We chose Jakarta as a gateway to our travel through Indonesia. Spending a day in the city and three days on the islands nearby seemed to us a good idea. In this blog post, I described our experience in Jakarta and will turn to the trip to the 1000 islands (Pulau Seribu) in the next one.
Formalities on arrival
1. To get your visa on arrival, you need to pay a fee 500000 rupees or about 30 US dollars in cash. They accept only new (not older than 2014) US dollar banknotes. Luckily, there were ATMs next to the payment point where we could withdraw money without bank commission.
2. After making a payment, you need to go to the next counter to get the visa sticker. You’ll be asked for how long you were planning to stay in Indonesia. A visa is issued for up to 30 days. You have to consider this when planning your stay, as you need to pay fine for overstay.
3. Then, you proceed to the passport check.
4. On your way, you need to fill out the online customs declaration as well as the declaration to register your mobile phone (if you want to buy and use a local sim-card).
5. Besides, you need to confirm your COVID-19 vaccination certificate (by getting a stamp on your ticket).
6. Last but not least, you need to download and personalize the national application for tracking the contacts PeduliLindungi (requirement in December 2022).
After all these formalities, you are good to exit the airport and head to the city (or, most probably, to your hotel, to relax after exhausting trip).
Almost everyone who has been to Indonesia told us we should not stay long in Jakarta and even better avoid it completely. That’s why we decided to spend only two nights here to adapt after night flight from Maldives. We stayed in the FM7 Resort Hotel next to the airport (and can recommend it to anyone who wants to relax in Jakarta on your way to further destinations).
In the first afternoon, fighting the jetlag, we headed to the Pantjoran Chinatown PIK with a taxi (for that you can use, e.g. the Grab app). There, the variety of street food and drinks was overwhelming. We regretted having lunch at the hotel and being too full to try extremely curious exotic treats. Then we headed to the Jl. Pulau Untung, another streetfood and shopping street.
Central Park and Jakarta Aquarium
The next day, we took a taxi and visited Central Park and Jakarta Aquarium. The trip to the city took about one hour one way because of the wild traffic.
Central Park is a huge shopping mall with dozens of eateries, cafes, and shops. Bobba tea for ca. 1 Euro is a separate type of delight that you have to indulge into.
Central Park is connected with a futuristic bridge with the aquarium. This is the largest indoor aquarium in Indonesia. The entrance fee is 150000 rupies (9,2 Euro) pp. We were surprised how interactive the aquarium was organized: we could touch a sea star, keep a cockrouch on the hand, and see how animals are being fed. For an extra fee you can even cut out your own gem. At the end, there was a show featuring the story of a cursed princess, which involved a mermaid swimming in the big aquarium and Ariel-like plot on Indonesian motif.
The day flew very quickly by, so that we couldn’t manage anything else. There are some other sight I would have visited if we had more time:
- Merdeka Square Park
- Flea market (Jl. Surabaya No.12, RT.15/RW.5, Menteng, Kec. Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310)
- Theme park Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
- Art museum Wayang
- Bank museum
- Kota tua – the old city of Jakarta
- Dharma Bhakti Temple
So far, with exception of the traffic, we liked Jakarta and could actually recommend spending there a couple of days.