Jakarta, Indonesia - Stein Travel
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Jakarta

Jakarta is not a city for everyone but many find it an inevitable stop on the way to more tranquil Indonesian destinations. What has amassed is a decentralized sprawl of low slung buildings amidst occasional high rise towers. With no central Jakarta area it is difficult to experience the city's highlights which are scattered about the enormous districts. Jakarta has a reputation as a rich person's playground. Grungy streets contrast to modern shopping complexes and examples of ostentatious wealth. Visitors can enjoy a bit of this in garish nightclubs and elegant restaurants. Travelling far in the city is laborious and adding to the difficulty is heavy traffic and haywire street grids throughout dense and stretching sprawl. Yet despite, or possibly because of, Jakarta's reputation as a difficult city, little visited areas and unique attractions feel like personal discoveries. Jakarta is a boiled down representation of everything Indonesian giving visitors a quick introduction or synopsis of the country's various and incredibly diverse cultures, architecture, food, languages, religions, and combined histories.

Information & Facts

Climate

Jakarta is regularly hot and humid despite the season with fairly level temperatures between 82°F (28°C) and 95°F(35°C). Humidity averages around 70 percent in the afternoon. Between monsoon season months, late October to early May, there are usually daily spurts of heavy rainfall often causing flooding in the city. It seldom rains for the rest of the year.

Getting Around

Travel across Jakarta is often a combination of many forms of transport. Commonly used is the Transjakarta, a modern bus system that are allocated special street lanes to circumnavigate traffic in the city centre. These are cheap and plentiful although going long distances can become confusing when transferring. Other bus lines are more crowded and less safe and do not run on a fixed schedule. Taxis are abundant but can be expensive for longer rides. Blue Bird taxis are the most trusted although there are many impostors with questionable reputations. Many narrow street lanes are better suited for ojeks, also known as motorbike taxis. Also popular for shorter trips are three wheeled vehicles known as bajaj. Be sure to bargain with both ojek and bajaj drivers before accepting rides.

Language

Bahasa Indonesia is the official language, but many dialects are spoken. English is widely understood in Jakarta and tourist resorts.

Money

Rupiah (IDR) is the official currency and is divided into 100 sen. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, hotels and money changers in major tourist destinations; US dollars is the most accepted currency. Cash often yields a better exchange rate than travellers cheques, which are not always accepted. It is recommended that travellers cheques also be in US dollars. Most major credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and stores catering to the tourist trade. ATMs are available in main centres. Small change is often unavailable so keep small denomination notes and coins for items like bus fares, temple donations and cool drinks.

Time

Indonesia spans three time zones. GMT +7 (West, including Java and Sumatra), GMT +8 (Central, including Bali, Sulawesi and Lombok), GMT +9 (East, including Irian Jaya).

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