Category Archives: #weekendtanpamall

JFS Road Race: A Race for the Family

The road race series organized by Jakarta Free Spirit has been my favorite running race for the last couple of years. It is a 5k race, so no need to train too hard. It is not so crowded, probably around 150 runners with family, so no need to fight for parking space, drop bag and toilet. And it is a race for family, with 2.5k fun run and 100 meters kid dash for kids.

Kid Dash at JIS
My son near the finish line of 100m kid dash of 2014 JIS Road Race. He was 2 years old.

Over the last few years, the race has some upgrade, thanks to running race being mainstream. It now has electronic timing, and medal for everyone. And yet, it still maintain one thing that is missing from mainstream running race: charity. For as long as it is held, Jakarta Free Spirit Road Race has always been for charity. This fit with my purpose of running.

The JIS Road Race is the best among the series. The whole 5k, 2.5k and kid dash is done inside the complex of Jakarta International School. It is free from car, bus or any other vehicle. The soccer field and race track is just nice for the race central. Not too small for the number of runners and family, and not too big that make looking for people difficult.

Warming Up with Mom
Warming up at the soccer field of Jakarta International School with Mom

So, I made this post earlier, instead of my usual Thursday morning post, because the JIS Road Race will be held this coming weekend, 8 March 2015. The registration will close on Thursday, 5 March 2015. You would better hurry if you want to register. Race pack is sold at at  Dharmawangsa Square. And once you got the race pack, register the secret number on the BIB before 5 March 2015.

Or if you miss this one? Don’t worry, the next and final series of 2015 Road Race will be held at Ragunan Zoo on 26 April 2015. Mark your calendar, registration close on 18 April 2015.

For more information, please visit Jakarta Free Spirit’s Website

Ocean Dream Ancol: The Time Tunnel

Coming to Ocean Dream Samudra, Ancol, is like walking through a time tunnel. It has been more than 25 years since I last time come here. I was a kid back then, holding the hands of my parents, coming over for holiday to Gelanggang Samudra, the name of the place before changed to Ocean Dream.

Welcome to Ocean Dream Samudra
Ocean Dream Samudra, Ancol, Jakarta – Indonesia

I still recognize the old ticket box as we drove by. Park map now list the landmark as “old gate”. The ticket box has move to bigger area to accommodate more visitors.

After we bought our ticket, I took Ethan’s hand, my son, towards the entrance. Twenty five years ago, my mom took my hand and my brother’s hand merrily to the entrance. We would watch the shows performed by animals, directed by their trainers. Two shows that was still fond in my memory is sea lion and dolphin show.

I don’t really remember the show called Aneka Satwa. Watching this show is new to my mind. However, from the look of the stage, I know that the show has been there for some time.

Aneka Satwa’s show stage was painted in blod pastel color, the color style of Gelanggang Samudra in the 80’s. The stage is small, barely enough to accommodate the audience. The show itself, however, is still hilarious. They have birds performing a dance, monkey pushing a cart, and goose parade. There are education message in the show as well: Stop stealing the wood from the forest.

At the end of the show, the trainer call for a hippo. My initial thinking was: NO WAY! The stage won’t accommodate a hippo! My second thought as a hippo face took shape: Someone is wearing hippo’s suit. Both is wrong. It is a REAL hippo, alive. A teen hippo, I guess, but still has big mouth that the trainer can literally throw a whole bunch of bananas for it to chew.

The Big Mouth of a Hippo
Yes, this is a REAL hippo!

The most iconic show in Ocean Dream Ancol is still the dolphin show. Twenty five years ago, I was sitting here with my parents. Woody Ice Cream sellers roamed in between the audience, selling Ice Cream to cool off in a sunny day.

Today, no more Woody Ice Cream. The stage itself has been modified with acrylic pool and a big screen. The show itself however, remains as what left in my childhood memory. Dolphins trained to lead to catch balls, leap through the rings, and solve simple equation.

Food? Picture? Anyone?
The iconic Dolphin Show

Ethan was having a great time at the park, and so does us. The trip has bring back the childhood memory, a happy experience brought by my parents. Now a parent myself, I hope 25 years later, Ethan will relive the happy experience today, just like I did.

For more picture of Ocean Dream Samudra, please visit our flickr page

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.

Kebun Raya Bogor

Kebun Raya Bogor (Bogor Botanical Garden) is located at the heart of a small town of Bogor, some 40 km south of Jakarta.

Driving a car will on average takes around 30 -45 minutes from Jakarta’s downtown. Once you pass the ticket gate (adults& children Rp. 9500, car Rp 15.500), it is like entering another world. It can be blazing hot out there, but pass the gate, it is cool humid climate, thanks to the gigantic trees that is more than 100 years old.

Straight north from the gate is the scissor lake, named so due to its appearance viewed from above. If you come around noon, there are families having picnic at the side of the lake. The parents will sit on the grass on top of woven mat, watching their kids playing nearby. They would normally bring some food and drinks to enjoy the shade of the trees.

At the north end of Kebun Raya Bogor is the Bogor Presidential Palace (Istana Bogor). The main facade of the palace face the Scissor Lake, which separates it from the rest of Kebun Raya Bogor. Istana Bogor is the only Presidential Palace that is open for public. Entry to Istana Bogor can be done with permit from the Secretary of the State.

The large part of Kebun Raya Bogor lies on the eastern part, which is best explored with the tourist car (Rp 10.000 per person). The driver, double as the tour guide, will provide explanation as he drive you to the eastern part of Kebun Raya Bogor, going through rows of cactus, trees and flowers.


Once in 3-4 years, the rare plant of Rafflesia Arnoldi will blossom. The next cycle is expected to be in 2-3 years. When it blossom, all the major newspaper will write about it, and it maybe the most peak time for Kebun Raya Bogor. But even without one, Kebun Raya Bogor is a great getaway place in the search for fresh air near Jakarta.

Visit the official website of Kebun Raya Bogor for more information, including the guest house, and also our Kebun Raya Bogor’s Photo

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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