Jakarta – Indonesia 1
Hey Frappées !
Today let’s talk about travel..
We’ve always been travel addicts. And for the summer of 2015, we decided to explore Indonesia.
We landed in Jakarta to spend 2-3 days there. While planning for the trip, we had doubts as to whether we should start there given the harsh reviews we’d read online. But our curiosity got the best of us and we had to go and build our own opinion.
Let’s start off with the best way to discover a country : food ! The first above average restaurant we found was the Cafe Batavia on Fatahillah Square. The service was good but it was an obvious tourist trap. Better food can be enjoyed – for less – as you will see below.
The next day, we decided to go for one of the biggest attractions of the city, Taman Mini. As the hardened adventurers we are, we used public transportation to get there in about an hour.
Taman Mini is a vast site – better explored on a motorbike or a bicycle – where tourists can get a taste of architectural traditions throughout all the regions of this immense country. Alongside real size houses, you can find smaller versions of famous buildings and temples, such as Borobudur or Monas.
But our favorite spot has been the bird park ! (see below)
The bird park had many species gathered under a huge aviary, so large in fact that we could barely see the outer fencing..
Then night fell early so we had to head back. And let me tell you that we’re not as hardened as we thought !.. After getting lost inside the park looking for the exit, trying to bargain for a taxi that was ultimately too expensive, having been shamelessly ripped off by a bemo – some kind of small truck / utility vehicle where 8-10 people are packed together -, having faced the infamous Jakarta traffic jams on the bus…. Weeee finally made it back .. In about
1 2 3 hours .. for 20 km / 12 miles .. yeah ..
We had planned to leave to Jogjakarta the next day, but we couldn’t find convenient trains left. So instead we spent one more day in Jakarta and booked an 8am train for the day after.
Since we were quite weary, we used that extra day to rest and EAT ! We went to Sate Khas Senayan and we had our best food time in Jakarta. This one was absolutely delicious, especially after fasting on cheap restaurants the first few days.
These satay (peanut sauce) beef skewers were an amazing treat ! Our first real meal. We even came across what appeared to be the shooting of an Indonesian drama while looking for the restaurant.
We finished the day chilling on the grass for 3 hours around the national monument, Monas. It was a good time to rest and gain our strength back, away from the heat and pollution of the city.
Ready to take on a 9-hour train trip to Jogjakarta.
My thoughts on Jakarta
> We wanted to check for ourselves if Jakarta was worth the detour and for us, the answer is no. The pollution is overwhelming and the traffic in many areas is mind-bendingly dense and stinky. There is not much to do except for Taman Mini, which is not a must-see anyway, especially if you’re short on time.
> Public transportation is efficient though, despite the unavoidable traffic jams at certain times. The bus network is called Tansjakarta. You can get a transportation card – ours was blue – credit is taken away each time you swipe it. It took us some time to get it because nobody could speak English at the station but it’s easy to figure out by using it. And the cost is really low – usually less than €0,50 per person)
> Fatahillah Square was a refreshing place. Amid the hustle and bustle we faced upon arrival, the absence of cars on the square was welcome. It’s a great place to witness how the locals gather up and enjoy themselves, especially at night. Street performers and ambulant vendors are everywhere, surrounded by the crowd. You can even get a tattoo right on the sidewalk…
Stay tuned Frappées !