Jakarta, the Big Durian. Like it’s spikey-fruit namesake, the city can be stinky, and while many hate it at first, most grow to love it.
Long seen by travellers as merely a transit point, a place from which to arrive and leave, Jakarta may be worth a little more of your time.
But if you’re looking for spectacular tourist attractions and sighseeing heaven, you might have to adjust your expectations. The joy of Jakarta is the people you meet, the food you eat, the unexpected experiences you have. If you don’t get ‘stuck in’, you’ll never find it.
Jakarta has a unwaranted reputation for being unsafe. It’s a big capital city and the standard precautions are needed, but no more so than any western city. It’s perfectly safe to wander around and see what’s what in Jakarta.
There are a few attractions, notably the Dutch-era old town, Kota, which is being rejuvenated by the city, the nation museum, giant mosque, national monument and presidential palance, which are all in one block in Central Jakarta. There’s Kemang for nightlife, and the Ancol complex in North Jakarta which hosts waterparks, them parks and a busy ‘beach’ area).
You can do pretty much anything you want in Jakarta. Many locals spend free time in malls, some of which are huge. More than just shopping, malls in Jakarta also feature some great food options as well as entertainment such as cinemas and spas.
Yes, the traffic can make getting around a bit of a drag, but plan your trips to avoid the peak morning and evening rush hours, and you’ll be fine.
Stick around in Jakarta for a while, you never know what adventures await.