Jakarta – Between chaos and order


Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, one of the most densely populated cities in the world with an average of 13,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. Officially, Jakarta is not a city, but a province with the status of capital, divided into five districts and urban regional government is headed by a provincial governor, instead of a mayor.

Jakarta has a unique architectural style, in the north which is the old town, is a mixture of styles: Arabic, Javanese and Chinese, the central Jakarta resembles a U.S. business district with skyscrapers and the southern part is the typical modern residential district. The tallest building in Jakarta is Wisma 46 and has 262 m height and 48 floors.

Indonesians call Jakarta, the ‘’Big Durian’’, because durian is a fruit with a great taste but it smells very bad. Thus, it is characterized Jakarta too, a city that oscillates between the environmental chaos and the architectures order.

Indonesia is the most populated Muslim country in the world. Here there is the impressive mosque, called ”Masjid Istiqlal”, the largest in Southeast Asia, built of white marble and built on the site of a former Dutch fortress, called ‘’Benteng Noordwijk’’. It is remarkable that the number of Muslims residents  in Jakarta, exceeds the combined population of five Arabic countries: Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon and Qatar. Indonesia also has many churches and temples belonging to different religions. The most famous is the neo-Gothic Catholic Cathedral, built on Jalan Katedrala.

Among the beautiful places of Indonesia, to visit: Monas Obelisk Peak – 137 m, located in Central Square of Freedom, where you can see the whole panorama of the city, Chinatown is a Chinese district, without Chinese commercials, because the president Suharto banned the use of Chinese symbols and all the inscriptions are in the Latin alphabet. The Taman Mini Indak Park, is one of the most exciting parks of Indonesia, on 100 acres, which shows Indonesia in miniature, with numerous pavilions illustrating the culture and natural resources of Indonesia, which combines tradition with modernism. ”Zoos Ragunan” are also a must see, because here you can find more than 3,000 species of animals, including Sumatran tigers, Varian Komodo and orangutans.

Sunda Kelapa Spices Port is the oldest part of Jakarta. Here is the Dutch guard tower, built in the nineteenth century, behind which is the Maritime Museum – Bahari and behind the museum is the Pasar Ikan fish market. Along the harbor there are a lot of shops and stands with navigate equipments.

At Gedung Kesenian Jakarta and Taman Ismail Marzuki, in central Jakarta, runs  art shows performed by local and international singers, taking place every year here, the International Film Festival.

Insider Tips

  • Mangga Dua Mall, is the cheapest mall in central Jakarta, where are a lot of electronics, devices, computers, clothing and all the bargains you need.
  • Life in Jakarta is very cheap. With only 5 USD you can eat a lunch.
  • The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah.
  • In Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, at Terminal 2, (which receives most international flights), the ATMs are found on the second level, in the Departures hall.
  • To get from the airport to the city center, take the DAMRI bus, approximately $ 3 and in 20 minutes you will reach the city center; hence it is advisable to take your accommodation here because almost all sights are in this area.
  • Travelling to and from the city is easy by train and there are plenty of good connections.
  • The basis of all Indonesian meals is rice, which are mixed with either fish or meat and be aware that the food is usually strong in spices and flavors.
  • The best time to visit Jakarta is between March and June. Note that Jakarta is warm all year, because of its close proximity to the  Equator.
  • Smooching or public display of affection is considered too be very offensive.
  • When entering temples, mosques, and even some shops, shoes should always be removed and also pointing is prohibited or  eating with your left hand.




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