I don’t know what I expected when we visited Jakarta, but what I saw is not what I had in mind at all. For those who haven’t been and maybe want a bit of a heads up, here’s 5 travel tips I reckon you need to know before you venture into the big city:
Watch where you walk
Walking the streets in Jakarta is not like walking the streets anywhere else I’ve seen. It’s by no means a clean city and you’ll come across plenty of cracks and holes, open drains and uneven paving stones precariously balanced over the sewers. So whatever you do please please pleeease mind your step.
Don’t be alarmed by the creatures…
You’ll also come across things like rats and other weird and wonderful creatures as you stroll through some streets, but when there is easy access between road and sewer it’s really not surprising. Now I’m telling you all this not to scare you off, but just so that you have a heads up. I wouldn’t let it deter you, the streets are very safe to walk on and these descriptions don’t relate to them all (mind you it does relate to a fair few we happened to walk across)
Crossing the street. The cars will not stop. So you can do one of three things: find some locals who look like they are going to cross and stick with them. Two, look confident and when you see a small break in the traffic stick your hand out and just go for it. Three, don’t bother crossing for a while (or at all?)Be sure to carry your survival kit. You’ll totally need it.
Flagging Taxis on the streets is pretty easy to do and one of the best ways to get around. The most popular cabs there are the ‘bird’ taxis: silver bird being the cheapest; blue bird mid level and black bird are the limos. We started with blue birds and stuck with them throughout our whole trip. They were great every time. Price wise, very reasonable. All blue bird cars had AC. And none of the drivers had an issue with finding any of the places we were looking for. Exactly what you want. We either asked the hotel to book them for us or if we were out and about there were always plenty of them driving around for us to wave down. If there’s just the one or two of you, then it may be quicker to get a bajaj (pronounced bajai). They’re small nippy little things so you can avoid a lot of the traffic, however it all depends how far you need to go, Jakarta isn’t the smallest of cities.
Strangely it seemed most of the places we visited or things we wanted to do, had the strangest opening and closing times. Timing is one of those things that they don’t seem to be super strict about. Sometimes you just have to take a chance. There are certain streets which are open till the early hours of the morning, others that call last orders for meals at 9pm, it felt a bit ad hoc to us. But hey, when your on holiday there’s no rush right? It’s just something to bear in mind.
Have you been? What did you think? Any more tips?