Jakarta, Indonesia, March 2009

March 24, 2009 - Jakarta, Indonesia

It was mid-term break again in the middle of a hectic semester. I was surfing the web and suddenly i came a across an article saying how cheap was the AirAsia ticket bla bla bla...so i decided to check the website out.

AirAsia usually has several promotions in a year, the price ticket sometimes is unbelievably cheap, but the catch is - you have to book them months away. However I stumbled upon the return ticket price to Jakarta was only RM100 only less than 1 month away!

So I called up my cousins, "Ok la, no problem!" LOL

I'm all good to go

In just one morning, I made myself a fortune and became a millionaire.

- 1st day -

Jakarta is famous for being the city with the largest population in South East Asia, with 10 million people finding their own way of life to feed themselves. The contrast between the obscene wealth of Indonesia's elite and the appalling poverty of the urban poor is incredible, with tinted-window BMWs turning left at the Gucci shop into muddy lanes full of begging street urchins and corrugated iron shacks.

Another thing is their traffic. The traffic light are quite unique. While Malaysia traffic light only shows yellow light before red, Jakarta's show yellow too before green. So, when the yellow is on, the drivers already punch their accelerators.

First meal in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport while waiting for the bus to city center

The bus from airport took us straight to the Gambir train station, then we took tuk-tuk to Jalan Jaksa, the place with a lot of cheap budget accomodations.

The famed Jalan Jaksa, we stayed at a 3-star looking hotel for only 300,000IDR (bout RM90)

Our tuk-tuk to the hotel, kena chop vegetable head la~~

When we had settled down it was oredi quite late, and we all heard stories bout Jakarta famed crime rates. So we decided to eat nearby and take a walk along Jalan Jaksa and back to hotel to end up a tiring day.

Nasi Sambal Daging

crazy number of motor

- 2nd day -

The beauty of free traveling and backpacking. We wake up the time we want. It was already 11 plus and a few more minutes spent we gotta pay extra! So after some decent breakfast at the hotel, we packed up and checked out asap. Once we stepped out of hotel, a number of tuk-tuks already lined up for us. So after some bargaining, we headed to South Jakarta.

we didn't expect the trip to be so long!! guess i didn't check the map well, LOL they all just followed me. Imagine sitting on the tuk-tuk for 30 minutes, cross over highways (yeah highways!) and small alleys. The result is a numb ass and an empty stomach. So...

We ended up in the nearest McD possible. 2 out of 3 meals were fast food. WTF

The place was Blok M Plaza. Built on the terminal basement since 1993, it is nice place to purchase any variety of goods. The mall is notorious for having low prices but bargaining is considered a requirement.

It's a window shopping day as we did not know where to go actually, of those historical places, the best we came up with was this. After that, we proceed to Plaza Senayan at Central Jakarta by taxi. The security was extremely tight, with every vehicle entering the area must be scanned and checked by at least 3 security personnel. Even for taxi that just dropped passengers at the front door.

Then we eat again. LOL

I think it's called Bakmi. Or some sort.

After that we headed back to hotel for some sleep after eating. LOL and as requested by my cousin, we headed to the Centro at night, hailed as the best club in Jakarta by my cousin's Indon friend. But before that, eat first la~

As introduced by the workers in the hostel we stayed, we went for look of this famed grilled chicken rice - Ayam Bakar Ganthari. As with most of Indonesian grilled chicken, it uses sweet soy sauce as a base ingredient; so it tastes sweet. There is no spoon in this restaurant. That is, unless you ask for it. Most guests eat with hands. For Indonesians, nothing beats savoring warm, steamed rice (plus sambal, meat, and veggies) with hands.

Price? For IDR 9.000, you get a piece of chicken, a plate of rice, vegetables, plus sambal (chili sauce). For this price, you don't have anything to lose. What's for drinks? The usual stuff, such as Teh Botol (bottled tea), sodas, and assortments of fruit juice.

trust me, the food is really that simple. but nice!!

As it was still early, we went to an unknown shopping plaza nearby and to our surprise it was almost closed before 9. Their shopping complex don wanna do business eh? weird.

So we went wandering about and decided to check out Centro first cuz we didn't even know where was it. After some hours getting lost here and there...

The best club in Jakarta

But it's too damn early. So we dropped by a satay house nearby to have some satay.

Then my cousin went to buy some drinks. Some unknown drinks cuz the fella just keep explaining bout the drink we never really know what he's talking bout. I was the second lab rat. And omg...it tasted really weird. Next thing i know, i was drunk. It's some sort of Jakarta homemade alcohol!!

I was already feeling dizzy afterwards..no choice i had to take an early taxi back, leaving my 2 cousins at Centro, the best club in Jakarta. WTF and their stories afterwards when i wasn't there...bla bla bla...

- 3rd day -

The 3rd day went really bad in the morning as we woke up very late, almost 12 noon. The bellboy came to call us for 2 times to remind us to check out and in the end we're late for half an hour. For just that half an hour the receptionist didn't care about hospitality for tourist and customer anymore. They're nagging about how late we were, etc etc. WTF in the end we had to pay for 1 extra night. Terrible experience and horrible customer service. "Fuck you!" As i leave that blood sucker hotel.

The memories of those fuckers were quickly forgotten when we headed to central jakarta to find the next accomodation.

Our next stop hidden deep in the shop rows

Then we headed off to Mangga Dua Square to jalan jalan again. WTF. Our hungry stomach's back with a vengeance.

Some pork meat soup...forgot what's it called..

damn huge pork satay

we promise our stomach to have a nice trip today. So after finish our meal, we went to Wendy's, attracted by their incredibly cheap promotion. RM3 for one burger and a coke. Can't find that in Malaysia.

After eating, we spent like almost one hour in a pirated dvd shop. Intelligence property in Indonesia is still an issue that's not cared very much by the government. Thus the dirt cheap price of a single DVD. IDR5000-6000, that's like under RM2 for 1 DVD. Higher than that, you should just walk away, there are plenty of them that wanna do business with you. We bought 200++ pieces of plastic and off we go to continue jalan-jalan until we saw a cinema in the square.

One ticket is about RM8, since we got nothing else to do, we went to watch "Push", which still had not been released in Malaysia yet that time...premiere show...woohoo...but bad movie though

It was oredi dark outside when we finished the movie..so we decided to take a walk at a Chinatown nearby. You can't miss it anywhere when you are in the area because...

The arch is so damn big

My camera handphone started to tidur after whole day of work, and my parents called that time...they were wondering i kena bombed in Indonesia liao lolz. After jalan-jalan we went to a street much like Sri Petaling Street, but much longer. With 2 seemingly endless row of stalls on right and left. Anything that can move can be found as food there, and the one that caught most of my attention was the snake meat boiled in hot soup. The locals even drink the blood. WTF-ingly disgusting. Two local chinese girls recommended us to drink it.


(ps: w/o photo i really dunno wat 2 write la..lolz)

- 4th Day -

Finally a long night of charging, my handphone came back to life again.

After long discussions the previous night, we decided to set out to discover the old Jakarta and learn some history.

First stop: Nasi Padang, why it's called Nasi Padang? Because it came from Padang, Indonesia. LOL

All for about RM8, kinda cheap...i'm sure there's some tourist tax involved...

Next we proceed to Sunda Kelapa, the old port area that remains today as a bustling hub for inter islands trade. Graceful Bugis phinisi schooners, the world's last wind-powered sailing fleet used for trade, still berthed at the quay as they have for centuries.

After walking along the port, we chartered a boat ride around the port

After that we proceed to the Fish Market, located at the mouth of the Ciliwung river, this market area bustles with activities related to the sea.

Sunda Kelapa is where all of the history of Jakarta begins.

Some root-searching history -

The port of Sunda Kelapa dates to the 12th century, when it served the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran near present-day Bogor. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, who were given the permission by the Hindu Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran to erect a godown in 1522. Control was still firmly in local hands, and in 1527 the city was conquered by Prince Fatahillah, a Muslim prince from Cirebon, who changed the name to Jayakarta.

By the end of the 16th century, however, the Dutch (led by Jan Pieterszoon Coen) had pretty much taken over the port city, and the razing of a competing English fort in 1619 secured their hold on the island. Under the name Batavia, the new Dutch town became the capital of the Dutch East Indies and was known as the Queen of the East.

However, the Dutch made the mistake of attempting to replicate Holland by digging canals throughout the malarial swamps in the area, resulting in shockingly high death rates and earning the town the epithet White Man's Graveyard. In the early 1800's most canals were filled in, the town was shifted 4 kilometers inland and the Pearl of the Orient flourished once again.

In 1740, there was a rebellion by Chinese slaves against Dutch. The rebellion was put down harshly with the massacre of thousands of Chinese slaves. The remaining Chinese slaves were exiled to Sri Lanka.

In 1795, the Netherlands were invaded and occupied by France, and on March 17, 1798, the Batavian Republic, a satellite state of France, took over both VOC debts and assets. But on August 26, 1811, a British expedition led by Lord Minto defeated the French/Dutch troops in Jakarta, leading to a brief occupation of Indonesia by the British (led by Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame) in 1811-1816. In 1815, after the Congress of Vienna, Indonesia was officially handed over from the British to the Dutch government.

The name Jakarta was adopted as a short form of Jayakarta when the city was conquered by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, the Indonesian war of independence followed, with the capital briefly shifted to Yogyakarta after the Dutch attacked. The war lasted until 1949, when the Dutch accepted Indonesian independence and handed back the town, which became Indonesia's capital again.

Since independence Jakarta's population has skyrocketed, thanks to migrants coming to the city in search of wealth. The entire Jabotabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi) metropolitan region is estimated to have 16-18 million people, a figure projected to double to 30 million by 2016. The official name of the city is Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta Raya (DKI Jakarta), meaning "Special Capital City Region".

After that we visited the Maritime Museum, although quite run down, the museum recorded some interesting history of Indonesian harbor. It is situated at the harbor, is housed in restored Dutch warehouses dating back to the first trading post of the Dutch East Indies.

Watch tower in the middle of old town Jakarta

This is the Monas (National Monument), we didn't know it was that important a landmark, passed by everytime also never pay much attention...LOL
Monas (National Monument) is Jakarta's best known landmark, the 137 meter monument is located in the center of Merdeka (Freedom) square. From the observation deck, you can view the city. At the basement there are dioramas that portray the dramatic story of Indonesia history.

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