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Full Trip Report: Jakarta 2008

Jakarta (also DKI Jakarta), is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Wikipedia stated that Indonesia was formerly known as Sunda Kalapa (397-1527), Jayakarta (1527-1619), Batavia (1619-1942), and Djakarta (1942-1972). Located on the northwest coast of the Java Island, it has an area of 661.52 km² and an official population of 8,389,443 (2000[1]). Jakarta currently is the eleventh largest city, fifth largest metropolitan area and ninth most densely populated city in the world with 44,283 people per sq mile. (Wikipedia).

I’ve heard many good stories from fellow Malaysians about Jakarta. Hence when Air Asia did their free seats giveaway sometime a year ago, my travel buddy and I quickly secured two seats for us to check out Jakarta. A year pass and finally it was time to explore this beautiful place.

It is not a secret that my friend and I will go for Air Asia for our ‘self-fund’ trips instead of major carriers like MH, Garuda, KLM etc. However this time it’s a bit different as I opted for Indonesia Air Asia rather than our own Air Asia. So this time no new fancy Airbus A320, instead we chose to fly on the soon-to-be-replaced Boeing 737-300.

Indonesia Air Asia is kind of nice. It does build the excitement of going to Indonesia as the moment I stepped into the plane I was greeted by the pretty Indonesian stewardess. Service procedures are pretty much like Malaysia Air Asia but good luck in trying to understand their English flight announcements. Do not get me wrong. It’s in good grammatical English, it’s just the local slang that makes it tricky to capture as they speak quite fast. In-flight meals are also different and you won’t find the normal Nasi Lemak..instead, you can buy Nasi Goreng and Nasi Kunyit

I opted only for Teh Botol..which is kind of weird here coz its in a kotak rather than a botol but you can find the botol iin the street in Jakarta.

I was seating in the plane trying to catch some nap when I asked my friend “what do you expect Jakarta to be like?? He just smiled and said “don’t know?. He shared the same answer as me and with very little knowledge on the destination, we were ready to explore, discover and enjoy our adventure!

Hotel was booked online a few weeks before our trip and we got quite a decent deal. We stayed in Ibis Hotel in Tamarin. It was my second experience in an Ibis network hotel having stated in an Ibis Hotel in Mainz, Germany 5 years ago. It has a very nice location (in the middle of Jakarta) and walking distance to MONAS and Jalan Jaksa.

MONAS or Monumen Nasional is one of the landmarks of Indonesia. You can see the nice tall structure from far and it is a place for families to get together and spend a nice cozy Sunday morning without much cost to be incurred. It was raining on our first day in Jakarta and we had to do our walking tour with the aid of an umbrella from the hotel. Can’t postpone anything on a short 3-day trip, can you?!

Moving around Jakarta was fun. Although it is highly recommended to use the Blue Bird taxis, I opted for the Bajaj or Indonesian Rickshaws (pronounced badge-eye). This three-wheel Bajaj was banned a few times by the govt simple because it’s a major air pollution contributor, dangerous, noisy, nuisance to other drivers and less comfortable. However it came back after the Asian Economic Crisis in 1998 as people simply need money and Bajaj drivers are amongst those that will be jobless if the ban were kept. Driving in Jakarta is a nightmare. Drivers honk frequently and uses the emergency lane just like any other lanes. Don’t drive here!

Within three days I visited the beautiful Ancol dreamland which has some nice attractions, sea world, beach, parks, ice rings and theme parks. We did not spent much time in Ancol as these parks can easily be experienced in Malaysia or Singapore. Instead we went DVD hunting in Mangga 2. Ohh yeah a DVD costs as cheap as RM2. We bought quite a number of DVDs and ended up each cost around RM1.70. Crazy isn’t it!

Bro, are you taking the pic of me or the DVD gal?

I also visited the famous Indonesia Senayan stadium as it was on the way from the hotel to a place I was going that night.

As for nightlife, I had two fun but tiring nights. It was crazy and lots of ‘ceweks’ (girls). Too bad, like many countries including Malaysia poverty has pushed some (ok it’s many!) of these pretty ceweks to sell their ‘services’ in return of cold hard cash. It is sad indeed as I remember telling one of the girl “if you’re in Malaysia, you’re a movie star or a model already?.

Other interesting bits:

Krispy kreme……way better than JCO and Big Apple

Nasi Goreng tepi jalan….could this be the reason why I fell sick? Hehehe

People here work hard. There are street beggars but you see lots of people work hard for $$$. You see people becoming police traffic for a few cents, kids singing at 2am in the morning at traffic lights, girls selling their services, guys playing guitar while you eat in exchange for few cents, food sellers almost every corner. They work hard and I have high respect for people who work hard.

Next stop: Banda Acheh..i also want to check out Bali and Jogja after this!


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