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A Few Reasons To Like Jakarta

I hate Jakarta.

Honestly, I could barely mention any reason why I should like Jakarta. I hate the city and no one likes traffic jam. And needless to say, the traffic in Jakarta is pretty much the worst in the world. Don’t even start with the weather, because humidity gets me cranky so I often get into the worst mood ever everytime I have to go out in the city.

I had to think twice before I decided to relocate to Jakarta, but even now that I’ve lived here for more than a year, I still barely have a reason to like the city.

The traffic kills me slowly. I had some friend telling me that there is no way the traffic here is worse than in KL, I just smiled politely until she came down to Jakarta and experienced the traffic on her own. Guess who’s laughing now? :p

So in this post, I’m not gonna give you any tips on how to like Jakarta as I’m still searching the reason myself, but then if you’re planning to have a short layover in J-town, I can assure you to still be able to have a good experience exploring the city. Here’s how.

As Roro and I decided to cancel our weekend plan to staying in Puncak recently, we then decided to go to Bogor Botanical Garden on Saturday and visit Jakarta Old Town (known as Kota Tua for the local) on Sunday.

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We both love anything cheap (if not free!) as we’re broke as fuck, so Kota Tua is a good place to go around the city with the highest living cost in Indonesia. As I live close to the train station, it only cost us IDR 3,000 (USD 0.15) to get to Jakarta Kota station.

According to Wikipedia, Kota Tua is a remainder of Old Batavia, the first walled settlement of the Dutch colonial in Jakarta area. To be fair, Kota Tua in Jakarta is not the only area in Indonesia that claims itself to be the old town with the recognition of its first settlement of the Dutch colonial. The

To be fair, Kota Tua in Jakarta is not the only area in Indonesia that claims itself to be the old town with the recognition of its first settlement of the Dutch colonial. The way I see it, almost all big cities in Indonesia have one similar area. For example, there is Kota Lama in Semarang and also Braga in Bandung.


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Anyway, the first place we reached to once we got to Kota Tua was Jakarta History Museum, which is also popular with the name Fatahillah Museum.

We arrived at around 8.30 AM as we wanted to start our trip early because we planned out to visit as many places as possible. However, the museum wasn’t opened until 9 AM so we managed to stroll around Kota Tua and take a lot of pictures around Fatahillah Square. For the entry, we bought the ticket to Fatahillah Museum for IDR 5,000  (USD 0.4) only.

The building was once the city hall in the old town of Batavia, the former name of Jakarta in the Dutch colonial era. Since 1974, the museum opened to display objects from the prehistory period of the city.

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Not only that it displays a lot of objects from pre-history Jayakarta to colonial era, as it was once the city hall, there were also some jails in its basement in which it was also popular with some urban legend and whatnot. You know, ghost and stuff!

Honestly, Fatahillah Museum for me was rather boring. Not only is it very touristy, but also I found they lack information about the objects displayed in the museum so it would come handy if they could provide the visitors with it.


From Fatahillah, we went to Bank of Indonesia Museum or known as Museum Bank Indonesia for the local as I was suggested to visit it by my colleague. His suggestion was solely based on his personal experience as according to him, it is one of the coolest museums that he has ever visited in Indonesia.

Located in the heritage building that was once the headquarter of De Javasche Bank, it took only around 5 minutes walking from Fatahillah.

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We paid the entry ticket for another IDR 5,000 and I gotta say, everything was more advanced in the museum compared to Fatahillah Museum.

Museum Bank Indonesia is a rather modern museum that reminds us a bit about a lot of museums in Singapore. They have some digital and interactive features that come handy for visitors. Not so surprising, because apparently the museum was opened in 2009. It’s a rather new museum!

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Even better, because with the humidity in Jakarta, this museum is fully air-conditioned so that’s a plus!

The museum is designed not only to introduce the role of Bank Indonesia as our central bank, but also to acknowledge the economy development since the arrival of European in Indonesia to collect herbs and spices here.

This kind of topic might be interesting for you who’s currently studying Economics or Business Administration. But again, it’s not my personal interest so despite the facilities, I don’t really have any exciting topic to talk about the museum or its content.

FYI, they have a break period at 12 PM to 1 PM, so for those interested to come here, I suggest to avoid this period unless you don’t mind to go out and continue to explore the museum later when the break finished. It doesn’t sound fascinating for me, so I’m glad that I went there around 11 PM and left when the break period started.


As the lunch time was approaching when we finished our tour at the Museum of Bank Indonesia, we decided to have our lunch at some restaurant around.

So, there is this Cafe Batavia, a fancy restaurant that is quite legendary for its distinguished dishes and building. But that’s not where we went for lunch. We would love to, but then Cafe Batavia is so expensive for us budget travelers. Haha.

There is this Kedai Seni Djakarte, a cafe located still around Fatahillah square with the more affordable price by the look of it.

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Honestly, the first thing that attracted us to go for this restaurant was the thing we read that was written on the board. Dilarang diet, the Indonesian word for ‘don’t get on diet’. The philosophy of us living our lives. :p

As it turned out, despite owned by some private entity since 1960s, the building was abandoned in 2006 until the city council decided to conserve the property as a restaurant that mostly serves Indonesian dishes with a price with the range of IDR 30,000 (around USD 2.5) per menu. And they tasted delicious too!

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I decided to take a narcissistic picture of myself here because in order to make something right, the M and I are missing. So, here I M if you know what I mean. :p

For those planning for a short layover in Indonesia, Kota Tua is recommended especially for you who are history freak as I am. The tour to 2 museums (Museum Fatahillah and Museum Bank Indonesia) took only half a day as each museum is opened at 9 AM and we left Kota Tua at around 2 PM.

Not only that, as there is also Wayang Museum in the area if you’re interested in visiting it. We didn’t visit it because both of us are not really into wayang, the Javan wayang puppetry. It might be interesting for you, especially if you’re a foreign traveler interested in Indonesian culture.

The ticket price is flat, for foreign tourists the ticket only costs IDR 10,000 (USD 0.8) and it’s even free for students, so it’s really worth to visit! 🙂

I know Jakarta is far from perfect to stay in, but if you’re a short visitor, I’m sure you’ll still have a good time going around the city. After all, despite the numerous malls built in the city, there’s a little corner called Kota Tua in Jakarta that has so many stories to offer. It’s your choice to either enjoy it or ignore it.

Cheerio! 😉

-Marya The BeauTraveler-

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