Tag Archives: Jakarta

Shopping in Jakarta

I already mentioned how the Indonesian handicrafts were truly unique, in all our travels we haven’t yet seen anything like it.

The batik was also incredible (though a tad overwhelming!)  Of course, I got some batik…  (And if anyone can recommend a good seamstress in Manila, please let me know!) 

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My favorite is the bottom right picture, which is Indian silk, apparently.  Here’s a close up of the details (before I ruined it all by folding it up badly):

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And a very bad picture taken in the hotel room of how I want the dress to look like (a fancy party dress).  The fabric is more blue than green in person, but I think the gold/blue combo makes it come out green in pictures…

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Now for the other fun stuff…  Things made of shells (seems like I have a thing for turtles…), the awesome elephant and rhino woodcarving and of course the cool bike (with a functioning pedal and chain!).

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Here’s a better look of the details (which I love!) of the elephant and rhino:

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A colorful box, a vase  and coasters…

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Karl says I bought too much, but honestly I think I didn’t buy enough!  I was in love with most of the things I saw, but to Karl’s good fortune we ran out of space in our carry-on.  I should have taken pictures at the stores (even the airport was full of handicraft stores), as what I bought is not even close to all the cool things they had for sale.

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Jakarta, Indonesia: In Pictures

There is not much to actually see in Jakarta sightseeing wise.  We saw the major landmarks, then went shopping (for batik and handicrafts which were incredible!) and spoiled ourselves with a cream bath (basically some deep conditioning treatment with an hour-long scalp massage, that is very typical of Indonesia – and yes, it was awesome), and I also got the best foot massage of my life.

But if you’re wondering how Jakarta is really like, only pictures bring the point across, no?  So here you go…  (All the pictures were taken with my iPhone, and lots of them taken from inside a taxi.)  For those of you who have been to Manila, you’ll notice that despite the high buildings, Jakarta has a lot more green space than Manila.

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The mall above on the top right picture?  Is was shaped like a spiral – you can skip the escalators and start at the bottom and just walk-walk-walk until you reached the top (of course, I still have some runner-blood in me, because my first thought was “wow, this would be great hill-work).  And the indoor slide was right next to our hotel.  We were totally going to do it, but then they wouldn’t take credit cards, and since we had a few hours left in Jakarta, we didn’t want to change money again.

Oh, and this was the gym at the mall at our hotel.  I never seen something so amazing, and if my gym was like that, I’d be totally ripped, because I would never leave.  Seriously, check it out.  (And yes, the low-lighting and lounge chairs are totally for real.)

One thing we can’t figure out?  How the heck does Jakarta have 5% more hardship than Manila?  I could see the same thing, or even lower, but higher hardship than Manila?  How?  (That said, I hope it doesn’t get changed, in case we ever end up there, so forget you read the last paragraph.)

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Back from Jakarta!

I’m going to be honest…  I wasn’t really looking forward to this trip.  We decided to visit Jakarta so we would have yet another experience of what could possibly be a future posting for us, so might as well knock them down and know how all SE Asian capitals compare to each other for bidding purposes, right?  (Yes, we love SE Asia, and we would love to be posted in this area again in the future.)

But everyone told us that “Jakarta was just like Manila, but worse.”  That the Indonesians were not as nice as the Filipinos, that traffic was just as bad, pollution much worse…

And you know what?  If you don’t like Manila, I can guarantee you that Jakarta won’t be your cup of tea.  But our opinion after visiting it?  Jakarta is just like Manila, but BETTER!  And we love Manila, but traffic in Jakarta was no where near as bad as it is here in Manila (probably because they have a lot more motorcycles and they have no jeepneys, so things move a bit faster).  And sure, Indonesians aren’t as nice as Filipinos, but who is?  Indonesians were SUPER nice too, and no one greeted us with less than a friendly smile.

This was also our first visit to a predominantly Muslim country, but for those of you who, like us, have never been outside of a predominantly Christian country, I believe Jakarta was Muslim-light.  It really didn’t feel that much different than other places we’ve been to (aside from the occasional loud call to prayer coming from mosques), but people dressed the same as here, with the occasional head scarf thrown in (nothing different than what you see in a major US city like DC).

Jakarta was also lot more cosmopolitan than Manila – higher buildings, nicer malls, a lot more variety of nice neighborhoods.  Personally?  We loved it!

The neighborhoods are not as walking-friendly as Manila (but then again, Manila is not really walking friendly from one neighborhood to the next), but we still managed to walk a lot.  We had to resort to taxis for the most part, however, as things are a lot more spread out (since you hop from neighborhood to neighborhood), but taxis were just as affordable as here.  (Jakarta is much more expensive than Manila in general though, but not as expensive as Hong Kong or Singapore – it falls somewhere in the middle.)

We ate Indonesian food, and I also rekindled my love affair with Din Tai Fung (though they only served chicken dumplings, since pork is a no-no there, and it was just as good!). 

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Karl got to try the poop-coffee (you know, the one where this wild cat eat the beans, poops it out, and it’s the most expensive coffee in the world?), and the coffee is a lot less bitter than regular coffee (but at $10/cup, he didn’t drink another one).  I also got to drink lots of fruit juices, such as red guava – one of my favorite fruits that I have yet to see in the Philippines (only white guava to be found here, and it’s always as hard as a rock).

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There was a few weird things too, like the pickled egg below (that Karl said it wasn’t too bad – I didn’t try it, as I’m not nearly as adventurous as he is), and the soft boiled eggs at the bottom (he was not a fan, I again, was a wimp).

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I didn’t go to the beach there, so no idea if people really dress like the mannequins below.  And can you see the back of the seat rest of the taxi?  Yes, a DVD playing while we were stuck in traffic!  And the elevator of our hotel?  It was magic!  If only I looked that slim and tall in real life *sigh*

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And the handicrafts, oh man, the handicrafts… I wanted to spend all my time there shopping and admiring the beautiful work, nothing like anything we’ve seen before.  I should have taken pictures of the amazing variety of things, of the Batik stores with fabric as far as the eye can see, one more colorful than the next.  Instead, I just got pictures of the crazy woodcarvings – that I admire the work, but there’s not way any of it is ever making its way into our home.  But the bag below?  I’m not sure if I hate it or love it!

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Coming back to Manila on the red eye flight had only one good side:  we got to see this beautiful sunrise at the airport.  And my Starbucks collection?  Is slowly growing…

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Stay tuned for more pictures of Jakarta, and for the stuff I actually bought!

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Jakarta!

Hopefully, by the time this goes live, Cebu Pacific has been nice to us, and I’m already in Jakarta, shopping for Batik fabrics and eating yummy Indonesian food (though I heard it’s spicy, and I’m a wimp, but Karl is looking forward to it).

We do have free wifi at our hotel, so if I get a few spare minutes (we only have 48 hours in Indonesia, after all!), I’ll share some pictures from there, but if I don’t get a chance I’ll definitely post updates before we jet off to Palau on Tuesday night (last than a week!  Eeeek!). 

And it seems like in Palau we’ll have NO wifi.

A week without facebook, checking email and blogging?  I guess I would care if I wasn’t so busy diving in clear crystal blue waters!  (I’m lying, I still care, it’s not like there’s much to do at night in a quiet resort, right?  Thankfully, the kindle is loaded and fully ready for some one on one time.)

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