Jakarta alone for a day

Jan 28th, 2017, 07:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,064
Jakarta alone for a day

I am hoping marmot and others can help me chose a neighborhood and some sights for a free day and night in Jakarta before joining the small nature tour that I am on in early May (crazy bird people).

I will arrive after 22 hours from LAX, at about 11 pm. I'm on Singapore Airlines the whole way and barring rescheduling should make the short connection in Singapore since I'll be in transit and escorted if it's tight.

I could stay near the airport, and then go into town the next day to drop my stuff at the Sanno Hotel where the group is booked, but I thought it would be better to take advantage of lighter traffic when I arrive and spend the night at a hotel in Central Jakarta closer to things I might want to see. I could add a night at the Sanno Hotel but it gets pretty mediocre reviews and doesn't seem to be near much (probably just some birds if I had to guess).

I was looking at a few neighborhoods and hotels either near the National Museum or partway between the Sanno and a more central place. I was also thinking abour the Textile Museum if it's worthwhile.

Gaja Mada.. Novotel
Gambir Citi M ,the favehotel Zainul Arifin Jakarta or the Ibis budget Jakarta Tanah Abang

I'm leaning toward the Ibis just because of the good cancel policy and perhaps being able to walk to the National Museum.OTOH I may be not up for much other than sleeping and perhaps a massage.

Also, I'd be interested in any food recommendations or other suggestions on what to do on a 'day at leisure" . Is there a tourist bus circuit? I have barely begun to research Jakarta and it doesn't seem to be a big tourist destination or a subject of many trip reports. .I am not really a mall person but if it's got air conditioning, a food court, and some people watching I could be talked into it. Also not into budget backpacker scene or night clubs.

Thank you in advance.
mlgb is offline  
Jan 28th, 2017, 10:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Jakarta is a tough city for visitors. There are few attractions and getting around is difficult and except in hotels English is not widely spoken.

You're right that the Hotel Sanno probably isn't where you'd want to spend a free day. It's not a bad area, and it's close to the airport and the dock where boats leave for the Thousand Islands, but just not near anything else.

There are really nice hotels all over Jakarta and most will have good pools and spas. I'd suggest you look at the Kemang area and the area around Hotel Indonesia (called HI, or ha-ee in Indonesian). Book your room through a site like Agoda; you'll get a better rate than going directly to the hotel.

In Kemang, the Dharmawangsa is an experience in itself. If that's beyond your budget, there are plenty of others in the neighborhood. Look at the Kemang Ikon/Alila and the Grand Kemang. The Gran Mahakam is nearby. There are several budget hotels like the Fave in Kemang, but I've not visited them and can't recommend. Kemang is mostly walkable with lots of good shopping and eating options.

At the HI circle there are the Grand Hyatt, Mandarin, Pullman, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. You'll pay more for this area, but it will be very convenient for shopping, restaurants and all the taxis know how to find it. It's a compact area and some of the hotels are connected to the malls by walkways.

Jakarta is mostly safe, but walking is problematic, even for short distances. It's hot, trafficky and bewildering. Public transportation isn't something you'll want to tackle in one day. The best way to get around is by Silver Bird taxi. Your hotel can arrange one for you. Ask the driver to wait while you visit a museum, shop or have a meal. This might cost a bit more, but will save you a lot of aggravation. If you want to hail a taxi on the street, go with a Blue Bird. Have your destination written in Indonesian and plenty of small bills.

I like the National Museum a lot. If you go, get someone at your hotel to check the hours for you. The textile museum has a lot of beautiful stuff but it's not well presented. You'd be better off visiting one of the department store's batik and arts & crafts floors. Pasaraya (near Kemang) and Grand Indonesia (HI area) have astonishing collections.

If you decide to stay at the airport, the Bandara (formerly the Sheraton Bandara) is a good choice. It's just minutes away and it has a lovely pool area. You could always get a a Silver Bird to take you to the museum or the restaurants/shops in central Jakarta.

PS, Singapore Airlines is excellent at getting their passengers onto tight connections.
marmot is online now  
Jan 28th, 2017, 11:21 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Hi mlgb,

I stayed a couple of nights in Jakarta at the start of a trip through Java. Quite frankly, it is my least favourite capital city in Asia. We stayed at an Ibis but I can't recall which one. I do remember choosing that specific property as it was reasonably close and within walking distance of a few sights - turns out it wasn't. Waliking the streets as I usually do was problematic in Jakarta massive busy highways to cross ( I managed to trip and injure my knee quite badly crossing one). Taxis were the only real option. A lot of poverty in parts of the city didn't make it feel too secure at night either.

That said, I am a fan of Ibis hotels, always comfortable, good rates and great cancellation terms. Joking the Accor loyalty club which has decent offers, rewards and discounts on most hotels for members. There are loads of reasonably priced Ibis and othe raccor properties in Jakarta - one should suit location wise.

Food in Indonesia is excellent but in Jakarta, lots of street stalls on many streets selling all manner of goodies but for anything more substantial I struggled to find many restaurants at least in the area I was staying and resorted to a mall and the hotel - god food though.

Are you going anywhere else in Indonesia ?
crellston is offline  
Jan 29th, 2017, 05:59 AM
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Thanks for the insights..crellston, sorry about the accident. Bad timing and I assume it's on the wife's list? I looked at the Google street view and the only hotel where walking only looks marginally feasible is that new Ibis, but will have a closer look. I was not considering doing much walking, other than possibly walking back from the Museum if I couldn't find a taxi back. Thanks for the tip re hiring a Silver Bird to wait.. Any idea of the approximate cost per hour? Does two hours sound about right? Disappointing re the textile museum but thanks for the suggestions on the department stores.

I will also check the other two neighborhoods and hotels mentioned. Thank you. I will have to decide what I'm going to do and see whats within budget near by. The organized tour is costing so much that I'll be trying to stay under $50 if not $100.

I figured a mall food court would be a likely choice for lunch. Not planning on street food to start the trip.

crellston, the arranged tour first includes a day trip to one of the islands offshore Jakarta, then Gunung Gede Pangrango park (accom tbd), Flores, Komodo Island, and Borneo to the Rimba Lodge. At the end they return to Bali where I have a few nights to plan.. Was thinking of Ubud, any accom to recommend? Perhaps the one night at Udayana Ecolodge.

I gather I need to stop by the airport ATMs before heading to the airport taxi ranks? I had emailed the Ibis to ask if they had a shuttle. I'm not expecting a response. I can also ask the tour company about arranging an airport pickup if the taxis will be difficult.

That is reassuring re Singapore helping with connections, marmot.

Thank you. I'll browse through your blog crellston.
mlgb is offline  
Jan 29th, 2017, 09:34 AM
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Really must spell check my posts or turn off the auto correct!

In Ubud we stayed at Oda Ayu Guesthouse , a great place in a quiet street off the main drag. Ideal location 5 mins walk to the centre. A few very good, local type restaurants close by. Around $25 pn. Another place, we stayed at was a few miles north of Ubud was Alam Sari ( I think) Again, a nice place with great walks through the rice terraces. Lots of bi do as I recall.

Looking forward to hearing about Flores, Komodo and Indonesian Borneo. They are on the list as possibities in July as we make our way down to New Zealand. Make sure you post a trip report!
crellston is offline  
Jan 29th, 2017, 04:14 PM
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Good advice from Marmot and Crellston, a couple of things to note, personally I would not eat street food except possibly something like nasi goreng wrapped in paper, I've seen the vendors cleaning the plates, cutlery etc in open sewers

Warung's / Kedai's which are small roadside cafe's are in my mind a safer bet, but I would choose one where there is a high number of office workers etc eating there

As mentioned its not a city to walk around, if its been raining heavily, its not even a city to drive around

Personally I would find a hotel with nice facilities and relax with a book and a drink

There are people at the airport approaching you and offering a car service into town, just ignore them and get a Silver Bird taxi
Geordie is offline  
Jan 29th, 2017, 05:23 PM
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I don't think you'll have major problems walking from Ibis Tanah Abang to the National Museum. I'm not familiar with the street around there, but it looks to be about a 15 minute walk. At least it's on the right side of the street, which is half the battle. If you want to go on from there you can get a taxi at the museum.

Pasaraya as mentioned has two floors of wonderful batiks and arts and crafts. They also have a famous food court with food (and coffee) from all over Indonesia. You can get a taxi there as well. Grand Indonesia which is even closer to Tanah Abang is adjacent to two massive shopping malls with dozens of restaurants.

Tanah Abang neighborhood, by the way, is known for the enormous Tanah Abang market. If you're a glutton for serious budget shopping this is the place. I get a migraine just thinking about it, but it's a Jakarta institution.

I don't mean to discourage you from seeing the Textile Museum. If you're interested in textiles, it can be a lovely way to spend an hour, just don't expect too much in the way of explanation. The puppet museum is also quite interesting. Your hotel concierge could find out when they are performing shadow puppet shows.

Be sure to check the opening hours of the museums before you go. They can be erratic and information is hard to come by.

Taxis are very cheap in Jakarta, but communication can be problematic. Blue Bird is generally recommended as the best taxi service, but if you're in a queue you won't have much choice. As mentioned, try to get small change as drivers never seem to have any. Tipping is not customary, but a little something is appreciated.

I don't know the rate for Silver Bird. You can go by the meter, by the hour or by a flat rate to your destination. The rate is higher than regular taxis but not exorbitant, and the drivers usually have some English.

At the airport, you will see a Silver Bird counter when you emerge from Customs. I believe they will give you a flat rate to your hotel. I can't remember if you pay the counter or the driver. I think it's unlikely that the Ibis has a shuttle, but they will probably provide airport pick up. There are plenty of ATMs, or you can ask the driver to wait while you change money at your hotel.

I'm a great fan of the Alam Sari. They have wonderful village walks and their village cooking class is great fun. Nice pool, good food, delightful people, stunning views in the early morning. You do get a bit of road noise during the day. And lots of steps. It's about 30 minutes from Ubud center and they do offer a shuttle.
marmot is online now  
Jan 29th, 2017, 07:24 PM
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Thank you all for the added info I doubt I will be up for Tanah Abang but it sounds interesting.

Glad to have the leads for Ubud.
mlgb is offline  
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