Jakarta for Beginners: 5 things to do

Do not be dissuaded by the complains that people have about traffic in Jakarta. You would often hear them say, "Macet bangat!!!" This means that there's heavy traffic. I have lived in Jakarta for almost a year, and while it's true that traffic is something that Jakartans battle every day, it's also true that they have a beautiful country and the best food on earth.

So if you would like to put yourself to the test and make your way to Jakarta but clueless as to what to do, here are 5 things for Jakarta first timers.

1. Try a warung

A warung is like a small cafeteria that can be set-up anywhere with the use of any kind of material. You will see them open usually at lunch time, and before dinner time when the working class are getting out of their offices. They sell all kinds of Indonesian snacks and goodies, teas and coffees, and their beloved local cuisine. It may not look posh nor classy enough for your taste, but trust me, they really sell great food.

Name:
Warung Desa
Address:
Lapangan Ros, Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta, Indonesia
HP:
Foursquare.com

2. Tread through the grand malls

Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Foursquare.com

Jakarta's city center is packed with huge malls. You have Plaza Senayan and Senayan City face to face at the end of Sudirman Street of Jalan Sudirman. And then you have Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia near Kempinski Hotel and other 5-star properties. And there's more in between the four of these. With Jakarta's tropical weather, the people are really flocking to the air-conditioned malls.

Name:
Grand Indonesia Shopping Town
Address:
Jalan Mohammad Husni Thamrin No. 1 (Menteng), Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10310, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 23580001
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

3. Spend a day, or two, in Ancol

Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (Ancol Dreamland), Foursquare.com

Ancol, though a bit located in the outskirts of Jakarta, is packed with entertainment. You have an Eco Park, you have an amusement park, a farm, a beach, hotel, a cable car - anything you can think of. Plus, they also host concerts and other forms of entertainment. One day is not enough to spend in this place.

Name:
Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (Ancol Dreamland)
Address:
Jalan Lodan Raya (Ancol, Pademangan), Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 14430, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 6453456
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

4. Revisit history in Kota Tua

Kota Tua, Foursquare.com

Kota Tua is famous in Jakarta because of it's museums and that the architectural design here is still that of when the Dutch took over. They also have bikes that can be rented if you want to have a look around without stressing your feet. They also have a famous restaurant that's been here for a long time, but the meals are quite on the expensive side as you're probably paying for the venue and the history that surrounds the place.

Name:
Kota Tua
Address:
Jalan Kali Besar Timur (Jl. Kunir), Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11230, Indonesia
HP:
Foursquare.com

5. Feed your brain in the national museum

Museum Nasional Indonesia, Foursquare.com

The national museum of Jakarta is easy to go to because a bus stop is just in front of it. They have a couple of floors of exhibition about their culture and history and you will really be in awe with how much they have to show you. I recommend at least half a day to truly understand the history and traditions of Indonesia.

Name:
Museum Nasional Indonesia
Address:
Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat No.12, Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10110, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 3868172
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

Conclusion

Traffic isn't a problem if you know how to get around the city using their bus. The bus system here is like a train system for them. It has its own road so there's no traffic for it ever. Unless of course hard headed motorists use the bus roads when there's macet bangat.

Author

Geninna
5 things I can't live without: coffee, books, my iPod, wifi, and my husband :D Born and raised in Manila, Philippines but I've lived in Qatar, Indonesia, and the UAE. I am currently living in Romania, and I have been on vacations to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam :) And does a stop over in Bahrain and Germany count?