Enduring bajaj taxis on the streets of Jakarta - way to go!
At a cursory glance, the
Indonesian capital city of Jakarta comes across as one of the
lesser-likely travel destinations, yet my philosophy of never judging a
book by its cover led me to happily include the city of Jakarta as an
add-on to the main portion of this trip, an 8-night stay on the island
of Bali. Upon arrival in the city of Jakarta, in the late evening, it
seemed like city life was a slice of urban chaos, which enthralls some
and tends to repel others. My keenness to work my way around all of the
Asian capital cities before l'm through made me see through all the
reports of grime, corruption, intense heat and mad traffic congestion,
and see for myself what unbiased opinions I could form about the highly
populous Indonesian capital city.
Dutch colonial influence in the Kota district of northern Jakarta
One of my very first constatations
was that, despite the frenetic lives that the residents of Jakarta
lead, nobody was indeed hostile or impolite, and the city lacked the
snobbish aspects which blight a few too many capital cities whose
residents seem to think that they live in a city where inhabitants of
the rest of the country can only dream of aspiring to. True, the
traffic situation was chaotic, but it was mountains of fun zipping
around the city in a 'bajaj', a motorized tuk-tuk, and even the buses
had their own designated bus lane, which suggested to me that at least
some attempt had been made at slicing through the gridlock. Shopping
options abounded, ranging from the teen-centric (Blok M), to the
upscale shopping mall (Taman Anggrek), and I was getting drawn into a
world where consumerism had the upper hand, and actually formed an
entertaining and absorbing whole.
Tangkuban Parahu - Java's very own drive-in volcano
Hats off too to the creators of
Jakarta's Sparks Hotel, which came across as clean, modern, funky, and
well-equipped, especially for the price per night I had paid for the
room. The 'rough and ready' elements of the city, such as the dockland
development of Sunda Kelapa, made for an authentic window on Indonesian
working lives, and a sideline day trip to Bandung city, the drive-in
volcano at Tangkuban Prahu, and the hot springs at Ciater was a perfect
way to make use of a one-day driver hire. So, as the guide books
rightly pointed out, Jakarta really is the urban equivalent of the
foul-smelling fruit, the durian, which so many cannot stomach, but
others (like myself, I concede) cannot resist.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!