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Train Ride to Stasiun Jakarta Kota

Born and live in Jakarta for my whole life, I have never set foot once in Stasiun Jakarta Kota. I did drive passing through the station a couple of time. Each time I drive, I always remember the station as filthy, lack of maintenance, and crowded by homeless and pickpocket.

Having commute with the Jakarta commuter line train in the past 2 years change my point of view a bit. A lot of improvement happened in the last 2 years. The Jakarta commuter line train is much cleaner, even comparable to the commuter train in Thailand and Malaysia, and maybe Singapore MRT. The stations are also heading to the right direction. Aside from the obvious renovation of Palmerah Station, I also observe that, along the Tanah Abang-Serpong line, the station is much cleaner and relatively free from people who smoke.

Having always think to expose my 3 years old son to public transport, I think a train ride to Stasiun Jakarta Kota would be ideal. In addition to introducing public transport to my son, it will also be my first time to Stasiun Jakarta Kota. Our itinerary is simple. Me and my son would start from Rawa Buntu Train Station. My wife will drive our car to do some business, then will pick us up nearby Stasiun Jakarta Kota once she is done. Anyone who also would like to try our route can easily start anywhere within the Jakarta Commuterline Station.

Stasiun Rawabuntu
Stasiun Rawa Buntu at BSD. This is where our journey start

The train ride start with our son a bit afraid with the sound of the train passing by. However, it soon turns into joy. The rail from Rawa Buntu to Tanah Abang is running in parallel with Jakarta – Serpong toll road. Sticking his nose to the train’s window, Ethan call out every vehicles that he recognize: Taxi, Bus, Truk Tangki, Truk Sampah (Garbage Truck), Bus, and some more.

Looking at the Toll Road
Our son and two other kids in the train is poking their nose to the train window. Outside, the Jakarta – Serpong toll road running in parallel with the rail

The fun (and challenges) starts at our arrival in Stasiun Tanah Abang. I was always thinking that it will be an easy transfer to another Jakarta Commuterline route to Stasiun Jakarta Kota. “Take another train to Stasiun Manggarai, then transfer to the train to Jakarta Kota”, the station’s security told me when I asked on the line that goes to Jakarta Kota. “Okay”, I told myself. And I’m stuck with Ethan at the crowded platform. Thankfully, the train to Stasiun Manggarai arrived not long after that.

The most enjoyable part of the trip? Fortunately, it is the train ride from Stasiun Manggarai to Stasiun Jakarta Kota. The rail between these two station has been renovated in year 1988 – 1992 to be 100% elevated rail. It is beautiful to ride through the heart of Jakarta up high on the ground, free from traffic. We pass a couple of station: Cikini, Gondangdia, Gambir, Jayakarta and Mangga Besar, all with its own unique color. The stations, in a hindsight, is similar like some other mass transit station in Thailand and Malaysia. If only they put more lights, new paint, and renovate the rest of the station like these one, Jakarta Commuterline will be definitely nicer to ride, and will be the transport of choice for Jakarta’s resident.

Monumen Nasional
Monumen Nasional, taken from Jakarta Commuter Line near Gambir Station

After a long queue before our train can alight at Stasiun Jakarta Kota, we finally disembark. I was impressed, and still impressed on how Stasiun Jakarta Kota looks like. It is over 100 years old, yet the architecture is still feel elegant. Restaurant lined up nicely nearby the platform, selling snacks, noodle or coffee. And speaking about coffee, a Starbucks shop is on the corner, after you clear the ticket gate.

Main Hall of Stasiun Jakarta Kota
Main Hall of Stasiun Jakarta Kota. KFC is visible on the left, while Starbucks is at the far end of the hall

Total trip cost is Rp. 3000 (kids under 3 years is free), and trip time is close to 2 hours. This is probably not the fastest ride to Stasiun Jakarta Kota, but definitely a better way to spend the weekend outside the mall, to get to know Jakarta, and to introduce public transport to our son, Ethan.

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

This post is featured in gotsaga.com