Jakarta – the start of the journey

Having heard so many negative things about Jakarta, my expectations were pretty low. However upon arriving Jakarta did not seem all that bad. The first impression was that it was another Bangkok – oversized, noisy, polluted and with way too many cars on its roads. Which is not such a bad thing, at least in the context of Bangkok. On a closer look, the biggest problem of Jakarta turned out to be a lack of anything remotely interesting to see or to do. Kota Tua, the old town, lacks any charm and is just plain dull. Same goes for the national monument. In fact all the empty space around it is way more interesting given it is such a rare thing in the otherwise crowded Jakarta. Architecture wise the only notable thing about Jakarta is anonymous statues scattered around the city and Istiqlal Mosque. The latter is the biggest mosque in South East Asia, big enough for 100000 people. With its brutalist architecture it is a curious sight, but I guess it would be more entertaining to visit it when it is full.
Getting train tickets to Yogyakarta was a highlight of the short stay in Jakarta. Two days and it was more than enough of spending time in traffic, constant noise and filthy infrastructure. In this respect Jakarta reminded of Ulan Bator, but fortunately unlike in Ulan Bator getting out of the city was dead simple. The clerks in the train station ticket office even spoke English and a debit card was one of the payment options. Such a rarity in South-East Asia.
Later in the travels we met a Dutch couple, who skipped Jakarta altogether and proceeded from Jakarta airport to Bogor, a neighbour town. Apparently it is nothing special, but is a huge improvement over Jakarta. Or even better fly straight to Bali leaving Java behind.

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Traffic on a typical day in Jakarta.

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An example of one of many statues in Jakarta.

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Brutalist architecture of Istiqlal Mosque

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This is how people chill in the mosque.

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Jakarta is a city of cats. Some of them are rather naughty.

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Cats everywhere

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Kota Tua, the old town of Jakarta

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Kota Tua, the old town of Jakarta

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