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About Jakarta Raya
A very busy city with traffic 24*7. Most of the time you spend in the cabs and eyeing the skyscrapper. But yet love parades in smiles you meet. People seem jovial. But don't trust the cabbies, they might not even return your change. This one I took while walking though the lanes of Jakarta, in the midnight.
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The majority of Jakarta's population is Muslim (around 87%), so this journey had to begin with a visit to a glamorous mosque. This is the largest mosque in not only Jakarta, but the entire South East Asia. With a capacity of over 120,000, the building stands next to Indonesia's biggest church. The mosque was built in 1978 to commemorate Indonesia's Independence." Intiqlal" being the Arabic word for Independence. It is the national mosque of the country and a magnanimous structure that captures your attention and invites you in. A great spectacle of Indonesian culture and architecture!
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
How can I see a whole country in a day by just staying in Jakarta, that doesn't make sense! Yes, that's what I thought too. My local friends took me to a park called Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, which essentially translates to "Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park". Opened in 1975, this is a great way to understand and enjoy the local culture. You get to learn about local habits, look at different architecture, clothing, food and many more aspects of Indonesia's culture. There is a big lake in the middle of the park with a little island in the shape of the country. If you have the guts to take the cable car you can enjoy a stunning view of it from above.
National Monument (MONAS)
Linked closely to the history of Jakarta, this monument was built to honor the Indonesian struggle for Independence. Built by the first President in 1961, the monument is locally called "Monas". Standing at a height of 137 meters, the structure symbolizes a rice pestle, while the cup symbolizes a rice barn. Both of these stand for agriculture and fertility. The monument harbors a modest yet interesting museum and is usually a local spot for weekend holidays. Of course, you can't miss it and you will enjoy an amazing view from the top. But take a lot of time because the queue can be quite long.
Jalan Jaksa is nowhere near as touristy, modern or developed as the Khaosan Road in Bangkok, nevertheless the street still manages to offer a selection of services helpful to the average budget tourist including travel agencies, second-hand bookstores, money changers, laundries, and pubs.
I did manage to see and spend time at a few of these sites: Old town Batavia or the Dutch quarter had to be one such place. It is situated in north Jakarta near the Glodok China Town. The square surrounded by old Dutch architecture and complete with sets of Museum and cafes is a great place for people gazing.
Jakarta's night life won't disappoint you. Filled with clubs and bars that are a great place to meet some locals as well as make some new friends, X2 is certainly on top of the list. A fancy classic club in the south of Jakarta. A lot of locals, expensive drinks but definitely a great place to party the night away. It boasts of being the best spot to enjoy the night life of Jakarta.
As a tribute to Jakarta's diversity, this huge Cathedral lies exactly in front of the Istiqlal Mosque. This is not just a co-incidence, but a conscious decision by the President of Jakarta to portray the nation's unity in diversity. Built in 1901, it is the seat of the Arch Bishop of Jakarta and a center for the Roman Catholics residing here. The architecture is the enchanting Neo-Gothic style, a sharp contrast to the different structures around.
Museum Bank Indonesia
How can a bank be interesting? Well, this one is! The building itself is already a highlight and you get to see many interesting things there. It is one of Jakarta's most popular sights. The entry is free. It depicts Indonesia's monetary history from the colonial days till the Independence, when the bank was centralized. The bank is pretty old, but the museum is pretty recent, opened in 2009. There are numerous presentation on the financial policies, but the exciting parts are the ancient coins stored here belonging to the ancient Indonesian Kingdoms. A must-visit to understand the history and daily life of Jakarta.