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Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of people packed into a vast urban sprawl. All of the high points (bustling culture, events, sights) and low points (massive poverty, grinding traffic, crime, pollution) of a major Asian capital.

Get in

By plane

International flights land at Soekarno-Hatta Airport (CGK), to the north of the city. Visas are available on arrival, as well as ATMs and currency exchange services. Departure tax from CGK is Rp 100,000.

Get around

Getting around Jakarta is a problem: the traffic is horrendous and there is no urban rail system or canal boats to shortcut the mess.

By taxi

Most visitors opt to travel by taxi, which is cheap and occasionally even fast. There are a multitude of taxi companies of varying degrees of dependability, but the Blue Bird group is known for its reliability and will among other things actually use the meter. There are stories of foreigners being mugged by taxi drivers, but these are almost always associated with lesser known companies. Think twice about using the smaller companies if you are alone, and try to know the vague route - the driver might well take you a round-about route to avoid traffic, but you will know the general direction. 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 - establish that they know the way before you get in!

By bajaj

The Jakartan equivalent to the Thailand's tuk-tuks is the bajaj, mutant motorcycles souped up to carry passengers. Determine the fare before you get in, they can be cheaper than taxis, but only if you haggle.