Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Jakarta JAM!

2 days in Bandung & 5 days in Jakarta. Jwan Heah is a changed man after visiting Jakarta. No more ranting about Kuala Lumpur's traffic and bad town planning, if there was a competition for "World's Worst Traffic Woes", Jakarta would win hands down. Of the 7 days in Indonesia, i think we spent on average about 3 days in the car. Thank god we engaged (a requirement if you plan to visit Jakarta) 2 personal drivers, who were on 24hr standby and at our disposal. A trip that should take 30-mins, takes about 2 hours in Jakarta. Picture 6 hyperactive males trapped in an Innova and stuck in 2 to 3 hour jams... mental anguish.

Traffic jams aside, one thing i noticed in Jakarta is the great lengths people go through to beef up home security. I was forewarned by former Indonesian Uni-mates to NOT walk around Jakarta at all, as i WILL get robbed. Coming from a local, we took no chances. Looking at the height of home fences, gates and the presence of security guards in every home makes you wonder how bad the crime rate is in Jakarta... the minimum home fence/wall height is almost 12 feet high topped with barbed wire and spikes, with most holes covered off to limit visibility into the home compound. And anyone with a little bit more money has a minimum of 1 to 2 security guards in the house, with some employing up to 4 or 5 guards. i honestly think with the current inflation rate, and Malaysia's continuously escalating crime rate, Jakarta is Kuala Lumpur's future. Already, we're compelled to pay private security firms to patrol our neighborhoods, i don't think it'll be long before we need to have guards within our own house compounds.
Notice Height of fence...
Anyway, security fears & traffic jams aside, Jakarta is a sprawling metropolis. Skyscrapers, buildings, houses and not forgetting ram-shackle squatter looking houses and shops stretch as far as the eye can see.. and then some! Jakarta is home to some great clubs that play host to some of Jakarta's finest, places such as DragonFly, BlowFish, and X2 are some of the popular hotspots now and have played host to numerous international deejays including John Digweed recently. Jakarta is also home to numerous shopping malls. And because we were there for so long and there really isn't much to do in Jakarta, we spent our days mall hopping and visited numerous malls. Senayan City, Plaza Senayan, Pondok Indah Mall, Plaza Semanggi, and Taman Anggerik are some that i can remember. And most of these malls are pretty huge and are home to a wide selection of brands, local and international. Brands such as Gucci, LV, Prada, to masstige brands such as Raoul, Rip Curl, Zara, G2000, Quiksilver, etc make their presence felt throughout Jakarta's malls. To sum it up, Jakarta is basically a party, eating, and shopping mega city.
Taman Anggerik Mall
Jwan @ Dunhill Dimensions Feat. DJ Simon Dunmore, DragonFly Jakarta.
The fantastic crowd at DragonFly

The only historical site worth a visit is the Kota Lama, formerly known as The City of Batavia, the old centre of Jakarta during the dutch days. A handful of 17th to 19th century streets and buildings centred around a cobblestone square called Taman Fatahillah are the only remnants of the old city of Batavia. These old buildings, other than the ones housing museums and a cafe, are sadly left in a deplorable state. The Cafe Batavia is a noteworthy mention though, it is housed in the second oldest building around the square (circa early 19th century) and has seen numerous superstars, presidents, etc, wine and dine in its premises. The owners/management has maintained its old world charm, with alot of the furniture, interior fittings, lighting, and decor retained from the early dutch days. Cafe Batavia in all its grandeur and splendor, surprisingly will not cost you an arm and a leg for a decent meal and drinks. Its sad that most of the buildings around the square have been left to rot and crumble. I think if the government were to spend a little bit of money restoring the buildings on the streets surrounding Fatahillah Square, the entire area would easily become a huge tourist attraction. I can picture the place looking fabulous with sidewalk cafes, horse drawn carriages, antique shops, etc.. oh well...

Somewhere near the entrance to Cafe Batavia
Tons of old antique pictures adorn the walls and 19th century collectibles dot available space
The grand dining area upstairs with a view of Taman Fatahilla
Leaving Cafe Batavia (L-R: Justin, Gavin, Jwan, Vince)

Besides shopping and partying, we did savior alot of the local cuisine which i truly enjoyed, as most of it was hot and spicy. We had NASI PADANG at a restaurant called SEDERHANA, where oddly, they serve EVERYTHING and i mean EVERYTHING to you without you having to order! Almost every single dish, drink, and desert is brought out to your table and whatever you don't consume is simply not charged to you at the end of your meal. What a good way to tempt you into eating more than you'd like. It did have its downside though, waiting for the cashier to tally up the bill took ages! This restaurant called AMPERA, which was recommended by a friend served up a good selection of local Indonesian food, i'll try to look for the address and post it up here soon.. a worthwhile visit if you're heading to Jakarta.
Besides all the glorious food, our selection of hotels awarded us with a lovely abode both in Bandung & Jakarta. Not only offering us a luxurious living space but also providing some excellent views of the surrounding. We put up at The Grand Setiabudi in Bandung, and Somerset Berlian in Jakarta. I highly recommend staying at these two hotels if you are planning on visiting Bandung or Jakarta.

I think i left out Bandung huh? Well.. Bandung, which is located approximately 2 and a half hours away from Jakarta (we took 4 and a half hours due to traffic!!) is like the denim and clothing centre of Indonesia. Factory outlets and fashion warehouses dot the main streets of Bandung selling clothes from various brands and manufacturers. And cause its located up in the hills, Bandung provides a cool refreshing getaway from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta. We didn't have enough time in Bandung, but i was told the scenery from the many many restaurants up in the hills is spectacular and a quick drive will take you to the top of a volcano... it looks like i'll have to make another trip to Indonesia soon...
The living room in our duplex penthouse suite @ Grand Setiabudi in Bandung
One of the FOUR huge rooms
View of the hills in Bandung
Chilling in Jakarta-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
J-1 & Don Kon
Finale.... the reason we were in Jakarta, Don Kon is getting hitched.

For more pictures from our Jakarta Jam! excursion, feel free to visit:

Jakarta Jam!

More Jakarta Jam!

Dunhill Dimensions @ Dragonfly Jakarta


Juice said...

Good write-up mate! aahha....

Jwan Heah said...