Jakarta’s Secrets and Surprises
We found three unique places that, though they are not “secret”, are all outstanding and fun attractions to visitors in the capital city of Indonesia.
Café Batavia Restaurant and Bar is not exactly a capital secret. Located in a 2-story, unremarkable looking, colonial era building in old Jakarta’s Fatahillah Square, the hidden treasure of this iconic destination is the well worn but eclectic interior. Cowhide adorns the circular, oversized wooden bar on the ground floor while numerous photo frames of famous visitors crowd the back wall. Upstairs, the spacious dining room is bright and airy with floor to ceiling windows and an immaculate antique wood plank floor. The interior decor could be a Hollywood movie set!
Café Batavia has a big menu of local and international food and drink, so it is well worth a visit just to enjoy a nice lunch or dinner in a historic landmark. We recommend your travelers sit upstairs along the large front windows to watch the people and activity in the square below. All kinds of people come to Fatahillah to see and be seen. This large, open plaza is also lined with a few museums, such as the former Dutch colonial town hall, now the History Museum.
Java in Indonesia is so well known for its coffee, many people spontaneously use the word “java” to refer to this classic drink. Pasar Santa (pasar means market) in South Jakarta is the best place to experience coffee at its finest. A traditional open-air market, Pasar Santa has recently become the latest hip hangout for young and innovative entrepreneurs. The market houses a barista school where internationally acclaimed local baristas showcase their roasting skills at the ABCD School of Coffee. Besides being a place for your clients to learn about Javanese coffee and try unique preparations, Pasar Santa also has a culinary flair with a choice of many small restaurants. However, visitors should be aware that most shops do not open until 1 pm.
Jakarta’s Muara Karang Seafood Auction is a local fish market like no other fresh market your client’s will see in Indonesia. It’s a busy place of bartering between local fishermen, market vendors and local wholesale buyers. For visitors to this market, friendly interactions and reactions among the locals is all part of the experience. Everyone is welcome to join in the action, engage their senses and feel free to wander up and down the narrow aisles between large containers of fish.
Visitors need to wear old clothes and shoes, as the entire market is quite messy and slippery! Your travelers can also grab a bucket if they would like to buy some seafood. The process is all about your bargaining skills. There are no fixed prices so one can have a little fun negotiating a good price for some seafood freshly caught from the ocean.
The best time to go is very early in the morning around 4 am to see the baskets of fish coming in from the fishing boats and the start of the auctioning. The sight of all this fresh food will certainly cultivate an appetite, so visitors can purchase some fish and one of the many nearby restaurants will cook up their selection for a sample taste or a seafood feast!
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