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Peter Ramos
Trek Leader

The Big Durian

3 Days, 11 Places, 59.21 Miles
1.1k Views
Indonesia
Nov 8 - Nov 10
Art & Culture

Description

To start off, let me tell you there aren’t a lot of things to do in Jakarta (sorry to burst your bubbles). Unlike tourist destinations such as Hongkong or Singapore, there aren’t too many tourist attractions in the city. In fact, you can tour the whole city in probably a day or two. You may, however, visit nearby beaches if you want to. I’ve read in several blogs and websites that beaches nearby Jakarta are noteworthy and must-visits, so you may opt to have a trip to the beaches there if you don’t have anything else to do. But, that doesn't mean there aren't any attractions worth visiting in Jakarta. There are some must-see places here, particularly those that highlight Indonesian culture and heritage.

Jakarta... Read More
To start off, let me tell you there aren’t a lot of things to do in Jakarta (sorry to burst your bubbles). Unlike tourist destinations such as Hongkong or Singapore, there aren’t too many tourist attractions in the city. In fact, you can tour the whole city in probably a day or two. You may, however, visit nearby beaches if you want to. I’ve read in several blogs and websites that beaches nearby Jakarta are noteworthy and must-visits, so you may opt to have a trip to the beaches there if you don’t have anything else to do. But, that doesn't mean there aren't any attractions worth visiting in Jakarta. There are some must-see places here, particularly those that highlight Indonesian culture and heritage.

Jakarta is very similar to other Asian destinations – hot, noisy, and confusing. And most of all, traffic is very common.

Also, keep in mind that Indonesia is a Muslim country, so you should respect Muslim practices and ideologies once you’re there.

You will arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta’s primary airport. Their airport is kind of nice - a bit old but elegant, in a way. But, it can be pretty confusing. Upon arrival, make sure to pass by the VISA ON ARRIVAL lane. If you go straight, you will come across immigration gates for locals. This is not your gate, obviously. If you arrive during nighttime, you have no choice but to take the taxi to the city proper. The city proper is a good 30 to 45 minutes from the airport. According to a friend of mine, there are also buses to the city, but only during daytime. Plus, bus stations are quite far from usual tourist places and hotels, so it’s not really a recommended mode of transport. The taxi fare to the city would cost around IDR 100,000 (that’s around US$ 8) and the taxi fare is kind of fixed to and from the airport, so you don’t have any much choice.

Oh, and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is one of the few international airports that charge airport terminal fees upon departure. The fee is IDR 150,000 or US$ 12. Plus, they only accept paper bills as payment (sorry, you won’t be able to use those loose change haha). So, make sure to save some rupiahs for your airport terminal fee before leaving Jakarta. 

Indonesia uses Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) as their currency. To make it simple to convert, just remember that IDR 15,000 is approximately US$ 1. It’s best to exchange money early on, preferably in your country of departure if it's available, so you won’t have any difficulties when you arrive. You will immediately need Rupiah for transportation from the airport, especially during the night when taxis are the only available mode of transport.

For the modes of transportation, there are actually 3:
a) The non-air-conditioned buses;
b) Taxis; and,
c) The Transjakarta.

I wouldn’t recommend riding the non-air-con bus, since according to some friends, it’s quite confusing and ticket vendors don’t usually speak English. As for the taxis, always remember to ride the taxi with the brand Blue Bird. It’s more expensive compared to the other taxis, but I would recommend this, since Blue Bird drivers speak the most acceptable English. There are taxi drivers from other taxi companies who speak English, but in a place like Jakarta, it’s quite dangerous to take risks. Usually, Blue Bird taxis are colored blue (obviously haha) and have a logo of a bird on top of the taxis. Point is, as long as it has a “Blue Bird Group” written on the taxi, it’s a Blue Bird taxi. That won’t be too difficult to miss. Now, if you feel that taking the taxi every now and then is quite expensive, you should try taking the Transjakarta. In Jakarta, they still don’t have a subway or a train as a mode of transport, although there is a subway being constructed, I believe (when I was there). So, the primary mode of transport there is the Transjakarta. It’s a bus that’s like a train. It has special lanes on roads which has barricades since these lanes are only exclusive for the Transjakarta buses. However, since most drivers in Jakarta lack discipline, barricades are actually being destroyed. This means that private cars can enter and use the special lane of the Transjakarta. However, travel time is relatively shorter with the Transjakarta as compared to private cars. The downside here is that like cars, Transjakartas also succumb to traffic rules, meaning, they have to stop at traffic lights. 

At first, you might find the Transjakarta route confusing. So I have to stress this out, READ DIRECTIONS WELL. Although it becomes simpler once you get the hang of it. Keep in mind that for every Transjakarta bus there are callers/bus conductors. But, some of them don’t speak English that well. If you feel the need to ask directions, you may ask them direct to the point. Just say the name of the place you’re going to in an interrogative manner (not in a “Is this going to…” kind of questioning since they won’t understand it sometimes). Just wait for them to either nod or not. But, if you don’t trust what they answer, just read the directions carefully.

Transjakarta buses are interconnected, so you only have to buy one ticket for any destination you wish. Make sure that you don’t go out the station. It gets confusing when you change buses, since you have to walk and transfer to other stations. You may think that you’re going the right way, but you might be leaving the station already. It happened to me once (hahaha). If you leave the station, you have to buy a ticket again. The good thing is that Transjakarta tickets have a flat rate, regardless of destination. The ticket price is IDR 3,500 (around US$ 0.30). Ticket prices before 7 AM are cheaper. When I was there ticket prices before 7 AM was just IDR 2,000, I think (around US$ 0.20). So, if you can start early, please do so you can save on transportation costs.

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