is also the National History Museum. Alternatively just go for a walk around and take in the streets of Jakarta, the people, the language and the juxtaposition of the fast paced motorbikes with the laid back attitude of the locals is fascinating.
Jakarta is such a fascinating city, and whether you decide to partake in some shopping, eating or culture soaking make sure you do add this city to your itinerary. After all it is the gateway to the rest of the country and a melting pot of Indonesian culture.
Have you experience the Indonesian way?