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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Garuda In­done­sia is pro­gres­sively re­vamp­ing its busi­ness-class cab­ins with 1-2-1 pod con­fig­u­ra­tions on Boe­ing 777-300ER and new Air­bus A330-300 air­craft. Busi­ness-class fea­tures in­clude L’Oc­c­i­tane amenity kits, plush vel­vety du­vets, Wi-Fi ac­cess, 40kg of checked bag­gage, free sports equip­ment al­lowance and menus pre­pared by in­flight chefs. The air­line, a SkyTeam Al­liance mem­ber, has been rated as a five-star car­rier by Sky­trax and flies di­rect to Jakarta and to Den­pasar, Bali, from Syd­ney, Perth and Mel­bourne. More: 1300 365 330; garu­dain­done­sia.com/au/en. COLO­NIAL CHIC: Cafe Batavia feels like the real Dutch colo­nial deal, de­spite the build­ing’s many i in­car­na­tions since its con­struc­tion in the 1800s. In a per­fect lo­ca­tion on Fatahillah Square in the Kota Tua (Old Town) district, the two-storey cof­fee house, bar and restau­rant is all pol­ished tim­ber, tiled en­try­way, ceil­ing fans, tall win­dows, curved arches and Ja­cobean lounge set­tings. Add walls filled with por­traits and his­toric pho­tos and a menu that ranges from lo­cal spe­cial­ties to tomato soup and Bel­gian waf­fles. Be­fore or after a visit to Cafe Batavia, rent a brightly painted bike (with colour­co­or­di­nated gar­den-party hats for lady cy­clists or pith hel­mets for the gents) from a batik-shirted ven­dor for a leisurely twirl around the square; it’s about IDR20,000 ($2) for 30 min­utes. More: cafebatavia.com.

IT’S A MALL WORLD: Grand In­done­sia Mall (10am-10pm), spread over two tremen­dous wings, has ev­ery top-brand bou­tique imag­in­able, in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore’s Charles and Keith for the best­value shoes and hand­bags known to wom­ankind. For sus­te­nance be­tween bouts of buy­ing, drop into Caffe Mi­lano (East Wing; ground floor) for an af­fo­gatto milk­shake or a Negroni with an un­ex­pected flour­ish of creme de cas­sis. With its Cam­pari posters, wicker chairs and bot­tles of Ital­ian ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil and bal­sam­ico di Mo­dena on ev­ery ta­ble, it does in­deed feel like a back­street diner in Milan. Tip: Go for the chilled latte in a tall glass and pour your in­di­vid­ual lit­tle bot­tle of milk over espresso ice­blocks, adding an ex­tra jolt of flavour. Share plates in­clude creamy bur­rata from Puglia, house-made ca­son­celli stuffed pasta and eg­g­plant parmi­giana. More: grand-in­done­sia.com; zo­mato.com/jakarta.

SHAD­OWS PLAY: There are short shadow pup­pet plays in English from 10am-3pm daily at Makutharama Pup­pet Studio at No 3 Kal­ibesar Timur. Mas­ter crafts­man and per­former Aldy San­jaya, who comes from a dy­nasty of pup­pet mak­ers, has vis­ited Aus­tralia and speaks very good English. His jokey com­men­tary for Aussie au­di­ences could in­clude the likes of Paul Keat­ing as a char­ac­ter in the Ra­mayana. Com­bine with a visit to the Dutch gable-roofed Wayang Mu­seum on Fatahillah Square, which is de­voted to shadow pup­petry; link­ing the two venues, be­tween Fatahillah Square and Kal­ibesar Timur, is a food al­ley where lit­tle stalls and carts sell the likes of sa­tays, nasi goreng and sweet, milky desserts. More: in­done­sia-tourism.com.

OLD AND THE BEAU­TI­FUL: The an­tiques mar­ket is ac­tu­ally a parade of per­ma­nent stalls (and a f few pave­ment ven­dors) along Jalan Surabaya. Much of the bounty here looks freshly lifted from the gracious homes of old Batavia, from chan­de­liers and crested china to coloured glass­ware and phono­graphs. There are old Sharp por­ta­ble tele­vi­sion sets, vin­tage tele­phones and wall clocks, celadon gin­ger jars and ir­re­sistibly pretty metal stamps for pat­tern­ing batik fab­ric. If you’re mad about textiles or just want to see where the lo­cals shop for cloth­ing, head to the super-busy Tham­rin City Mall (aka Ladies Mall; close to Plaza In­done­sia). Take the es­ca­la­tor to the first floor for won­der­fully cheap fab­ric by the metre, bolts of batik and indigo-and-white ikat weav­ings. More: vis­itin­done­sia.co.in.

GOOD AND STRONG: Re­caf­feinate at a cafe down an al­ley and through a court­yard at No 20 Jalan Surabaya (across from the an­tiques stores). Hen­drik (Henry) Halianto’s cof­fee house Giyanti has been in­spired by laneway cafes he’s vis­ited in Mel­bourne. Beans are roasted in-house and the sin­gle-ori­gin cof­fee, from is­lands such as Su­ma­tra and Flores, is good and strong; it’s a cosy and con­vivial space, usu­ally full of stu­dents and Jakarta’s hip push, fu­elling up on lam­ing­tons or chunky meat pies. More: giyan­ti­cof­feeroast­ery.com.

T TREA­SURE TROVE: The Na­tional Mu­seum of In­done­sia on Merdeka Square, opened in 1868, is won­der­ful, as much for its Old Wing’s at­mo­spheric colon­nades and un­fash­ion­able glass cab­i­nets as its ethno­graphic dis­plays. Forget touch-screens and light­ing ef­fects; here it’s all about high-ceilinged rooms full of weaponry, textiles, ce­ram­ics, bronzes and cul­tural odd­i­ties such as rit­ual leaf-shaped fans, Dayak bat­tle sashes dec­o­rated with an­i­mal tusks, and bags fes­tooned with chicken’s feet and pig’s tails. A cen­tral atrium and in­ner court­yard framed by Doric col­umns are filled with cen­turies-old re­li­gious stat­u­ary, in­clud­ing Bud­dhist stat­ues from Borobudur. If time is short, skip the New Wing (opened in 2007) and con­cen­trate on the Old Wing’s com­pre­hen­sive ex­hibits. More: mu­se­um­na­sional.or.id/.

T TOP TA­BLES: The aptly named Skye, with its sunset cock­tail bar and mo­saic-tiled pool atop the 5 56-storey BCA Tower, could be a cool Bali trans­plant were it not for the neon views of Jakarta’s sky­line. Fea­tured mixes in­clude a drag­on­fruit mar­garita or a party-pink Cherry Blos­som with foamy cuff and marsh­mal­low gar­nishes. There are daybeds, lounge chairs, cane lounges and stools (but make sure you have a torch or iPhone app if you ac­tu­ally want to see where to sit); a restau­rant an­nexe serves international fare with an on­trend Span­ish twist plus plenty of In­done­sian dishes, in­clud­ing co­conut-flavoured yel­low fish curry. The venue is also open for lunch and is a mem­ber of the Is­maya group, which op­er­ates bars and res­tau­rants in Jakarta with names as in­trigu­ing as Tokyo Belly and So­cial House. More: is­maya.com. RICE AND EASY: At the ex­trav­a­gantly ap­pointed Tugu Kun­stkring Paleis, ex­pect to have your richly spiced meal pre­ceded by a pair of sash­swirling dancers as two wait­ers, bear­ing trays of ri­jsttafel dishes on a yoked con­trap­tion, strug­gle to your ta­ble. The Dutch ri­jsttafel (rice ta­ble) ban­quet is the star turn here and in­cludes parcels of co­conut-flavoured rice wrapped in ba­nana-leaf parcels (veg­e­tar­ian and spe­cial di­etary menus are also on of­fer) and chilli-laden soups. En­joy a tip­ple (per­haps a rambu­tan-in­fused vodka cock­tail) at the ad­join­ing Suzie Wong Lounge; its dizzy­ing decor of red lanterns and chi­nois­erie screens is a homage to the 1950s Hong Kong-based movie star­ring Wil­liam Holden and Nancy Kwan. More: tuguho­tels.com.

NATALIN KNOWS BEST: If you want a tai­lored city tour with a per­son­able English-speak­ing guide, then I thor­oughly rec­om­mend Natali Mon­ica Maail, a dynamo who knows the city back­wards and pep­pers her spiel with loads of fun and in­sight­ful info. Ask Natali to take you to night mar­kets, food al­leys, shops and small museums, and fol­low her bar­gain­ing tips for the best buys. It’s Natali who tells me Jakarta is con­sid­ered by many lo­cals to be the In­done­sian equiv­a­lent of New York and has been nick­named The Big Durian. More: na­tal­i_­maail@hot­mail.com. STYLISH SANC­TU­ARY: Raf­fles Jakarta, within the Cipu­tra World I tower de­vel­op­ment, can’t claim the colo­nial grandeur typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with the fa­bled ac­com­mo­da­tion brand but it has its own dis­tinc­tive style of el­e­gance. Re­pro­duced works of volup­tuous women and folk im­agery by In­done­sian artist Hen­dra Gu­nawan form the heart of the decor in the lobby, gue­strooms and cor­ri­dors, from pat­terned car­pets to elab­o­rate mu­rals. There are 129 gue­strooms and 44 suites and even the least ex­pen­sive cham­bers have a lounge area, dress­ing nooks, two tele­vi­sions, spa­cious en­suites with deep tubs and 24-hour but­ler ser­vice. The Nav­ina pool­side bar and restau­rant is a great spot for a quiet break­fast while the Arts Cafe has fab­u­lous buf­fets and a la carte dishes (try the Sin­ga­pore chilli crab buns). The con­vivial Writ­ers’ Bar de­liv­ers tall Jakarta Slings, a twist on the Sin­ga­pore orig­i­nal perked up with star anise and pas­sion­fruit. There is ac­cess on the first floor to the Lotte Shopping Av­enue mall, and a “cream bath” treat­ment for dry tresses at the mall’s ground-floor Al­fons Hair & Beauty Room is a treat. More: raf­fles.com/jakarta.

Su­san Kuro­sawa was a guest of Garuda In­done­sia and Raf­fles.

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