WPC – Let Me Be Your Tour Guide

Since I was born and now still living in Jakarta, Indonesia, let me be your tour guide of my hometown.

Starting from the city center of Jakarta, we will see the roundabout with fountain and Welcome Statue at its center. Sometimes political street protest is conducted here by a mass group of people. And then around 2km to the north we will see the National Monument, as the national landmark of Jakarta. It stands in the center of public park and can be seen from the National Palace. The gold atop National Monument represents the flame of our national struggle. But there is a mysterious folklore about this golden flame. If we notice it from the Palace, it shapes like a body of a kneeling woman seen from behind. But honestly until now I don’t know who the woman was…

And then we can stop for a while at National Museum that is located in the western part of the National Monument. We can see a lot of historical evidences here from the ancient Hindu-Buddha kingdoms’ era. Do you notice a Nandi sculpture here? It is related to Shiva, one of the 3 major gods in Hinduism.

We will go around the public park of National Monument and at the North-Eastern direction, we will see the biggest mosque in Indonesia, Mesjid Istiqlal (or Istiqlal Mosque). Do you know the architect of this mosque is Mr. Frederich Silaban who’s a Christian? And to represent the harmony of religious life in Indonesia, we can see The Cathedral which is located directly in front of the great mosque.

From here we drive south, perhaps we will be trapped in several traffic jam on the way to our next destinations. Yes, we cannot avoid the traffic jam in Jakarta, or perhaps Jakarta, -as  Bangkok several years ago-, is always indicated by “Macet”, a Indonesian word for Traffic jam, especially before and after office hours.

We will pass by the Central Business District which is full of modern office buildings and not far from this area, we can see the National Stadium with a nice archer sculpture on top of the gate to the stadium.

We continue to drive to Setu Babakan, a nice Betawi Cultural Village, which is located in Srengseng Sawah. As part of the cultural heritage of Jakarta, Setu Babakan is devoted to the preservation of the indigenous Betawi culture. We can see a traditional Betawi house here. Do you know that Betawi is a derivative word of Batavia, the previous name of Jakarta that was given by the Dutch Colonial Empire?

We can have lunch here with lots of Betawi culinary menu. Then we have to go north again to the old town of Jakarta. We will drive through the outer ring road to avoid the traffic in the city center.

We start from the Sunda Kelapa, the old port of Jakarta. Today Sunda Kelapa, as the old port, only accommodates traditional two-masted wooden ships which are serving inter-island freight service in Indonesia. Although now it is only a minor port, Sunda Kelapa was the origin of Jakarta and has a long significant role in the Jakarta’s development.

Sunda Kelapa - The Old Port of Jakarta
Sunda Kelapa – The Old Port of Jakarta

We continue to explore the old town of Jakarta. A lot of old historical buildings around this area. Unfortunately those important buildings need significant budget to be properly maintained and getting that budget is not so easy for the government. The main points of interest around here is The Fatahillah Museum or the Jakarta History Museum, which was built in 1710 and was functioned as the city hall of Batavia.

The sun will go down to the West. We still have destinations at the beachfront of Jakarta. We can see the luxurious housing complex and apartments or we can just walk on the bridge while enjoying sunset. It is usually full of locals in the weekends, but don’t worry, the wind is always nice.

For ending this city tour, we can have a happy hour at beachfront, we can have also a light meal while listening to the music or watching the performance. It would be nice…

Music Performance Area at Beachfront
Music Performance Area at Beachfront

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