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Jakarta (DKI Jakarta) is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Located on the northwest coast of Java, it has an area of 661 square kilometers and a population of 8,490,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political center. It is the most populous city in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and is the twelfth-largest city in the world. The metropolitan area, Jabodetabek, is the second largest in the world.

Jalan Jaksa
A backpackers heaven in downtown Jakarta

Jaksa Street (Jalan Jaksa) and Kebon Sirih Street (Jalan Kebon Sirih) are Jakarta's main backpacker hangout, with numerous low-priced hostels as well as some mid-range hotels. Whilst the area itself has a laid-back feel (which may be what attracts backpackers), it's not worth hanging around at the expense of seeing greater Jakarta. The area is just south of Gambir station and now fairly accessible on the busway, get out at Sarinah busstop.

In the late 1960s Jl. Jaksa started to become internationally known among backpackers though the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF). In 1968, Nathanael Lawalata the secretary general of the Association of Indonesian Youth Hostels, converted his house into a hotel to establish the Wisma Delima. This was not only first hotel in Jl Jaksa but also the only hotel in Jakarta that was internationally listed by the IYHF.

The street subsequently developed more hostels and became mentioned in many popular travel guide books and publications including the Lonely Planet. Jl Jaksa had become a transit point to explore the rest of Indonesia and was officially determined as a tourism area by the Jakarta city council.

Nowadays Jalan Jaksa is still the main budget accommodation and low budget entertainment street in Jakarta. It still remains popular among locals, expat English teachers and backpackers. While it is nowhere near as touristy, modern or developed as its counterparts in Kuta, Bali, the street still manages to offer a selection of services helpful to the average budget tourist including travel agencies, a bookstore, money changers, laundries, pubs, etc.

During daytime restaurants are usually quiet with a few foreign backpackers having lunch and a beer. Some locals prefer to just hang around with cigarette in their mouth, watching free television in one of those places. Alcohol is served throughout the year at reasonable prices, even during the Islamic holy month of fasting, although it might be behind closed doors.

Local and international food is available starting from about one euro per meal, a 'large Bintang' bottle of beer is around two euro's. Most cafe's and restaurants are open until around midnight. If you want to continue drinking, wash up yourself, get properly dressed - no sandals, shorts and shirts allowed - for a nightclub in one of the many hotels nearby.

The direct environment of Jalan Jaksa is mainly office buildings and shopping centers. If you are looking for things to do on foot, you should realize that walking just a few hundred meters in downtown Jakarta in broad daylight is only for those who really want to, as it is terribly hot and you will need a lot of fluids - drink water, tea or juice and save the beer for later in the day - to stay hydrated.

Monas or Monumen Nasional ('National Monument') is just around the corner and the National Museum, the Presidential Palace and the Gambir train station are all located around the Medan Merdeka square. Hop on the TransJakarta busway system to get to many destinations in the city for just 3,500 Rupiah per person single trip. You can also take a local train at the Gondangdia train station to the east.

Some new hotels have been built in the street, which causes the atmosphere to change over time. These larger hotels do not have any atmosphere around them and their brightly painted walls - yes on the outside - even make your eyes hurt if you look at them in broad daylight. At the corner of Jalan Jaksa and Jalan K.H. Wahid Hasyim a new hotel is currently under construction.

Location map of Jalan Jaksa

Last revised on February 08, 2010
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