Jakarta Indonesia by AsiaRoom and Keys.me
Jakarta is a vibrant city and a good place to roam around in -- if you have an idea of where to go and what to do. Here are a few survival tips for newbie visitors.
If New York City is The Big Apple, then Asia’s version of that is Jakarta, nicknamed as The Big Durian. Much like that thorny but fleshy-soft pungent-smelling fruit, Jakarta is a mixture of the good and the, well, not so good. But if you’re a traveler seeking for an eclectic mix of adventure and tastes, then we recommend taking a bite out of this exotic fruit of the Asia-Pacific and see what it has to offer – because there are lots!
Tips for Getting the Best Out of Jakarta
But first, there are a few things you must know. Be well-prepared to maximize your itinerary and minimize your culture shock.
Much of Southeast Asia reflects only two seasons: the dry/hot season and the wet/rainy season. When it is hot, it really gets hot! So be prepared with your mineral water and umbrella when roaming around. After all, Indonesia is a tropical country so the hot season could also be dry, with temperatures ranging from 28°C and thereabouts. Similarly, an umbrella will also come in handy when you roam around during the rainy season, but it usually doesn’t rain the whole day anyway. The dry season is from May to September while the rainy season is from October to April.
Indonesia is a progressive country in many ways, but they were able to preserve the usage of their main language, Bahasa Indonesia, up to today. This is why many Indonesians prefer speaking in their native tongue, and English is only an acquired language taught in schools. However, majority of Indonesians don’t speak English that easily, so it’s best to bring a translation guide for you to navigate Jakarta more effectively. For example, in going places, you should have a prepared card of your hotel where the taxi drivers could just easily read and follow the directions. Yes, even with basic negotiations with public transportation drivers and sellers on the markets or on the streets, you would need a reliable guide to help you roam around the city. Try to learn the basics of Bahasa; it’s actually easy, as you pronounce words per syllable. Trust me, it will spell a big difference during your stay there, literally and figuratively.
Jakarta is a mixture of contrasting cultures. The cool cosmopolitan vibe could be felt when you visit the central business district of the central area. The atmosphere is very western and modern. So yes, you can have your shopping spree in the huge multi-level malls there and partake of international food and beverage brands such as Starbucks. But all around, you could still see traces of their traditional Islamic culture, as structures that reflect their main religion of Islam decorate many areas all around the capital. Since Indonesia was also a former Dutch colony, there are still traces of this colonial past within Jakarta and its fringes.
This eclectic mix reflects in their daily living as well. While the residents of Jakarta dress in western-style clothes, there are also many residents who don the clothing identified with their Islamic culture. And both cultures exist peacefully and beautifully in this country, as you can see how Jakarta successfully negotiates the modern with the traditional. But of course, as visitors, we have to be aware that some areas might not appreciate very skimpy clothing or those they deem as very liberal. Once again, it will be helpful to have a “do as the Romans do” type of attitude, and always be respectful of the host country’s cultural nuances. Oh, and if you’re planning to roam around the more traditional areas, some of the buildings/rooms inside tourist spots there will require you to remove your shoes, out of respect. Best to prepare sandals or footwear that’s easy to slip on and off.
Jakarta CBD (Central Business District)
People from countries who are used to trading smaller denominations such as fives, tens, twenties, fifties or even hundreds might find the Indonesian rupiah a bit surprising. Yes, they also have coins, but your wallet will more likely be filled with paper bills that have denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 and yes, even 100000 (count the zeros!). Having bills by the thousands don’t exactly state that you are rich. It’s just how the value of their money is reflected. As of this writing, one U.S. dollar is equivalent to 13,175 rupiah. So do you now get the picture? Do the math and find out.
Southeast Asian transportation systems share few things in common. When you’ve been around the region, expect to see the same two-wheeled and three-wheeled transportation options that go with the usual taxis, buses and trains. The bajaj is Jakarta’s version of the Thai tuktuk and the Philippines’ tricycle, basically a motorcycle with an enclosed sidecar. The ojek is a motorcycle for hire. Depending on how you negotiate with the riders, they can take you to one destination or a series of destinations, for an extra fee of course. But be careful dealing with ojek drivers because some of them will try to bring you to farther places just to extract double or tripe the fare (yes, been there, done that!). But if you find a good ojek driver that’s honest and reliable, you can actually ask him if he can be rented for a longer time if you want to cover more places in your travel itinerary.
But if you’re more into four-wheeled vehicles, best to hail a taxi. But don’t just hail any taxi. People from Jakarta themselves would know what to recommend. One of the safest and most visible is the Blue Bird group. Spot a blue taxi and check if it’s really a Blue Bird taxi line, and ride it. They will honor the meter fare.
Accommodations in the Jakarta can be very wallet friendly. AsiaRoom prides itself on being the most affordable hotel, guesthouse, bed and breakfast, home, and resort online source for rooms. We are a member’s only company which is part of our secret to deep discounts. Not yet a member? Sign Up Here! To book your room in the Jakarta Click Here!
Jakarta Indonesia can be very wallet-friendly if you use this guide. AsiaRoom and Keys.me prides itself on being the most affordable hotel, guesthouse, bed and breakfast, home, and resort online source for rooms.
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