In Jakarta, you face traffic congestion and a huge amount of people, but also multicultural Indonesia at its best. Jakarta either loves or hates you, but at least it’s worth giving it a chance.
In Jakarta, lavish glass-walled office buildings and luxury hotels stand side by side with shackle dwellings on the verge of collapse. The clash of poverty and wealth could no longer be greater.
In an uncontrollably built Jakarta, a tourist has exactly two options: to leave on the first flight elsewhere or to boldly jump into the heartbeat of the city.
JAKARTA AS A TRAVEL DESTINATION
Congestion and chaos
With a population of nearly ten million, Jakarta is a chaotic, congested, noisy and confusing city where moving from place to place takes a huge amount of time and getting lost is almost inevitable. On the other hand, it is also a fascinating melting pot of Indonesian culture and different parts of the country, with glorious skyscrapers standing in melted harmony side by side with slum-like shacks.
The wide main streets are full of mopeds riding among the cars and the damp heat makes the clothes stick to the skin. The restaurants have an attractive aroma of Indonesian delicacies floating in their nostrils and cheap shopping opportunities are constantly to be found.
For most, Jakarta is just a stopover on its way to other parts of Indonesia, and many want to get out of there as quickly as possible. However, it is worth giving the city a chance and spending even a few days there, indulging in the Jakarta way of life.
Shopping and great food
There are few actual tourist attractions in Jakarta, but just outside the city you can find, for example, the Tamar Mini theme park, which presents the whole of Indonesia in miniature. There are also interesting museums in Jakarta.
However, Jakarta is an excellent, and cheap, shopping city. The nightlife is also lively. Indonesian food is heavenly and Jakarta has the best pieces of Indonesian food culture.
The price level is very affordable overall, but because Indonesia is also the largest Muslim country in the world, alcohol is expensive compared to the rest of the price level and is not available in every restaurant.
Hot all year round
According to DigoPaul, Jakarta is always hot and the temperature often rises to +30 degrees or more. Rainfall comes all year round, but outside the rainy season it is usually only deafening. The rainy season begins around October and ends in May. The city can be very troublesome due to the heat, humidity and smog.
The best time to travel to Jakarta, and to Indonesia in general, is outside the rainy season. During the rainy season, roads can be crossed from time to time due to heavy rains and movement is impossible.
Normal caution in place in large crowds
Indonesia is a well-secularized state and has, in principle, religious freedom. The conquest religion is Islam, but there are also Christians, Hindus and Buddhists in the country, among others. However, there are also some extremist Islamist groups in Indonesia, so the possibility of terrorism exists, albeit quite small. However, the bombings in Bali in 2002 and 2005 and in Jakarta in 2009 give cause for caution. There is also the possibility of violent demonstrations.
As a rule, however, Jakarta is a relatively safe city to travel to, as long as you take normal precautions against pickpockets and scammers, among others.
FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT IN JAKARTA
On a scheduled flight via Europe
There are no direct flights to Jakarta from Finland, but several airlines can get there via Europe. Air fares vary on average between around 800-1200 euros.
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is approximately 35 km from the city center. The best way to get to the hotel from the airport is by taxi, and the journey to the city center takes about an hour, more during peak hours.
There are numerous taxi operators at the airport, but you should only use metered taxis and take a taxi only from a taxi area outside the terminal, not from individual drivers. The most reliable taxi operators are Blue Bird and Silver Bird. Traveling by taxi is reasonably affordable and tolls are always added to the price.
Even good quality accommodation cheap
Accommodation options in Jakarta can be found in abundance, from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Prices for up to five-star hotels can be quite affordable, a room can cost around 70-80 euros, so a traveler on a smaller budget can choose a good standard of accommodation.
Cheap and mid-range accommodation can be found, especially in the Jalan Jaksa area. However, accommodation options in Jakarta are often quite impersonal and the level varies greatly.
Traffic chaotic and congested
Traffic jams are daily in Jakarta and it is a good idea to set aside plenty of time to get around. Especially by the airport, an extra hour may be necessary.
The traffic is chaotic and there are a lot of mopeds, so car hire is not even worth considering. The best way to get around on site is by taxi. However, you should only use reliable taxi companies and make sure the meter is on. There are also buses in Jakarta and outside the main roads you can use bajajas, or rickshaws, which can accommodate two people at a time.
SIGHTS OF THE JAKARTA
Museums and monuments
A tourist interested in the arts should stop at least at the Indonesian National Museum on the edge of Merdeka Square. At the same time you can visit the national monument in Monas standing in the square. Those interested in the history of shipping should visit the Maritime Museum in Sunda Kepalan Harbor and the beautifully painted ships found in the area.
Taman Mini – Indonesia in miniature
The different regions of Indonesia, their history and building styles can be explored in Taman Mini, a huge park area featuring all the provinces of Indonesia with their distinctive building styles, handicraft traditions and clothing. There are also various performances in the area and there are several restaurants, a swimming pool, gardens, museums, a theater, an aquarium and a bird park.
Taman Mini is located less than 20 kilometers outside the city center near Kampung Rambutan and is best reached by taxi or alternatively by bus. You should book the whole day for the trip.