Travel Inspired Story: Jakarta Through The Eyes of a Local

December 15, 2015

How well do you know your own city? Do you know it enough to be able to navigate your way through the lesser known shortcuts or what us Indonesians call ‘jalan tikus’ (literally translates as rat road), or to be able to name a few hidden gems that impress not only tourists but also locals? Well, as Jessica Hagy advises in her book, “Go Exploring” and that’s exactly what I’ve done and am going to share in this special non-food related post, with you. Especially now there’s a great platform for us to share our finds and be rewarded for that! Keep reading to find out more details.

Travel Inspired is a campaign by Millennium Hotels and Resorts Asia, which aims to map a city by locals, for locals. The map, which you can access here: , is available in 5 cities: Jakarta, Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket and Manila. And it also has a few categories of hidden gems, such as Food, Sights, Shopping, Arts, Landmark and Nightlife.

When a local gives suggestion to another local, they won’t cite boring touristy places that’s all too often frequented and become mainstream. Now, this app Travel Inspired: The Locals City Map has made it easier for me to navigate -- as well as to find the hidden gems in Jakarta pinned by other users like you. Well, I’ve once spent a few years living in Singapore, but I’m not quite confident with my knowledge about Singapore anymore as it has changed so much in the past few years. But I will share my knowledge about my own city, Jakarta.

So, these are just some of the hidden gems which I discovered, explored and found pinned by other users on The Locals City Map:

SIGHTS - Eko Wisata Hutan Mangrove
Doesn't look like Jakarta at all?
The mangrove forest is physically located in the middle of premium housing area in Pantai Indah Kapuk area, North Jakarta. To enter, there's only a small fee to be paid at the gate. There's a small lake inside, with traditional boat, and is becoming a popular site for pre-wedding photoshoots. Take a stroll along the main pathway, or find the less obvious path on an elevated platform flanked by trees like I did. For city dwellers like me, this is a very much welcome change from the usual urban jungle and hectic pace of city life.

SHOPPING - Pasar Baru
Pasar Baru or Passer Baroe, is Jakarta's oldest market and comparable but not quite similar to Thailand's Jatujak market in its range of goods. Here, you can find anything from tailor who can do express suit in a day, music instruments & sports equipment, shoes shops, and then next to it you might find textile stores from high end range to cheap ones, cosmetics and salon specialty shops, even department stores standing next to a watch or gold shop. Be sure to bring your bargaining skills and dress for a hot, sweaty afternoon of hefty bargaining.

FOOD - Three Buns
If you're into the food truck or the new wave of ‘hipster’ culture, you need to come here. Even though Three Buns is a brick-and-mortar cafe, it serves upscale food truck fare such as burgers and not so food truck drinks like cocktails and artisan sodas! Don't forget to take a wefie at the "food truck" serving station. Another reason to pay this spot a visit is for the unique venue concept, like a semi open air amphitheatre with very casual and airy setting. It’s nothing like residents in Jakarta has seen before, which explains the long queue during the first few months of its opening.

NIGHTLIFE - Potato Head

Trendy Warehouse style bar for great cocktails and bar chow! The place is buzzing with life, especially on weekdays, with both expats and local patrons who chill after work. The location at Sudirman Central Business District and with separate entrance from the shopping mall helps a lot to allow late night hooters to linger until quite late.

One of my favourite books by Jessica Hagy, “How To Be Interesting” advises people to“Share What You Discover”, it doesn’t mean showing off in an obnoxious way, but it means being generous by allowing others to live vicariously through our journeys. Well, true that, sometimes, we will get jealous inevitably, because that’s just human nature. But if we see it from the bright side, life will be a pleasant breeze. 

So, the moral of my message is, SHARE your own hidden gems before 31 December 2015, as many as you like and as often as you want. Why, because other than “sharing is caring”, by participating, you’ll get 25% off your hotel stay plus breakfast for 2 if you book right on site, and also stand a chance to WIN one of these amazingly generous prizes:
  • 1st prize: S$ 1,400 MAP shopping vouchers
  • 2nd prize: S$ 1,000 Millennium Hotels and Resorts Asia e-voucher
  • 3rd prize: US$ 500 Amazon vouchers 

Do you know of other hidden gems in Jakarta? It could be anything from a street-side food stall tucked in the middle of nowhere, or a curated shop like this, a hidden park in the midst of skyscraper jungle. Help me to curate Jakarta’s hidden gems on The Local's City Map by Millennium Hotels and Resorts Asia here:


It’s easy to win! The more you pin on the map, the more places gets verified and the higher is your chance to walk away with those prizes! Sounds like an awesome gift for yourself this holiday season, isn’t it? So, do you agree with my picks above? Feel free to refute or add or comment, simply in the comment box at the end of this post. =)

Millennium Hotel Sirih Jakarta
Jl. Fachrudin 3
Central Jakarta - 10250
Ph: +6221 2303636

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For live and regular updates,
stalk my Instagram: @ellynatjohnardi


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