Buzzing Jakarta

, TRAVEL

Jakarta is buzzing with activity all through the year and is an interesting place to visit for those with an inquisitive mind.

Words : Samuel Mathew

Jakarta is buzzing with activity all through the year and is an interesting place to visit for those with an inquisitive mind.

Puppeteers in Jakarta

Beaming metropolis

Jakarta is a compact destination. It is the financial and political capital of Indonesia and a growing metropolis that offers ample opportunities for recreation, business, and tourism. Located in the heart of South East Asia, it is a destination that caters to the needs of all.

The heart of the city Jakarta Pusat is beaming with the major attractions all through the year and include the Monas, the Merdeka Palace, the Istiqlal Mosque, the National Museum, and the Jakarta Cathedral; among others. For a first time visitor, the city may appear intriguing and delightful on the one hand but chaotic and unnerving on the other like any of the major cities in Asia. But, as you traverse through the lanes of the city, it grows on you and you come to appreciate its sights and sounds.

Jakarta old harbour

City of Culture

The usual sightseeing can begin at the historic Merdeka Palace which ably weaves together the best elements of erstwhile colonial Dutch architecture with its Doric and Corinthian pillars and archetypal Indonesian artworks. The monument narrates the story of Indonesian Independence and passionately hosts its Independence Day every year in August.

Istiqlal Mosque located in close proximity to the Jakarta Cathedral is also worth visiting. It is the largest mosque in South East Asia and a visit to the mosque enables you to understand the nuances attached to evolving Indonesian architecture. For a pious and religious nation like Indonesia, the mosque also represents the nation’s attachment to its principal faith. The city centre houses the National Museum as well that provides rich insight into the history of the nation, its tryst with colonisation,  its struggle for independence and its evolution as a nation in the last couple of decades.

Another possible stop for those visiting this intriguing city is Jakarta Barat (West Jakarta) that retains its old world charm. It is possible to take a bike ride to navigate through the area and view Kota Tua (Old Jakarta District) and visit the Museum Fatahillah. Similarly, South Jakarta transports curious visitors to the era of ancient Betawi culture where one is exposed to the traditional dance and music orchestrated by the practitioners of this ancient culture.

Gastronomy

A hitherto hidden aspect of Jakarta relates to its culinary treasures. The five distinct national foods of Indonesia, Gado-gado, Nasi Goreng, Soto, Sate (Satay) and Rendang are easily available here. The distinct variety of grilled bread (Roti Bakar) can be tried with any of the local delicacies. For those with a sweet tooth, the Durian Pancake and the Martabak Manis (sweet stuffed pancake) constitute excellent options.  At the same time, the Jakartan variant of coffee, Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee) is a tempting option as well. Though an expensive variant of coffee, it is worth trying.

Overall, Jakarta is a traveller’s delight with its growing repertoire. It is surely worth a visit in the near future!

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