Jakarta Ultimate

Although Jakarta’s malls offer endless hours of excellent retail therapy, being indoors can be tiring after a while. So why not venture out to one of the city’s many street-side shops, stalls and markets. Situated in the commercial heart of Menteng, Jalan Surabaya is a breath of fresh air with narrow streets full of knickknacks, wares, household items like cutlery and crockery, imported vintage refrigerators and safes and even handmade local porcelain cats in different prints and colors. Another area that’s fun to stretch the shopping dollar is Glodok (Jalan Gajah Mada, Tamansari) or Chinatown where you can get your fill of electronic items. Or you might want to head over to Pasar Baru in Kota where you can bargain over vintage dresses, accessories and shirts that start as low as Rp10,000. Local bank notes, cut human hair and breast-firming powders are among the unusual products sold here.
The Dutch presence in Indonesia spanned nearly 350 years. And, not surprisingly, remnants of their culinary influences are found everywhere. Head to Huize Trivelli Heritage Resto and Pattisier (Jalan Tanah Abang Dua 108, 386-5803) for a mini rijsttafel, or rice table. Steamed rice is served with small portions of a variety of vegetables, meats and seafood at a reasonable price. Elsewhere, try the gado-gado at the longstanding (50 years and counting) Gado-Gado Bonbin (Jalan Cikini No. IV-V, 314-153-9021). Gado-gado is a hearty salad consisting of blanched cabbage, potatoes, beansprouts, spinach, beancurd, long beans served with a tasty peanut sauce. But if it’s seafood you’re looking for, make a beeline to Pasar Ikan (Fish Market) at the old harbor at Sunda Kelapa for fresh picks of crustaceans and fish.
Health & Wellness
After all the hustle and bustle, rejuvenate at Kenko Foot Reflexology & Fish Spa (Senayan City Unit LG 18C, Jl. Asia Afrika Lot 19, 7278-1561/2). Using accupressure on different points of the feet, therapists release tension from major organs within 30-60 minutes. Or dip those tired feet into the fish spa pool, where tiny fish will eat away at dead skin—beneficial for those with mild eczema and psoriasis. For something traditional, try the lulur massage at Jamu Spa (Jl. Cipete VIII/94B, Cipete, 765 9691). Lulur is a yellow spice paste which has been used by royalty since the 17th century to keep skin soft and fragrant. Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa (Jl.K.H. Wahid Hasyim 133, 314-3585) meanwhile, provides massage treatments for kids and teenagers as well as catering to the special needs of women during certain phases in their life—including pre- and post-natal and pre-and post-menopausal.
Since its inception in 1864, the 147-ha Ragunan Zoo (Jl. Harsono RM No.1 Ragunan, 7884 7114) in Pasar Minggu has been rearing exotic and endangered species such as Komodo dragons, dwarf buffalos, and Sumatran tigers, and the Primates Center showcases gorillas, orang-utans, chimpanzees and gibbons. Facing the historic Merdeka Square, the Istana Merdeka (Jalan Medan Merdeka, 384 5001) is the official palace of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Many national milestones are documented in this colossal single-level building that was built by the Dutch.