Jakarta may not be on every traveler’s list. But for those who do visit, the city packs quite a punch. Attractions and experiences which promise to awe and impress are plentiful; read on for the best.
1. Understand the city is huge
After Tokyo, Jakarta is the world’s second-largest city. The place is home to over 30 million people. At first glance, one may not understand the entire girth of the place. But give it time and you will discover a whole new world of adventures.
2. The country was once a Dutch colony
The Dutch colonized Indonesia from 1800 to 1942. Although many visitors may not be updated on the Jakarta’s past, walking around Jakarta, one is treated to glimpses of the country’s colonial visitors. Starting off with food, you will notice that Indonesian cuisine is greatly influenced by the Dutch. You will find a variety of Dutch influence within the traditional dishes of Jakarta; such as hagelslag, a typical Dutch invention of chocolate sprinkles on buttered bread. Popular cheeses widely available are Dutch favourites such as Gouda and Edam.
Names too are greatly influenced by the colonists, with names such as ‘Helga’ being common amongst locals. It’s even common to come across locals who speak English with a thick Dutch accent. Head over to the neighborhood of Kota and you will come across a number of vintage buildings, bearing typical Dutch architectural styles.
3. Traffic is horrible
A macet, pronounced as ma-chet in local dialect translates to a traffic jam, located towards your right as you drive into the city from the airport. Your first impression of the city, the traffic blocks, are very much a part of city life.
One cannot merely rush from one place to another in Jakarta. You need to pre-plan and set off early, as the streets are clogged with large SUV’s, and motorbikes, the latter which manage to creep into the tiniest crevices, between vehicles. Similar to most Asian cities, the traffic in Jakarta requires one to be blessed with loads of patience.
4. Luckily petrol is cheap
Now, contrary to the huge traffic blocks, petrol is pretty cheap in Jakarta. And if you’re sighing in relief, here’s the bonus, taxi fares are quite cheap too. Hence, one can brave the traffic congested streets by enjoying the chauffeur driven comforts of hopping into a taxi. The Bluebird Taxi Service is recommended for both fares and services.
Still, one needs to be extremely careful when taking a taxi, especially at night in Jakarta. Many foreigners and locals too, get scammed by unscrupulous taxi drivers on a regular basis. As such, staying alert is key. Traveling to Jakarta via a tour specialist like macktrip.com, for instance, will help you to stay safe, enjoy the city and not miss out on the best experiences. Plenty of cheap flight tickets too are available with such seasoned travel agents who strive to offer customers the best experience.
5. Enjoy the mall culture
Mall culture is quite popular in Jakarta. The favored leisure activity amongst locals, the glitzy malls are hard to resist. A city of malls, these complexes are packed morning, noon and night, especially on the weekends, welcoming hordes of local families, tourists, and expats. The pickings are also pretty awesome, with many outlets selling some international high-end brands such as Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and more. These luxury goods stores are very similar to those on Rodeo Drive in California.
6. The attire is modest
As a Muslim nation, Indonesians are a conservative population. This is quite prominent in Jakarta where calls for prayer on Fridays are heard across the city. Dress too, is typically modest, including headgear, clothes that cover the shoulders and ankles and customs which veer on loads of respect. Of course, tourists are not required to dress similarly. Although, one must keep in mind that respecting the religion and culture is important, especially when touring religious sites.