The Big Mango
Jakarta Travel Blog› entry 63 of 366 › view all entries
Jakarta is a city like no other. In fact, it's not really even a city anymore, but more of a monster. Indonesia's capital city, the largest in Southeast Asia, has grown so big that it extends outside of the Capital Territory and into two surrounding provinces. Its cultural sprawl, however, extends from one corner to the other of the country. When you leave the airport, you instantly know you are in Jakarta as the mixed scents of clove cigarettes and gasoline assault your senses. The city has so many different sections to it that it is hard to classify a single area as the center, and getting around can be a time-consuming ordeal with all the traffic on the road. The bus lanes help mass transit move a bit faster, but it comes at the expense of an extra lane for car traffic. Taxis, if not hiring your own personal driver, are the best way to get around as a tourist. The backpacker tourist area, centered around Jalan Jaksa, is central enough to malls, food stalls, embassies, airport bus drop-off and pick-up points, and the main train station that you could spend your entire time here if you don't know what to do. Taman Mini, the zoo, Ancol theme park, Monas...they are all popular tourist attractions in Jakarta--and I'd recommend each one to a first- or second-time visitor--but sometimes just watching the people go about business in this intensely busy city is all the excitement you could ask for! If not, then the clubbing, bar, and spa scenes are also very active and attract regional fun-seekers from Malaysia and Singapore on the weekends.