Jakarta is huge. I mean really really huge. The city metropolitan area is second only to Tokyo and about 31 million people live here! As far as the eye can see there are endless rows of buildings with only Java sea ending them at one side. Our accommodation is located on 30th floor so the view from our window is pretty good.
The room otherwise is also really nice with a huge bed, nice small living room area and a proper bathroom. We are staying in a huge 39 floor building right near the center of the city with a decent pool and also a gym. The only thing is that the building at some places is still under construction :). As I searched the internet it seems that it was officially finished in 2014 but the reality is that in several places construction works are still being done 4 years later. Supposedly there was going to be a mall, several dining places and much more in this complex but I think that something went wrong at one point and at the moment none of these places are really working. Well, it’s actually rather good for us since it’s really quiet in here and not so many people moving around.
Speaking about moving around – walking in Jakarta is a quite an interesting experience. Compared to all the cities we’ve been and are going Jakarta is not at all touristy. So far during the 2 days here we’ve only seen about 15-20 people who you could also classify as tourists. That being said you get a lot of attention everywhere :). All the people smile to you, say hello and want to get a second of your attention. It’s all being done definitely with a positive energy but it’s still quite an interesting feeling since we’ve never been in such a situation before. On several occasions people have even asked us if they could make a photo with us :). Actually this is one of the reasons why we chose Jakarta to one of our destinations – to see how the life works in one of the biggest cities in Asia without any touristy glamour. I think you could somewhat compare Jakarta with Bangkok but the latter is in most of the places really tourist-orientated. And the honest answer to how the life is in here is it’s quite diverse and contrasty. There are some high end malls, business buildings and so on but mainly it’s still endless fields of older buildings and streets, a true concrete jungle. There’s not much greenery besides the huge 1 square kilometer park in the middle. And the poverty also shows out with garbage on the streets, homeless people and low quality infrastructure. Compared to Singapore it’s like being on a different planet. But nevertheless all this has it’s own appeal and Jakarta definitely holds many secrets to be discovered during our stay in this huge metropolis.
Currency, local Indonesian Rupiah, is a quite interesting thing on it’s own. Since the exchange rate compared to Euro is huge it definitely takes time to get used to. For example 1 EUR is about 16000 rupiah meaning a small meal can cost tens of thousands and you can easily spend half a million during one day. There are also coins that are made from plastic since metal would be just too expensive. The downside to all this is that your wallet is constantly cramped with a huge package of notes from 2000 up to 100.000 but from the upside at least here we are millionaires :)!