There are so many reasons that I like Jakarta but one of the simplest reasons is that, even thought there are so many familiar shops in Jakarta from Zara to Gucci I still feel like I’m somewhere else, that I have an experience that was truly different from my day to day life. I get to see something different and new. We didn’t have to do anything grand to experience something new.
One day we went to Kota Tua – which means old town (Kota means city and Tua means old) and the main square is called Fatahillah Square. I felt like I was in the film Casablanca. Just off the square there are some old and run-down buildings. In the square there was a band playing, and children running around eating treats. There were lots of markets stalls where you can buy flip-flops and trainers and you can even get a tattoo done on the street (which we wouldn’t really recommend). There are lots of fake bags that sell for about £10, and the weight, materials and the hardware all look and feel fake.
If you’re visiting this area make sure to have a coffee or cocktail at Café Batavia. It’s the second oldest building in central Jakarta (200 years old), on the northwestern corner of Fatahillah Square. It’s a beautiful building and you feel like you’ve just wandered onto the set of Casablanca.