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Jakarta guide
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Last updated : Nov 2009
Jakarta Travel Guide
Jakarta Travel Guide and Jakarta Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
'Fabled isles of sunshine and spices'

Jakarta, is on the island of Java in Indonesia and sprawls over 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the docks to the suburbs of South Jakarta. The city centre spreads out from around Merdeka Square, a grand, barren field, site of the central gold-tipped landmark of the National Monument (Monas).

Jakarta doesn't really have a specific centre, theres numerous centres all separated by traffic jams, incredible pollution and heat. For many visitors, the area south of the monument holds the most interest. Jl Thamrin is the main shopping and deluxe hotel thoroughfare, while to the east is the main restaurant and less expensive hotel area.

If you can put up with Jakarta's pollution and congestion, and if you can afford to indulge in its charms, then it is one of the areas's most exciting metropolises. Consider Jakarta as the 'big durian' - the foul-smelling exotic fruit that some can't stomach and others can't resist.

Once stuck with a reputation as a poverty-ridden hell hole, Jakarta mutated into an Asian boom town in less than a decade. Devastated by the 1998 riots to a burnt-out shell, it still remains very much at the centre of political events re-shaping the country.

At first look, this hot, muggy, smoggy city feels like nothing more than a waiting area for the millions queuing up to make their fortune. Jakarta’s infamous gridlock chokes its freeways and all attempts to forge a central focal point for the city have ultimately failed.

Beneath the veneer of glass walls, concrete slabs and shabby slums, this is a city of surprises. From the richly scented streets of Chinatown, to excellent shopping, to the city’s decadent nightlife, Jakarta is a Pandora’s box, filled with all the good and bad.

For most visitors, Jakarta is either part of a business trip or no more than a stopover on the way to popular tourist destinations such as Bali and Yogyakarta. Most find little that makes them want to linger in Indonesia's capital.

To enjoy Jakarta, visitors must seek out sights that invoke the city's historical heritage as a meeting place for East and West. They include the remnants of the Dutch colonial era and the old schooner harbor, still hard at work and looking much as it did centuries ago. But don't be surprised if modern Jakarta begins to grow on you: Its mix of trendy nightspots, teeming streets bespeak a place where the present is unfolding in an exciting if not always orderly manner.
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