Indonesia: Jakarta

Our night out in Singapore was the end of the first leg of my Asian tour and so it was time to bid farewell to most of my fellow passengers. However, six were to continue on with me and, for us, a good night out was to be followed by a long, boring day of transferring by plane from Singapore to Jakarta in Indonesia.

There was no time for exploration on the day of arrival in Jakarta but I did have time to do some reading about this teeming, chaotic city of over 9.6 million people. It’s the Capital of the Republic of Indonesia, a country with a population of something like 240 million!

The rapidly expanding province of Jakarta is located on the north coast of the island of Java. Over the years, village after village has been absorbed in to this sprawling city which is built on a delta of 13 rivers that meander through the city! Fronting the city is the Bay of Jakarta which is known for its many islands, the “Thousand Islands” or “Pulau Seribu. To the south rise two volcanoes, Gede and Pangrango.

We only had time to see a little of this city; Chinatown, markets, a temple or two and then onto the old quarter of Jakarta, Batavia. That was the name of the city when these islands were under control of the Dutch East India Company. One of their ships, ‘Batavia‘, was built in Amsterdam in 1628. Armed with 24 cast iron cannons and a number of bronze guns, it was the pride and joy of the company. However, it was shipwrecked on its maiden voyage and that was followed by a subsequent mutiny and massacre!

The city of Batavia was the centre of a large trading network. The Dutch East Indies Company had monopolies on the lucrative trade of spices such as nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon as well as coffee, tea, cacao, tobacco, rubber, sugar and opium.

Batavia was a colonial city for about 320 years until 1942 when these islands fell into the hands of Japan in World War II. After that, the city’s name was changed to Jakarta.

We had lunch in the Batavia Cafe, a wonderful old Jakartan institution in the old quarter. Old world ambiance was recreated with leather chairs, dark wood paneling and lots of wall space covered in period photos of long passed away film stars etc.  One thing that didn’t really fit in with this ambience was the urinal in the male toilet. It was set into a mirror wall so one could observe one’s performance – a little disconcerting.

I concentrated my photography on the market area where I had time to wander and enjoy the sights and smells and do a little people watching as well. So let’s wander there.


A hand or bunch of bananas, anyone?  The narrow lane-ways were crowded with people, and traffic!


The stalls here were full of tempting fruits and vegetables. Beautiful golden pumpkins…


pomeloes, a large, thick-skinned grapefruit-like member of the citrus family…


mangosteens, no relation to the true mango…


snake fruit, named aptly …




fantastic guava…




papaya, a thin wedge removed to show the magnificent colour of the flesh inside…


and colourful lotus buds.


Bundles of Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)… to brighten up home or office.


Shiny stainless cooking bowls.


An old lady sat at a gate… people watching; as was I.


A quiet little fellow, sitting on a sheet of old plywood, no doubt waiting for his Mum.

DSC03865 - Version 2.JPGA couple of ladies, obviously from different parts of the country, but nonetheless enjoying each other’s company.


Having chosen my fruits and veg, it was now time for some protein. Snails? Maybe not.


Trussed up crabs… still very much alive.


Any one for fresh fish?  And they were very fresh.


A frog cum toad was still alive…  but for how long!


Smaller frogs …skinned, ‘butterflied’, ready for the wok. Look like can-can dancers!


Peanuts, still grubby with the soil they were grown in, firmly attached to their shells.


Strange, aren’t they? Nuts of some sort but I don’t know what they are.


At the end of the market, a stationer.. waiting, waiting, waiting for a customer.


Bundles of brooms…brightly coloured synthetic and the more traditional variety.


It was all very interesting… but I looked forward to getting out of the big city and back into the countryside… and that was the plan for the next day. More of that anon.


All photographs copyright © JT  and DY  of  jtdytravels

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