Offering over a hundred malls, shops of all sizes and flea markets, be prepared to shop till you drop in the metropolis of JAKARTA!
With a population of more than 10 million, you can expect the shopping scene in Jakarta to be frenetic. However, with more than a hundred malls, shops of all sizes and flea markets, you will not run out of choices with items ranging from luxury designer brands to local handicrafts, batiks and silk.
At the market (or pasar as the locals call it), be prepared to bargain down to half the original price or more. Below you will find our top picks for the 10 best places to shop in the busy metropolis.
1. GRAND INDONESIA
Put on your best walking shoes and head to Grand Indonesia (www.grand-indonesia.com), a huge one-stop shopping mall covering a floor area of 640,000 square metres (or roughly the size of more than 100 football fields) located along Jalan M.H. Thamrin, just a few blocks west of the Selamat Datang Monument. With 10 floors of shops, more than 100 restaurants, a cinema and entertainment outlets, the place is ideal for a day’s outing with family and friends. Their Alun Alun Indonesia store provides a showcase for locally made products based on culture and heritage. At the West Mall near the cinema on level 8, you should check out their Galeri Indonesia Kaya which introduces visitors to Indonesian culture through multimedia digital technology. Another attraction at the West Mall is the dancing fountain shows using water, light and sound.
2. MAL TAMAN ANGGREK
Located west of the city, Mal Taman Anggrek (www.taman-anggrek-mall.com) is a shopping mall with a floor area of 360,000 square metres (roughly the size of 60 football fields), with more than 400 stores over seven storeys. Like most huge malls, you can find a host of recreational and entertainment options besides shopping. Amenities include restaurants, cafes, fitness centre and an ice-skating rink, said to be the country’s largest.
3. BLOK M
Located at the south end of the city, Blok M is an old but still popular shopping area with several malls like Blok M Mall, Block M Plaza, Blok M Square and Pasaraya Grande. The malls around here are known for their relatively lower prices compared to the newer and flashier malls with a host of other fringe attractions like jewellery shops (Blok M Square), cafes and restaurants. When you are done shopping, head towards the area around Jalan Melawai 8, also known as Little Tokyo, to check out the Japanese restaurants, karaoke bars and massage parlours. If you prefer local cuisines, head down to the basement floor of Pasaraya Grande to check out their DapuRaya food court.
4. PASAR BARU
Pasar Baru (which means “new market”) is actually one of the oldest shopping districts in the city with a history dating back to 1820. Located in the heart of the city near the National Monument Park, you can find a row of shops, restaurants and shopping centres along Jalan Pasar Baru. The shops cater more to local shoppers and you can find clothes, fashion apparels, sports gear, watches, jewelleries and also cameras and photography gadgets. The area is called Little India due to the large number of Indonesians of Indian origins who settled here.
5. JALAN SURABAYA
Located in a quiet residential area, Jalan Surabaya is a popular haunt for antique lovers. You can start at the flea market at the north end of the road and make your way down the 450-metre stretch to explore the other shops selling a wide array of items ranging from brass lanterns, wayang puppets and old furniture to woodcarvings, old vinyl records and other collectibles. Many of the “antiques” are modern reproductions or replicas so make sure you know what you are buying and prepare to bargain hard for a good deal. While you are there, remember to pop in at Cali Deli/Madame Ching which serves a fusion of Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines.
6. MANGGA DUA
North of the city is the Mangga Dua (which means two mangoes) shopping district where you can find several shopping malls like the ITC Mangga Dua (www.itc-manggadua.com), Mangga Dua Mall, Mangga Dua Square and Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua. ITC and Mangga Dua malls are directly opposite each other and the stores there sell a wide range of items ranging from clothes, lingerie and shoes to watches, smartphones and electronic gadgets.
7. PLAZA SENAYAN
Plaza Senayan (plaza-senayan.com) is a shopping mall located along Jalan Asia Afrika No. 8 at the south end of the city. The mall caters to a more upmarket crowd with stores selling designer brands like Cartier, Calvin Klein and Zara, among others. Metro, Sogo and bookstore chains like Kinokuniya and Times can be found here. The mall features a giant Seiko musical clock at the lobby that chimes every hour.
8. GANDARIA CITY
Gandaria City (www.gandariacity.co.id), located alongside the Sheraton Grand Hotel, is a family-oriented neighbourhood mall with more than 400 stores spread over five storeys including Lotte Mart and Metro, an amusement park, cinemas and a family-oriented karaoke. The mall features a 600-metre Gandaria Mainstreet lined with restaurants, bistros, lounges, cafes, and entertainment outlets.
9. TANAH ABANG MARKET
If you are looking for garments from clothes, tee shirts and underwear to batik material, shawls and curtains, Tanah Abang Market is the place to visit. The place is hailed as the largest textile and garment wholesale centre in the region with over 13,000 kiosks spread over a few blocks so it is normal for first-time visitors to get disoriented. Bargaining is expected especially if you are buying in bulk but do beware of pickpockets. Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowd.
10. THAMRIN CITY
Thamrin City (thamrincity.co.id) is a shopping mall located just a short 10 minutes’ walk from Tanah Abang Market. At the mall, you can shop for all kinds of batik materials and most of the items that you can find at Tanah Abang market in air-conditioned comfort. While you are in the area, do check out two other malls within walking distance: Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia.
Jakarta is notorious for its traffic jams so do avoid travelling during rush hours. Taxis are the common mode of transport for tourists but do pick the Blue Bird taxis which are known for being honest.
In crowded places, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.
When you pay for purchases, use your right hand as the left hand is considered “unclean”.
During the monsoon season between December and March, some parts of the city might be flooded.
There are numerous daily flights to Jakarta from Kuala Lumpur via carriers such as Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, Lion Air, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Malindo Air and KLM.
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