Jakarta is a city of contrast and the capital of Indonesia. It is also a big city, sprawling metropolis, and home to more than 11 million people with different ethnic group backgrounds. In the daytime, the number of people increases with commuters making their way to work in this city.
Jakarta is also situated in northwest Java Island and has expanded through the years, absorbing a lot of villages during the process. As a matter of fact, the city is a conglomeration of villages, regarded as Kampung, now crossed by superhighways and main roads.
However, as exhilarating as this might seem, tourers, especially women, are reminded that Jakarta is a place of stark social difference, majorly marked by a hierarchy of ‘haves and have-nots within a patriarchal culture. This means, as a traveler, you should be alert to the surroundings and consider the following tips to have a great experience in the city.
1. Determine How to Get to the City
A perfect way to get to Jakarta is to book a Cathay Pacific flight. If it is your first time booking a flight, you can browse Cathay Pacific website to get a good flight from where you stay to the city.
If you live in Southeast Asia, it will be easy to get a flight from major cities through Expedia or Skyscanner to Jakarta. However, if you don’t get a direct flight from where you stay, you can try flying to either Malaysia, Bangkok, or Singapore and get a plane from there to this city.
2. Know the Right Time to Travel
Jakarta city lies on a flat and low alluvial plain with extensive swampy areas, and it’s popular for getting flooded in the rainy season. This means it’s best to tour during the dry season that starts from July to October.
Though you might still travel to Jakarta throughout the year because the tropical climate is not humid and hot. Plus, with the rainy season falling between October and April, the city has a monsoon climate and an average temperature ranging from 26 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius.
3. Book a Hostel
If you are traveling solo, it is advisable to book and stay in a hostel. Usually, these hostels allow you to meet other tourists, which can be a major perk of traveling solo.
Apart from that, hostels are also a great way to save cash and extend your budget. You can easily get a beautiful and luxurious hostel at a good price.
4. Try Street Food
Although Jakarta is home to a few restaurants, like E&O, OKU Jakarta, and Salt Grill by Luke Mangan, it is advisable to head out and explore the street food scenes. Most Indonesian dishes are flavorsome. They may include nasi goreng, soto ayam, soto betawi, nasi uduk, woku, and mie goreng.
Jalan Haji Agus Salim can be a good place to begin with. Mostly, it is packed with many locals, and you may enjoy your street food while you get entertained by different musicians performing for the crowd.
5. Ask for Directions
Patience and politeness apply when asking for different directions. In general, it is wise to ask for directions from more than one source to make sure you have accurate input.
Some of Jakarta’s street people are very eager to please strangers in that they can be reluctant to say they are unfamiliar with a particular place. However, it will be best to ask a building security guard or street vendor instead of just a random person you meet on the street. In both cases, ensure you smile and remember to say ‘Terima kasih,’ which means thank you in Indonesia.
6. Learn the Health Details
Generally, you will not require vaccinations, except for yellow fever. It is important to be inoculated against Hepatitis A&B, typhoid, polio, tetanus, and cholera.
Dengue fever and malaria are also present in several parts of the city, so it is recommendable that you take all the important precautions, particularly when venturing off the tourist trail.
In addition, consult your GP about up-to-date precautionary medicines and vaccinations before you take your trip. This is because most healthcare and medical facilities in the city don’t match the international standards, though it has some hospitals, which can adequately administer basic healthcare services.
7. Go Shopping
If you have plans of going shopping in the city, you must carry an extra bag for souvenirs since Jakarta has more than 170 shopping centers. These centers include both inexpensive and up-market malls, the most popular ones being Pacific Place, Plaza Senayan, and Plaza Indonesia.
You will also get major brands in these malls, including Gucci, Dolce, and Gabbana. These malls are basically a visual delight as they always glitter. Regardless of the increasing number of shopping malls, this city is still regarded as one of the best shopping destinations.
8. Pack the Right Essentials
Normally, the climate in the city is quite humid and hot. This means lightweight attires made from cotton and linen will be suitable.
The dress style in Jakarta is also informal yet conservative. Long pants and shirts for men are advisable, while women are better dressed in long pants and dresses.
For men, a tie and jacket are required for business engagements, while beachwear and shorts are only reserved for the beach or resort. Plus, your legs, head, and arms should be covered when visiting temples in the city.
9. Go to a Park
While there are a lot of skyscrapers in the city, Jakarta has some city parks, the most popular ones being Suropati Park and Lembang Park. At times, in the late afternoon or early in the morning, you will see many local people jogging around.
In addition, there is a community trying to change the parks into popular and public spaces by creating a new interaction experience with other people. Consequently, they aim to make everyone in Jakarta have a sense of belonging through get together and showing tourists the city parks.
As far as safety is concerned in the city, Jakarta always has a mixed picture from the world. In fact, it had some instances where travelers were treated in an inhumane manner.
However, every town and city has its shares of ups and downs. Therefore, you should take safety precautions to keep yourself safe and enjoy your traveling experience.