"Wonderful people in a hectic, polluted megalopolis" Top 5 Page for this destination Jakarta by kokoryko

Jakarta Travel Guide: 1,346 reviews and 2,673 photos

Twenty tree million inhabitants

Twenty tree million inhabitants,. . . . and still growing. . . . or thirteen million, depends the sources and the definition of the urban area; whatever it a big, very big city, the biggest of South East Asia and second urbanised area of the planet. . . . . (http://tbelfield.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/jakarta-batavia-djakarta-jakarta-population-and-the-chinese/)
And a city which has grown from 1 million inhabitants in 1948 to 6.5 in 1980 to 13 in 2004 (ibid.) could not do else than have serious development and environmental problems; A long article on that subject is here if you are interested: http://tbelfield.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/yulinawati_jakarta_2005.pdf
Water and air pollution, traffic jams, deadly floods, and in the past (and probably in the future) earthquakes, tsunamis, . . . no, not an idyllic picture! But Jakarta is incredible, this city lives day and night, there is an energy here, a “primal energy”, a “will to life” I did not see in other places; people are exceptional here, I mean the people who commute, who are on the markets, live in the city districts, in the kampungs (kampungs are villages, and many quarters of Jakarta are like villages. . . ), who make food, who eat, work, learn, live. . . . . . .
Not a dream destination, few foreign tourists, not many “attractions”, but a bit recent history and wonderful people. Only for people, and the megalopolis atmosphere, Jakarta is worth a visit.
Indonesia, before being a united country (tanks the Dutch, in some way. . . ) was an archipelago with many regencies, sultanates, principalities, and politician tried to develop a “national feeling” among the population, and the spectacular Monas (Monumen Nasional) participates to the development of this feeling.

Old Batavia.

When the Dutch arrived at the mouth of the Ciliwung river, Jayakarta was a small village, but it is there that Jan Pieterszoon Coen decided to establish the base of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (United East Indies company), and founded Batavia.
Very few is left from old Batavia, and also is was so small, compared to the city which grew after the sixties; in the North, (Jakarta Utara) are a few remains of the old city and there are a few museums recalling the history of Jakarta, and Indonesia in general, some specialised museums (puppets, ceramics. . . ) and there is a lot to learn about that city.
Jakarta is huge, very huge, and with the traffic jams it may take hours to go from one place to the other; so here, in North Jakarta are a few interesting places and luckily, they are in a small perimeter. Myself, I enjoy(ed) walking in North Jakarta, in the old harbour, look at the old houses, and have a break at Taman Fatahillah and have a drink in Café Batavia.
The Jakarta museums may not have the “western standards”, but they have a great personality, I spent (and could spend more) hours in the maritime museum, and the history museum has a few surprises for the visitors. . . .

Where is the city centre?

Where is the heart of the city? This city, like may be some dinosaurs, has several hearts. There are several shopping areas, with giant malls, great commercial centres where everyday thousands and thousands of shoppers shop, workers work, vendors sell, thieves rob, beggars beg. . . . . . I know big shopping centres like Block M, the Sarina mall, or Pondok Indah luxury mall, and this time, I just kept far from there, I even did not go to Pasar Raya, a very good mall on a few levels where it is possible to buy products and handicraft from all over Indonesia. Jakarta was my base for tours in Central Java and North Sumatra and I just spent a few days in the city, walking in the streets, dreaming at the harbour, enjoying. . . . . . Jakarta is not a “dream destination”, not a resort, but it is an incredibly interesting city, there is so much to see and to learn; it is a vey rich city, rich of history and rich of wonderful people.

My photographs are not works of art, my writings are not literature.
I posted them here, and I would appreciate you ask if intend to use them elsewhere!

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  • In a nutshell:Heaven and hell
  • Last visit to Jakarta: Feb 2008
  • Intro Updated Jan 4, 2010
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Reviews (68)

Comments (9)

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    Excellent page on Jakarta! There many appreciable information which a normal traveller would never know. I really enjoyed going through every tip you wrote. I also love Indonesian people like you. They are far better than many snob countries. I am yet to come across a snob Indonesian as yet I have about 300 friends in FB. I shall come back for more to read your other pages as well.

  • ullfri49's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Interest to hear that a Chairil Anwar and a Pram.A.T. Monument are at Monas park Jakarta! Again greetings from Germany and thanks for attention.

  • fachd's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2009 at 8:38 PM

    You made me homesick. Well research Hermann. Guess what my dad (Achdiat K.M) knows Chairil Anwar & Pramoedia Anantha Toer. Chairil Anwar was one of the character in my dad book (Atheis his first novel). He made him as an anarchist character. Cheers

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2009 at 6:22 AM

    Me again, coming back to read the rest of your Things to Do tips. Great that you could get so deep into the labyrinths behind Pasar Baru and other parts of this huge city. I'll be back some other time for more.

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2009 at 9:36 PM

    Merci Hermann pour tes bons vœux. J'ai particulièrement aimé ta photo des petites jeunes filles souriant à l'objectif! Joyeux Noël et Heureuse Année à toi également!

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2009 at 4:11 AM

    I enjoyed your walk around Jakarta's historic sites and monuments! However, as a 'Maritimer', my favourites were the 'big “fat” dhows' and the old VOC building housing the nautical Museum Bahari! Your food tips made me want to have 'makan pagi' now!

  • Apr 13, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    Hermann, my friend, was this another business trip? If so, is your company hiring? My French is a C-, Spanish A, Italian B+, and German C+. You have the coolest job.

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2009 at 1:56 PM

    your tips are useful and photos are very good. Bora

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    As you say, not a dream destination, but I want to visit Indonesia one day and I absolutly think Jakarta will be interesting to visit for a couple of days.

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