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Kampung means village in Bahasa Indonesia. Jakarta is a city of Kampungs. Literally there are hundreds of kampungs in this city of 12 million people. And it seems they are all trying to get to work at the same time, so best to arrive in Jakarta after 10am if you want to spend less that 2 hours in the traffic for a 30 minute drive to the city.

Jakarta is booming at the moment. Leave for a week and a new set of cranes will be erected. Traffic is a major problem in Jakarta and it can take a long time to get from A to B, so if coming for business plan no more than 3 meetings in a day and keep them well apart, unless you are in the same building.

Jakarta is not a great tourist location, it is an exciting and interesting place to visit for a few days, but it’s tiring so get ready for a good time.

Hotels: Jakarta has all the usual brands for varying prices. Recommended for security are Four Seasons, Shangri-la, Borobudur, Mulia, Mandarin, Aryadutta and Ritz Carlton. There are many others to choose from, others tend to be too close to regular demonstration locations or have other security concerns about them, although they are convenient to shopping or business. Make your own choices, but make sure you know where it's located as traffic can add more in tax fares than the savings on the nightly rate. As a rule upgrading to the club floor at most Jakarta hotels is good value for the happy hours, you may not need dinner most nights if you time it right. If you are there over the weekend make sure the hotel has a good sized pool, most do.

Shopping: A new shopping mall opens every week it seems. The key ones for tourists are Plaza Indonesia (at the Grand Hyatt), Senayan, Semanggi and Block M area. Good local shopping can be had at Pasar Baru or Glodok. Other interesting places are Mangga Dua (old and new), Taman Anggrek and Roxy.

Transport: Taxis are the easiest and cheapest way to get around Jakarta. Best brand is BlueBird as all drivers are vetted. Look for the “BlueBirdGroup” sticker right across the top of the windscreen and look out for imitations. If there for a number of days and likely to move around a lot book a Kijang or similar through Astra (check on www), you will find this is cheaper in the long run and your driver will speak very good English and know all the good places to go and the places not to go.

Food: Jakarta has it all, some of the best and worst western food, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, you name it. Generally it's pretty hard to get sick in Jakarta if you eat anything that is fried. Steer clear of anything raw or under-cooked outside of a 5 star hotel and never, ever, not even once, think about drinking water that has not been served to you in a sealed container.

Entertainment: Jakarta has the best live bands in Asia. There are local, South American, North American, Philippines, you name it, but the locals are the best. If you get to do a request ask for anything by Queen, Police, Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, the bigger the better.

Best Places: BATS (Bar at the Shangri-la), The Tavern (Aryadutta), Tiga Pulu (Le Meridien), CJ’s (Mulia). These are just the ones we go to, the crowd can change from night to night.

Other places: Try Jalan Jaksa for late night satay ayam, cold beer and open air café's with live music, very relaxed and you can sign too. You may want to try some other places like Zen or Stadium but be ready for a visit from the police and a pleasant request for a urine sample (and make sure there is nothing in there that you don’t want to tell your mother about. The presence of illegal substances in your urine is proof of using said substance and after an unpleasant stay in the local jail you will find yourself poorer and deported.

Shopping: A new shopping mall opens every week it seems. The key ones for tourists are Plaza Indonesia (at the Grand Hyatt), Senayan, Semanggi, and Pasar Raya at Block M. Good local shopping can be had at Pasar Baru or Glodok for electrical equipment and media. The recently opened Plaza Pondok Indah in Jakarta Selatan is a must visit location, just not in peak hour traffic. Other interesting places are Mangga Dua (old and new), Taman Anggrek and Roxy for mobile phones.

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