Enjoy Jakarta - Indonesia's Dynamic and Lively Capital PART 2

5:00:00 PM Pinoy Boy Journals 0 Comments

STORY: When i had free days in Jakarta, i would go to familiar landmarks, most of which i didn't get to see longer during my first time. Back in 2014, i hired a car to take me around town. Because i only had a few hours to spare, and with a car and driver waiting for me, i was pressured to just look at the landmark outside and take a photo. I didn't enjoy it much.

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and Jakarta is the center of Islam in the largest archipelago. But there are still other places of worship for other religions. 

The Jakarta Cathedral for one, is a must visit for any visitor to Jakarta. 

Jakarta Cathedral
"Though the Cathedral stands nowhere close to the Istiqlal Mosque in terms of size, it is still one of the finest places to visit in Jakarta city. It was built in 1901 and it serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic establishment since the beginning. The front side of the church has some amazing Roman decorations and stunning white spires. The interiors give a glimpse of European cathedrals and offer a very different view of the religion in the country. The Catholic roots of the country get a fresh breath of air in this cathedral. All in all, the awesome architecture and peaceful aura of this church are sure to calm your souls." Source

Entry fee: Free
Timings: 24 Hours
Location: Jl. Katedral No.7B Pasar Baru Sawah Besar Jakarta Pusat DKI Jakarta, Indonesia

The cathedral is beautiful outside, but wait till you get to see its amazing interior.

Having a mosque and temple fatigue during my month long backpacking trip to Java previously, sadly, i didn't get to Istiqlal Mosque my first time in Jakarta. It's inevitable that i plan a journey going here when i had another chance. Outside of the mosque, there's nothing to worry about quenching your thirst from the heat of the sun. There's just too many food stalls. Amazing!

Istiqlal Mosque
"Constructed in 1978, the Istigal Mosque is the largest Mosque in Southeast Asia and one of the stunning places to go in Jakarta. If you are planning a trip to Indonesia, this is one of the best Jakarta places to visit. The mosque has the capacity of 200,000 people. It has an amazing courtyard with designer marble and decorative minarets. The interiors of the mosque have decorative Islamic designs. The architecture and design of the mosque attract a lot of tourists every year and its sure to blow your mind as well during your trip to Jakarta in Indonesia." Source

Entry fee: Free
Timings: 24 Hours
Location: Jalan Taman Wijaya Kusuma, DKI Jakarta 10710, Indonesia

But inside, it's a totally different story. 

What's very nice for foreign tourists is that Istiqlal Mosque is open to non-Muslim as well. There's a strict process to be followed once inside the compound, where you leave your things at a concierge, walk barefoot, take photos but be discreet, etc. I actually spent quite a while here just meditating, and watching Muslims pray. 

Afterwhich, i proceeded to do the main agenda for the day. Shopping. 

You may be spending millions in Indonesia (literally and not figuratively) but the quality of the craftsmanship is impeccable. Building your home or designing your place? You know what to do. 

TIP: Buy your home decor here in Jakarta. I've scoured the market, and found similar items in Bali but more expensive. 

These cyclos are so beautiful yet inexpensive, and when put together, it becomes a work of art. 

Because my hotel is in the middle of a shopping and food district, having a seafood fried rice when you need it, is great. This particular restaurant just outside Novotel, about 2 minute walk, serves the best seafood fried rice i've ever eaten. It's so good i ate it for lunch and dinner, and even midnight snack. It's that good. 

Dare i say, Indonesia, is probably the cheapest country to travel to in South East Asia. Shopping is so cheap here that you will be coming home with so much by spending so little. However, plastic use is so prevalent here. There were no eco bags for sale, and plastic is highly recommended by sellers in most shops. 

Going to groceries and supermarkets will lead you to retail discoveries. I bought this drink because it's flavor is almost the same as my name. Later on, i discovered "Jeruk" is actually orange in Bahasa Indonesia. I had it everyday. 

I actually went to see the National Monument twice. Hanging out around Merdeka Square was the perfect respite for me. 

In between days that i would go to the sport center to watch the Asian Games, i would head out here for a quick visit. Sitting in one of the shaded corners and just admiring this Jakarta symbol is definitely one of the best thing to do here in the city. 

Merdeka Square
"Spread over 1 KM, this is one of the main places to visit in Jakarta. If you have seen Tiananmen Square in Beijing and were in a state of awe with it, put it in this perspective that Merdeka Square is five times bigger in that place. It is covered in wooded areas, footpaths, and some amazing water features. One of the top Jakarta tourist places, this is a place to walk and explore so make sure to wear comfortable shoes while visiting. Its the perfect place to hangout with your special someone or travel buddies after a tiring day of sightseeing around the city." Source

Entry fee: Free
Timings: 24 Hours
Location: Gambir, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia

National Monument
"It is one of the top Jakarta points of interest. This 132-meter high structure was built to pay homage to the struggle of Independence. You can either enjoy the view of this amazing piece of architecture from the ground or you can climb all the way to the top and enjoy the stunning view of the city. The national monument holds a special place in the heart of the people of Indonesia. It is not only visited by the tourists but you will find a lot of local people enjoying the sight of this amazing architectural marvel. It is also one of the best places to visit in Jakarta at night since it is beautifully lit." Source

Entry fee: INR 70
Timings: Tuesday to Sunday 8 AM to 4 PM and On evening Tuesday to Friday 7 PM to 10 PM. On Saturday and Sunday from 7 PM to 12 AM.
Location: Jl. Silang Monas, Jakarta 10110, Indonesia

Sushi Go!
Researching about great Japanese restaurants in Jakarta lead me to go to Sushi Go! Located inside Grand Indonesia Mall at Food Print. I've had several plates of yummy goodness. It's tasty and cheap. 

Jakarta Malls
Malls around Jakarta are actually quite great. They're particularly similar to the ones we have in Manila. There's too many stalls in every floor that sells unique and local quirky items. So, imagine my fascination for it. When i was in Jakarta, it's either i go during opening hours and/or stay until closing hours. There's too many things to buy and i'm flying back home with 40 Kilos baggage allowance. Yey!

There's many things you can buy in the malls around Jakarta - there's Pacific Place, Central Park, Grand Indonesia, Mall of Indonesia, among others.

I am coffee table book collector. One day, i shall write about my favorite books about design, photography and art here. What's nice is that there's actually many book shops around Jakarta, and found in malls. 

There were days when i would just chill and have a drink. I would scan the bar list and look for a Negroni, perhaps. I would end up drinking a bottle of Bintang instead. Well, actually make that four bottles. 

Grand Hyatt Jakarta
The interior design inside  Grand Hyatt Jakarta is so beautiful. One day, i felt like treating myself to a fancy hotel for happy hour. And i chose Grand Hyatt to sit on and just view the manic streets of Jakarta. It's the perfect spot to drink your stress away. 

And going back to the hotel was always particularly nice. My Novotel experience was so great. I would definitely stay here again once i come back to Jakarta. Once the lockdown is over, Jakarta will surely be on top of my mind. I promise. 

My red eye flight back to Manila gave me one last day to roam around and explore Jakarta. Coming back sweaty and dirty, the lovely concierge handed out a key for me to go to the sports center where i can hit the shower and just prepare fresh for my flight back to Manila. How awesome was that, eh?

Flying Back
Checking in was a breeze. Because my flight leaves at odd hours, there was no traffic going to the airport. I was quite early. I saw Filipino Asian Games athletes who are also on the same flight. By the way, my baggage checked in at 41 Kilos. That's love from Jakarta.