It is such a big city that it can be hard to know where to start when exploring Jakarta, a city affectionally known as the “Big Durian.” this bustling metropolis has a population far in excess of the official census figure of 10 million. My personal bet is the city has a working population of almost double that. Look on a map and it tells you that Bogor and Jakarta are different cities. However, on the ground it is no longer clear where one ends and the other begins.

Many people think that e only thing tht e city has to offer are the holiday islands of Pulau Seribu. As someone who has lived here for four years, I can say there is a lot of truth to this comment. For the dedicated however, exploring Jakarta can be a culinary feast; lets start wi the bad stuff.

You hit Jakarta’s haze before you even reach the city. Despite the exorbitantly high cost of cars the roads are choked, clogging the arteries of this city to a tune of billions of dollars a year. An integrated system of public transport, forget about it. After exploring Jakarta for a day you will realise that public space is anathema and has been replaced by glitzy malls for the wealthy, high rise towers and the clubs that make Jakarta nightlife. In my first year in the city I heard from a friend that a doctor advised him if he lived in the city for more than two years he’d do permanent damage to his body.

The old town of Jakarta is a sad site to see. Exploring Jakarta’s old town you will see a ramshackle mix of grand dilapidated buildings, many falling in on themselves. One look at the central square you can see the potential, if only the Government would get its act together. That in summary is Jakarta. The city has everything that would make it a great international city, but only if the municipal government untangle the mess that a generation of growth without regulation has created.

So lets talk about the good stuff; Jakarta has the great shopping that rivals Singapore. The food and restaurant here are amazing and it is fair to say that nowhere else in Indonesia are you likely to come across such a wide and varied range of cuisine. If you like fancy clubs, the nightlife here is also great. Jakarta’s supermarkets are also full of everything you’d ever need. Honestly, this is quite a small list of positive points, which I doubt is enough to tempt tourists to start exploring Jakarta.