August 12, 2017

Travel Notes: A Day in Jakarta

Of course a day isn't enough to explore a place as big as Jakarta. But it doesn't mean it's not enough to enjoy it. Happiness, after all, is something you can dictate internally :)

Okay, okay! So here's a rundown of my 1 day itinerary for Jakarta.

Arrival & Currency

Upon arrival at Jakarta airport (Soekarno Hatta Airport), I noticed that it was 10% - 15% cheaper to buy Indonesian Rupiah in Jakarta airport than in NAIA.

Their currency is so big in amount that there's even a bill for 100k Rupiah - which is roughly around P500 only - it was confusing! but try this trick I used:

Exchange rate at the time of travel (.0047 PHP = 1 Rupiah)
Trick - Divide the first 2-4 digits of the amount into 2, and then take note of below:

Thousands - max of P50
Ten Thousands - max of P500
Hundred Thousands - max of P5000

Once I've moved on with the fact that I'm a millionaire in Jakarta, I got a local sim for calls, text, and internet (150k Rupiah for 1.5GB and calls/texts.)

It's difficult to get a grabcar/uber from the airport, because the pick up is outside the arrivals area. And may also be because the place is dominated by local taxis. If you are unable to get a Grab car or Uber, just queue at Blue Bird taxi area. Get a number, and make sure the taxis read blue bird. Blue Bird is known to be the most trusted taxi brand in Jakarta.

Lodging (Fraser Place Hotel Setiabudi)

Their rooms are fully furnished and huge - there is even a walk in closet! There's a pool, a gym, and a recreational area. Food is good too, thumbs up :)


I like their food in general, because it is tasty. Some food joints tho may go overboard and make it too salty or sweet. If you are not a fan of MSG or sugar, advise your servers to go easy on the seasoning.

Jendral Sudirman Street

Since it was a Sunday, Jalan Jendral Sudirman (a major thoroughfare in the business district of Jakarta), was closed for vehicles to make room for joggers, cyclists, street vendors, and even street performers. It was such a lively place to stroll around! But better be early, since the road will be opened up again by 11am. Walk towards the direction of Grand Indonesia as the crowd build up (which includes street performers and vendors) is there. Lots of bicycle gears for sale here!

Grand Indonesia Mall

I wasn't able to go around that much here, but it seems like a typical mall with mid range branded items.

Pasar Baru Market

Pasar Baru is a local marketplace for general merchandises (apparel, shoes, cameras, sports / music items, etc) I enjoyed this place since it caters mainly to locals, and isn't that crowded and overwhelming for tourists. I was able to find a non-branded lens cap for my Sony Camera! Price here is comparable to Philippine SRPs too.

Wayang Museum 

Wayang Museum houses wayang or flat wooden puppets in all sizes. It was interesting to see such intricate artworks in this dusty building. There's even a performance on Sunday, but it was in local language. I heard there is an English performance too, but I wasn't able to see it.

The puppet collections were difficult to contextualize, because the translations are either missing or confusingly written.

It takes everyone to do a puppet show, not just the puppet master. What you see in the screen is not all of the work being done - there are musicians, singers, light directors, props director, and even the audience is partaking in the whole experience.

Isn't it very similar with our achievements? Whatever we achieve, is not from our own efforts alone. There is a always a myriad of help we get from others and the world - whether we realize it or not. And I hope we do realize it, and say our praise for it :)

Overall, I enjoyed my quick stay in Jakarta. Some tourists may get overwhelmed by the busyness of its streets, but coming from Manila, I felt at home in Jakarta. The streets look similar, the people look similar, the attitudes of the people feel similar - everything gives off the Manila vibe! I guess the main difference is just that people do not speak that much English in Jakarta. But hey who cares, a smile bridges all this language difference anyway :)

See you around!

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