All posts by Sunset Mojo

5 off-beat Things to do in Jakarta

Most people come to Jakarta as a gateway to visit other part of Indonesia, or for business. Beyond the airport and Jakarta’s skyscraper, here are 5 reasons why Jakarta might worth stay for few nights, or maybe for a weekend holiday.

Run the Sudirman-Thamrin Road

Pack your running shoes on your next trip, and get prepared to run at 12 lanes road at the heart of Jakarta’s Central Business District. Every Sunday morning from 6 am to 12 pm, 6 of the lane are closed for carbon fuel burning vehicle. This part of road becomes heaven from runners to cyclist.

Dubbed as car free day, the program is aimed to provide a place for the people, in the scarcity of open space in Jakarta. People jog, rent or bring their own bicycle with families and friends. This is really the perfect time to see Jakarta’s urban outside their business attire.

Island Holiday, the Local Way

Pulau Pramuka, the central administration district of Pulau Seribu, will offer you a unique way of island holiday close to Jakarta. It has a pristine beach qualified for Scuba Diving or snorkeling. It also has a turtle conservatory. And best of all, it is not packed by tourist!

The cheapest way is to take the public transport boat from Muara Karang Fish Market, a bit packed in between commuters for 2 hours trip to the island. Then explore the island by food, walking along the common housing in front of white sand beach. Or rent a boat for a snorkeling trip around the islands.

Relive the Colonial Time

Long before car and motorcycle roams Jakarta (then Batavia), people travel by horse and bicycle. It might be hard to find a horse in Jakarta nowadays, but fortunately, you can still relive that time by renting a bicycle, complete with the helmet

At Museum Fatahillah around 3 pm line up bicycle rental. It is not the modern bike, but we call it ”sepeda onthel”, a well preserved from Dutch time some 100 years ago, complete with the helmet. For a small fee, a guide will take you around the port of Sunda Kelapa, still sailed by Phinisi Boat from Kalimantan and Sulawesi, then to the lighthouse nearby. Don’t forget to pose as a Dutch’s Meneer for a photograph, to envy your friend back home.

Modern Art Performance

Teater Salihara, Taman Ismail Marzuki, and Gedung Kesenian Jakarta regularly host modern art performance in Jakarta. The art performance range from theater performance, poetry reading, or musical art

For schedule and booking, you can visit their website.

Taste the Rich Indonesian Food

From Sabang to Merauke, it will take a lot of time of traveling to taste the real Indonesian Ethnic food. Fortunately, as many people from across the country migrate to Jakarta, they bring with them their ethnic food recipe

These ethnic foods are available as the street food stall as well as in a restaurant in a shopping mall. For a start, try Seulawah (Jl. Bendungan Hilir No. 9, phone: 5708660), serving spicy Acehnese food, and Karebosi (Jl. Bulevar Kelapa Gading Blok TA2/38, phone: 4520990), serving an ethnic ribs soup from South Sulawesi.

Have another bizarre things to do in Jakarta? We would like to hear your experience in the comments below

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Traveling to the Next Level

At Pantai Lhok Nga, Aceh

We just returned from backpacking trip (2 of us, with 2 backpacks), to one of the most challenging part of Indonesia, with nobody we know, and most important, with no reservation (Except for the airlines ticket). We just returned from 6 days backpacking trip to the province of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam

No reservation means that we have a super flexible itinerary. When we found a place we love, we stay longer. When we running out of interesting attraction in one place, we move to another place. When we found out of interesting place from the locals, we put it in our itinerary.

The locals are also great people who made our trip much more unforgettable. We know nobody in the city, and the lack of information forced us to make new friends. Those locals are very wonderful, and welcome for an evening chat in all coffee shops, which is available in every corner. We even think that, if we spend 3 days in a coffee shop, we will know all the latest gossips in the area :D.

Not only the locals are wonderful, but also fellow backpackers we met along the road. We met traveler from Czech Republic, Spain (who has been 5 months on the road), Germany, and many more, which we don’t have the time for a long chat. Together with the locals, we have a communal dinner in one of the restaurant.

So yes, we have gained another level in our traveling. We have gained new philosophy, new values that would add to our old values

  • Talk with people. Not all people are honest, but the risk is worth taking for the information you will gain. Seriously, the information they have and gratitude they give well worth the risk. Not to mention the experience of making new friends 😀
  • Have an open mind. No matter how good your plan are, reality does bite. We did end up in a hotel below our expectation, or public transport that is canceled, or overrated attraction. But with an open mind, and talking to locals and fellow traveler, you might get a better option. And that bad experience will make a good story to laugh at home 😀

So, where to go next?

Teater Koma 112th Performance: Kenapa Leonardo

The 112th performance took place at Graha Bhakti Budaya, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, from 11-25 January 2008. The script was translated from the work of Evald Flisar, titled “What About Leonardo?” The translated script is titled “Kenapa Leonardo” Total showtime is about 4 hours, with 15-20 minutes break.

The story goes around a neurology hospital, set at colonial era. Two doctors with different educational background argues around what to do to a patient, which suddenly able to learn about anything, but lose his feeling, emotion, and capability to choose. A choice between constructing a super perfect man, or try to restore his feeling and emotion, thus restore his humanity.

Dr Da Silva, a student who is after her PhD, seems at first successful in his attempt to construct a perfect person like Leonardo Da Vinci. Mr. Martin is at first transformed from sick person to super-human, capable of talking several different languages, memorizing the poem of Shakespeare, and mastering several other field of knowledge. However, unknown to Dr. Da Silva, the other patients taught Mr. Martin about love, bestowed by Dr. Hopman.

The project needs more funds, so the hospital organize a press conference to tell the world about their success in creating a super human, hoping to attract more investor. The press conference, however, went awry, and Dr. Da Silva blame the element of love taught without her approval. Frustrated for additional fund, and regardless the objection of Dr. Hopman, Dr. Da Silva insist on contacting Dr. Robert, who has close relationship with some wealthy politician, for additional funds.

Unknown to both doctors, Dr. Robert and his wealthy politician has another plan. They change the program to convert Mr. Martin into a heartless machine of war, trained in martial arts, to be a super perfect weapon who will do whatever they want without question or doubt. Dr. Da Silva is too late to realize this and regret her decision to contact Dr. Robert.

Back to the hospital, Dr. Da Silva decided to sacrifice herself, by having sex with Mr. Martin, hoping that love will restore humanity to Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin then went crazy, probably due to the training and the sex, killing Dr. Da Silva, Dr. Robert, and one of the patient, before finally regain his consciousness.

The play ends with Mr. Martin’s condition began to deteriorate, when he about to leave the hospital. Turns out to be that his consciousness doesn’t last long, and he back to his original condition.

Kepulauan Seribu, North Jakarta

Kepulauan Seribu (Direct Translation: Thousand Island) is group of small islands located around 45km North of Jakarta/Banten. The actual count of the island is not that much, around 180+ islands. The islands experience various developments, from an urban to world class Hotel.

Almost all of the resorts provide full range of water activity, like banana boat or Jet Ski. The nearest resort is Bidadari Island, located around 30 minutes from Marina Ancol by Speed Boat. According to my own experience, it is quite an old resort, although they have a beautiful white-sands beach, the room is not too nice. The food is also standard.

If you do Scuba Diving, The northern islands is your best bet. The best for Scuba Diving is Sepa Island, which provides full range of scuba diving facility. It is located around 2 hours from Marina Ancol. They also try to grow some unique creature from other part of Indonesia in their house reef, so that you might find some creature you won’t find elsewhere on the islands. Unfortunately, their accommodation is not quite good, due to lack of freshwater on the island.

Other upmarket resort, which I fully recommend is in Matahari Island, still around 2 hours from Marina Ancol. They provide good food, the best I’ve been eating in the islands, and also nice room. With only 15-30 minutes to Sepa Island I would recommend staying overnight in this island. It is also close to Papa Theo Island, the location of the famous Papa Theo Wreck.

Another island I’ve been is Kotok Island. I haven’t stay overnight in this island, and the diving is also rated second compared to Sepa and Matahari Island.

If you would like to backpacking, Pramuka Island could be your choice. As the administrative center of Kepulauan Seribu, you can get a nice room there for a fraction of price of the resorts. There are also nice Scuba Diving Sites around there, and you can just rent the villager’s boat.

Other Kepulauan Seribu Information:
Wikipedia (Indonesian Language):
Jakarta Government Website:
Kapal Selam Diving Club: