Saturday, March 31, 2018

Jakarta 10 years later

Last time I went to Jakarta was right before I got married. We went there to get stuff for our wedding. I dont remember much from the trip but I remember the bad traffic. We managed to get all our wedding stuff there really cheap and I also remember getting a really nice batik, which until today remains one of the best batik I ever had. I've always wanted to go back to Jakarta to get the same type of batik.

It has been 10 years and we haven't gone there or had any plans to go there. Jakarta is not a place for kids I dont think, because the traffic is super terrible and I know my kids will drive me absolutely bonkers being in the car for so long. Hence, Jakarta was never in our list of places to travel with the kids. Until recently…..

My maid's contract is expiring end of this year and we obviously want to extend her contract. She is pretty reliable and my kids love her a lot. We asked her if she would like to extend and after discussing it with her, we decided that we should go and meet her family to ask for their consent. Her husband is not too keen about her staying here longer and our mission is to speak to him to change his mind. 

Off we went to Jakarta to meet her family. Everyone was excited, especially my kids. They've heard stories from my maid about her family and they really want to meet them. Our kids are the same age.

We got to Jakarta a little late as there was a bit of a delay. The weather wasn't too good. Raining cats and dogs when we were leaving KL. Jakarta was nice and sunny. We met the family at the airport and got to know each other a bit over late lunch at a restaurant next to our hotel in Thamrin. Traffic from the airport to Thamrin was mad. We booked a driver but unfortunately, the car wasn't all that comfortable. The ride was not that good. My bad, I should have specifically asked for a nicer car. I didnt and assumed it was an ok car. It was OK, it just wasn't as comfortable as we had hoped for a long journey. It was almost 2 hours from the airport to our hotel. It was hell!

Anyway, the food at the restaurant was ok. Typical padang food. But it is not a fancy restaurant. There were about 15 of us in total (including children and drivers) and the bill came up to only under RM300. That's really cheap. My husband didnt quite enjoy it because he felt like they recycled the food. I was too hungry to notice. My kids ate well and alhamdulillah non of us had diarrhoea. haha…. 

Initially we thought of going around Jakarta but after being in the car for so long, we decided to call it a day and just chill at the hotel. My maid went back to her Kampung with her family. We went back to the hotel across the street from the restaurant.

We stayed at the Ascott Jakarta in Thamrin. This is the same serviced apartment we stayed in 10 years ago. I was worried that the place might be run down but it is not. It is actually nicer than I remembered it to be. They have upgraded the place and refurbished it for sure. Everything looks new and nice.
The reason why we chose this place is because of its location. I dont remember much about my Jakarta trip 10 years ago but I remember Ascott is next to a mall and that was important!

We explored the mall next door that night and ate at the food court. Food was cheap and we had Yoshinoya every single day. hahah. It is my husband's favourite fast food but unfortunately he doesn't get it in Malaysia (they have it in Midvalley but we seldom go there). Best part is, they have this special set with sambal to cater to the local taste and it is da bomb. Sambal was awesome. 

The next day we did the same thing, exploring the mall. I dont even know the name of the mall but it is huge. I think it is few malls connected to each other. We walked for ages. We didnt shop much because it is mostly designer and high street stores you can easily find in KL anyways. We didnt really find any local items. I saw a batik but it was too expensive. I guess this is not the right mall for that sort of stuff.

Our third day in Indonesia we went to Taman Safari Bogor. We invited my maid and her family along with us. The safari is actually not too far away from Jakarta but the traffic to get out of Jakarta was mad. Almost 2 hours just to get out and then another hour to go up to the Taman Safari. We hired a better car this time and got a Vellfire. More comfortable for the long journey. Ya it was a bit more expensive but it is worth the price. It is very nice up there. Reminded me of Cameron Highlands. The air is fresh and cooling too.

We had a lot of fun there. Kids bonded and it is really nice to see how easy it is for kids to make friends. They couldn't speak the same language but they are like the best of friends. I dont know if they understand each other or not but their body language says it all. It brought lot of joy to my heart.

We spent the whole day with my maid's family. Initial plan was to visit her kampung but after taking into consideration the traffic and the journey, we decided to skip that idea. Perhaps next time.
We left Bogor in the evening at about 5pm. We reached Jakarta at 8pm and my maid reached her kampung at 11pm. Can you believe it? Traffic in Indonesia is mad. Made me feel really thankful to be in KL. Even the traffic, as crazy as it gets is nothing compared to the traffic in Jakarta.

The next day we spent time exploring the other mall. Thamrin Mall. We had lunch there but the food wasn't great at all. Service was lousy too. Thamrin Mall is definitely not the place for kids. We didnt spend time there in the end, it was too chaotic. Stuff are cheap for sure. I saw many tops I like for like RM30 each but because it was too chaotic, I couldn't bring myself to buy any. We walked empty handed back to the apartment. Rest for a bit and continued exploring the high end mall the other side.

Basically that was it for us this time. My maid's husband decided not to let her work so looks like we still have to look for a replacement. My maid has friends and relatives who wants to work so perhaps we can look into that. Her contract with us is expiring end of the year. We dont really have much time.

My kids will miss her dearly because they get on really well. I'm actually sad for them more than anything else. Having a maid is a bonus, having a good maid is a miracle almost. I guess we will be back at square one soon. I hate looking for new one……


  1. It feels like only yesterday you were updating you are training the new maid. Time sure flies

    1. I know right! I feel the same! Time really flies.


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