Choking and hot Jakarta (Jakarta, Java, Indonesia)

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May 1st 2009
Published: May 8th 2009
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(Day 392 on the road)Jakarta is just as crazy as I expected it. It is a huge city with close to nine million people (19 million if you include the suburbs). It is loud, crowded, hot, polluted, and the roads are jam-packed. There is no subway, just cars, motorcycles and buses choking the inadequate roads of the city. City planning seems to be almost completely absent. I didn't enjoy Jakarta very much, but as a transport hub there was no way of getting around it. I arrived there by plane from Medan in Sumatra, ending my three exciting weeks there.

I spent a couple of days looking around the main sights, including the old colonial city centre Kota with its relatively unimpressive Jakarta museum. I also went to see the national monument Monas, a massive 132m obelisk in the heart of the city. The locals call it "Sukarno’s last erection", referring to the not much loved former president Sukarno, who built the monument as his legacy.

Apart from that, I tried to escape the crazy city as much as possible by watching a movie, spending time on the (painfully slow) Internet, or reading a book in a relaxed colonial café I discovered.

On the bright side, I met up again with Indonesian Endah whom I had met in Singapore four weeks ago (thanks again for picking me up at the airport!), and we made plans to go and see the famous Krakatau volcano together on the weekend ahead. Very excited!

So after two days in Jakarta I was happy to leave - and spent over an hour on the 5 km motorbike-taxi ride to the bus station on Friday evening. Considering that I walk about 6 km an hour that is quite an achievement and says a lot about the traffic situation in Jakarta if you have never experienced it.

Next stop: Krakatau (Sumatra, Indonesia).

To view my photos, have a look at And to read the full account of my journey, have a look at the complete book about my trip at Amazon (and most other online book shops).


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