Visiting Jakarta? Hmm…

Photography by Danny Chan

Most people think of Jakarta, the capital city of the Republic of Indonesia as a huge, sprawling metropolis, home to over 10 million people, and plagued with nightmare traffic jams, wanting infrastructure, air pollution and occasional crippling floods. But is Jakarta really that bad? Here’s a tongue-in-cheek description of the largest city in Southeast Asia by Arne Trautmann, a German lawyer who had lived there for a year.

There is nothing beautiful in Jakarta. And yes, it is a bsolutely worth visiting. And you should go. Now.

See, Jakarta technically has very few things that can count as “historic” or “beautiful” or “touristy”. There is an Art Deco train station. There is an old drawing bridge. People may mention the old colonial quarter, the fish market, and the Chinese temple. You can see all these in half a day, but if you miss them, it’s fine. Nothing you cannot have thrice as good elsewhere.

On top of tha t, Jaka rta is ha rd to access. Where cities like Bangkok or Singapore open up to the tourists, Jakarta closes. If you do not know people on the ground or are, indeed, super lucky, you will end up in a backpacker trap somewhere on Jalan Jaksa; or if you are very lucky, in Kemang.

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