5 Things About Traffic Jam in Jakarta

Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia, is the second most populous country in the world next to Tokyo. 26 million inhabitants are moving around the city every day, causing heavy congestion due to the lack of proper public transportation system. New comers and tourists are finding it as a really stressful environment to deal with, but local people are getting use to it and trying to find a way to cope with it. Traffic jam not just affect your emotion, but also change people's habit which can cause trouble if you don't know how does it work. These are some useful hints about traffic jam effect in daily life of Jakarta people.

1. It is just another daily routine

Just like breakfast and take shower in the morning, trapped in a very bad traffic jam every day is just another to-do-list people in Jakarta need to go through. So if you need advice on how to deal with boredom when you stuck on the road, ask them. Years of experience make them master all the (weirdest) techniques you shall know.

2. 5 minutes could make big differences

Stasiun Sudirman, Foursquare.com

There must be a time when you want to have 5 minutes extra sleep in the morning or feel like to stay 5 minutes longer at the office for a little chit-chat. You might think "what difference can 5 minutes make anyway?"

Oh dear, if you happen to live in Jakarta, it's different like heaven and hell.

Although the street still relatively okay on 06:00, it could be 15km long traffic on 06:05. If you can go home by bus/train peacefully on 16:00, you will be like a canned sardines if you take the next car, with unlimited sweat and smell as the bonus.

So yeah, 5 minutes could determine your sanity in Jakarta.

3. "I'm on my way" is very questionable

You have arrived at the meeting point in time and wonder why your friend has not coming yet. You decide to call them and they say "I'm on my way already". Will you plainly believe it and think they will arrive in minutes?

Well... Somehow it's not how it works in Jakarta. What people mean by "on the way" could be just outside their house. So unless their house is 10 meters away from the meeting point, most likely they will arrive in an hour or more.

So next time if you want to know your friends' position for real, you have to ask "where are you, EXACTLY?"

4. The best way to spend long holiday is by staying in town


By now everyone knows already how bad Jakarta traffic could be, and it happens almost everyday. Almost. Except during long holidays. Why? Because on long holidays people in Jakarta will go out of town for traveling or visiting their relatives. When they are all gone, phoooffff, Jakarta street will be MUCH more empty. This is the best time to explore Jakarta the way you can't do on regular days. If you decide to go out of town by car instead, be ready to face the same-old endless traffic that could ruin your holiday.

5. Friday night + rain = worst nightmare


If you happen to drive your way home on rainy Friday night, we suggest you to stop by shopping malls, watching movies, or doing something else more fun than sitting inside your immovable car/motorbikes/bus for hours. Compare to regular day, what happens on Friday night (or even worse, rainy Friday night) will be more disastrous. Take our advice and have fun! It's Friday night after all.


Local people has a complicated love and hate relationship with Jakarta city. Despite its nightmare congestion, as a city that never sleep, Jakarta could offer you bigger opportunities of carrier and entertainment like no other cities in Indonesia could. Warm smile and hospitality from its people are also the reason why Jakarta is still a nice place to visit. You just need to know how to bring out the best side of the city. So take your time to do planning and ask your friend if needed...


I'm an Indonesian whom married a Japanese and have been living in Tokyo ever since. I love traveling so much, and I love all aspects of traveling, from choosing travel destination, hunting cheap tickets, planning itineraries, and even the packing routine itself.