Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jakarta Weekend

by Regin Reyno

Jakarta, one of the most populated cities in the world and Asia's mega city, was my destination last weekend. Together with a dear friend, we took Indonesia AirAsia and departed for Jakarta from Bangkok. The flight took 3 hours. Upon arrival in Soekarno Hatta International airport, we were picked-up and drove straight to our hotel.

Grand Indonesia mall
We stayed in a 5-star hotel called Sunlake Hotel located in North Jakarta. The room was so luxurious. It was so spacious that you can even play basketball inside. The room has a sofa and a working table plus free wifi. A perfect place for blogging. Each of us has our own rooms.
Sunlake Hotel Deluxe Suites 
After a quick shower and some pictorials, I began to cover myself with it's very comfortable comforter and slept my tiredness away.

The next day, we were greeted by the buffet breakfast-a combination of Western and Asian cuisines. It was really a wonderful feeling to have a wonderful breakfast.
Chapati. An originally Indian food

 Italian pasta


Bubur. A traditional Indonesian food quite similar to Philippine's Arroz Caldo 

Muesli with tons of fruits 

Olives with olive oil. hehe

Nasi Goreng from the hotel

tropical fruits
The sights and sounds of Jakarta is quite similar to Southeast Asian mega cities like Manila, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur. The people are predominantly Muslim. Public transportation includes vans, badjai, taksi (taxi), and sky train.

That night, we explored the city. We took a taksi from the concierge in our hotel in going to the city center. Our first destination was the national monument or monas as what the loals call it. It is one of the famous landmarks of Jakarta. I paid 45,000 rupia from our hotel to the National Monument. The ride approximately took 25 minutes.

There were a lot of people in Monas during that night. Now I understand why Jakarta is one o the most populous cities in the world. I notice lots of street foods too and I can't wait to try them.
National Monument (Monas)
After taking pictures of the Monas, we headed to the Mall of Indonesia to buy souvenirs and to have our dollars/pounds converted. We took a "badjai", their very own rickshaw. Since the driver can't speak English, I had a quit difficult time in transacting. But later on I was able to do it. He agreed to take us to Mall of Indonesia for 30,000 rupiah. We boarded the "bajai" and it was one of the most adventurous experience that we had in Jakarta. We were able to experience the city through that rickshaw. We went into alleys for shortcuts. Beacause of that, we were able to see more of Jakarta.
photo credit:
After more or less 25 minutes, we arrived in a mall. And the driver keep on pointing it that that was the one. So we went inside and had some currency exchanged. There did we realized, when we asked directions from the locals that we are not in the Mall of Indonesia, but in Grand Indonesia. A mall located at the center of the city. Far from our hotel in North Jakarta. The driver did not understand us. Anyway its part of the trip, so we just enjoyed the place.
buying some Rupiah
After that, we went to a shopping place called Thamrin to buy souvenirs. There were lots of clothes there and they are not expensive. It is located just near Grand Indonesia mall.

After some shopping, we headed to a nearby local restaurant and ate Indonesian food. I ordered mi goreng, an Indonesia fried noodles, for the price of 15,000 rupiah. My friend opted for the nasi goreng or fried rice in English, for the same price. While waiting for our order, they gave us a mug of tea and some water in a small basin. I was about to drink the warm water, but to be sure, I asked what it is for. And they told me it's for washing hands. I was laughing as I was so ignorant and about to drink it. I then realized that the culture of the world is really varied and only through traveling will we be able to understand and learn better. I was so glad I learned something that night-because of travel.

Wash your hands. hehe...
Our delicious food finally arrived. An authentic Indonesia food. I ordered mi goreng while my friend ordered nasi goreng.  It was so delicious. It is one of the reasons why people go to Indonesia. It's because of their food.
 Nasi Goreng

Mi Goreng

After contenting ourselves with Indonesian food, we took a taksi and headed back to our hotel. One tip in Jakarta. If you'll take a taksi, take the BLUEBIRD taksi. It's color blue with a bluebird sign. Locals told us that these taksis won't rip you off. And they were right.

We rested one more night in our hotel, watched cable TV, and I did some write up for the ABL website.

The next day, another buffet breakfast. Very delicious foods and lots of variety. after eating we headed to the pool and relaxed. We also tried their sauna. So we just stayed there and relaxed.

hotel's pool
At 1:35pm, the driver picked us up and took us to the airport as we are now heading back to Bangkok. It's the end of a two-day pampering, and cultural experience. I really enjoyed that weekend. It was one of the most memorable weekends of my life.

P.S. I would like to thank Thank God from whom all blessings flow. And to our liaison officer Irma Mulyana of ABL and to Kuhan Foo, CEO of ABL for this wonderful and memorable trip.