Jakarta: The Metropolitan City of Indonesia

I was a bit surprised when a friend asked me: “Do you think you can live in Bangkok? It is such a big city and dangerous for a girl to be alone, isn’t it?” My jaw dropped and at that very moment I promised myself to post something about my beloved capital city of Indonesia :-).

Here it is.

Bundaran HI. My office is 10-minutes walking from there 🙂

First of all, Jakarta is the second biggest city in Asia (according to Wikipedia). There are many statistics showing Jakarta position among others cities. These statistics use several parameters such as area, population, density, and officials. Mostly, population is the main parameter to award a city as metropolitan. But, in order to exaggerate this posting, of course I pick the best statistics for Jakarta :). Nevertheless, Bangkok position is always below Jakarta.

I realize that international society sees Indonesia as a third world country; therefore, development is fairly poor. Well, it is not. The city of Jakarta is so bright and lively. So please… don’t imagine us living in such a jungle here in Indonesia. I also realize that news about Bali bombings, tsunami, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, terrorist attacks and all have created bad impressions about Indonesia. Well, it is not that bad. We live peacefully here. Conflicts do happen here and there, but somehow we manage to lessen the tension.

Now, let’s talk the bright side of Jakarta, started by the mall. Yeah, baby! Mall!

Mall or Shopping Center

Taman Anggrek Mall. One of my favorites.

Jakarta is a heaven of malls or shopping centers. You will find them all across the city; from the north to the south, from the west to the east. Almost all these malls have movie theaters. Cinema 21 is the most famous and bonafide cinema network in Indonesia. Besides, several malls are connected to apartments or luxurious residences. But well, to save space, I will give you another wikipedia links to refer you to the list of malls in Jakarta. You can click here or here. Btw, my favorites are Taman Anggrek Mall and Grand Indonesia.


We have Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Jalan Rasuna Said, and Jalan M.H. Thamrin which are famous as the center of business. I guess pictures will show better. 

Jalan Jenderal Sudirman. I live 15-minutes walking from that white building on the left :).


Five-star Hotel

Yes, Jakarta does have plenty of choices to stay; from the cheap and poor ones to the most luxurious ones. Interestingly, compared to European hotels, the five-star hotels in Jakarta are relatively inexpensive. You surely can find Grand Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, InterContinental, Four Seasons, JW Marriott, Shangri-La, Sheraton, Le Meridien here.

Old Town

We were colonized by the Dutch for hundreds of years. This old town is one of archaeological remains which is kept by the government as historical site. Now and then we can see a bunch of history lovers wearing some Dutch outfit and riding old-fashioned bicycle (= sepeda onthel). I was one of them (without “Dutchy” accessories though). 


Old Town Area with sepeda onthel and guys in old-army outfits


Culinary Paradise

Oh dear, I don’t know how to explain or to list all beautiful places serving great food. Too many to mention. Besides, I must admit that the best place to eat is not at those fancy restaurants, but at the streets food stall :). You basically can find all kind of food in Jakarta. American, Mexican, European, Turkish, African, Chinese (hehe), Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, and the famous Indonesian food from Padang, Sunda, Jawa, Madura, Tegal, uh oh… let’s stop it. I will need separate post to talk about the food only :).


Jakarta also has plenty halls to perform music concert or other entertainment shows. The famous ones are: Balai Sarbini, Plennary Hall of Jakarta Convention Center, Big Theater Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Park Ballroom, Balai Kartini, and Ritz Carlton Pacific Place Ballroom.

Balai Sarbini (inside and out)


To balance this article, I must remind you that Jakarta is sometimes cruel too. We have extremely serious problem with traffic jam. It is predicted that in 2020 we will face gridlock. Gridlock is the situation where vehicles stuck in certain node and can’t move further. The government now is still trying to solve this problem by constructing flyovers in several main streets and MRT which will be completed by 2016.

Beggars, homeless people, pickpocket, pollution, garbage, flood, muggers, poor public facilities and services are other issues need to be resolved. In my defense, Jakarta is part of a developing country anyway, hehe…

Um, I guess I have given sufficient justification that Jakarta is indeed big and dangerous (and let me emphasize: bigger and more dangerous than Bangkok :D). Nothing else I would say but: enjoy Jakarta!



16 thoughts on “Jakarta: The Metropolitan City of Indonesia

  1. aku masih ingat sm salah satu twitter yg di retwit sm Dee, “dijual cepat: bekas ibukota, 70% lahan potensi banjir, 160 mall, dan bonus lebaran: urbaners”

    —it is somehow funny regardless its accurated number 😀

    aku sendiri cuma punya satu poin hasil dari bergabung dg jakarta selama kurang dr 2thn, hal hebat tentang jakarta: kemampuan orang2nya bertahan dalam menghadapi kemacetan
    buatku, tanpa sadar semacam ada mental dan skill yg tidak akan “terasah” ketika kita tinggal di kota selain jakarta.

  2. wulanadian says:

    No, we don’t need to have lots of MONEY to live in Jakarta. Truelia, afterall, post this in a relative term to the “International Scale”.
    Great post! I will reblog.

  3. shantoy says:

    I was blogwalking and found this interesting topic.
    I was born in Medan, grew up in Bandung for several years before going back to Medan to finish my study until high school. I went to college and stay in Jakarta for 12 years and the last 5 years I traveled, spent 2 years in Bali, 1 year in Flores, 1 year now in jogja. By this experiences, I found that Jakarta is over-rated. When u say dont imagine Indonesia with jungle or any other 3rd world stereotypes, u indicated the development progress with malls, 5 star hotel etc, to ensure the well-facilitated city can easily be found in Jakarta. How about Jogja n Bali that have less westernized look but able to attract more people to come? And Bangkok is always below Jakarta in some statistics but look how it attracts more tourists, business n retired foreigners there.
    When u tried to counter the 3rd world country image, u present the facts of physical progress in Jakarta. Have u ever been to any other parts of the country? some are still in the jungle which the people dont know about mall, some are even still struggling with poverty or fight for drinking water while some people in Jakarta have choices to do many things during traffic jam. So for me, some of what u wrote is too Jakartanized as if as no other well-built city .

    • Hey Shantoy, thanks for scrutinizing my writing and for the useful feedback. I’ll comment on those :-). First of all, this writing is about Jakarta – not generally Indonesia. And yes, I still see that Jakarta is very developed among other regions in Indonesia (maybe I should replace the word “Indonesia” in some sentences above).

      I have been to many parts of the country. I have been living in Jakarta for about five years or so. I was born in a small town in East Java and grew up in another small town there. Now I am working in development work – bringing energy access to those remote and un-electrified villages in Sumatra, Sulawesi, some in Kalimantan and Java as well. So yes, I know quite well how people live in such places. But again, I was writing about Jakarta – the metropolitan city of Indonesia, not Surabaya nor Jogja and Denpasar. Because to my understanding, so far only Jakarta can be labeled as “metropolitan.” I’ve been to Medan, Padang, Bandung, Jogja, Semarang, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar, and they are not close enough to be called metropolitan.

      Yes, my writing is very Jakartanized – please see the title – however, thank you for the valuable criticism.

  4. J. Paul J. Braibant says:

    Truelia, please allow me to update your data in the light of official statistics (BPS): “Metropolitan Jakarta” or JABODETABEK, as it is officially known, is not only Asia’s second largest metropolis. With a population of over 31,700,000 (in 2015), and arguably well over 32 million in 2017, it is the world’s second largest conurbation after Tokyo. And that huge number does not include the population of Sukabumi and Serang regencies, which are also rapidly joining the Mega City. Few people in Indonesia are aware of these numbers, and fewer still in other countries, since the concept of “Greater Jakarta” as opposed to that of DKI, with its five bouroughs in administrative terms, has never been properly promoted, in contrast with a number of other large cities, such as London, Moscow, Beijing or Mexico City.

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