Ok, I don’t tell you to spend two weeks there, and I also don’t recommend taking an extra step in your travels only to visit Jakarta. But if you happen to be there – because you arrive there or fly out from there – I recommend staying one extra day in there and see how crazy that city is.
Why go there in the first place?
Because it’s a megacity with a big airport and good connections to anywhere, that’s how it went in my case. I will fly from Bali to Melbourne, and I wanted to do Java (The big and main Island of Indonesia). I didn’t make sense to fly to Bali and Jakarta was even cheaper. Another reason I stayed there for a day was that my phone got wet in Laos and I figured out that I have the best chances of repairing it in Jakarta.
What is there to visit?
Actually… Nothing. There are maybe a few museums and a monument but nothing that you need to see in your life.
So why should I stay there?
It’s not the big tourist attractions why you should stay there. It is to see how crazy this city is. The city and the surrounding areas have over 25 million people, and the city has one of the worst traffics in the world. For such a mega city there is no underground (They are currently building one in the new part of the city), and public transport is very poor. But therefore taxis, especially motorbike taxis are incredibly cheap. 7 kilometer and over 30 mins of driving will cost you less than one euro.
In the morning I was searching for a shopping mall where I could find someone to repair my phone. The mall was about 3 km away from my Hostel, so I decided to walk there. It was the most exciting walk I had in a long time. My hostel was in the old quarter of the city where the buildings are less fancy or even in terrible conditions. Traffic was as expected crazy, and I had to figure out my way in between cars, tuk-tuk, bicycles, motorbikes, and street vendors.
Indonesian people love tourists Indonesian people love tourists
I thought China was crazy, but Jakarta definitely topped everything. In this one day in Jakarta, I was greeted over 150 times by local people who just wanted to say hello because they don’t see that much western people. Even policeman and security guards just welcomed me with “Hello Sir.” So as a tall white guy it is just an attraction in itself to walk through the streets.
On every meter something new
In addition to the greeting people, you can just watch the people, and you’ll find some interesting things on every corner. Street vendors selling weird stuff, people in all shapes and sizes and chaos that still works everywhere.
The big shopping malls
The weirdest thing about that city is, as I find, the big shopping malls you can see just in the middle of nowhere and bad maintained areas. On the one side of the street houses nearly collapse, and then you cross the street and find a high-end big shopping mall. These malls are spread across the city, and if you happen to fly home after Jakarta, this is an excellent opportunity to go and buy some stuff to bring back.
The modern part
So Jakarta, like every big city has a new district where the big banks, consulting companies, and expensive shopping malls are located. In here you can also find the highest bar in Jakarta and even in Indonesia the Skye bar located on the 56th floor over the Indonesia mall. Apart from that there are some very nice restaurants and bar you can have a good dinner for reasonable prices.
So my experiences in Jakarta were excellent, I love to see the chaos working, people doing all sorts of stuff and the modern parts of such megacities. It was just fascinating to see how such a city is working, and I’m glad that I visited the city for one day.
- Total countries I visited until now: 33
- Planes: 7
- Busses: 34
- Trains: 15
- Boats: 13
- Km running: 1256