Traveling to Jakarta, Indonesia – Things you need to know

Traveling to Indonesia

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and 10th largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power. I recently visited Jakarta, Indonesia (1st week of August 2022)  and here are some of my learnings & observations from visiting the country. 

Visa:

This is my second time visiting the country. One of the coolest things about traveling to Indonesia (for Indians) is you can get a Visa on arrival. This just makes it convenient for traveling. It costs USD 35 or Singapore Dollars 50. They only take cash. So make sure you have cash when you travel to Indonesia.

Indonesia Currency:

The Indonesian currency is Rupiah. You will find 100,000 Rupiah bills. It may look scary, however you are spending approximately (Rs. 530 / USD 6.5). One thing I learnt is not to be scared of using the Rupiah. You can do the math, convert it to USD or INR and see if it makes sense to buy.

Food: 

I usually like to eat rice. The Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice) is pretty good and very similar to what you will find in China, Thailand or India. If you like white rice, it comes with a lot of variety of meat. Here are some food samples I tried at a local canteen in an apartment I stayed in (Brooklyn, Alam Sutera).

Traveling: 

Uber is not available in Indonesia. Blue Bird Taxi is a local taxi company. However I used Grab which was super convenient. You can pay both by cash or tie the app to your credit card. They also have the Grab Bike – which is also fun. If you are traveling by yourself and do not have a lot to carry, you can use the Grab Bike. I found Grab to be super convenient. Also, the driver communicates with you in Indonesian language (Bahasa), and the app translates it to you in English and vice versa. This way we are able to communicate with drivers. Also, the locals were super helpful. They were able to talk to the driver on our behalf if there were any questions.  The key thing to take care is to data roaming on your phone and International Credit Card (Cash also works, however you need to carry it along with you all the time).

Roads & Stay:

I found Indonesia, not too different from India. You find it at home. Some of the neighborhoods are very good. When you travel to other parts of Jakarta, you will find the roads crowded, not very clean and also a lot of shops on the roads. I love drinking coconut water and it cost me 10,000 Rupiah (approx. INR 50)

Alam Sutera (45 minutes to an hour from Jakarta), to me, was an upscale location. The place I stayed at Brooklyn Apartments was not very expensive for 3 days (I spent approx. $30/night) and it was like a five star hotel. 

Visiting Customers: During my trip, I also got to visit a couple of offices. It was a good experience. A lot of people were still going to offices and they were very welcoming. The office buildings were also similar to the ones you find in India. 

Kino Towers & Jakarta Convention Center: I visited the Kino Towers – for Meet Magento Indonesia Conference (hosted by SIRCLO) and also got a chance to visit the Jakarta Convention Center (Digital Transformation Indonesia Conference)

The Jakarta Convention Center was similar to the Chennai Trade Center. 

Marketplaces: Indonesia does not have Amazon. The big marketplaces in the country are Shopee and Tokopedia. 

Language: A lot of the locals in Jakarta spoke only Bahasa. They were not very fluent in English. However, folks in technology speak good English. Google translate does come in handy when you want to communicate with the locals. Bahasa uses English Alphabets. 

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Jakarta. Thank you Indonesia for the warm welcome and hospitality. 

Terima Kasih (Thank you).

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Further reading

Karthik Chidambaram