Difference between revisions of "Jakarta"
Revision as of 05:11, 16 January 2012
Jakarta is administratively divided into the following named districts:
Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, tends to be difficult due to poor signage and chaotic street names. Sometimes, the same name is used for different streets in different parts of the city, and it's often difficult to find the correct street/address without the postal code/region. A sign with a street name facing you indicates the name of the street you are about to enter, not that of the cross street.
Alleys off a main road are often simply numbered, in a sequence that may not be logical, so a street address like "Jl. Mangga Besar VIII/21" means house number 21 on alley number 8 (VIII) off or near the main road of Jl. Mangga Besar.
If you don't want to waste time, ask for the descriptions/name of nearby buildings, billboards, colour of the building/fence and the postal code of the address. If you still cannot find the address, start asking people in the street, especially ojek (motorcyle taxi drivers).
Jakarta's nickname among expats is the Big Durian, and like its fruit namesake it's a shock at first sight (and smell): a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 10 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl. The contrast between the obscene wealth of Indonesia's elite and the appalling poverty of the urban poor is incredible, with tinted-window BMWs turning left at the supermall with its Gucci shop, into muddy lanes full of begging street urchins and corrugated iron shacks. The city's traffic is in perpetual gridlock, and its polluted air is matched only by the smells of burning garbage and open sewers, and safety is a concern especially at night. There are few sights to speak of and most visitors transit through Jakarta as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind that rules and regulations are very rarely enforced in all aspects of life in Jakarta. This is not to abet you to break the rules, but simply to explain why many of its citizens act so haphazardly, particularly on the road.
All that said, while initially a bit overwhelming, if you can withstand the pollution and can afford to indulge in her charms, you can discover what is also one of Asia's most exciting, most lively cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from cosmopolitan shopping at the many luxurious shopping centres to one of the hippest nightlife scenes in Southeast Asia.
The port of Sunda Kelapa dates to the 12th century, when it served the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran near present-day Bogor. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, who were given the permission by the Hindu Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran to erect a godown in 1522. Control was still firmly in local hands, and in 1527 the city was conquered by Prince Fatahillah, a Muslim prince from Cirebon, who changed the name to Jayakarta.
By the end of the 16th century, however, the Dutch (led by Jan Pieterszoon Coen) had pretty much taken over the port city, and the razing of a competing English fort in 1619 secured their hold on the island. Under the name Batavia, the new Dutch town became the capital of the Dutch East Indies and was known as the Queen of the East.
However, the Dutch made the mistake of attempting to replicate Holland by digging canals throughout the malarial swamps in the area, resulting in shockingly high death rates and earning the town the epithet White Man's Graveyard. In the early 1800s most canals were filled in, the town was shifted 4 km inland and the Pearl of the Orient flourished once again.
In 1740, there was a rebellion by Chinese slaves against Dutch. The rebellion was put down harshly with the massacre of thousands of Chinese slaves. The remaining Chinese slaves were exiled to Sri Lanka.
In 1795, the Netherlands were invaded and occupied by France, and on March 17, 1798, the Batavian Republic, a satellite state of France, took over both VOC debts and assets. But on August 26, 1811, a British expedition led by Lord Minto defeated the French/Dutch troops in Jakarta, leading to a brief liberation and subsequent administration of Indonesia by the British (led by Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame) in 1811-1816. In 1815, after the Congress of Vienna, Indonesia was officially handed over from the British to the Dutch government.
The name Jakarta was adopted as a short form of Jayakarta when the city was conquered by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, the Indonesian war of independence followed, with the capital briefly shifted to Yogyakarta after the Dutch attacked. The war lasted until 1949, when the Dutch accepted Indonesian independence and handed back the town, which became Indonesia's capital again.
Since independence Jakarta's population has skyrocketed, thanks to migrants coming to the city in search of wealth. The entire Jabotabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi) metropolitan region is estimated to have 16-18 million people, a figure projected to double to 30 million by 2016. The official name of the city is Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta Raya (DKI Jakarta), meaning "Special Capital City Region".
The Soekarno Hatta airport has three terminals, further split up into sub-terminals, which are really just halls in the same building:
A free but unreliable shuttle bus runs between the terminals; if you're in a hurry, it's a safer bet to take a taxi, although they may ask for a rather steep Rp 50,000 for the service (not entirely unjustified, as half of this goes to paying their parking fees), however it should really be a metered ride. If you have time, though, it's not a problem to wait for next one - just ask the airport staff where it stops and what it looks like (yellow color, normally). Also, be sure to know which terminal you will disembark from.
Visas on arrival (VOA) are available at the airport, see the main Indonesia article for the details of the rules. If possible, provide an exact payment of US$25 and ignore any requests for any additional fees. ATMs and currency exchange services are available in the baggage claim hall, and Terminal D has a left luggage service. The Visa on Arrival is payable in cash or by a credit card. The nearest ATM is past the customs area, so if you don't have cash, you will need to be escorted to the ATM and back. Although it is possible to pay for a VOA using my credit/debit card it is a slower process and may not be available at times, so cash is best.
Be cautious of having any involvement or contact with the baggage porters, the greater majority of them are committed scamsters and they often attempt to obtain money by cheating and misleading passengers. They should be paid Rp 5,000 to carry bags but that is best avoided, seek out a trolley and deal with it yourself.
Exchange rates in the airport are not significantly worse than the centre of town and better than you will get from hotels. Bear in mind that you will need some cash and Jakarta is not a place where you can just stroll down to the nearest bank in town as it is pedestrian unfriendly. ATMs generally have limit of Rp 1-3 million per transaction; for the latter, try CIMB or bii-Maybank - in the international terminal, there are several of these on the second (departure) floor.
If you are taking a domestic flight from Soekarno Hatta, you can enjoy cheap airport lounges. There are several private lounges open to travellers on any airline that are in stiff competition with each other. For Rp 50,000, you can get a few hours in one of these lounges where you can relax on the comfy couches, eat and drink as much as you want and use the internet (either by wifi or through their computers).
To get to the city, the easiest option is to contact your hotel to pick you up in the airport, as many hotels in Jakarta provide free airport transfers. Getting a taxi is a little more complicated:
Xtrans, ☎+62 21 5296-2255, +62 21 5296-4477. Provides reliable airport shuttle service from Soekarno Hatta airport to major hotels in Sudirman and Thamrin Street in Jakarta and Bumi Xtrans in Cihampelas Street in Bandung. Cost: US$3.30/adult and US$2.20/child. Schedule: once every hour from 5AM-10PM. Xtrans booth are available at Terminal IA, IB, IC and IIE.
If you have more time than money, frequent (15 min to 1 hr between buses, depending on route and time) DAMRI shuttle buses connect to Jakartan destinations Rawamangun, Pasar Minggu, Blok M and Gambir (Rp 20,000) as well as directly to the neighboring cities of Bekasi, Bogor and Depok (Rp 30,000). The bus service operates until midnight and is comfortable. You can get the tickets in the many counters after the airport exit. If arriving by an international flight, head to the left after going out of the building until you see DAMRI ticket booths and bus stops.
For overnight transits, there are a few hotels near the airport:
Information about train tickets from PT Kereta Api (Persero) is available on the Web, but no on-line reservation is possible. In Jakarta, you can buy your tickets in the major stations up to 30 days in advance. Except in weekends, you can generally buy a ticket just before departure. Beware of ticket scalpers! They will offer their wares even to people waiting in the queues in front of the ticket sales points. You should expect to pay 50-100% more if you do so, and you might find that your coach has empty seats anyway.
Jakarta has several train stations.
The current main station for long distance passengers in Jakarta is the Gambir station, located in Central Jakarta, just east of the Monas. Eksekutif (AC) and some bisnis (non-AC) class trains arrive at this station.
An airport bus service connects Soekarno-Hatta International Airport with Gambir station.
Stasiun Pasar Senen
Cheaper trains without air-conditioning generally use the Pasar Senen station located two blocks east of Gambir. Beware that the location is rife with crime, although the station itself has been spruced up recently. Anyway, these ekonomi trains are not really suggested for tourist travel: they are slow, facilities are poor, they are overloaded.
Most trains arriving in Jakarta also stop at Jatinegara station in the eastern part of the city, giving better access to the eastern and southern parts of the city.
Jakarta Kota station is located in the old part of the city, and serves as the departure point for commuter trains and some trains to Merak. It is an interesting Art Deco style building that is currently being restored.
Passengers from other cities arrive in bus terminals such as Rawamangun (East Jakarta) Kampung Rambutan (Southeast Jakarta), Pulo Gadung (East Jakarta), Kali Deres (West Jakarta) or Lebak Bulus (South Jakarta). You'll need to speak at least functional Indonesian to manage, and the terminals are notorious for muggers and pickpockets, so observe the safety precautions under #Stay safe.
The national ferry company, PELNI, and other sealines, operate passenger services to destinations across the archipelago from Tanjung Priok port in the North of the city. Some smaller speedboats, particularly to the Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu), depart from Ancol also on Jakarta's north shore.
Getting around Jakarta is a problem. The city layout is chaotic and totally bewildering, traffic is indisputably the worst in South-East Asia with horrendous traffic jams (macet "MAH-chet") slowing the city to a crawl during rush hours (several hours in the morning and in the evening), and the current railway system is inadequate to say the least. The construction of a monorail system, started in 2004, soon ground to a halt over political infighting and the main glimmer of hope is the gradually expanding Transjakarta Busway (Bus Rapid Transit) system.
Various areas of the city have different levels of chaos. The most well organised traffic is only at Golden Triangle (MH Thamrin, Jendral Sudirman, and H.R.Rasuna Said.) Recently, new housing complexes also have good traffic too.
Commuter services operate from 5AM (first train departing Bogor to Jakarta) to almost 10PM (last train leaving Jakarta for Bogor). Trains often run late, though. Weekend special services connect Depok and Bogor with the popular Ancol entertainment park in Jakarta.
Commuter services operate over these lines:
Station names written with CAPITALS are regular express stops. Several express trains (and semi-express trains) stop at other stations only at certain times outside the rush hours. All trains other than the expresses do not stop at Gambir station, the main station in Jakarta, so this might be a problem for those arriving from other regions and wanting to continue to other stations. The choice is to take an express train to the nearest station and continuing by other forms of transport, or taking a taxi to Juanda station, located a few hundred meters north of Gambir, close enough if you wish to walk. If coming from Jalan Jaksa area, another option is just to walk to Gondangdia (next one south of Gambir) station, it's just 5-10 minutes walk to the left from the southern end of Jaksa.
There are four types of trains: express (air-conditioned non-stop trains, generally most useful for commuters going and returning from work), semi-express (similar to express, but with more stops, runs outside the rush hours), ekonomi AC (all-stops, air-conditioned, probably most useful for tourists) and ekonomi.
Riding the ekonomi class is not advisable: crime and sexual harassment are known to happen inside packed (during rush hours some people even travel on the roof, despite the obvious danger of overhead wires!) trains. During the non-rush hours, though, economy train travel is quite an interesting experience. It is a tour of Jakarta's darker side, with peddlers offering every imaginable article (from safety pins to cell-phone starter kits), various sorts of entertainment, ranging from one-person orchestras to full-sized bands, and a chance to sample real poverty; you are riding a slum on wheels. Just remember to keep an eye on your belongings all the time, do not flash valuables if have any, and, if have a bag, hold it in front of you (that's what many locals also do in these trains).
Note: Express service on all Jakarta-area commuter lines was slated to be discontinued in July 2011.
The Transjakarta Busway (in Indonesian known as busway or Tije) is modern, air-conditioned and generally comfortable, although sometimes service can be spotty (they have a knack of going to the depot for service and refueling at the same time during the rush hours). The bus is often crowded during rush hours. There are ten lines operational as of late 2010.
(to Pulo Gadung) Harmoni Central Busway - Balai Kota - Gambir II - Kwitang - Senen - Galur - Rawa Selatan - Pasar Cempaka Putih - Cempaka Tengah - Rumah Sakit Islam - Cempaka Timur - Pedongkelan - ASMI - Pulomas - Bermis - Pulo Gadung
(to Harmoni Central Busway) Kalideres - Pesakih - Sumur Bor - Rawa Buaya - Jembatan Baru - Dispenda - Jembatan Gantung - Taman Kota - Indosiar - Jelambar - Harmoni Central Busway
The other four corridors will be finished before end of 2016.
The transfer points for the Transjakarta Busway lines are:
Unlike Jakarta's other buses, busway buses shuttle on fully dedicated lanes and passengers must use dedicated stations with automatic doors, usually found in the middle of large thoroughfares connected to both sides by overhead bridges. The system is remarkably user-friendly by Jakartan standards, with station announcements and an LED display inside the purpose-built vehicles. Grab onto a handle as soon as you enter the bus as they move away from the stop suddenly and quickly.
Park and Ride facilities are in Ragunan, South Jakarta, Kampung Rambutan, East Jakarta and Kalideres, West Jakarta and in late 2010 the city administration was holding a tender for the construction of Park and Ride facilities in Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta. That construction of that facility is planned to start in 2011.
Buses run from 5AM-10PM daily. Tickets cost a flat Rp 2,000 before 7AM, and Rp 3,500 after. Transfers between lines are free be careful not to exit the system until your journey is completed. The hub at Harmoni station is the busiest interchange. The buses can get very crowded, especially during rush hours at 7AM and 4PM, when office workers are on the move. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, a Transjakarta Application map is also available to download. As of May 2009, the application is free. For blackberry users a Transjakarta Guide for Blackberry software download is available.
It's advisable to refrain from using other buses for intracity travel; stick with taxis as they are safer. If you're feeling adventurous, as of October 2005 the flat fare for regular buses is Rp 2,000, while air conditioned buses (Mayasari or Patas AC) cost Rp 5,000. Some buses have a box at the front next to the driver where you can pay your fares, while others employ a man or a kondektur who will personally collect the fares from passengers.
Cheaper yet are mikrolet (mini-buses) and angkot (small vans) that ply the smaller streets and whose fares vary from Rp 1,500 to 2,500, but good luck figuring out the routes. You pay the fare directly to the driver after getting off.
You may need to spare one or two Rp 500 coins before boarding the bus, since there is on-board "entertainment" and other distractions. On a typical day, you may find street musicians singing unplugged versions of Indonesian and Western pop songs asking for donations at the end of the performance, and street vendors, one after another, trying to sell almost everything, starting from ballpoint pens, candies, to boxed donuts and health goods. If you do happen to be travelling in a bus, refrain from sitting or standing at the back area of the bus as this is where muggers find their prey. Always keep an eye on your belongings and be alert at all times as pickpocketing occurs.
Do note that buses do not run according to any schedule or timetable. Sometimes a bus may take a while to come,in other circumstances it is possible that two of the same bus routes may come together and these drivers will definitely drive aggressively in order to get more passengers. They do not stop at any particular bus stop and can stop just about anywhere they like. If you want to get off, simply say "kiri" (to the left) to the "kondektur" or just knock on the ceiling of the bus for three times (be sure that the driver hears your thumping), and the bus driver will find a place to drop you. An additional tip to alight from these buses is to use your left foot first to maintain balance and try to get down as quickly as possible as they do not fully stop the bus.
Also note that seats in these buses are built for Indonesians who're typically shorter and more slender and agile than people with a larger build such as Caucasians and Africans. Non-Indonesians might find the seats in these buses to be confined and uncomfortable.
List of bus terminals in Jakarta: Blok M (South Jakarta), Lebak Bulus (South Jakarta), Pasar Minggu (South Jakarta), Grogol, Kota, Kalideres (West Jakarta), Manggarai (South Jakarta), Pulogadung (East Jakarta), Rawamangun (East Jakarta), Kampung Melayu (East Jakarta), Kampung Rambutan (South Jakarta), Tanjung Priok (North Jakarta), Senen (Central Jakarta).
Rental cars are available, but unless you are familiar with local driving practices or lack thereof, take reputable taxis. If you're from a foreign country, it is not recommended to rent a car and drive on your own. The chaotic and no-rules traffic will certainly give you a headache. Renting a car with a driver is much a better idea. The fixed price of gasoline (benzine) (petrol) is Rp 4,500/litre and the price of diesel fuel is Rp 4,500/litre.
Toll roads circle the city and are faster when the traffic is good, but are very often jammed themselves. The drainage systems of major roads are poorly maintained and during rainy season (Dec-Feb) major roads may be flooded, leading to total gridlock as motors stall.
Finding parking places in residential areas can be difficult due to the narrow roads. Paid parking is easy to find in shopping malls, offices and the like is typically Rp 2,000/2 hr plus Rp 2,000 for each next hour. Side streets parking also required to pay Rp 2,000.
If you do decide to drive by yourself or having a driver in Jakarta, please remember that there is a 3 in 1 system implemented in some of the main thoroughfares in the morning from 7.30-10AM and in the afternoon from 4.30-7PM where there is a requirement of having a minimum of three people in a car. The routes include the whole stretch from Kota train station through Blok M via Jl. Hayam Wuruk, Jl. Thamrin, Jl. Sudirman and Jl.Sisingamangaraja; Jl. Gatot Subroto from the Senayan-JCC Overpass to the intersection with Jl. HR Rasuna Said. There are intentions from the local government to change this system to an Electronic Road Pricing system beginning in the future.
The Blue Bird group ☎+62 21 79171234, (24 hr) is known for their reliability, has an efficient telephone order service and always use their meter.
Some other large, generally reliable companies include Taxiku, Express , Dian Taksi, and newly established Taxicab. You can generally determine a good cabbie by asking "argo?" ("meter?") - if they say no or "tidak", get another taxi. Taxis parked near train/bus stations, tourist attractions, and hotels often refuse to use the meter and quote silly prices (especially from foreigners) - in this case, it's a good idea to walk away a bit, then hail a passing Blue Bird taxi.
A cheaper option is to take a TARIF BAWAH (low tariff) taxi - Putra (dark blue) is regarded as a reasonable TARIF BAWAH taxi, though not of a comparable standard to Blue Bird. Many of these "Tarif Lama" or Tarif Bawah" taxi are mechanically unsound and have drivers of highly questionable skill. They also often engage in determined efforts to overcharge.
The standard taxi rate (effective February 2009) for Blue Bird is Rp 6,000 flag-fall, and Rp 3,000/km after the first 2 km. Taxis marked TARIF BAWAH use the older, cheaper rate (flag-fall fare is Rp 5,000 typically), while Silver Bird is more expensive. Tipping is not necessary but rounding the meter up to the nearest Rp 1,000 is expected, so prepare some change, or else you may be rounded up to the nearest Rp 5,000.
Beware that some of the less reputable taxi operators may use a rigged meter. If using one of these less reputable taxi you may end up paying significantly more than when using one from the more reliable Blue Bird service. If you have no idea how much the taxi fare to your destination should be, it is better to stick to the companies mentioned above, even the locals do this, or just use a Blue Bird.
Keep the doors locked and the windows closed when travelling in a taxi, as luxury items or a bag can be an attractive target when stuck in a traffic jam or traffic light. Avoid using the smaller taxi companies especially if you are alone, and try to know the vague route - the driver might well take you a roundabout route to avoid traffic, but you will know the general direction. Stating your direction clearly and confidently will usually pre-empt any temptation to take you on the long route. It is also not uncommon for taxi drivers to be recent arrivals in Jakarta - they often don't know their way around and may be relying on you to direct them - ensure that they know the way before you get in.
By rental car
Another solution for getting around in Jakarta is to rent a car. However for most visitors it is best to use a local driver rather than self drive. It will be better if visitors rent cars from car rental that are well-known for their services like Panen Rental, Brysca Rental Car, Wit Renta Car and others.
The Jakartan equivalent to Thailand's tuk-tuk is the bajaj (pronounced "bahdge-eye"), orange mutant scooters souped up in India into tricycles that carry passengers in a small cabin at the back.
They're a popular way to get around town since they can weave through Jakarta's interminable traffic jams much like motorbikes can. Although slow, boneshaking (suspension is not a feature in a bajaj), hot (locals joke about the "natural A/C") and the quick way to breathing in more exhaust fumes than you ever thought possible, riding around in these little motor-bugs can really grow on you.
There are no set prices, but a short hop of a few city blocks shouldn't cost much more than Rp 5,000. Be sure to agree to (read: haggle) a price before you set off. Bajaj drivers are happy to overcharge visitors, and often can ask double or even more of what you would pay by meter in air-conditioned Blue Bird taxi (obviously, the normal price should be less than even for a cheaper variety of taxi). Locals who regularly use the bajaj know what a typical fare should be and are happy to tell you. Also, since bajaj aren't allowed on some of the larger roads in Jakarta, your route may well take you through the bewildering warren of backstreets. Try to keep an eye on what direction you're going, because some unscrupulous bajaj drivers see nothing wrong with taking the "scenic" route and then charging you double or triple the price.
If you're poking around narrow back streets, or just in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb or more to get there, then Jakarta's motorcycle taxis (ojek) might be the ticket for you. Jakarta's ojek services consist of guys with bikes lounging around street corners, who usually shuttle short distances down alleys and roads but will also do longer trips for a price. Agree on the fare before you set off. And insist on a helmet, and wear it properly. No need to make it more insanely dangerous than it already is. The ojek drivers will insist you're safe with them and that they'll drive carefully, but this has little to do with reality.
Janis Air Transport ☎+62 21 8350024. If you're in a hurry and seriously loaded, charter a helicopter.
As a rule, walking around the centre of Jakarta is neither fun nor practical. With the exception of a few posher areas, sidewalks are crowded with pushcart vendors, drivers disregard pedestrians and crossing streets can be suicidal. On many busy streets there are no pedestrian crossings, so it's best to latch onto a local and follow them as they weave their way through the endless flow of cars. Muggings do occur, especially on overhead bridges, and can happen even in the daytime. If you use pedestrian bridge, watch out for wonky steps and holes, and motorcycles and bicycles that often use the bridge illegally.
Casual work in Jakarta is difficult to come by and Indonesian bureaucracy does not readily facilitate foreigners undertaking employment in Indonesia. As in the rest of Asia, teaching English is the best option, although salaries are poor (US$700-1000/month is typical, although accommodation may be provided) and the government only allows citizens of the UK., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA to work as teachers. Formal work visas, residency permits and registration with several government offices is necessary. Formal approval from the Department of Manpower and and the provision of documentation and guarantees from an employing sponsor is required to engage in any form of employment in Jakarta or elsewhere in Indonesia. Business visas are available for the purposes of conducting business related activities in Jakarta or elsewhere in Indonesia, this class of visa has strict conditions and requires a local business to sponsor the applicant. A business visa does not permit the holder to undertake any form of employment.
If you're stopping in Jakarta, consider buying an extra suitcase, because there's lots of good shopping to be done.
Jakarta has a vast range of food available at hundreds of eating complexes located all over the huge city. In addition to selections from all over the country, you can also find excellent Chinese, Japanese, and many other international foods thanks to the cosmopolitan population. Longer-term visitors will wish to dig up a copy of "Jakarta Good Food Guide" (JGFG) or "Jakarta Java Kini". The JGFG, as its affectionately known to Jakartans, is now in its 3rd edition, with the latest version published in 2009 and covering over 600 restaurants and causal eateries in the city. The JGFG has now also been made into an iPod touch & iPhone application, so you can download all 600 reviews and have them in the palm of your hand for whenever you're craving a bite of some good local food.
You can find Jakartan versions of many dishes, often tagged with the label betawi (Indonesian for "Batavian").
Your stomach may need an adjustment period to the local food due to many spices locals used in their cooking. Standard price on this guide: The price for one main course, white rice ("nasi putih") and one soft drink, including 21% tax and service charge.
The food courts of Jakarta's shopping malls are a great way of sampling Indonesian and other food in hygienic and air-conditioned comfort.
Mal Kelapa Gading
Most budget restaurants have delivery service or you can call Pesan Delivery service , ☎ +62 21 7278 7070. You can order take away foods from most budget restaurants. Some traditional Indonesian cuisine may be too hot and spicy for many foreign tourists.At some restaurants you can ask for food without chilli: "Tidak pakai cabe" or "Tidak Pedas". Standard price is Rp 15,000-50,000.
Mid to Upper-scale restaurants are plentiful and prices range from Rp 30,000-100,000 for entrees.
The best gourmet splurges in Jakarta are the opulent buffet spreads in the 5 star hotels such as the Marriott, Hotel Mulia, Ritz-Carlton and Shangri-La, which offer amazing value by international standards. Standard price: Rp 150,000-300,000 per person
Jakarta may be the capital of the world's largest Islamic country, but it has underground life of its own. If you're the clubbing type, its nightlife is arguably among the best in Asia. From the upscale X-Lounge to the seediest discos like Stadium, Jakarta caters to all kinds of clubbers, but bring a friend if you decide to brave the seedier joints (though they tend to have the best DJs). Fans of live music, on the other hand, are largely out of luck if they go to budget bars, at least unless they're into Indonesian pop.
When out and about, note that Jakarta has a fairly high number of prostitutes, known in local parlance as ayam (lit. "chicken"), so much so that much of the female clientele of some respectable bars (operated by five-star hotels, etc) is on the take.
A nightlife district popular among expats is Blok M in South Jakarta, or more specifically the single lane of Jl. Palatehan 1 just north of the bus terminal, packed with pubs and bars geared squarely towards single male Western visitors. While lacking the bikini-clad go-go dancers of Patpong, the meat market atmosphere is much the same with poor country girls turned pro. Blok M is now easily accessible as the southern terminus of BRT Line 1. For a more off-the-beaten track experience, head a few blocks south to Jl. Melawai 6 (opposite Plaza Blok M), Jakarta's de-facto Little Japan with lots of Japanese restaurants, bars and (what else?) karaoke joints.
To hang out where Indonesia's young, rich and beautiful do, head to Plaza Indonesia's EX annex, packed full of trendy clubs and bars including Jakarta's Hard Rock Cafe. Plaza Senayan's Arcadia annex attempts to duplicate the concept, but with more of an emphasis on fine dining. The Kemang area in southern Jakarta is popular with expats and locals alike. It has numerous places to eat, drink and dance.
The Kota area in northern Jakarta is the oldest part of town with numerous colonial buildings still dominating the area. It is also considered to be the seediest part of town after midnight. Most karaoke bars and 'health' clubs there are in fact brothels who mostly cater to local Jakartans. Even regular discos such as Stadium and Crown have special areas designated for prostitutes. Other notable establishments in this area are Malioboro and Club 36 which should not be missed. This part of town has a large ethnic Chinese population who also dominate the clubbing scene there.
The bulk of the clubbing scene is spread throughout Jakarta however, most usually found in office buildings or hotels. A help of an experienced local with finding these places is recommended. Do note that nightlife in Jakarta tends to be pricey for local standards.
In general, dresscodes are strictly enforced in Jakarta: no shorts, no slippers. During the month of Ramadhan, all nightlife ends at midnight and some operations close for the entire month.
Please see the individual Jakarta district articles for accommodation listings
The travel agencies at Jakarta's airport can have surprisingly good rates for mid-range and above hotels. Star ratings are reserved for midrange and better hotels, while budget places have "Melati" rankings from 1-3 (best). Tax and service charge of 21% are usually added to the bill.
For stay over 2,5-3 weeks, monthly rental rooms (called kost) and apartments are a good alternative to budget and mid-range hotels, respectively. Fully-furnished rooms (with TV, A/C, large bed, hot shower, kitchen outside) can be rented for Rp 1.5-4 million/month. In most cases, rental fee already includes electricity and water usage, often there are additional services included like laundry, Internet access, breakfast, etc. There are cheaper rooms as well (starting from Rp 500,000-700,000), but those are usually small, without window, and the furniture includes just bed or even nothing. Also, some cheaper places are exclusively for either men or women (no opposite sex tenants or visitors allowed); many others allow couples to stay together only if they're legally married.
For apartments (one or more rooms + private kitchen + often balcony), prices are from Rp 3-4 million and up. Cheaper rates can be obtained in some places which are oriented to the long-term rental (3, 6 months or 1 year minimum); however, there may be same limitations as for cheaper rooms.
A good choice of kost and apartments available in Jakarta can be found here:  (Indonesian language only).
Wartel telephone shops are ubiquitous on the streets of Jakarta.
If you see a public telephone, lift the receiver and check the number in the display near the keypad. If the number is not 000, don't insert coins, because the phone is broken. They usually are, but are very cheap (just $0.001/min) when they do work.
If you have your own laptop may be able to access networks at many of the capital's malls. Ask at the information desk for access codes. Free hotspots are also available on most McDonald restaurants and StarBucks Cafes. Several hotels also provide a free wifi hotspot in their lobby.
Internet cafes are available in many parts of the city with a price of Rp 4,000-5,000. However, most of them only have dial-up capabilities. Most of the internet cafes can be found around universities, residential areas, and in most shopping malls. However, the internet connection speed can be better in the internet cafes found at malls.
If you are keen on using the internet for long hours, try to get the "happy hour" deals provided by internet cafes near universities or residential areas. They provide 6 hr of surfing on the internet for Rp 12,000, but only available at midnight-6AM.
Embassies and Consulates
The Departemen Luar Negeri (Deplu) or Ministry of Foreign Affairs  maintains a complete searchable database of diplomatic institutions. The embassies are located in Jakarta, except some consulates general and honorary consulates. The addresses of some of the embassies and consulates are listed here:
Tap water in Jakarta is not drinkable. Always drink bottled water. If buying bottled water from a street vendor always check the 'tamper proof' seal is intact.
Remember to check the water you bathe in and only brush your teeth with drinkable water.
During rainy season (December, January, February), lower parts of Jakarta (mostly those to the north) are often flooded.
There is a law against smoking at public places in Jakarta, and the smoker can (in theory) be fined up to US$5,000. You may see the signs threatening a fine (denda) of Rp 50 million or 6 months jail for smoking, although that law seems not to be enforced, as locals still smoke everywhere on the street and even in local buses, as anywhere in Indonesia. It's generally prohibited to smoke, however, inside shops, offices, and air-conditioned buildings generally. If in doubt, you can ask locals: Boleh merokok?
The high-profile terrorist bomb blasts at the JW Marriott in 2003, the Australian Embassy in 2004 and the JW Marriott (again) and the Ritz-Carlton in 2009 mean that security in Jakarta tends to be heavy, with car trunk checks, metal detectors and bag searches at most major buildings. Statistically, though, you are far more likely to be killed in the traffic.
Strict gun control laws make Jakarta safer, but theft and robbery are real problems. Even these appear to have improved in recent years, but still take care. Violence is low, and most criminal acts are done by stealth or intimidation rather than lethal force. It is rare for even serious injuries to occur during these situations, although there are exceptions.
If the theft is done by stealth, often simple catching the thief in the act will cause him to run away. For intimidation such as robberies, simply giving them an object of value will usually satisfy the thief, who will leave without further ado. Most Indonesians are also very protective of their neighbors and friends; in many neighborhoods, a thief caught by the local residence will be punished "traditionally" before being taken to police. Indonesians rarely ignore pleas for help ("Tolong!").
Be on your guard in crowded places such as markets, because pickpockets often steal wallets and cellular phones. Keep a close eye on your valuables and choose your transportation options carefully, especially at night. Business travellers need to keep a close eye on laptops, which have been known to disappear even from within office buildings. For all-night party excursions, it may be wise to keep your cab waiting; the extra cost is cheap and it's worth it for the security. Lock your car doors and windows, and show no cellular phones or wallets on the dashboard. Organised low criminals called Red Axe are actively operate on the streets (especially at traffic lights) without fearing crowds.