jakarta-original

Introduction

Capital of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta is a huge, sprawling metropolitan city with a population of more than 9 million people.  Jakarta is the seat of national government as well as seat of the provincial government of Greater Jakarta. Here is also the national Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. This city is moreover the country’s center of finance and business. It is the center of the nation’s economics and politics as here converge people from all over Indonesia, attracting people from all walks of life.  Jakarta is also the center of Indonesia’s modern music and sound, and center of Indonesia’s lively creative industry.  It is no wonder, therefore, that whatever happens in Jakarta is national interest and it is for these reasons that Jakarta is the hub of Indonesia’s modern history and modern life.

Jakarta was where Indonesia proclaimed Independence on 17 August 1945 initiated by the National Awakening Movement in 1908 and the Youth Movement against colonialism since 1928.  Jakarta was also where the ongoing Indonesian Reform movement started in 1997. Jakarta, formerly known as Batavia, was the seat of the Dutch East India company, VOC, and later of the colonial government over the then Dutch East Indies.

Located on the north coast on the western part of the island of Java, the Province of Greater Jakarta today comprises of 6 municipalities, namely Central Jakarta which includes the Merdeka Square and the elite residential area of Menteng; South Jakarta, which includes the districts of Kebayoran and Bintaro; West Jakarta, now being developed into a prime municipality where Jakarta’s tallest building and hotel will be constructed; East Jakarta, location of the Indonesia in Miniature Park as well as many industrial estates; North Jakarta, the city’s prime trading area and site of Jakarta’s beach recreation Ancol Dreamland; and the Thousand Islands, some 76 idyllic islands lying in the Bay of Jakarta.

Today construction around the city is booming. Super de-luxe hotels sprout next to supermalls carrying super brand names. Luxurious housing apartments are equipped with Olympic sized swimming pools, shopping centers and recreation grounds to pamper residents. And to reach one end of this sprawling city to the other, the government has built toll roads around, through and over Jakarta’s busiest centers, yet one can be sure that during peak hours, traffic on these roads will surely be jammed.

In fact, there are a lot of things to do and to see in Jakarta. But travel-wise, Jakarta is difficult to get around because of the dense car and motorbike population. The best advice for visitors is to stay in a hotel in an area where you will spend most of your time for conferences or business meetings, for shopping or exhibitions, while allowing time for exploring the city or for sightseeing to particular days only when one has more time to spare.

Because of its huge population, Jakarta is dense. Therefore one finds juxtaposed here luxurious houses next to road-side shacks, and state-of-the art cars fighting for space with dilapidated buses. But the city is very dynamic and full of life during the day and well into the night.

Here one finds restaurants serving international cuisine or regional dishes from the archipelago, ranging from exclusive restaurants to road-side stalls to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. There are also a number of beautiful golf courses around the city, where Indonesian and foreign businessmen spend entire weekends.

Jakarta’s nightlife is second to none. Discos, nightclubs, music rooms in top class hotels or stand-alone offer a wide variety of music and dance opportunities. The annual Java Jazz Festival is the international event for jazz buffs. Indonesia’s best bands and singing stars all live in this great city.

Jakarta is, moreover, a great place for shopping, and is able to compete in choice and price with many favourite shopping cities around the world like Singapore and Hong Kong. The Plaza Indonesia, Plaza Senayan, Pondok Indah Mall, Pacific Place, are just a few of the plethora of upscale shopping centers found across this huge city. While for bargain rates, Tanah Abang wholesale center, Mangga Dua and Kelapa Gading are favourite shopping haunts. Yearly the Jakarta Great Sale offers huge discounts attracting thousands of shoppers from the provinces and South East Asia.

Landmarks

The Sudirman-Thamrin Avenues lies at the heart of Jakarta.  Here are headquartered Indonesia’s central bank, Bank Indonesia, and most major banks. Separating the Sudirman from  the Thamrin  is the central fountain that cools this roundabout, which is surrounded by the landmark buildings of Hotel Indonesia and Wisma Nusantara, the first high rise buildings in Jakarta. The Hotel Indonesia circle is today the preferred location for public demonstrations, exactly because of the continuous busy traffic circulating here. Along this main boulevard are also a number of Jakarta’s top hotels.

Along the Sudirman is located the Senayan Sports Center, the sports complex built by Indonesia’s first President, Soekarno, in 1962 to hold the Ganefo (Games of the New Emerging Forces) and the reason for the construction of the Sudirman-Thamrin roads. Here is also the Jakarta Convention Center, venue for prime international conventions and exhibitions.

The Sudirman-Thamrin avenue leads to the Merdeka Square, where in its center stands the National Monument which houses the first red-and-white flag flown at the Proclamation of Independence on 17 August 1945. This flag has now become threadbare, and so nowadays on Independence Day ceremonies, the original flag is taken out but only to accompany the replica flag to be flown in front of the Merdeka Palace.  The 137 meter tall National Monument is obelisk shaped, and is topped with a 14.5 meter bronze flame coated with 32 kilograms gold leaf. Within the pedestal is a museum depicting in diorama Indonesia’s fight for Independence as well as the original text of the Proclamation of Independence. A lift takes visitors up to the look-out platform at the base of the flame for a grand view of Jakarta.

Surrounding the Monument is now a park with a musical fountain, enjoyed by the Jakarta public on Sundays for sports and recreation. Deer roam among the shady trees in the park.

Merdeka Square is the center of most important government buildings. During Dutch colonial days here was the center of government, known as Koningsplein or the King’s Square. The north side is dominated by the Merdeka Palace once the home of the Dutch Governor Generals, which now also houses the office of the President and the Cabinet. To the South is the office of  Indonesia’s Vice President, Jakarta’s Governor and provincial parliament building, as also the American Embassy , while to the West is the National Museum, the Constitutional Court, the Ministry for Culture and Tourism and the Indosat building, Indonesia’s first international telecommunications company.

Beyond Merdeka Square lie principal Dutch colonial buildings constructed in neoclassical style during the 19th century, that include buildings surrounding Lapangan Banteng, or Banteng Square, namely the present day Department of Finance, the neo-gothic Catholic Cathedral and adjoining Sancta Ursula girls school, and further down the Foreign Office and the Imanuel protestant church, facing Jakarta’s main Gambir station.

Across the road to the Cathedral stands now Jakarta’s largest mosque, the Istiqlal mosque. Nearby is the Concert Hall and colonial style shopping street called Pasar Baru, once the preferred haunt of the wealthy Dutch elite. In the 18th century Dutch Batavia was famed as the “Queen of the East”.

Behind the President’s Palace is the canal which runs north pass the old Archive building to the Old Batavia, once the seat of the Dutch East Indies Company, VOC, built by Governor-General Jan Peterszoon Coen in the 17th century. Here renovations continue to preserve this historic area of the city which is dominated by the Stadhuis, or municipal building, which now houses the Jakarta History museum. In front of it is a central paved plaza, now named the Fatahillah Square, after Sultan Fatahillah, founder of this port, who before the arrival of the Dutch razed the old harbour to the ground  on 22 June 1527 and renamed it Jayakarta, City of Victory. The square is surrounded by once important Dutch government buildings that have now become museums, among which the Fine Arts Museum and the Wayang Museum.

Further down is the old harbor called Sunda Kelapa, in its heyday it was the thriving entrepot for the Far East trade in cloves, nutmeg and pepper, sandalwood, silks and more.  Here one can still admire majestic Bugis phinisi schooners at anchor where men still carry on their backs loads of merchandise for the archipelago. Nearby are the old warehouses where now stands the Maritime Museum.

Today, the former location of Batavia town proper is Jakarta’s predominantly Chinese business district, but a large part of this is now modernized with full air-conditioned shopping centers and hotels.

Other important areas in Central Jakarta are the Jalan Gatot Subroto, where stands Indonesia’s Parliament building, and Jalan Rasuna Said, location of most foreign Embassies.

But Jakarta has continued to spread out into all directions and this metropolis now consists of interconnected self-contained clusters of residential areas, recreation and shopping centers, so that it is most important to note in which area of the city one is located.

For a comprehensive glimpse of Indonesia visit the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, or the Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park, (link ke TMII) located in East Jakarta, accessible via the toll road. The Park displays original Indonesian houses from throughout the archipelago, all with their unique architectural style. Here is also an Imax theatre, showing spectacular 3D films. Orchid lovers should not miss the Orchid Garden here.

For complete seaside recreation, Jakarta’s residents and domestic tourists throng to the Ancol Dreamland located on the north coast of the city. This is a sprawling resort complete with a Seaworld, a Fantasy World known as Dunia Fantasi or Dufan for short that includes boat rides into It’s a Doll’s World. There is also a large swimming arena complete with artificial waves and waterslides, a heart-stopping roller coaster and many thrilling rides such as the torpedo. This resort also has hotels, restaurants and a convention hall.

Jakarta also has a complete Zoo filled with the rich fauna of the archipelago. Located at Ragunan, here one can admire the magnificent bird of paradise, the Komodo lizard, the Orang Utan and all types of snakes. The Zoo also has a special section for Gorillas.  The Jakarta Zoo is a special family favourite on public holidays.

famous-places

1. The Bung Karno Sports Complex
Jakarta, capital city of Indonesia, is also the sports capital of the nation. Located ight in the heart of the metropolis by the grand Sudirman avenue is the Senayan Sports Complex , recently renamed the Bung Karno Sports Complex, or  the Gelanggang Olah Raga Bung Karno in Bahasa Indonesia.

This a  comprehensive complex  for international competitions from football, badminton, swimming and tennis to golf. Here is also the Jakarta International Convention Center complete with adjacent supporting hotels and Indonesia’s National Television station, TVRI.

Built for the 1962 Asian Games by Indonesia’s first president , Sukarno,  the complex is both a historical memento, and a national pride. Not only is this sports complex an arena for athletes, it has also become a renowned venue for entertainment, exhibitions and conventions. High profile exhibitions and some of the legendary musical performances have taken place in this complex as it provides massive capacity and all facilities needed to stage such events, moreover, it is very centrally located and easily accessible for the public.

The first President of Indonesia, Soekarno, initiated its development by laying the cornerstone of the sports complex on February 8, 1960. The project was supported by the government of the former Soviet Union with a soft loan of US$ 12.5 million. Its construction took two years, and it was officially opened t on August 24, 1962.

The 689.38-acre sports complex was stunning. The first building to finish was the swimming complex that accommodates 8,000 spectators. Since its first operation in 1962, this building was renovated in 1988. Following the completion of the swimming complex, the tennis courts with seat capacity for 5,200 people were completed in December 1961.

The Training Football Field or locally named the Madya Football Stadium was completed at the same time as the tennis complex. Each sport venue in this large complex was completed on time, and these were: the Sports Palace or nationally known as Istana Olah Raga or Istora that was first used as an indoor multi-purpose sports venue to stage the International Badminton Tournament. Indonesia was then champion in the Thomas Cup.  Next was the basket ball venue and also the Main Stadium, the main soccer arena  complete with track-and-field facilities, a true sport’s palace known as Stadion Utama Gelora Bung Karno, one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world at the time.

As part of the venue, the official Indonesian Television Broadcasting Station (TVRI) was also completed on August 24, 1962. It was the first government television station and its construction in this sports complex marked the readiness of the government to broadcast the 4th Asian Games 1962 across the nation.

Construction did not stop at the grand event of the 1962 Asian Games.  Buildings and facilities continued to grow to make the complex the sports capital of the nation. Gymnasium, fencing hall, and multi-purpose buildings were developed immediately. The grandness of the project attracted many to watch its process. As each facility was made ready for public use, thousands came to make the day their personal history.

During the New Order regime under President Soeharto, Indonesia’s second president, the name Bung Karno Sports Complex was changed to the Senayan Sports Complex, or Gelanggang Olah Raga Senayan with all the venues carrying the name ‘Senayan’. The long-ruling regime gave significant impact to the memory of the nation, since the sports complex is until today more familiarly known as Senayan, although the present government has reversed the name Senayan back to the Bung Karno Sports Complex.

Bung Karno Sports Complex is particularly huge in many aspects. Nonetheless, under the management of Yayasan Gelanggang Olah Raga Senayan (YGOS), the area shrunk to only 49% of its original size. The 51% of the area was utilized for government and commercial purposes. New buildings that house the  offices of the Ministry for Forestry, Ministry for Education, the House of Representatives, and many other government-related buildings have grown here  as part of the complex. The Hilton Hotel , which changed name to the Sultan Hotel, the Mulia Hotel, Atlet Century Park Hotel, the Plaza Senayan, and the Ratu Plaza malls are just  some of the commercial buildings that are part of what was known as the Senayan Sports Complex.

Many national athletes competed here in hundreds of tournaments and competitions. Some succeeded to national level, and others soared to become international champions. The Asian Games, the South East Asian Games (SEA Games), and the National Sports Tournament and Competition (PON) were staged in this historic complex.

Boxing is another glorious sport and entertainment often held here. Some Sports legends  who fought in this complex were: Mohammad Ali, Saoul Mamby, Thomas Americo, Ju Do Chun, Wayne Mulholland, Cesar Polanco, Dong Chun Lee, Khaosai Galaxy, Samuth Sitnaruepol, Nico Thomas, Elyas Pical, and Chris John.

Meanwhile, the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup among International Badminton Tournaments started to bring the name of Bung Karno Sport Complex to global attention. The first Thomas Cup and Uber Cup were held here in 1967 and six others in the following years. Many great Badminton players have etched their glorious reputation to the Bung Karno Sport Complex, among whom Indonesia’s own badminton legend, Rudy Hartono.

Aside from the many historical sporting events, the main stadium also holds great significance of Indonesia’s showbiz history as in 1975 it became the venue for the 2 days Deep Purple- a Rock Supergroup from England at the time- a concert which was attended by no less than 150,000 spectators. The concert is still dubbed as the biggest in Indonesia up to this date.  Later, in 1988, it was Mick Jagger, lead singer of the legendary band The Rolling Stones who successfully entertained a 70,000 hysterical crowd in the main stadium. After years of absence, the main stadium again became the venue of great musical performances such as the Big Wave Festival featuring: Bad Religion, Yellowcard, and Panic!at the Disco, and Linkin Park world tour concert in 2011.

Other most prominent shows and celebrities who have appeared at Istora Bung Karno or Istora Senayan are: the Jakarta International Java Soulnation Festival, the JakJazz Festival, Incubus, Maroon 5, N.E.R.D., Ne-Yo, Deftones, Bring Me the Horizon, and Bruno Mars.

Today the complex has grown into a renowned venue for international Conventions and Exhibitions. High profile exhibitions, events, shows and conferences have taken place in the Jakarta International Convention Center as it provides a grand auditorium, flexible format halls and easy access to stage such prestigious and popular events.

To get there, take a taxi from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It takes around an hour’s drive from the airport, or 30 minutes from the Gambir Train Station at Monas, by the National Monument complex. Some of Jakarta’s deluxe hotels are in the vicinity (see Find Hotel).

2. The National Monument

The main Sudirman-Thamrin avenues in Jakarta lead to the Merdeka Square, where in its center stands the National Monument (also known as Monas–Monumen Nasional) which houses the first red-and-white flag flown at the Proclamation of Independence on 17 August 1945. This flag has now become threadbare, and so nowadays on Independence Day ceremonies, the original flag is taken out but only to accompany the replica flag to be flown in front of the Merdeka Palace. The 137 meter tall National Monument is obelisk shaped, and is topped with a 14.5 meter bronze flame coated with 32 kilograms gold leaf. Within the pedestal is a museum depicting in diorama Indonesia’s fight for Independence as well as the original text of the Proclamation of Independence. A lift takes visitors up to the look-out platform at the base of the flame for a grand view of Jakarta.

Surrounding the Monument is now a park with a musical fountain, enjoyed by the Jakarta public on Sundays for sports and recreation. Deer roam among the shady trees in the park.

Merdeka Square is the center of most important government buildings. During Dutch colonial days here was the center of government, known as Koningsplein or the King’s Square. The north side is dominated by the Merdeka Palace once the home of the Dutch Governor Generals, which now also houses the office of the President and the Cabinet. To the South is the office of Indonesia’s Vice President, Jakarta’s Governor and provincial parliament building, as also the American Embassy , while to the West is the National Museum, the Constitutional Court, the Ministry for Culture and Tourism and the Indosat building, Indonesia’s first international telecommunications company.

3. The Thousand Islands

As your plane slowly descends for its approach to Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta international airport, you can see a large number of large and small islands dotting the sea in the Bay of Jakarta. These are known as the Thousand Islands, or Kepulauan Seribu. In fact they are a cluster of 76 coral islands with more appearing and disappearing with the tide.

Located 45 km north from the city, this part of Jakarta offers a huge change in pace and experience from the hustle and bustle of the city, but is near enough for residents and visitors to enjoy the exhilarating marine environment within just one day excursion.

Here are diving, snorkeling and fishing opportunities, or just good for lazing in the sun with nothing to disturb one’s mind except the chirping of birds amidst the gentle lapping of the waves.

The idyllic Thousand Islands are in fact a marine nature conservation area. Here are a wealth of sea biota species which form part of its coral reef ecosystem, there are 144 species of fish, 2 species of giant clam, sea worms of various colours and 17 species of coastal birds.

The Park is a hatching site for hawksbill turtles and green turtles. The hawksbill turtle is an endangered species, rarely found in other waters. They are primarily bred on the island of Pramuka. Most of the islands are ringed by coconut palms and mangrove forests, where iguanas, golden ring snakes and pythons can be found.

The islands of Pramuka, Semak Daun, Kelapa, and Panggang are interesting for turtle breeding, animals observations and marine tours, while for wreck diving the best places are at Pramuka, Opak and Karang Congkak. With Laga, Kotok, Gosong, and Koja Karang islands best for diving and snorkeling.

Transportation

Jakarta is accessible via two international airports. The main airport is the commercial Soekarno-Hatta international airport, Indonesia’s principle arrival gate although located now in a different province; and the Halim Perdanakusumah airport, which was once an air force base but is now used for the arrival of visiting heads of states and dignitaries. Numerous domestic airlines serve the entire archipelago from the Soekarno-Hatta airport supplying direct connections from international flights to regional destinations. Buses may take passengers to the city and other towns on Java, primarily to Bandung.

Travelling to destinations on the island of Java besides taking the plane, there are frequent overland train connections available from Gambir station, the city’s main railway station. Or one can travel by tourist bus or private car by wide toll roads.

 

FOOD

Many people visit Bandung, the capital of West Java province, to pamper their taste buds. You'll be amazed with what Bandung has to offer. From various food sold on street vendors to haute cuisine, every visitor will be able to find something to their liking here, in Bandung.

Sundanese (the people living in West Java are called Sundanese) has tempting refreshments. Sundanese food tends to be bland yet tasty unless you add sambal dadak (chili and other ingredients grinded together) to your food. If you're looking for more spicy taste, just add this sambal dadak with nasi timbel (steamed rice formed into a roll inside a banana leaf) and other specialties. This mouthwatering treat is too good to be missed! Usually sour vegetables soup (sayur asam) is accompanied by nasi timbel.

Sundanese people eat vegetables a lot. Sometimes they even eat raw vegetables (called lalap or lalapan) like cucumbers, tomatoes, coriander leaves, eggplants, cabbages, lettuces, and so on. Lalapan is usually accompanied by sambal dadak.

Probably one of the most well known dish, timbel, consists of nasi timbel, lalapan, sambal dadak, a piece of chicken (fried or roasted Sundanese style), fried beancurd, fried tempeh, a slice of jambal (salted fish). If you want to, you can add gepuk (slices of beef, mixed in traditional herbs, then fried), pepes (main ingredients such as fish, chicken, mushroom, etc. mixed with crushed and blended herbs, folded into a banana leaf, then steamed until they're ready to eat), sauteed greens, and others. Nasi timbel is a favorite among locals and visitors. Batagor baso tahu goreng (literally means, fried meatballs & beancurd) is one of the most well-sought specialty. Made from blended fish and beancurd, with a special peanut sauce, batagors popularity remains constant.

People with sweet tooth might fancy pisang molen (literally Sundanese Food means, molen banana), Indonesian traditional pastry filled with banana and cheese. For a variation, try brownies kukus (steamed brownies). Es cendol, made of blended/grinded rice, palm sugar, and coconut milk, is delightful on a hot day. While for a colder day, you might want to taste bandrek or bajigur.

Bandung also offers various milk products most notably, yoghurt. Basically there are two kinds of yoghurt in Bandung the thin one, and the thick one (French style).

Hot snacks ala Bandung are widely sold throughout the city. Among them are gehu-toge tahu- (beancurd with beansprouts and vegetables filling), pisang goreng (fried banana), cireng-aci goreng- (fried tapioca), and many more. You might be interested in trying other snacks such as, nangka goreng (fried jackfruit), peuyeum goreng (fermented cassava, fried), nanas goreng (fried pineapple), and so on. Ketan bakar (roasted sticky rice) and jagung bakar/rebus (roasted/boiled corns) are also recommended.

Nasi goreng (fried rice), although not originally from Bandung, is also a favorite. The ingredients vary, according to people's preference. Sometimes the rice is mixed with seafood (usually shrimps, pieces of cuttlefish, pieces of crab's flesh), chicken and vegetables, mutton and vegetables, salted fish, and so on.
Cakue, a dish made of flour dough then fried, also worths a try.

Bandung also has other kinds of restaurants, like Padangese (food from West Sumatra, very spicy in taste), Javanese (sweeter in taste), Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Western, Indian, and so on.

Sundanese Food Bandung Fondly called Parahyangan meaning, Land of the Gods, this valley city has both metropolitan and homey atmosphere at the same time. Full of eateries, factory outlets, and malls, many people find going on a trip to Bandung both enjoyable and memorable.