Jakarta, the massive Indonesian capital known for its mix of cultures, skyscrapers, vibrant urban lifestyle, Bajaj and its ten-million strong population.  Not many people would associate Jakarta with tourism or vacations, unless they have to pass through it on their way to some other exotic destinations like say, Bali or Komodo Island. However, Jakarta is such an interesting place to visit.

For newcomers, Jakarta may strike them as just another concrete jungle with little to see and experience. What with all the skyscrapers, traffic jams, crowds of people going about their business and of course, the scooters and motorbikes roaring across the narrow streets with three or more passengers aboard? That said, there is a lot of interesting things about Jakarta that newcomers would find interesting. Here are seven of them:

Architecture- Skyscrapers Everywhere

Jakarta might not be world-famous for its architecture, but it is actually ranked number ten in the world in terms of skyscraper density ahead of Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok, Miami, Beijing, and even Sydney. There are over ninety modern skyscrapers in Jakarta with most of them located in the golden triangle. Gama tower is the tallest skyscraper, rising to over 310 meters to the tip above Jalan H R Rasuna Said.

This fact makes Jakarta an ideal destination for those travelers who love modern architecture and sophistication. Most of the buildings in and around the central business district are quite modern. There is no shortage of 5-star hotels in Jakarta to stay in for business and leisure travelers. Jakarta is South East Asia’s shining jewel and a beacon of modernity mixing with culture and tradition.

Jakarta Is Actually A Province

Well, Jakarta may be Indonesia’s capital city but it not really a city in the strict sense. Jakarta does not have a mayor, instead it has a governor. This is because Jakarta is actually a province and a massive one with over 10 million residents. However, Jakarta is home to the Indonesian government and major airports and other important institutions thus holds a special, weird status as a capital “city” that is actually a province in its own right.

The Dutch Community- Old Batavia Town

Being a former Dutch colony, Indonesia has a significant Dutch community in some of the major towns, estates, and cities. There are remnants of Dutch architecture in Jakarta’s old town that would give visitors a snapshot of colonial-era Indonesia. The old town, formally known as Batavia, is home to picturesque colonial architecture, old cannons, and a beautiful market that is also open at night.

Beggars and Spitting

As with many cities around the world, Jakarta also has its fair share of homeless people, street families, and beggars. However, a 2007 law actually prohibited anyone in the city from helping the beggars with cash, weird right? You are also strictly prohibited from spitting or smoking in public, something that seems to happen quite a lot around here. Not sure how far the authorities are willing to go to enforce these two laws but it’s still good to know nevertheless if you are a total newcomer to Jakarta.

The Largest Sunni Mosque in South East Asia

Indonesia is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country, so it’s not a big surprise that they have one of the largest Sunni mosques in the world. Masjid Istiqlal is by far the largest Sunni mosque in terms of capacity in the region and the third-largest in the entire world. To be honest, it isn’t really an architectural marvel in terms of design but the sheer scale of the structure is breathtaking. Visitors are welcome to join the thousands of worshippers that flock to Masjid Istiqlal every week; it’s a special experience and definitely worth visiting.

Final Remarks

Jakarta is an interesting city to visit and explore for those who happen to come to this part of the world. You will be amazed by the vibrant social life here, the loud and sometimes crazy street life and the people. Welcome to the Big Durian!

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