MY DEAR FRIENDS,
I am writing this to those of you who have never been to Jakarta, or Indonesia in general. Let me provide you with some overview of what my dear country is like, and how you should properly prepare yourself before coming to this place. And yes, this country is where BALI is located, but we have so much more than that. And yes, it is close to Thailand, but it is not Thailand! So here you go! ENJOY READING.
– Your friend, Cynthia.
Overview of Jakarta and Indonesia
The capital city of Indonesia (we have buildings, and all that capital cities usually have, not a jungle out here).
Our landmark is called Monas if you’re interested in visiting, and there’s a museum there.
We are right in the equator, so being a tropical country, it WILL be HOT and HUMID Prepare a suitable set of clothes, EXCEPT for my wedding, y’all better be well dressed! Also, the climate here is fairly unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to always have an umbrella around (it works well with both the heat and rain. Thunderstorms are also fairly common, so do not be alarmed. Expect turbulence on your way here, it’s nothing to worry about.
JAKARTA HAVE 2 AIRPORTS, but make sure you land in SOEKARNO HATTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, you should be able to find lots of help there, but like any other 3rd world country, please be careful, we have a lot of thieves, burglars, liars, and tricksters, please always have your belongings on sight!
Around 10 million people live here in 2010 according to Wikipedia (I know it’s not a reliable reference), so people, prepare for the worst jam in your life.
Spare 2 hours before heading to any appointment.
- The best way to commute in Jakarta is probably by using Taxi or UBER. The safest and most trustworthy taxi in Jakarta is BLUE BIRD/ SILVER BIRD (try not to take ANY other taxi apart from these brands). The drivers usually know their way around town, especially if you’re heading to the more popular locations. But if not, then there’s always Google Map or Waze.
- You can also take UBER, its pretty good and cheap, but UBER is NOT ALLOWED in the airport.
- And if you really really want to take the public transportation you can take the buses called Trans Jakarta, they’re air-conditioned. (Sorry, we don’t have subways or metros)
- Phone plans in Indonesia are really cheap. If you want, you can easily purchase any prepaid sim cards for your phone and get a data plan. Try to get TELKOMSEL or XL provider, they should be the friendliest provider for you all.
- As reference, you can get data packages for around IDR 50,000-100,000 (USD 4-8) for a week’s stay.
Jakarta is not BALI, but we have LOADS of drinking spots, from Japanese whiskey, Sakes, to the most expensive French wine, I would not suggest taking anything shady from the streets, but if you want something local, try our beer, they are not as good as some of you Germans’ beers, or Belgian, but they are worth the try, it’s called BINTANG.
- It is not a well-developed city, the government is corrupted so do not expect anything like big cities in Europe, we are still pretty much behind, but you should be able to find everything you like here.
- We have a lot of domestic flights, we travel from one place to another using flights, because the country is separated by oceans, so if you are thinking of going to Bali the most reliable flights are Garuda, Batik air, and Citilink, I would NOT suggest you to take anything from AirAsia, Lion Air, or anything else, the delay time would piss you off. If you travel from your country to Bali FIRST, before the wedding, there are some airlines that fly straight to Bali, but I would suggest that you go to Jakarta first then off to Bali to relax, Bali is our paradise, it’s like Phuket, but we Indonesians like it better.
Travel Requirement and FAQs
Let’s get to the serious stuff
Please read the information below for some reference, but for further inquiry you can contact the nearest Indonesian embassy to you, I believe they are almost everywhere in Europe, so please get to know the policy before you come.
Check from Wikipedia here
I would say the information provided are clear enough, prepare around $35 USD for visa on arrival if you need one, and the length of stay is 30 days, even for those who does not need a visa.
1(ONE) EURO is equivalent to around 15000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah), 1(ONE) USD is equivalent to around 13000 IDR sorry if the currency varies from when I write this guide, have some IDR on you, taxis and everything else can only be paid with IDR, you may also exchange your money at the airport, but they won’t have the best exchange rate.To eat on an average style restaurant one would need around 100,000 IDR, so you can calculate how much you need. To drink a bottle of German beer is also around 100,000 IDR. Jakarta is well, the most expensive city in Indonesia. So be prepared!
There are plenty of flights to Jakarta, I have taken various airlines, I will list down some of the best way to travel to Jakarta. I would suggest you to take a connecting flight with the same airline, I would not want your luggage to get left behind somewhere. Something that usually happen is that your luggage gets left behind at the transit country, so get a connecting flight that is not too close together, give around 3-4 hours transit time. Take a picture of your luggage before you fly, it is something I would usually do, God forbid anything bad should happen to it. Make sure you are always aware of your belonging, especially at Jakarta’s airport, it would not be wise to leave your luggage unattended. Soekarno Hatta do have a lost and found luggage service, all you have to do is fill out a form and if they find your luggage you can choose either to have it delivered to you or you can personally take them at the airport.
- Geneva – Emirates Airline or Etihad Airline (transit in the UAE, then Jakarta)
- Zurich – Singapore Airlines (direct flight to Singapore, then Jakarta)
- Vienna – Emirates Airline
- Amsterdam – Garuda Indonesia, It is an Indonesian Airline (best way to travel to Jakarta, direct flight)
- Paris – Emirates Airline
- Berlin – Singapore Airlines (transit in Singapore)
If you need help with where you are from, you can ask me personally.
The total journey from Europe to Jakarta usually take a day for me, so if you are coming near to the date, you should watch out for the date you will be arriving, make sure you are not arriving on the wrong day than that you have predicted especially as our time zone is ahead.
- Indonesia Custom can be quite a nuisance, you will not be allowed to carry cash more than equivalent to 10,000 USD, if you do, you will need to declare it, you may carry alcohol in your checked in luggage, but if they catch it on X-Ray they will ask questions. You are also not allowed to bring any raw materials/raw food from abroad. Try to pack smart so that they won’t ask to open your luggage during the customs check.
- As for your carry on, a duty-free item, such as alcohol must have the duty free seal and the receipt just in case they ask to check.
- Before your arrival, on the plane, they should give you a piece of paper to fill out that looks like the image below, just fill them up, and tick NO on everything under no. 11, and you don’t have to fill anything on the back side. FYI we Indonesians NEVER declare anything!
List of Indonesian Restaurant worth trying
Sate Khas Senayan $$
They are everywhere, google the nearest location to you!
Kembang Goela $$$
Padang Merdeka $$
Indonesian style buffet, Google it!, Padang style
Bebek Bengil $$$
Go! Curry $$
All kinds of curry, from all over the world
List of wine and dining
Social House @ Grand Indonesia, $$$
Cork and Screw @ Plaza Indonesia or Pacific Place $$$
Café Milano @ Grand Indonesia $$$
Union @ Plaza Senayan $$$
Paulaner Brauhaus @ Grand Indonesia
Beer Garden @ SCBD $$
List of nightclub
If there is an event, RSVP required
Things to do
Grand Indonesia Mall
Sacred & Religious Sites
Sacred & Religious Sites
National Monument (Monas)
Monuments & Statues
Museum Bank Indonesia
Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park
Central Park Mall
Jakarta Old Town
Tanah Abang Market
Flea & Street Markets
Sunda Kelapa Harbour
Historic Walking Areas