Indonesia's National and Business Capital
Capital of the Republic of Indonesia , Jakarta is a huge, sprawling metropolis, home to 9 million people. During the day the number increases with another 2 million as commuters make their way to work in the city, and flock out again in the evenings.
Located on the northern coast of Java, the province of Jakarta has rapidly expanded through the years, absorbing many villages in the process. In fact Jakarta is a conglomeration of villages known as kampungs, now crossed by main roads and super highways. It is small wonder therefore, that you may drive down one wide avenue one minute then suddenly find yourself squeezed into a small street together with scores of cars and motorbikes. The names of these former villages can be detected from their main streets, such as Tanah Abang, Kebon Kacang, Kebon Jeruk, Kampung Melayu, and many more. Together with its many suburbs Jakarta has become a megapolitan city. Therefore, when you visit Jakarta it is best to invest in a good map, or rely on GPS.
Jakarta itself is built on a wide flat delta, intersected by no less than 13 rivers. Fronting the city in the Bay of Jakarta are a large number of tiny islands, known as the Thousand Islands or Pulau Seribu, a tourist resort for snorkeling and swimming. To its south are the majestic volcanoes of Gede and Pangrango, where are cool mountain resorts like Bogor, Puncak, Sukabumi and Bandung.
Capital city of a country with 240 million population, Jakarta is not only the seat of the national government and the provincial government, this city is also Indonesia’s political center. Moreover, Jakarta is also the center and hub of Indonesia’s national finance and trade. It is no wonder, therefore that you will find Jakarta an ever dynamic city, a city that never sleeps.
Jakarta has two international airports, one is the larger Soekarno-Hatta international airport, located in Tangerang, now in the neighbouring province of Banten. The other is the smaller Halim Perdanakusumah airport, which is reserved to receive visiting Heads of State.
Many international airlines from Europe, Asia and Australia make the Soekarno-Hatta their turnaround airport, while a number do continue on to Bali and Australia. This airport is also the hub of Indonesia’s own Garuda Indonesia as well as home for most of Indonesia’s regular domestic airlines and low-cost carriers (LCC). Taxis can be hired at the airport to get into the city. There are options to take from regular taxis to limousines. Make sure that you get your taxi from the counter, rather than hail taxis from the kerb. There are buses going into town, but these are infrequent.
To get to know Jakarta one has to travel its main streets. At the heart of Jakarta’s Central Business District is the wide Sudirman-Thamrin Avenue, with tall high rise towers on either side. Here are headquartered Indonesia’s central bank, Bank Indonesia, and most major banks. Separating the Sudirman from the Thamrin road is the large central fountain that cools this roundabout, which is surrounded by the landmark buildings of Hotel Indonesia and Wisma Nusantara, the first high rise buildings in Jakarta. The Hotel Indonesia circle – known as Bundaran HI - is today the preferred location for public demonstrations, exactly because of the continuous busy traffic circulating here.
Along this main boulevard are also a number of Jakarta’s top hotels, such as the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, the Grand Hyatt, the Nikko Jakarta, the Sari Pacific, the Grand Sahid Jaya, and the Meridien.
Indonesia’s top shopping centers are also located here. These are the exclusive Plaza Indonesia and the Grand Indonesia. Behind these are the textile wholesale malls of Tanah Abang, while a little bit off this avenue is the Sudirman Square, where are Pacific Place and many financial buildings.
Along the Sudirman is located the Senayan Sports Center, the sports complex built by Indonesia’s first President, Soekarno, in 1962 to hold the Ganefo (Games of the New Emerging Forces) and the reason for the construction of the Sudirman-Thamrin roads. Here is also the Jakarta Convention Center, venue for prime international conventions and exhibitions.
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