Jakarta Travel Guide

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Jakarta Travel Guide

Jakarta Local History

The history of the city dates back to the 14th century. At its northern boundary a small harbour town called Sunda Kelapa was located and it was controlled by Pajajaran Kingdom. Portuguese merchants attempted to expand their commercial influence in the area and signed a treaty with the King of Pajajaran in the early 16th century. They established a fortress to defend against the Muslim forces. In 1527, Prince Fatahillah defeated King of Pajajaran and conquered the Portuguese fortress. The town was renamed to Jayakarta (meaning "great victory").

In 1619, the Dutch East India Company arrived in Java, burnt down the town and constructed a walled city named Batavia near Jakarta bay. The city became the centre of Dutch trading and administrative activities for three centuries. Fatahillah Square was the heart of the Dutch colonial administration. Monsoon rains threatened to drown the city each rainy season, and the Dutch brought non-Javanese slaves from other countries to built a series of canals to control the rains. An extensive system of urban railways was also developed linking Jakarta with Tangergang in the west, Serpong and Sunda straits in the south west, Bogor and Bandung in the south, Bekasi and Cirebon in the east. Over the next hundred years, Indonesians and Chinese flocked to the town.

The walled Batavia grew to such an extent that strain was becoming apparent. Deportations commenced, and ethnic gangs began creating unrest in Batavia's outposts. In October 1740 the government ordered a search of Chinese premises. This prompted a terrible massacre of 5000 Chinese by Batavia's Dutch citizens. A year later Chinese residents were moved to an area outside the walled city, and soon after, many other residents also relocated.

In 1942, Jakarta was occupied by the Japanese forces for the World War II. When Indonesia gained independence in 1945, Jakarta was chosen as the capital city of the newly independent Indonesian nation. In 1961, the status of Jakarta was raised to that of a "Special territory".

During the Asian economic meltdown of the late 1990s, the Indonesian economy was hit harder than most. Food shortages and price rises sparked anti-government demonstrations, which peaked in May 1998 after six students were shot dead by the army. More than 500 people died in Jakarta in the ensuing riots, and Soeharto eventually stood down on 21 May. Attacks on Indonesia's Chinese population were particularly fierce, and thousands of Chinese fled the country. In accordance with Indonesia's constitution, Soeharto was replaced by his (none-too-popular) vice-president, B.J. Habibie.

Jakarta is at the epicenter of a program of renewal that straddles areas of the economy, the political system and society at-large. Managing that renewal - and keeping a lid on spiraling ethnic and religious violence - is the nation's biggest challenge - a challenge it occasionally cannot meet, as indicated by the bombing of an international hotel in central Jakarta in August 2003 in which 18 people died.

Jakarta Attractions

Top Attractions

Jakarta History Museum - This museum, is probably the most solid reminder of Dutch rule in Indonesia. Built in 1627, the large, bell-towered hall served the administration of the city, the law courts, and even housed Batavia's main prison compound. This the place to go if you are into heavy, carved furniture and other memorabilia from the Dutch period. A series of gloomy portraits of all the Dutch governors-general and early pictures of Batavia, are among the more interesting exhibits. The Jakarta History Museum is located inside Old Batavia, just south of the square and is housed in the old Batavia Town Hall.

Merdeka Square - The most impressive of Soekarno's great heroes-of-socialism structures. This 132m (433ft) National Monument (Monas) was constructed during the marble-and-gold project, that commenced in 1961 and took 14 years to complete. The phallic symbol topped by a glittering flame symbolizes the nation's strength and independence. It towers above the otherwise-desolate Merdeka Square, right in the heart of Jakarta. In the base of the monument is the National History Museum, where 48 dramatic dioramas a selective and overstated view of Indonesian history represent. A lift will take you to the top of the monument for dramatic - though rarely clear - views of Jakarta.

Old Batavia - The old town of Batavia is the oldest and finest reminder of the Dutch presence in Jakarta. Once it contained a massive shoreline fortress and was surrounded by a sturdy wall and a moat. During the early 19th century, much of the city was destroyed by the government, but there are still plenty of Dutch influences in this part of town. A few of Batavia's old buildings are still in use. Many were restored in the 1970s and are now museums. The centre of the area is a cobblestone square, known as Taman Fatahillah. To the west is the Kali Besar (the great canal that once marked out the high-class residential area of Batavia). On the west bank of the canal are the last of the big private homes dating from the early 18th century. Following the canal north, you will see a small 17th-century Dutch drawbridge, called the Chicken Market Bridge, and is the last in the city. Old Batavia is directly north of the city centre at Kota train station.

Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for sightseeing.

IsoKu-Iki Cafe & Budget Resto IsoKu-Iki Café & Budget Resto. Located at North of Jakarta near Tanjung Priok Harbour. Everyday is celebration at IsoKu-Iki.. popular spot specializes in the spicy cuisine.. serves very good Indonesian seafood, especially the grilled prawns. The most popular in IsoKu-Iki restaurant is Nasi komplit IsoKu-Iki.. it’s very popular menu and very cheap prices from Rp.10.000,-/ porsi. Ikan Bakar from Rp. 20.000,- The sauce accompanies other dishes and is usually served with lalap, or fresh raw/steamed vegetables.. For special event mail info@isoku-iki.com visit the website http://www.isoku-iki.com
submitted by Mario, 07/03/07

Jakarta Shopping

Furniture - Wooden furniture is beautiful and cheap here. To get it home, there are some excellent export (container) companies operating in/out of Jakarta and one can always utilize these, should your bags be too small to cart everything home with you. Batik fabrics and clothing is good value and always makes for a good choice as gifts for those left behind in your country of origin. Clothing is cheap and there are good tailors in the major malls. If you're in the market for antiques, try the stores along Jalan Paletehan I (Kebayoran Baru), Jalan Maja Pahit and Jalan Gajah Mada (Gambir/Kota), Jalan Kebon Sirih Timur and Jalan H. A. Salim (Mentang), and Jalan Ciputat Raya (Old Bogor Road).

Rumah Indonesia (Centre of Home Industry Product) - The centre was built as realization of the agreement between Governor of Jakarta city and General Chairman of Kadin Indonesia. Here you can purchase export quality products at local prices. A great way to make some excellent savings! The shopping choice is extensive and the best thing to do on arrival is go window shopping for a day (or two), then buy once you know what is available.

Jakarta Activities

Jaya Ancol Dreamland - Jakarta's largest recreational park sports a number of aquariums, swimming pools, and facilities for fishing, boating, and other water sports. There is also a Pasar Seni (Art Market) that displays various handicrafts and souvenirs from many regions of Indonesia. The best aquarium in Indonesia is to be found here in the Jaya Ancol Dreamland complex, where your kids will be able to touch live fish in a 'touch pool' or wander through a Perspex underwater tunnel. This is always exciting for children of all ages. Here you and your family can discover the underwater world that lives in the oceans surrounding Indonesia without getting your feet wet.

Go Carting - Can be done in Jakarta and what better way to let your kids unwind than to take them carting? Jln. Pintu Satu 1, Senyayan, Sayap Kanan, Jakarta. Tel: 21/571-2032. There is another venue called Speedy Karting and this is situated on Jalan Gatot Subroto, near Hanggar Teras, Aldiron Plaza. Open daily, from Monday Sunday, about 10.00 am late night.

Paintball - Get blasted by an opponent wearing military gear and armed with a paintball gun at one of two locations in the city. This sport is not for the nervous or feint hearted and should only be played by children over 8 years of age. They are open : Tue-Fri, 09.00-17.00 Weekends 09.00-18.00. At Perumahan Alam Sutra Tangerang Tel: 21/539-7777.

Taman Ria Remaja Senayan - This park has a beautiful lake for boating, canoeing and paths for cycling. Other facilities for children include bumper cars, a miniature train and a merry-go-round. Evening entertainment features live music and popular local comedians. Open daily from 16.00 - 22.00, Saturday to midnight, Sundays and holidays from 08.00 22.00. Located at Jalan Pintu VIII Senayan.

Jakarta Parks & Gardens

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah - In the southeast of Jakarta this park was conceived by Mme Tien Soeharto in 1971 and opened in 1975. This 250-acre park is pretty impressive, and is Jakarta's most visited attraction. The display of 27 full-scale houses features regional handicrafts and clothing. The houses are dotted around a lagoon, and can be reached by small boat or viewed from a cable car. Taman Mini also houses museums, theatres, restaurants, an orchid garden and a bird park. It's 18km from the centre of Jakarta, and can be reached by bus and metro-mini.

The Bogor Botanic Gardens - In colonial times, Bogor was an important Dutch hill station and the favorite retreat for Dutch governors-general. Bogor's main attraction is its world-class botanical gardens (Kebun Raya) - a vast expanse of greenery in the middle of the city. Covering about 200 acres (and originally used for cash-crops such as tobacco and tea) the gardens now contain over 15,000 species of trees and plants, including 400 palm species and, 3000 orchid varieties (though these are not open to the public). The grounds also play host to the huge Presidential Palace, which now houses Soekarno's art collection (admission only by prior arrangement), and the motley exhibits of the Zoological Museum. The gardens are 60 km south of Jakarta and well serviced by train or bus from central Jakarta.

The Cibodas Mountain Garden - Founded in 1862 for the study of mountain flora and fauna, it covers an area of about 200 acres at an elevation of 1,200 meters on the slope of the Gede volcano, West Java. Attached to this garden is a forest reserve of more than 3,000 acres extending up to the summit of Mt. Pangrango (3,000 m) and the crater of Mt. Gede, east of Bogor. The Cibodas collection includes imports from a number of sub-tropical countries.

Orchid Gardens - Apart from those in the Bogor Botanic Gardens, which serve a mainly scientific and experimental purpose, commercial orchid gardens are found in Jakarta at Slipi and in the Taman Mini Park. Indonesia produces some of the most exotic orchid species, including the black-orchid (bualagna pandurata) which grows in the Kersik Luway reserve of East Kalimantan.

Jakarta Restaurants and Bars

Eating is an integral part of life in Jakarta and visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the diverse international culinary delights for all to experience. Wine and drinks tend to be expensive. In fact, drinks are often more costly than the food at a restaurant. Gerobak/kakilima carts roam the city selling local fare. Their approach is heralded by a specific sound for each food item, be it the ting-ting of a spoon on a bowl, the tock-tock of a stick on a block of wood, or the whistle of a steam kettle. Food from gerobak can provide a tasty mid-morning snack or a complete meal. Some of the local cuisine in Jakarta includes: gado-gado (a salad with peanut sauce, usually served with krupuk crackers and steamed rice), soto (clear soup with slices of beef, veal of chicken meat), Sate (broiled skewered meat, with either soy or peanut sauce), the most popular in Jakarta is sop kaki, which is a soup, prepared from the boiled tendon of a cow's or goat's leg. Commonly served with rice. Also popular is the Jakarta version of oxtail soup, or sop buntut.

Bakmie Goreng or fried noodles are China's contribution to the Indonesian culinary treasury. The Indonesian variety of the dish contains no pork, as the majority of Indonesians are Moslems, and usually little beef or chicken. More Indonesian-ised is the boiled version of the dish, mie rebus.

Another dish that presumably hails from China is bakso meatball soup. Common varieties are mie bakso, bakso kuah and bakso bihun.

One of the many dishes from that region that are very popular in Jakarta is rendang (a thick dark curry of beef slices), which come from the province of Sumatera Barat.

A very popular side dish in Indonesia is sambal, which comes in an endless variety. Most common is sambal terasi, a thick chilli paste of pounded dried fish or shrimp. Sometimes, lime juice or tomatoes are added for extra flavour. The sauce accompanies other dishes and is usually served with lalap, or fresh raw/steamed vegetables.

Jakarta Restaurants

Indonesian restaurants, serving Indonesian cuisine can be found all over Jakarta. A good place in Jakarta to get a quick introduction to Indonesian cuisine would be at a mall food court. Here, you can actually see the various dishes being prepared and sample different specialties until you discover your favourites.

Warung - The semi-permanent warung, or food stalls, are found throughout the city. Due to the low overhead, warung offer cheaper fare than restaurants. You will find warung on roadsides, in parking lots, on sidewalks and in any open space to provide meals to passers-by. Some of the best food in Jakarta is available from a warung and each warung offers a particular menu, often featuring regional specialties.

Asiatique - Combining Asian spices with Western culinary concepts is a new practice in Jakarta. At this restaurant in the Regent hotel, the chefs blend elements from different Asian cuisines to produce tempting combinations. You can order most dishes as an appetizer or a main course; a broad selection of appetizers is a good way to satisfy your curiosity. Especially tasty are the lemongrass-spiked tandoori salmon and the fried chili and lobster with peppers and lotus root. Prices range: Rp 50000 to Rp 150000.Jl. Rasuna Said. Tel: 021/252-3456.

Le Bistro - Candlelight, checked tablecloths, and copper pots put you in the mood for the classic Provençal menu, simple food from the south of France. Try the roast chicken with rosemary and thyme. The circular piano bar at the back of the dining room is the perfect spot for an after-dinner liqueur. Main course: Rp 50000 to Rp 200000. Jl. K. H. Wahid Hasyim 75. Tel: 021/364272.

Sari Kuring - This restaurant, near Merdeka Square, serves very good Indonesian seafood, especially the grilled prawns and the Thai fish a la Sari Kuring, marinated in spices, then quickly fried. The restaurant is large but connected on many levels by stone steps, so there is a sense of intimacy. Often crowded on weekends. Main course: under Rp 50000 to Rp 150000. Jl. Silang Monas Timur 88. Tel: 021/352972.

Jakarta Bars & Clubs

Green Pub - Not only recommended for their Mexican food, but for their live country-and-western music (6:30-9) and jazz (9:30 PM-1 AM). The pub is a cross between a Western saloon and a Mexican ranch, and the burritos, enchiladas, and Tex-Mex barbecued spareribs is authentic. Main course: under Rp 50000 to Rp 200000 an reservations are not accepted. Jl. M. H. Thamrin 9, Jakarta Theater Bldg. Tel: 021/359332.

Natrabu - This popular spot specializes in the spicy cuisine, and the lively music, of the Minangkabau people in the Padang area of West Sumatra. Red Sumatran banners hang from the ceiling, and a model of a Minangkabau house sits in a corner. Waiters wearing head scarves from the region deliver bowls of food from the moment you sit down. You can order, or you can select from the dishes they bring (you pay for the ones you try). Reservations are not accepted and prices range Rp 50000 to Rp 150000. Jl. H. A. Salim 29A, Jakarta. Tel: 021/335668.

Oasis - Fine international cuisine and a traditional rijsttafel ensure that the Oasis, which is in a lovely old house filled with tribal art and textiles, remains popular. A specialty is medallions of veal Oscar (served in a cream sauce with mushrooms, crabmeat, and asparagus). A combo alternates with Batak singers to provide music nightly. Reservations are essential and prices between Rp 50000 to Rp 200000. Jl. Raden Saleh 47, Jakarta. Tel: 021/315-0646.

Jakarta children's activities

Jaya Ancol Dreamland - Jakarta's largest recreational park sports a number of aquariums, swimming pools, and facilities for fishing, boating, and other water sports. There is also a Pasar Seni (Art Market) that displays various handicrafts and souvenirs from many regions of Indonesia. The best aquarium in Indonesia is to be found here in the Jaya Ancol Dreamland complex, where your kids will be able to touch live fish in a 'touch pool' or wander through a Perspex underwater tunnel. This is always exciting for children of all ages. Here you and your family can discover the underwater world that lives in the oceans surrounding Indonesia without getting your feet wet.

Go Carting - Can be done in Jakarta and what better way to let your kids unwind than to take them carting? Jln. Pintu Satu 1, Senyayan, Sayap Kanan, Jakarta. Tel: 21/571-2032. There is another venue called Speedy Karting and this is situated on Jalan Gatot Subroto, near Hanggar Teras, Aldiron Plaza. Open daily, from Monday Sunday, about 10.00 am late night.

Paintball - Get blasted by an opponent wearing military gear and armed with a paintball gun at one of two locations in the city. This sport is not for the nervous or feint hearted and should only be played by children over 8 years of age. They are open : Tue-Fri, 09.00-17.00 Weekends 09.00-18.00. At Perumahan Alam Sutra Tangerang Tel: 21/539-7777.

Taman Ria Remaja Senayan - This park has a beautiful lake for boating, canoeing and paths for cycling. Other facilities for children include bumper cars, a miniature train and a merry-go-round. Evening entertainment features live music and popular local comedians. Open daily from 16.00 - 22.00, Saturday to midnight, Sundays and holidays from 08.00 22.00. Located at Jalan Pintu VIII Senayan.

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