Jakarta spruces up its image

The Indonesian capital Jakarta is more visitors-friendly than ever. The opening of the first MRT line and the renovation of the old town are bringing renewed interest to discover the Indonesian metropolis.

If Bali is the largest tourism destination for Indonesia by welcoming over six million visitors per year, Jakarta is coming second. According to data from the Central Office of Statistics for the Jakarta Region, the capital welcomed 2.81 million tourist visits last year from overseas, representing a market share of 15% of all arrivals. Jakarta is indeed turning into a more attractive than ever destination. In the last decade, Jakarta has seen massive investments in its infrastructure. The brand-new Terminal 3 at Jakarta International Airport, the opening of the airport rail link to town and the opening of a 50-km section of the Jakarta Outer Ring Road 2 are some recent examples of the government’s commitment to improve the city’s mobility.

First mulled out some 25 years ago, Jakarta’s first MRT line opened last March. It links the commercial city centre where most shopping malls and hotels are located along the brand new 13 stations on the way to South Jakarta. In a second phase due to be completed in 2024, the MRT will go up to the old town of Jakarta, one of the main attractions for visitors to the capital.

Mentioning the old town of Jakarta (named Kota by locals), a lot of improvement happened over the last two years. For a long time, the cradle of the city- created over 350 years by the Dutch under the name of Batavia- has been a huge construction site with the renovation of the canals and of many historical houses.

The result was worth the wait. The canal area has been totally cleaned and transformed into a river walk. Museums have been modernized while renovated Dutch-style houses have been converted into trendy coffee shops, eateries as well as art galleries. A welcomed transformation for visitors!

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Photo: The Jakarta old town along the Kasi Besar canal