Are you planning to visit Jakarta for business or for leisure? Fabulous!
Here are some tips on what to expect and how best to overcome some foreseeable situations when doing business in Jakarta from my own personal perspective.
Last week, I made a business trip to Jakarta, Indonesia to meet with a few prospects interested in our software solutions.
Overall, it was a pleasant trip with a few surprises (obviously). In this post, I will try to make an effort to share with you some of my experiences as well as provide you with lots of tips and ways on how to best make your trip a pleasant and a comfortable one ((if you are planning one in the near future).
I booked a 9.20am AirAsia flight which means I had to wake up early to get to the LCCT airport in time. Many would simply call for a cab to take them straight to the airport but that can be costly especially if you are living far away and if you are travelling on odd hours. Best, if you want to save some money is to get to KL Sentral and take the LCCT high speed train.
High speed train to LCCT?
Surprised? Yup! There is a high speed train to LCCT. It only costs RM12.50 (one-way) to LCCT which you’ll then need to board thier express shuttle bus at half point, from Salak Tinggi.
Apparently, there are lots of shuttle buses waiting to take passengers from the train station to the airport. Total time to get to LCCT from KL Sentral was just 52-minutes. Pretty fast eh!
I guess if you are planning to travel on a budget, then nothing beats AirAsia’s rate as AirAsia is still the regions best budget airline. How low? How about less than RM500 KL-JKT-KL (to and fro) ? Yup! All-
in-fare but we had to book 1-month in advance to get this rate. Perhaps, if you’re booking earlier (2-3 months ahead) you may even get a better rate then I did.
The flight landed safely in Terminal 3, a new low cost carrier terminal in Jakarta. Once you’re out of the terminal, you’ll be swarmed by many taxi drivers who offer to take you to your hotel. BEWARE! of your belongings and bags. Some will deliberately take your bag and force you to board onto their taxi and you’ll usually end up overpaying the fare.
To avoid all this hassle, what I usually do is, say thank you, hold on to your bags tightly and locate a taxi booth called Blue Bird. Their rates are reasonable and they use a meter so there is no cheating involved.
TIPS: If you’re flying AirAsia and would like to save some money, book your seats 2-3 months in advance. Unless, you are very hungry, try not to eat during flights but instead drink lots of water which your body will need due to the high altitude pressure and dehydration.
Just like flights, reserve your hotel accomodation way in advance to grab the best deals. Moreover, Jakarta is a hot place for
tourist and business travellers and usually the better hotels are usually fully booked.
I got my hotel room booked from Agoda.com. Their rates are usually lower then most of the other online portals.
TIPS: If you are tech-savvy and want to constantly connect to the Internet, go for hotels with WIFI capability in the rooms. Usually hotels with 3-star and above are pretty ok. They’re clean and the service is good. The staff can also usually speak English.
This is a tough one! Luckily for me, I was born a Malaysian so I kind of easily pick up the Bahasa Indnesia language. There are some similarities of both languages but pronounciation and some of the vocabulary has it’s differences.
TIPS: Make it a point to pickup as much of the language as possible as it will help you in many ways.
Roads, Highways and Traffic Jams
This is a killer! I for one, hate traffic jams, even when I’m in Kuala Lumpur, but in Jakarta, traffic jams is a way of life…so to speak!
Overall, Jakarta being the capital of Indonesia is not that big of a city. It’s just 255 sq miles (662 km²) and is divided by North, South, East, West zones.
Central Jakarta or ‘Jakarta Pusat’ as it’s called is where all the top shopping complexes, skyscrapers, 5, 6 & 7 star hotels like Hyatt Regency, Hilton etc are located and it is also the central district for administration and government offices.
If you’e in Jakarta you WILL get stuck in traffic-jams, period! I got stuck in a 30-min bumber to bumber crawl from the airport to my hotel. And apparently these days, the traffic situation has worsened due to more cars being on the road.
Then, I got stuck in a really bad traffic jam, 2.5-hour traffic crawl from Kemayoran to Jakarta Selatan the next day which would normally just take 20-mins to get there (during smooth traffic flow hours). So, yeah…that’s Jakarta. It will surprise you and get you on your nerves at times. Just take it easy and have some patience 🙂
There aren’t any LRT’s or MRT’s in Jakarta. There is however a local city to city train but the timings can be a little bit unpredictable. You may not even get a chance to sit for a long distance as the trains are usually full.
TIPS: The traffic jams in and around the whole of Jakarta can be a painful experience if you get stuck in an odd hour which is the morning rush hour (7.30am – 9.30am) and evening rush hour (4.30pm to 7.30pm) So, if possible, try to avoid travelling during these times, unless you’re planning to take the train.
TIPS-2: You’ve got to be extra careful and take care of your belongings expecially going into a crowded train as some of my friends have had some of their belongings ie wallets, bags and mobile phones, stolen in broard daylight right under their noses. How? Don’t ask. Thieves are pretty skillful these days maybe due to stiff competition…I don’t know!
This is one area I may not be able to give you a very good idea on because I dislike shopping. I leave all the shopping to my wife or when we travel once a year to Bangkok. But from what I heard, there are several places you can go for shopping in Jakarta.
Since I stayed around Mangga Dua Kemayoran district, I did pop-in into their famous Mangga Dua Mall which is located just opposite Ibis Mangga Dua hotel.
The mall was just walking distance from my hotel and so I decided to check it out. Didn’t get anything spectacular except for a belt and a pair of jeans.
I believe there are other malls such as Blok M and Menteng flea market which I’ve heard carry better quality goods and with more variety. Maybe I’ll visit it on my next trip.
TIPS: If you are planning to shop in Jakarta, try to avoid purchasing clothings or goods from back alleys and streets as the quality may be questionable. If you are like me who is slightly quality and brand conscious…slightly…., go for larger malls. Heard Plaza Indonesia, FX Mall and Blok M are one of the best.
You’ll never find a problem finding for an eatery in Jakarta…especially if you’re in Central Jakarta.
What can I say about the food? It’s simply spectacular. I love spicy food and whenever I’m in Jakarta, I never miss eating their famous ‘Nasi Padang’ and ‘satay’. HmmmYummmy!!!
TIPS: Becareful with hawker food and don’t drink tap water. Always eat and drink from proper and hygenic places and drink lots of mineral water.
This is probably my 5th visit to Jakarta in the last 2-years and after a while being here, you will kind of get the hang of dealing with Indonesians.
The Indonesian government encourages foreign direct investments and overseas businesses to open and operate in Jakarta. There are several tax-exemptions etc for foreign businesses opening there as well.
Generally, Indonesians are very nice people. Friendly, warm-hearted and intelligent. So, when doing business with them, try to be open, friendly and most importantly be humble.
TIPS: Depending on what type of business you’re in, and whom you’re dealing with but if you’re meeting with decision makers, try not to be too pushy and stay clear of sales pitches. They hate it! Also be careful not to touch on any sensitive sentiments like polictics, party, government etc.
I had a really pleasant and wonderful trip in Jakarta. If you have any particular questions you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to use the feedback section below.
Have you been to Jakarta? Was it for business or for pleasure? Tell me all about it…