A NATION’S DREAM
Jakarta is located on the coast of Java with an estimated population of over 25 million people. Jakarta is now considered a global city and the capital of one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
With a metro area so large it warrants the popular acronym Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi), Jakarta is the largest city and capital of Indonesia and one of the most populous urban agglomerations on earth, with more than 10 million inhabitants. Jakarta is currently the largest city in Southeast Asia, and from an economic point of view, the city now has the highest return on investment for luxury real estate compared to any other city on earth. Spanning an area of 661 square kilometers (255 sq.m.) Jakarta is one of the world's largest cities by area. Capital of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta is an autonomous province consisting of five municipalities, namely: Central Jakarta, North, West, East and South Jakarta and the District of Pulau Seribu or the Thousand Islands. The lifestyle aspect of modern Jakarta is thriving, with an emphasis on technology that's gradually catching up with the times, a rapidly growing F&B scene, a massive hospitality industry and a raving appetite for everything new, trendy and stylish.
One of the most popular trends in Jakarta is enjoying the many culinary outlets, and at the furious rate at which new places are opening up each week, this comes as no surprise at all. In addition, despite several economic setbacks in the recent years, the malls in Jakarta are thriving in terms of visitors. These trends indicate a very pleasant development that many are looking forward to in the future: gradual economic recovery. While foreign banks seem to experience a longer struggle, major national banks are steadily finding new ways to recoup losses incurred by the recent crisis, and as a result, enjoy a steady rate of economic recovery. In 2016 and beyond, investment prospects in Jakarta are beginning to gain attention from the global community once more.
Exploring the City
Fondly known as the Big Durian, Jakarta is the shopping capital of Indonesia, and
it is also is one of the most fashionable cities in the region of Southeast Asia. In respect to the said trends in Jakarta, shopping is obviously an integrated part of any Jakartan. Whether you're a serious spender or half-hearted shopper, Jakarta has something for everyone. From the best of local handicrafts found at street markets and cultural areas to haute couture labels among hundreds of malls, the wide plethora of things you can buy in Jakarta is mind-boggling. Considering Jakarta's humid and often scorching hot weather, the total airconditioned comfort of the malls is like a sanctuary of coolness to most Jakartans. Being as steamy as Jakarta is today, this is one of the main reasons why people spend long hours in malls.
According to some Jakartans, shopping and spending the whole day in malls is a form of entertainment in itself, particularly for the younger generations. Aside from hanging out and spending happy weekends with family and friends, the people of Jakarta view mall life as part of their culture. And this is not surprising, given how a typical mall in Jakarta offers everything from large department stores, luxury boutiques, supermarkets, gyms, upmarket restaurants, food centres, cafes, bookshops, kids' playgrounds and beauty salons, to cinemas, all under one roof.
If you are looking for international top designer boutiques, head along Jalan Thamrin-sudirman, where Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Plaza Indonesia and FX malls are located. Further south are Plaza Senayan and Senayan City, and in the Kebayoran area are malls catering to upmarket clientele, such as Gandaria City, Dharmawangsa Square, Pasaraya Grande, Pondok Indah Mall and Kemang. Then there is Pacific Place at Kuningan, another favourite haunt. But each of Jakarta's many districts has one or more, so that finding things to buy and eat are all within easy reach.
Although recognized widely as traditional attire, Batik is considered very trendy by some in Jakarta. There are many outlets selling exclusive collections, both traditional style or modernized with the latest techniques and touches of global fashion trends. Some of these famous names include Danar Hadi, Batik Keris and Batik Semar, all of which can be found in malls. For expats visiting Jakarta for the first time, Batik makes for the perfect gift to take back home.
For Indonesian handicrafts, the best places are Batik Keris, Pasaraya Grande, Sarinah or Grand Indonesia. Here you will find a complete collection of batik, ikat textiles, silverware, wood carvings and more. The UKM Gallery (Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises Gallery) at Gatot Subroto is another handicraft center.
The Jakarta Dining Scene
From street vendors to chic and elegant restaurants, Jakarta has it all. Visit Muara Karang in Northern Jakarta for a wide array of delectable seafood. The malls and shopping centres in Jakarta comes with their own food courts and restaurants, making it easy if you're looking to combine shopping and dining experiences. Food courts tend to be noisy and crowded, hence, if you prefer privacy, choose from one of the fine restaurants or cafes instead. One of the original Jakarta dishes worth trying is kerak telor, a dish made of rice mixed with eggs and spices.
Jakarta today offers an excellent variety of sophisticated fine-dining restaurants located in many parts of this sprawling metropolitan city. The central areas of Thamrin, Sudirman, Senayan and Kebayoran are home to numerous fine dining restaurants run by famous world-class chefs. Five-star hotels also enjoy a lot of restaurants, and it is not uncommon to see diners visit the hotel just to experience the distinct culinary experience.
Meanwhile, all of Jakarta's top hotels serve grand buffets for lunch for one all-inclusive price where diners can pick from a wide selection of cuisines from Japanese sushi to juicy steaks, roast beef and crunchy salads, and close the meal with chocolate cake, fresh fruit and delicious aromatic coffee.
Malls have also gotten into the fray to pamper diners, where entire floors are today dedicated to upscale restaurants, but there are also smaller bistros, cafes and fast food to cater to the thousands of busy professionals from the surrounding office towers, and shoppers and cinema buffs filling the attached cineplexes.
The Kemang area in South Jakarta is a small world all of its own where there are some top international restaurants, among which is the Turkish Anatolia restaurant, but also others serving firstclass Italian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian or Dutch cuisine. With dining options ranging from simple restaurants and street stalls abundantly scattered around the city, no one can ever really complain of having to go hungry due to the lack of food available.
Indonesia's favourite dishes are sate and gado-gado or ketoprak; sate, sometimes spelled satay, is Indonesia's kebab. These are thick slices of chicken, beef or lamb, marinated, skewered and deliciously barbequed then smothered in hot peanut sauce or soya sauce. In addition, the Jakarta culinary scene also enjoys a wide variety of international influences, as well as the up-and-coming progressive fusion cuisine.