Why Jakarta? My friends and I got an effin cheap return tix for RM100 (US25) from Kuala Lumpur! Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia. A busy and vibrant city, yet traces of Indonesian culture are still evident here.
Truth be told, we didn’t exactly have a proper plan of things to do in Jakarta. We did some research and thought maybe we could fit Monumen Nasional (MONAS), the Cathedral Church and Istiqlal Mosque in one day as time was a constraint.
We booked an apartment via Airbnb; a bright apartment downtown Jakarta. Our apartment was walking distance to Grand Indonesia Mall and Thamrin City. The view from the apartment was that of tall buildings and bright skies. A very nice apartment with washing machine and kitchenette. (approximately IDR 2 000 000 for 2 nights – got a first timer Airbnb discount too)
Our taxi ride from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to our apartment was IDR 260 000. Since they were 5 of us, we split the cost equally. Our apartment was not ready by the time we arrived, as it was only 11 am. We left our luggage at the counter and walked to Thamrin City for lunch.
Thamrin City is an average mall, selling hijabs, baju kurung, baju kebaya and a lot of Muslim wear. The price of the stuff here on a whole is reasonable. There were also a few food joints to choose from in Thamrin City. We went to Lotte fast food for our lunch as Malaysia doesn’t have any Lotte fast food chain. The price was okay – IDR 22 000 and above for a set meal. Since I am a sucker for fried chicken just like Cookie Monster is a sucker for cookies, I would give a biased review of Lotte fried chicken – yummehh.
After an hour and a half in Thamrin City, the owner texted us to inform that the apartment was ready for check in. We left the place, and checked into our lovely apartment for the next 2 nights.
Bright apartment downtown Jakarta, Thamrin
Day 1 was definitely a chill affair for all of us. We went to the convenience store at our apartment, (yes, there are a few to choose from) and got us unhealthy food and drinks for that day. We lazed at the living room, watched movies and surfed the internet. Around 3 pm, my friends and I lounged at the pool area and went for a swim. After that, we headed back to the room and decided where to have dinner. (It gets dark early in Jakarta btw)
Jakarta has a lotttttt of good restaurants, we were totally spoiled by choices! Being the salsera that I am, I chose Aruba Carribean Restaurant & Bar as it was hosting Salsa Social that night.We took two taxis to get to the restaurant which was at Pasaraya Grande Blok M.
Waiting for our food at the restaurant (notice the dance floor at the back?)
The food was yum yum (around IDR 125 000 per person, depends on the menu) and the salsa scene was good. I like how they use a band to play salsa music, instead of the usual DJs. I was quite mesmerised by the live music. There were also bachata and kizomba dances that night. At 11 pm, we left Aruba and headed back to the apartment for movies. I went to bed early instead because we had to wake up early for our flight to Jakarta that day.
As planned, we mapped our route for that day’s journey:
MONAS-Istiqlal Mosque-Cathedral Church.
Monument Nasional (MONAS)
We got on a cab to MONAS. MONAS is basically a monument in the middle of a park. You can view Jakarta from MONAS, but there were too many people lining up so we passed the opportunity.
Istiqlal Mosque and Cathedral Church
We walked to Istiqlal Mosque as it was only a 15 minutes walk. On our way there, we stopped by an ice-cream man to buy some ice-cream potong (sliced ice-cream).
Ice-cream potong (IDR 3000)
I couldn’t get a decent shot of the mosque as it was crowded with people.
We then walked to the Cathedral Church which was just opposite the mosque.
Jakarta’s Cathedral Church
After looking around the church, we googled for a place to have lunch – – Rawon Setan. Rawon Setan has many branches in Indonesia, and it is famous for its Rawon (Indonesian Beef Black Soup). However, we all ordered the Ayam Penyet and Iga Penyet instead. The sambal was hot but super delish!! Budget? IDR 50 000 each 🙂
At night, we went to Seribu Rasa for dinner. Seribu Rasa was a 20 minutes walk from the apartment. We relied heavily on Google Map (thanks Google). The restaurant was in the heart of the city as well, just nearby the main Jakarta roundabout. Total damage was approximately IDR 600 000 (which was then split to 5, of course). I would definitely recommend the restaurant for its food and ambience!
Seribu Rasa Restaurant, Jakarta
Day 3 (Last day):
After checking out, we left the apartment to spend the afternoon in Grand Indonesia Mall. Grand Indonesia Mall is a huge mall which has a lot of high-end retail stores and also the mediocre ones. As our Jakarta trip was not shopping-oriented, we decided to fill our gastronomic cravings here and ended up at Sate Khas Senayan (SKS). Sate means marinated bite-size meat on a skewer. The meat was tender, and the peanut sauce was thick and yummy. The price was reasonable ~ IDR 100 000 – IDR 150 000 each per person.
Senayan Satay.. recommended!
Ikan Gurame Pesmol, another specialty of SKS
After lunch, we walked around for a little bit more and played at the arcade to kill time. Since our flight was at 8 pm, we left the city at 5 pm to avoid the rush hour (which we didn’t manage to). Just like my post on Bali, I would really recommend Blue Bird Group Taxi to move about.
In short, my verdict on Jakarta?
A great city for food, nightlife, shopping and indulging in their fusion of modern and traditional culture! 🙂