Becoming Tourists for a Day

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Fatahillah Museum at night. Stunning!

Jakarta is a big and complicated city which is full of fancy buildings and malls and all of its modernity. Everybody goes to this city to look for a livelihood or just simply become tourists. People might think visiting Jakarta is a waste of time because of all those fanciness and all those traffic jam the citizen talk about. However, if you ever decide to go to Jakarta just for traveling purpose or if you are a bored citizen who are looking for some places to escape the modern world of Jakarta, you might only have to go a little bit to the north where Kota Tua is located. There are popular places that are kind of old-fashioned and are different to those which are available in the center of the city. Well, I and Dita (a friend from office) which are included to those bored citizen decided to check out Kota Tua last Saturday and we found ourselves quite enjoying the place.

There are no particular reasons why Kota Tua became our destination on that rather usual Saturday. We just felt like visiting it after our office mates decided not to give it a go on our karaoke plan. Our initial plan was to board on a City Bus Tour, Jakarta’s very own double decker, in Sarinah Bus Shelter to get to Kota Tua, but we canceled it because we had to wait for almost half an hour for the bus. Moreover, because of the weekend there were a lot of people waiting for same bus we did. Not to mention parents who took their excited kids to board the bus. Although it’s free, we couldn’t wait any longer because we were on schedule. We took Transjakarta instead.

We got off in the last Transjakarta Shelter bound for Kota – Blok M. I was kind of confused at first because Kota Tua has changed a lot compared to the last time I visited that place. Starting from the bus shelter, it looks cleaner and more organized than it used to be. There are a lot of decorations in the tunnel where we crossed the street. Dita who was the first time ever visiting this place felt amazed by the decorations that she couldn’t stop taking pictures (of herself). When we got out from the tunnel, we still needed to walk to Kota Tua’s historic sites for about ten minutes.

As soon as we entered the sites, we quickly blended with other visitors and people who sold bunches of stuff which are spread across the pedestrian area. Whatever you look for, you will find them in one of those stalls. Shoes, bracelets, wristband, toys, phone accessories, food, you name it. Though I found it surprising when there weren’t a single seller was found in the park area in front of Fatahillah Museum. The sellers used to make transaction in the middle of the park which was rather annoying. The park area was only occupied by a lot of people who were chilling, taking a lot of photographs, cycling, basically wanting to spend their weekend in Kota Tua. Looking around, we found buildings which are museum, cafes, offices which have old-fashioned design.

I have already known the place, and visiting Kota Tua only made me thinking of other places nearby where I could visit them as a side trip. It was on our way to Kota Tua when all of a sudden I remembered about Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa (Sunda Kelapa Harbor). At first I wasn’t sure it was nearby Fatahilah Park, but the GPS said it was only 1.2s KM which is about 15 minutes on foot. Without wasting any time because the sun were about to set, we marched towards Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa.

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It was a beautiful afternoon in the harbor with the ships, blue skies, and the sunset. And then there’s that ugly-looking building.

For the record, the road to Sunda Kelapa is really easy to remember. We just needed to  go straight after we set foot to the road across Fatahillah Museum and found our way towards it. Or, if any of you guys aren’t such walkers or you are afraid of getting hit by a vehicle, you just simply take M15 angkot and tell the driver you are going to Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa and job done. Whispers told me it was only Rp.3,000 to get there. FYI, the road we walked on was really dusty and a bit quiet. Taking angkot will probably be a better way.

Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa is basically an ordinary harbor (if you ever visited any harbor in the world) that belongs to the government. Opened for a tourist destination years ago, Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa has been a popular place for photographers both professional and amateur to hunt gorgeous pictures that show Jakarta in a different perspective. Also, If someone is interested in history of Jakarta, this might be one of the places he needs to visit because one or two museums are also availabe to be visited in the area. We didn’t know how it looked like at night because we bailed as soon as the sun set. We returned to Fatahilah Park by bajaj after debating that we couldn’t walk that further anymore because it was getting darker. It only cost us Rp.10,000.

As the night fell, Fatahillah Park was getting more and more crowded. Not only by the visitors, but also by the people who made money out of singing without even realising that their voices weren’t as good as they thought they were (if you know what I mean). We decided to call it a day after taking a few (more?) pictures. Actually, that wasn’t the end because later we decided to go to Kalimati where the best seafood we could get is available. At least that’s what people said. Looking back to the rest of Saturdays I’ve been through, this Saturday has its own way to be worth remembering. We might check out these places again as soon as I have a fancy camera of my own. Gotta work my photography skill before taking pictures of Japanese sunset. Haha!

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