Friday, May 15, 2015

Exploring Kota, Jakarta's old town

Its old city, Kota, is probably its top traveler spotlight though Indonesia’s money is powering forward as a global business link. Indonesia’s Dutch colonial roots may be discovered below, and Jakarta's historic quarter gives a snapshot of how the cityscape looked ahead of the skyscrapers moved in.

Inside the 1600s, Kota became the Dutch East India Company's headquarters. Unfortunately this colonial history wasn't maintained as well as it has experienced the likes of other Southeast Asian colonial outposts including Singapore and Penang, and you'll find just a few remnants of the attractive wooden-shuttered buildings today.

Exploring Kota, Jakarta's old town
Exploring Kota, Jakarta's old town
Setoff on the walking tour at Kota Intan bridge (also known as Poultry Market Link). Built by the Dutch within the 17th century, the wooden drawbridge stretches on the Kali Besar channel, and might have been increased to accommodate merchant vessels. The past remining link of its type, it's no further increased, and can’t be entered by people – its panels have been in disrepair – but there's talk of a renovation project. For now, it’s worth a trip to watch a rare monument to the town's Dutch colonial period.

From the bridge, with all the Kali Besar channel on your right, it’s only a twenty-minute walk along towards Taman Fatahillah, although obyek wisata jakarta it does require crossing a couple of busy streets – if you feel intimidated from the swarms of cars and motorcycles speeding in your direction, locate a number of residents and mix using them. The buildings along this strip have a distinctly European sense, combined with a poignant sense of decay. As you approach the square, the road becomes lined with trees and gerobak (mobile food carts) promoting pieces of machine-packed candies and siomay bandung – steamed seafood dumplings served with peanut satay sauce from wooden carts. Eventually you reach an elaborate cast iron arch about the left that represents the entry to Taman Fatahillah.

Kotais 1.8-acre central square encapsulates the lively, somewhat challenging and edgy figure of Jakarta, and is normally teeming with Indonesian travelers. Marked with multi-coloured striped parasols, it's the company area of some 200 carts selling all types of street food and tourist tat. A food festival is presented at Taman Fatahillah each year in March.

Take some time to explore the side streets leading from the square (be cautious to view your possessions when you weave around the crowds) to spot more decaying colonial artifacts, and find out local tatoo artists at the job within their crude, streetside studios. Another option would be to hire one of the many colorful bicycles for hire – with related-hued floppy hats placed in for free to guard you from your sun’s glare – and investigate on two wheels.

It’s worth going to the tiny Gallery Wayang (Puppet Museum) to understand how integral puppeteering has been to Indonesian storytelling for centuries. The museum’s displays range towards the hand puppets in the 1980s children’s tv program Unyil which seem a bit like frightened Cabbage Patch Kids from sixteenth century Wayang Banjay puppets from Borneo. Free performances with conventional rod puppets take place in its theater every Sunday – they're in Bahasa, but observing the live gamelan orchestral accompaniment is a useful cultural experience. Access for the museum is 5,000Rp.

Owning the northern side of Taman Fatahillah Cafe Batavia, named after the former colonial name of the capital. Housed in a 19th century building that was formerly employed by the Dutch government, it’s a great location for avoiding individuals and the heat -watching over Taman Fatahillah. Get a window seat upstairs within the Grand Salon constructed solely of Javanese teak wood, and try the Batavia Punch mocktail – a zingy blend of lime and pineapple juice. The menu offers delectable dim sum, western basics and Indonesian fare, with mains averaging 200,000Rp.

If you’re keen to determine more colonial buildings, rent a cycle from Taman Fatahillah (around 20,000Rp/hr) and pedal the 1.5km to Sunda Kelapa, Jakarta’s old port, and the original reason town was an international trade hub. Walk among the rows of traditional Bugis Phinisi Schooner ships anchored about the dock and peruse the stalls of the chaotic seafood market, bathing in the area ambience.

Instead, exit Taman Fatahillah in the southeastern part and continue southwards over the main route for approximately 30 seconds to achieve Kota Station. Originally built-in the 19th century, it was renovated and reopened in 1929 after being re designed with a Dutch architect, who made an american art deco facade with an indefinable local twist.

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