The Ultimate Guide to Survive Jakarta Like a Local

Story by: Putri Pua     Date: 10 May 2021    Image by: Unsplash | Bayu Syaits

4 minutes reading time Indonesia

Visiting Jakarta soon? Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I will show you how to survive my city, Jakarta, like locals do. Let’s go!

Here are some fun facts about Jakarta:

Expect crazy traffic during weekdays and therefore high pollution levels. Before the pandemic, going through rush hour in Jakarta, one can get stuck in traffic jams for at least an hour. Some even more… so avoid traveling during those times if you can.

There are two airports in Jakarta, the main one is Soekarno-Hatta airport and the other one is Halim Perdanakusuma. Don’t ever get mixed up, because the two are on the opposite sides of the city.

Jakarta is multicultural and a melting pot for people of all walks of life. That’s a given considering it’s dubbed as the most populous city in Asia boasting its 28 millions, both local and expat residents, from all over the country attracted to its endless opportunities, trying to make it big!

Indonesia is home to the largest 225 million strong of Moslem population in the world. And in Jakarta alone, there are 10.739 mosques in all over the city, so chances are you’ll find one everywhere you go. Every mosque will diligently do their calling for prayers 5 times a day, and it can be heard in most local residences.

Dress appropriately. However tempting it is for you to wear as minimal as possible in the midst of Jakarta’s scorching sun, the country is home for both the religious and basically people of any background, jeans and tshirt is the normal here. Suits and formal dresses are perfect for business purposes.

That being said, Jakartans are super fun to get along with! Indonesian are said to be the friendliest, tolerant and most generous people in the world.

The locals call it Water City, and it’s for a good reason! During monsoon season, the city’s often flooded because it sits on a swampy land and 13 rivers running through it (plus terrible local city management). So go visit Jakarta before it’s sinked on 2050, as researched by a local scientist.

Jakarta, Vegan food

Whether you are a vegetarian, flexitarian, vegan, or raw vegan, you’ll find it super easy to live or stay temporarily in Jakarta. An abundance of fresh vegetables, fruits, and peanuts are available on traditional or modern markets from local farmers every day and they come cheap! You can easily prepare your own meals or you can go to local restaurants and ask them for plant-based meals. Indonesian meals in general are plant-based and heavily use herbs in their recipes. Try Google one of these local meals such as, ketoprak, gado-gado, nasi pecel, tahu tempe, asinan sayur betawi, sayur asem, terong balado, and have a taste yourself when you’re in the city!

If you’re not a vegan, you must try CNN’s crowned best food in the world in 2017, Rendang. It’s Indonesia’s favorite Minang specialty meal, a tender beef meat cooked for 4 – 6 hours. You can easily find it in any Padang Restaurant. Other meals you should try are the famous Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Sate (skewered chicken meat served in peanut sauce).

Being one of the world’s biggest producers and consumers at the same time, it’s safe to say that rice is the staple food of the Indonesian diet. We eat it in the morning, afternoon, and night mixed with various toppings such as meat, fish, chicken, egg, and veggies. So, don’t be surprised if your hotel’s serving you rice dishes in every meal.

We also can’t live without our sambal (chilly sauce). Just like Korean need their kimchi, European need their cheese, Japanese need their sushi. Having sambal on their plate in almost every meal is a must for Indonesian.

South Jakarta City, Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta is affordable for every budget. Whether you’re a budget traveler or a high-end one, the city welcomes everyone! There are tons of budget hostels ranging from $5 – $10 per night and 5 to 7 stars hotels.

It is fairly easy to navigate Jakarta, thanks to its wide variety of transportations. MRT for inner-city transportation, commuter line (slower and inter-city train), busway, to convenient ride-sharing apps loved by the locals, are available almost 24 hours.

Now, you’re ready to conquer Jakarta like a pro. Let us know your experience about the city or share it on my Instagram page.

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