The city of Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, home to over 10 million people, sky scrapers and global buisness and is often described as a ‘city that never sleeps’. From the moment you enter Jakarta it is chaotic, dynamic and crowded place with cars driving everywhere and traffic jams that could cause anyone to go crazy! Apparently during rush hour the average speed in 10km/hr.
Compared to the rest of Indonesia, Jakarta could easily fit into any European city. The modern western ways influence a lot of the urban areas. After the tourist sights, the thing to do in Jakarta has to be shopping.
There is no shortage of great malls to choose from, just opposite each other is the Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia full of designer shops, high street stalls and restaurants.
Jakarta isn’t a primary tourist city, therefore the things to see are few. The National Monument (Monas) is a 132 meters tower found in Merdeka Square. It is the landmark of Jakarta seen from many areas of the city, especially at night when it illuminates. The tall tower is topped with a gold leafed flame. Merdeka square is a small green area which is rare in Jakarta to find. It becomes a hub for locals with events occurring regularly on weekends.
Around the corner to Monas the Istiqlal Mosque can be found. This is the biggest mosque in SE Asia which can accommodate around 120,000 people and cover 9 hectares of land. The mosque has a modern design, with characteristics of the building all having a reason behind its presence. For example the 7 entrances represent the seven heavens, the 45meter diameter of the Central dome represents the year Indonesia became independent (1945) and finally the 12 pillars in the prayer hall, representing the 12th Rabi’ al-awwal. Opposite is Jakarta’s catholic cathedral, built in 1901.
You can’t travel around Jakarta and not notice the extensive range of food that is on offer. From the street food stalls, fast food outlets and high end luxury restaurants. It might seem a bit difficult to understand the menu on many street food stalls, but once you learn a few key terms like bebek meaning duck or ayam, chicken you will have no other choice! Basic street food dishes can cost around 20,000 IRP which is just over £1.
Due to the size of Jakarta to get around and see all what it has to offer you have to take public transport (transjakarta bus or train), bajaj or a taxi. As staying here for only one day the chance of exploring further was limited, but the old quater of Jakarta (Kota Tua) has to be the next on the list of things to see. Here the real culture and history of Jakarta can be seen.