Thursday, November 17, 2011


Having lived and studied in Indonesia for two years, and frequenting different parts of Indo my whole life, I've naturally developed a soft spot for Indonesia. Recently, I went to Jakarta over the weekend to visit my dad and had a lot of fun! I shall upload some photos to give you a peek into Jakarta before I share some tips:)


Check out the prices! The exchange rate is... just divide the rupiah by 7,000. So one bowl of bakso(beef ball noodle soup) costs less than S$2.

My fav crepe store! About S$2 for a nutella and cheese crepe, my favorite flavor.

The following are my fav set of photos. Cute stray cats frolicking haha:)

Changing tyres for the punctured wheel. This only costs less than S$2? Paid so little for so much work:(

Me and my fake ray bans from ITC Mangga Dua.

And I thought dad was tall...

Jus Alpukat (Avocado Juice)! In Indo, they drizzle it with chocolate condensed milk. And this huge glass for only less than S$2!

I'm sure most of you won't pick Jakarta as your holiday destination as it's probably not as commercialized as places like Bangkok. But if you're sick of Bangkok, or other Asian countries for that matter, consider Jakarta as one of your destinations! It's the closest to Bangkok, if you ask me. Shopping is more or less similar. They have a mall just like Platinum and the other malls in town are really, really upmarket. I will discuss that later in my entry:) 

Jakarta for Dummies:

1) Roadside food stalls are aplenty, so you have to be adventurous. Bring anti-bacterial wipes if you're sensitive to dirt on cutlery. Mee Bakso stalls are at every corner of the street and it's a must-try for first timers! For drinks, order Teh Botol, Indonesia's number one Jasmine tea. Though I prefer FresTea (its competitor, I'd say) cause it tastes more like American Sweet Tea.

2) The streets can get quite dangerous, so hang on to your bag tight when you're walking along the roadside.

3) Some taxis aren't legit and you have to bargain. And when you encounter those, they'd probably quote you a really high price. Bargain! We ARE Singaporeans after all :B Just quote an unreasonable, overly cheap amount and bargain till you come to an agreement. 

4) The notes are really big, and no, I don't mean large in size. Coins start from 100 rupiah (I think). When converting, the trick is to cover the three zeros at the back then divide by 7. So for example, if a dress costs RP50,000, Cover the last three zeros and just divide 50 by 7. It can get quite confusing! Till now, my mom still doesn't get it! Haha.

5) It's a norm to see beggars along the street, and children might tug on your clothes to ask for money. Just drop them some shillings, if you wish. But you'll find that, if you donate to one, another five will come running towards you. When you're in cars or taxis in Jakarta, there'll also be roadside sellers trying to sell knick knacks or newspapers to you. Buy if you're interested, otherwise just reject politely, though they'll just keep pestering. We can't help the whole world though, extremely sad but true:(

6) Shopping in Jakarta is really quite good! For more upmarket malls, head to Senayan City, Grand Indonesia or any other malls along the Grand Indo street. You have your Bottega, MiuMiu and all there. Senayan City even has Debenhams - a departmental store from the UK! So much more fashion savvy than us lor. Our departmental stores are just really...aunty. For far east/blogshop/Platinum mall (BKK) style clothes, go to ITC Mangga Dua. It's a super messy shopping centre with plentyyyyy of clothes store, but according to my Indo friend Sofia, you should get a copy of GoGirl magazine from newsstands first. It's like a catalog that tells you which stores have the good stuff. Most of them are located on the 4th floor of Mangga Dua. 

7) This tip is sooo important, it deserves a pointer on its own even though it's related to shopping. Jakarta is thrift shopping paradise. I repeat, JAKARTA IS THRIFT SHOPPING PARADISE. Sofia introduced this *thrift shopping paradise* to me, saying that bloggers like Diana Rikasari frequents weekly. And boy was I impressed. This place is called Pasar Senen (Monday Market), but they open daily, from what I know. I bought about 8 pairs of bottom, a cropped top and a mesh outerwear and each piece cost an average of S$2! I just visited Diana's blog again and found out that she bought a gorgeous Versus vest with gold, embossed collar tips! What a treasure! Eat your hearts out, people-who-queued-for-Versace X H&M!
Photo credits to Diana Rikasari

8) Bandung is a 2 hour drive from Jakarta (!!!), but we didn't get to go this time due to our lack of time:( For those who don't know, Bandung is outlet mall heaven! The entire stretch of street is lined with hundreds of factory outlet malls selling designer wear at cheap prices! I remember seeing the famous MiuMiu dress (the red white and black one) costing only S$100+?! They have Marc Jacobs dresses, Marni etc too. Of course, they also have mid-end brands like Abercrombie, American Eagle etc.

I hope these tips have been useful to those who are considering going to Jakarta, and those who have never considered going to Jakarta. It's a beautiful country, really, and a great eye opener for first timers. Especially since you get to see the contrast between the different parts of Jakarta - In town where filthy rich Indo-Chinese women have their hair well-blown, hanging their Chanels on their arms and strutting in their Ferragamos VS in the outskirts, where people can earn less than S$20 a day and still feel contented with the simple pleasures of life.


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  2. Hi there! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience and tips, My friends and I are going to Jakarta this coming Sunday and I get more excited when I learned of their thrift shops. Btw, you're really pretty and so is your blog.