I absolutely love travelling around Asia. Being part of the greater South-East Asian diasporic community, I truly want to immerse myself into the culture and so I took a plunge into the world of Indonesia. And boy, did it shock me.
Friends had previously warned me of the traffic situation, but I swept those precautionary warnings aside. It was only on my second day in Jakarta when I realised the horrendous traffic congestion in Jakarta. Here, I’ll give you an example: Say you want to travel to your next destination which should take you around 10-15minutes. Now, multiply that by the Jakarta traffic and it will take you about 1-2 hours if you’re stuck in peak hour traffic.
Now it truly amazes me how I did not witness any car incidents at all during my time in Jakarta. Cars, motorbikes and buses were bumper-to-bumpa and were coming from all directions. [a side story- Getting onto a motorbike in Indonesia would have automatically voided my insurance policy, so being the individual who likes to live life on the edge, I did it the night before I was flying out] #YOLO. Man, why didn’t I do this earlier. It was fun, cheap and definitely a way to beat the Jakarta traffic game.
It was only until I was out of Jakarta and heading to Halim or Bekasi, was when I would witness the car moving at around 60 or 70km/hr. Truly #TooFastTooFurious.
The food was phenomenal, the least to say. Unfortunately, my stomach was not too happy with me and did not accept the food too well. From trying Indonesian fine dining, Nasi Goreng, to the mouth-watering martabak, which is an gloriously stuffed Indonesian pancake (HIGHLY RECOMMEND NUTELLA!) to Gado Gado, Satay ayam and so much more, it was a month of gastronomic delights!
However, one thing that truly stood out to me during my time here in Indonesia was the stark social and wealth inequality that was prevalent throughout Jakarta. You could see a developed high-rises building on one side, and on the other side of the road, you would witness urban slums. The country is growing at a remarkable pace with so much potential in its digital and mobile space, helping individuals and business grow. But also, leaving many behind. This is a common tale throughout emerging markets and there is the need for more sustainable policy development to rectify this over the course of the long term.
Oh, almost forgot. Did I mention anything about shopping?
There’s over 170 shopping malls just in Jakarta ALONE. #NoBigDeal
But do you want to know why there’s so many shopping mall? To beat the traffic of course. Why hang around in the traffic, when you can shop till you drop (+1 to economic growth).
I also had the opportunity to visit JogJakarta and Tiger Pulau Macan, but that’ll be for another post.
This post is purely from an unfiltered lense and I wanted to depict my experience of living in West Jakarta over the course of a month.
Now for those who are about to head to Indonesia or are living in Indonesia as a foreigner, what are you looking forward to trying? Or what is something you love about living in Indonesia?
I wanna know. If you have any questions or comments drop a line below and I’ll get back to you. 🙂