Jakarta's Car-free Sunday - 16th February 2014

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February 16th 2014
Published: March 23rd 2014
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Sunday, 16th February 2014

Since I was in Jakarta over the weekend, I decided to join in the morning walk along Jalan Thamrin towards the direction of Grand Indonesia Shopping Town. Between 6-11am every Sunday, the main boulevard would be closed to all traffic save the exception of Trans Jakarta Buses which I happily hopped into one after my walk to bring me to the National Museum.

It was 7am in the morning when I started out from my hotel and I was greeted by a huge crowd of enthusiastic joggers and cyclists on their weekly workout. The mood was quite jubilant. This was unlike the rest of the days where the roads were clogged with heavy traffic. Because of the road closure, I had the opportunity to get as close as possible to the Welcome Monument where it was ringed by the beautiful water fountain. If there was one landmark to represent the city, this must be it!

After the walk, I slowly made my way to the National Museum. Located west of the Monas, this was a unique structure where the old meets the new. The exhibits contained within the various galleries were not too engaging. Rather, I was impressed by the works of the local people using materials from Faber Castell that showcased the best of Indonesian icons.

I had a rather wonderful breakfast at Kopi Oey - a local chain of coffee shops that I chanced upon while navigating around the neighbourhood. The rest of my day was spent within the shopping malls along Jalan Thamrin. These were no different from the malls we had back home.

My four-day visit in Jakarta was just about right. While I do not regard my stay as an adventure, it was nonetheless a unique experience. The city would never be under the travel radar among most leisure-seekers. Think Jakarta, they would probably associate the city with endless traffic-jams.

Jakarta would never be the same without its notorious traffic. Beyond that, it does contain some interesting sights worth a look. This is only possible when one is willing to step out of his own travel comfort zone.

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