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Is Jakarta worth a visit?


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Yes, see Jakarta before it blows up. The following is from http://www.stratfor.com

Strategic forcasting worldwide. They have a free daily email I highly reccomend. Here's

the fist couple paragraphs from their website. Only paid subscribers can read the rest. I only get the emails...

Armed members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) conducting training exercises in North Aceh on March 3, 2001.


Warning: Indonesian Government to Fall

The forces buffeting Indonesia are coming to a head, and the country is a ticking bomb. After less than two years in office, President Wahid will tumble in the coming few months. The military will sweep back into Jakarta - but is so weak that it will fail to control the disintegration of one of the world's largest nations.

If I were Chinese I'd be packing my bags.


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If you have five days (including two half travel days) and your not paranoid about chaos I would say it is well worth the trip.

When you ask about Jakarta the same thing comes up over and over again, safety. As a resident of Jakarta I often here about car jacking and home invasions, but statistically speaking these things are more likely to happen to you in a large American city. As for the article referenced previously the substance of the article is non news not to mention sensational. I certainly hope it doesn't reflect the quality of their paid security intelligence. The Free Aceh Movement is not news and it won't be the downfall of the republic. The president has just been issued a second memorandum of no-confidence. It is almost certain that he will be impeached in a special assembly that will be convened in August. The government will not crumble as a result of this impeachment. The president, Gus Dur was appointed by a coalition of parties to block the ascent of Megawati Sukarnoputri, who's party won a third of the popular vote in '99, to president. It is the government that is carrying out the impeachment and it is a remote possibility that they will crumble as a result of it. If I were interested in doing a great deal of business in Indonesia it would be administrative incompetence more than anything that would keep me from investing a dime here. I personally would bet against a military over through simply because the military knows that they would have a difficult time establishing legitimacy or fear among the general populous at this point. I would however not advise coming to Indonesia when the gas, electric, and telco rates go up some time in June or July. The May '98 riots occurred just after a fuel rate increase, that was later pulled.

As a tourist you may at times feel like a walking ATM machine with the PIN printed on you forehead, but the city is large enough that you will mostly be ignored. As far as entertainment there is lots and you should read some of the trip reports on the old board or on asfo and the wsg. The hotels are guest friendly and will be happy to find you a girl if you are to lazy to do that yourself. I would not advise paying more than 500,000rp for long time for to do so you would be paying twice the common fare. The frustrating part may be initiating a conversation about service fees. Some good points about Indonesia, you don't have to limit yourself to a bargirl ghetto. If you are confident, personable in driven you could meet a girl in a mall or at a CBD cafe. Some girls just want a sugar daddy or to appear to have one. I would not admit to any of these activities for the record but before I was married I found shopping malls and wedding receptions to be rather fruitful hunting grounds. As to the latter it is preferable to go to a Christian wedding were there is a better chance people will be drinking. Virtually every hotel in the city will be hosting wedding receptions on Friday and Saturday nights and if you show up and act like you belong no questions will be asked.

You can get a round trip ticket for between 240 and 320USD in Thailand. It is advisable to make room reservations with your travel agent or on the net for the best prices. Please post a message here again if your plans materialize.

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adik, re: previous 'security' post from stratfor. The Aceh blurb was from a photo of those guys. The next paragraph was from the article. I hope you are right and the situation doesn't result in a disintegration of Indonesia. BUT, stratfor is much more often right than wrong and doesn't 'sensationalize'. We'll see who is right in the coming months. Again if I was Chinese I would be packing my bags. If I was a 'farang' I would be planning my exit strategy.


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I'm not a fan of Jakarta. I went there as a side trip from Bangkok and left after a few days. Too damn congested for my tastes, disliked the beggars sticking their hands in my face or poking me in the arm, people not as friendly as in Bangkok or Cambodia, etc. I would give more consideration to going to Bali or Cambodia. Bali doesn't have as big a sanuk scene as Jakarta but it is quite beautiful. Cambodia has a plentiful sanuk scene and very friendly people, but is dirt poor.

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Originally posted by dusty:

OK, stratfor released the preliminary article. Here is all of it. See what you think of it...


Thanks for referencing a more elaborate article by stratfor. Unfortunately it does

not change my initial impressions. To be brief they have put together a snappy

projection on Indonesia's short term future based upon a smattering of information.

The story is neither analytical nor precise. Not least of all purely on esthetic

grounds it appears as if they are overly reliant on the thesarous. I am not one to

judge how well they do their job, but to an Indonesianist or a casual tourist the

information is not all that usefull. One can find much more in depth reporting at

The Far Eastern Economic Review for free. I don't think it would be all that usefull to debate the

merits of stratfor any further on this forum vis-a-vis the original posters query.


IMHO Indonesia is worth a visit, but like Durian you either like it or you don't. As

far as beggers go they are abundant, but quite content if you give them 100rp, the

equivalent of one US penny, try that in San Francisco. Indonesia is in the depths of

a protracted financial and social crisis. The situation can change rapidly. This

should not pose a huge dilemma for anyone considering a visit. From Bangkok one can

make travel plans several days in advance if not on the day of departure. If before

you depart there is thick black smoke from the south buy lots of film and bring your

flack jacket.


Mainstream Media:


Far East Econmic Review http://www.feer.com


Tempo http://www.tempo.co.id (English, Japanese, Indonesian)


The Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com



(thats period not penus)

English -sort of- Version



[ May 27, 2001: Message edited by: Adik Gede ]

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In general I would agree with Adik. The news media tends to sensationalise Indonesia.

Business takes me to Jakarta a few times per year although the economic situation is taking its toll on the frequency.

I find the people to be very friendly, the girls to be very pretty. However I finf Jakarta itself to be somewhat "user-unfriendly"

It is a large sprawling city and to get around requires transport. If you are on your own that can be an issue.

It is not like Bangkok where one can walk up and down Sukhumvit all night long finding a multitude of places to pass the time.

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Originally posted by phiketpete:

I finf Jakarta itself to be somewhat "user-unfriendly"

It is a large sprawling city and to get around requires transport.

It is not like Bangkok where one can walk up and down Sukhumvit all night long finding a multitude of places to pass the time.

Being someone who enjoys walking a great deal I agree. Even if sprawl were not an issue in Jakarta one is constintly ducking awnings and tryping over the rusty stump of some traffic sign that was never obeyed. It is no big deal to hire a car or take cabs. You can use the money you saved on a bar fine for that, and the drrivers usually know enogh English to be helpfull. I pay my driver a whopping $1.50 (US) a day. Bali is quite a bit more foot friendly if you don't mind getting meep-meeped at by cabs every third minute. If you are so adventerous or foolish as to attempt to walk in Jakarta be aware of PGS (Pedestrian Gravitation Syndrome). The moment you step onto the street every car within site will be drawn towards at homicidal velocity.

As for walking along Sukhumvit, it is considerably easier than walking around any place in Jakarta, but it still leaves a lot to be desired, especially in consideration of the sky train which seems to have created a perpetual exhaust inversion.

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