Jakarta Things to Do Tips by kokoryko Top 5 Page for this destination
Jakarta Things to Do: 357 reviews and 677 photos
St Mary cathedral is a rather recent building in Jakarta; this neo-gothic church has been inaugurated in 1901. To me its main interest is that it is a western and Christian building, toady “lost” in the Muslim far East.
It looks impressive, if you forget the nearby mosque, with the high tower; it is the first time I see painted steel structures on top of church towers. . . ! (first picture); from Lapangen Banteng (Banteng Square, located south) it looks more like a provincial church rather than a cathedral (picture 2), but we must think that Batavia, at the time the cathedral was built was not a big city, the majority of Dutch were protestants, and most of the population were Indonesian and Muslim.
Neo Gothic? That is what the guides write, but the round arches of the nave are Roman (picture 3); gothic are the choir, the low sides and the towers outside. It is not a beautiful church, the decoration has no masterpieces, be it the Pieta (picture 5) or the stations of the cross (start here, on picture 4) made with painted tiles or ceramics., . . . . well, it is a nice place to visit, however, to have a look at; after all we are in a Muslim country, and places which are out of the norm are always interesting, and some may like to find a place where to pray.
I would have liked to attend a mass, the Indonesian Catholics have a great fervour.
Directions: Jalan Katedral, Central Jakarta; North East of Merdeka square.
Lost between the glass towers
Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country on the planet, and Jakarta is the biggest Muslim city of the world! So don’t be surprised you see mosques and mushollas (little mosques, or praying rooms) everywhere, at every street corner, or almost. . . They are all different, have their own style, personality. . . .
Some are squeezed between the skyscrapers, like here (picture 1), behind the Pacific Place building and I wonder how the muezzin calls for prayer. . . . Other mosques are on wide open space and you can see the minaret from far (picture 2, Pluit, west of Sunda Kelapa), some are decorated like cream cakes (picture 3, near Pasar Minggu) other are very modest or austere (picture 4, Mampang) hidden in gardens. All these mosques contribute to the aspect and atmosphere of the city, and in some areas, the muezzin concerts” are quite impressive.
Trees and skyscrapers
Jakarta is well known for its high rise buildings. Constructions of sky scrapers began in Jakarta in the end sixties, and during the eighties and beginning nineties, before the economic crisis in Asia (1997) Jakarta was just a gigantic construction place, and the area between Monas in the north and Senayan and Kuningan in the south is now a forest of high rise buildings.
I like the contrast between the trees, modest natural things and the huge glass and concrete creations (picture 1, JSX building in the middle), or how we look tiny in some perspectives (picture 2, Pacific Place building, picture 3, JSX again).
From the Monas tower you can have a good overlook on this building forest, and can see it extends very far (picture 4); frem there you feel tall and dominating, but in general you (well, me at least!) feel very tiny, like an insect, and it is weird to bee in between these high buildings, looking for horizon between them, as they hide the sky. . . (picture 5).
Directions: Thamrin, Sudirman, Kuningan. . . .
Glodok is the historical Chinese quarter of Jakarta, a world for itself.
I already posted a few lines about in my general %LIndonesia%L*page, and I just add here a few impressions of my last visit.
Glodok is very well known for electronics; if you are looking for electronic devices, cameras, gameboys, laptops, memory cards, whatever, you may find here what you are looking for, and if they do not have on hand, they will get it for you within hours! Prices are not the most competitive, but you always can try bargaining.
The main places for electronics shops are the bridge over the wide avenue at the northern end of Jalan Gajah Mada, (on the first picture is one of the tens of camera shops there) and the big mall at the crossing of Jalan Pinangsia and Jalan Manga Besar, 200 m East of this bridge (walk along Jalan Pinangsia).
But there are not only electronics, and I looked with some scare at what I have seen for the first time on sale in Jakarta: fire arms (picture 2)! I am not expert and on the detail picture (picture 3) you may have a better idea (may be they are toys only, but I doubt), and also see, that there are not only arms, but also dirty movies and things like that; Glodok is also known for “red light” activities and things like that.
The Glodok I like is the Chinese quarter, and when I visited this time, I noticed I missed some Chinese festival, as there were dancers having a rest in their truck after a performance (picture 4), and the streets were decorated and lots of shops were selling festival clothes (picture 5)
Directions: north Jakarta.
In Kota is a huge bus terminal, near Pasar Ikan, where the buses (and the drivers! ) have a rest, before returning in the hell of the traffic jams, the pollution, the noise, the hectic and exhausting way of earning a living. . . . I passed there, on Jalan Kali Besar Timur, on the way to Taman Fatahillah, and as I looked curious, some of the guys were curious too, and we had the usual chat: Dari mana? Ke mana? Panas hari ini , ya? Dibangun jam berapa? Oooh susah! Bekerja duabelas jam sehari. . . . etc. . . etc. . . Where are you from? Where are you going? They work twelve hours a day, wake up early, it is very difficult life. These people like a lot you speak a bit with them in their language; usually they are just “transparent, for Indonesian and of course more transparent to the foreigners, they do not exist.
On the first pictures the drivers are awake, and on the four oter pictures you see some having a rest, either in their bus, or on the sidewalk, and some even make a mattress with the leaves of the trees under which they have a nap (picture 5)
You probably noticed on many pictures, red, orange, green, blue, etc, flags; what are all these flags?
These flags are the birth of democracy in Indonesia. . . . . Ah! Who am I to write about democracy in this country? I have no lesson to give, should not write value judgements. . . . . Well, apparently, democracy is making its way in the Indonesian society and public life. . . . There will be general elections (Regional Representatives Council and People's Representative Council) on April 9th 2009, and there will be forty parties seeking the elector’s votes. It just appeared the campaign was going very well, and in fair conditions, as in very many places I could see flags of the different parties, side by side; I just liked to see that there were no fights between different parties and that they apparently respected each other. . . .
Gang is also dining room
I like a lot to walk in the small streets, far from the beaten paths, dream, think sometimes I could live there, have another life, be part the places I visit. The real life is here in the gangs (picture 1), people live as much outside a s inside their houses; in the gangs is the real life, I feel (picture 2), there you are just with people in their everyday life (picture 3); in the gangs you are far from the heavy traffic, it is quiet (picture 4), and when you leave a gang for a small street, still far from the avenues, already, there is more activity, more people, teenagers who cannot live without mobile phone, motorbikes, cars, . . . ah! City life, which I love also, when I know I can leave it any time. . .
Directions: Every where .
Gang Karang Anyar
Visiting cities on feet is very rewarding, you have time to look at things, to smile at people, get smiles in return, it is just warm! Whatever latitude on the planet, the kids are just beautiful (picture 1), like here somewhere in a “gang” in Karang Anyar district; but in Jalan Lodan, they are as nice (picture 2). . .
A “gang” is a corridor; in Jakarta, gangs are very small narrow streets (picture 3), linking small streets, which themselves link bigger streets, which. . . etc, etc. It is very enjoyable to walk in the gangs of Jakarta, and the locals who do not see often foreigners, are just happy to welcome them! Even in the gangs, there are traffic jams (picture 4)! Ah! I just like it to walk here and see all these smiles (picture 5)
Directions: Everywhere, in the small streets; just keep polite and natural. . . People are wonderful!
On the main avenues crossings, roundabouts, squares, you can see huge statues, which had been created in the same time as the city was growing. . . Many of these statues date back to Sukarno times and they are a bit pompous, pretentious, well, had to contribute to National Feeling, construction of Indonesia. One of the most spectacular examples is the Patung Pemuda, the Youth monument (first picture), located in the Senayan area, at the southern end of Jalan Sudirman; expats call him “pizza man”. This man symbolises the contribution of youth to the development of the country, he carries an eternal flame (and screams, as it burns his hands. . ;))) On the second picture is a statue of Arjuna Wiwaha, a hero of the Mahabharata, at the northern end of Jalan Thamrin; this statue is quite impressive, with its “fire horses”(picture 3), taking Arjuna on his cart to some great accomplishment. . . (?)
Selamat Datang Welcome, is the name of this monument (picture 4), located on one of the most busy roundabouts of Jakarta, Jalan Thamrin, in the business district, and here (picture 5) is General Sudirman.
On big avenues or roundabouts you may find many more statues, and some are quite impressive, sometimes with beauty, sometimes with size, sometimes with pretention. . .
Directions: On the great avenues, at the avenues crossings and roundabouts
Tugu Bebas Irian
A very quiet place in Jakarta, is Lapangan Banteng; it is a strange area, as very few people walk around or hang out in this rather big park. The landmark here is the “Tugu Bebas Irian”, the statue for freedom of Irian (first picture), the high statue of the guy breaking his chains (second picture). There are other statues in the green park and under the trees, amongs fountains and basins, and walking here is quite enjoyable; you will see, when you visit Jakarta by feet, you will enjoy places like this one, where is some shade, and far from the traffic and noise; the sculptures are a mixture of modern and Hindu style in some way, like these four legged wooly ducks (!?) (picture 3), or Papu style, like this fountain (picture 4).
Lapangan Banteng is surrounded by official buildings like ministry of finance or the supreme court of justice; the famous hotel Borobudur (which, by the way, is not anymore what is was since its renovation in 2000), is also close by, but you are also very close to the Cathedral and Istiqlal mosque; this green park, which was in the past a major gathering place for the Dutch high society, nowadays the location for some floral exhibitions, is very quiet and enjoyable, and makes a good “operations base” when visiting central Jakarta by feet.
I should not make politics in VT, but here, I have to do: freedom of Irian, the locals have never been asked if they wanted to be “free” (and certainly not with the fake referendum of 1963), and they just have new colonisers who “liberated” them! Ah Sukarno was clever, and his incredible caprices in foreign policy just scared the United Nations or the other countries and they let him do what he wanted.
Sukarno! Where is my food? Where is what you promised? Some Jakartan make jokes about the monumental statues dating back to Sukarno times, and here in Lapangan Banteng, the guy (some locals also call “the incredible Hulk”) breaking his chains (picture 5) asks for freedom, or food, rather than looking thankful. . . .
Directions: Next to cathedral, central Jakarta
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