Jakarta City Tour

We spent the first few hours of our initial day in Jakarta sleeping, taking a bath and eating. The last two were the things we skipped during the eight-hour train ride from Yogyakarta to Jakarta. The sleeping part was intermittent because of the noise caused by the train. It was like being inside an unsteady can in motion and every little turn caused the metals to scrape against each other, and for the passenger to almost fall out of his seat. I am not complaining because the train ride was a choice we made for we wanted to experience travelling in a sleeper train and it arrived on time and its people were kind to us.

A little after 2pm, Nadya, her husband Ricky and their adorable child Aisha fetched us at Amaris hotel. They treated us to lunch and we started our afternoon of discovering Jakarta.

Our first stop was Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal), the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. “Istiqlal” is the Arabic word for independence, and the mosque was named as such because it commemorates Indonesian independence.

Like all the other sacred places we visited, we had to go inside the mosque barefoot. The inner part of the ground was spacious and solemn. It was a very peaceful place, perfect for prayer, reflection and hushed conversation. The main hall is expansive with men and women having their own place of prayer.

Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal) courtyard

Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal) main hall

Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal) main hall. Wanita means woman and pria means man.

On the main wall hangs the  metalwork that has Arabic calligraphy Surah Thaha 14th verse.

On the main wall hangs the metalwork that has calligraphy of Surah Thaha 14th verse.

The two large metalwork that hang on either side of Surah Thaha 14th verse are  Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Muhammad on the left side and Allah on the right side.

The two large metalworks that hang on either side of Surah Thaha 14th verse are Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Muhammad on the left side and Allah on the right side.

The two large metalwork that hang on either side of Surah Thaha 14th verse are  Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Muhammad on the left side and Allah on the right side.

The main hall of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Me inside the main hall of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Me inside the main hall of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Virg and I outside the main hall of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Virg and I outside the main hall of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Istiqlal Tower as seen from the courtyard

Istiqlal Tower as seen from the courtyard. Imagine its height! If you look at the bottom right of the photo, there is an adult person there, compare him to the height of the tower.

Monument Nasional as seen from the courtyard of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Monument Nasional as seen from the courtyard of Istiqlal Mosque (Masjid Istiqlal)

Dome of Istiqlal Mosque. This photo was taken inside a moving car as we passed the mosque on our way to Merdeka Square.

Dome of Istiqlal Mosque. This photo was taken inside a moving car as we passed the mosque on our way to Merdeka Square.

Our next stop is right in front of Istiqlal Mosque, the Jakarta Cathedral (Gereja Katedral Jakarta). It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jakarta and is officially known as The Church of Our Lady of Assumption. On the day we stopped by, it was closed because it was Good Friday but there were singing and praying coming from inside the church.

Jakarta Cathedral

Jakarta Cathedral as seen from the premises of Istiqlal Mosque

A short drive from Jakarta Cathedral is Merdeka Square, one of the largest squares in the world. On that holiday, it was crawling with people and buzzing with business. There were horse-drawn carriages, bajay (bajaj), a lot of street food and clothes and toys for sale, but the main attraction of Merdeka Square is located in its center, the National Monument (Monumen Nasional) or Monas.

National Monument or Monas

National Monument or Monas

Monas stands proud at 132 meters and it is topped by a flame covered with gold foil. This tower commemorates the fight for Indonesian freedom. The structure blends the philosophy of Lingga (rice pestle) and Yoni (mortar) to symbolize masculinity and femininity and eternal life. Unfortunately, the observation deck and Flame of Independence were not open on a holiday so we had to content ourselves with the scenes around the Monas.

The Flag Bearer statue is a few meters from Monas.

The Flag Bearer statue is a few meters from Monas.

Bajaj or bajay, Indonesia's version of Tuktuk. The bajaj are color coded to represent the particular area in Jakarta that they service. They are not allowed on major roads.

Bajaj or bajay, Indonesia’s version of Tuktuk. The bajaj are color coded to represent the particular area in Jakarta that they service. They are not allowed on major roads.

Delman or horse-drawn carriages are plentiful in Merdeka Square.

Delman or horse-drawn carriages are plentiful in Merdeka Square.

Doraemon was also present in Merdeka Square.  Guests can take their photos with Doraemon and other cartoon charaters for a minimal fee.

Doraemon was also present in Merdeka Square. Guests can take their photos with Doraemon and other cartoon charaters for a minimal fee.

After the visit to Merdeka Square, we procceded to Old Batavia. Old Batavia (Old Jakarta or Kota) was the center of commerce and trade of Indonesia during Dutch occupation. It covers an area of 1.3 square kilometers and houses a number of historical buildings.

The Town Hall of Batavia is now the Jakarta History Museum.

The Town Hall of Batavia is now the Jakarta History Museum.

The Town Hall of Batavia is now the Jakarta History Museum as pictured at night.

The Town Hall of Batavia is now the Jakarta History Museum as pictured at night.

The facade of the Town Hall of Batavia

The facade of the Town Hall of Batavia

A closer look at the bell of the Town Hall

A closer look at the bell of the Town Hall of Batavia

To the right of the Town Hall or Jakarta History Museum is the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics

To the right of the Town Hall or Jakarta History Museum is the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics. It was formerly known as the Court of Justice of Batavia.

Not far from the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics is the Post Office of Batavia

Not far from the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics is the Post Office of Batavia

Cafe Batavia

Cafe Batavia

Nadya and family in front of Cafe Batavia

Nadya and family in front of Cafe Batavia

Virg and I in front of Cafe Batavia (and one of our more awkward poses, I might add hehe)

Virg and I in front of Cafe Batavia

Museum Wayang was the Museum of Old Batavia

Museum Wayang was the Museum of Old Batavia

As the sun started to set, street artists came out of the woodwork to entertain the masses that flocked to Old Batavia.

Ondel-ondel, Jakarta mascots

Ondel-ondel, Jakarta mascots

Doraemon : Merdeka Square :: Mickey mouse and Minnie Mouse : Old Batavia

Doraemon : Merdeka Square :: Mickey mouse and Minnie Mouse : Old Batavia

This guy was a very good performer and I am sure that under all that whiteness is a cute guy.

This guy was a very good performer and I am sure that under all that whiteness is a cute guy.

This girl made the front of Town Hall her domain. As soon as her willing victims posed with her, she was game face on for the cameras.

This girl made the front of Town Hall her domain. As soon as her willing victims posed with her, she was game face on for the cameras.

These marionettes (?) danced to the music and if my memory serves me right, they also sang.  Low light and moving objects are my waterloo, just believe me that they were entertaining even if the photo does not make it appear to be one.

These marionettes (?) danced to the music and if my memory serves me right, they also sang. Low light and moving objects are my waterloo, the photo does not show that they are cute and scary at the same time.

Aside from street performances, there were a multitude of street food vendors and sellers of other things.

Exotic animals for sale. The ones inside the bottles were alive and the ones inside the rectangular container were dead (or that is what I think).

Exotic animals for sale. The ones inside the bottles were alive and the ones inside the rectangular container were dead (or that is what I think).

A closer look at the exotic animals for sale.

A closer look at the exotic animals for sale.

Thank you, Nadya, Ricky and Aisha. πŸ™‚

 

 

4 thoughts on “Jakarta City Tour

    1. Sooner or later they will become endangered (if they are not yet on that list), but sadly this is not an unusual practice. In my town, catching and eating animals like these were not frowned upon when I was growing up.

  1. At last, the moment I have been waiting for.. mega relate na… Istiqlal Mosque is really a nice place.. the tour guide explained to us some of the symbols that you can see inside.. they even demonstrate to us on how they pray.. We were able to go inside the Jakarta Cathedral.. (mega points sa amin yun :p) and met the French guys… ( I wish there were a little bit younger) … When we went to Monas there was a renovation going.. but we were able to go inside and there is also a museum.. I think Monas is more beautiful at night when they light the top of the monument.. I might say Merdeka Square is more OK than our Luneta… because they maintain it well.. I wish they can do that to our Luneta.. There was a renovation going on when we went to Old Kuta.. (Honestly, we got scared there because we saw a taong grasa near that place and there is a negative vibe in that place..) But when I saw your photos it seems the place is alive now especially near the Wayang Museum.. I want to see that Town Hall but just what I said it is closed for renovation.. it is a plus points for you because you were able to see it.. I think you missed out the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah ( miniature park) showing all the places in Indonesia.. :p

    1. What do you think of the interiors of Jakarta Cathedral? πŸ™‚

      I agree that Monas is more beautiful at night. On our way back to our hotel from Old Bavaria, we saw the tower all lit up in blue. Blue is my favorite color, so it was like the cherry on top of a sinful ice cream. Maybe it was because of the holiday but when we went to Merdeka Square, I thought that Rizal Park looked better (I have not been to Rizal Park on a public holiday, so my comparison might be off) but I think they have their own charm. We should have more street performers in Rizal Park. Hehe. I saw one before, a mime, but it would be better if there’re more.

      I am glad that the photos of Old Bavaria have given you a new insight on the place. It was not scary for me or us. There were hundreds of people and we bumped into each other but I did not feel unsafe for a second. It helped that we were with Nadya and Ricky. If you get another chance to go there, please do so. πŸ™‚ The street performers add personality to the whole place.

      Oh, thank you for sharing Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. I will definitely visit it if I go back to Jakarta. πŸ™‚

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