Jakarta may hold what you would expect from a big capital city; just a little bit too much hustle and bustle. But then again, these small alleys, impossible roads, and big dazzling streets shape up this Indonesian city and it would not be it without them. Amongst the lot, there are several streets that are best to visit when you are in town and most of them would give a hint of what the city looked like a long time ago. One may travel and wander through the other beautiful islands in Indonesia, but a stroll through the capital city is sometimes overlooked by the infamous traffic jams and chaos, yet it is actually an opportunity that cannot be missed when you are in the country.

Thamrin & Sudirman

Named after Indonesia’s national heroes, the heart of the capital, these two streets holds numerous shopping malls that Jakarta is well known for, tall office buildings, and directly puts the hustle and bustle in Jakarta. You would also encounter the famous “selamat datang” monument or “Welcome” monument in the big Hotel Indonesia roundabout.  Though it can be jammed packed with cars, motorcycles and public transportation most of the days, a walk through the streets at night time or an opportunity to get a simple bird’s eye view of the bright and vehicle-illuminated streets would be a somewhat secret treat itself.


Surabaya Street is one long street that is home to a variety of antiquities sellers, ranging from a good amount of second hand Indonesian as well as foreign vinyl records, record players, vintage music boxes, Indonesian crafts, to these old telescopes that may have been used in a battleship somewhere and even antique diving helmets. An interesting day out in Jakarta through the street that smells of your grandfather’s attic filled with these old and vintage bits and pieces. A good tip for the vinyl record enthusiasts is to find Lian, one of the vendors in Surabaya Street can basically help you with all your musical needs.

Kota Tua

Kota Tua, which literally translates to “Old Town” is not a street basically, but an area that would definitely take you back to the time where Indonesia was still colonized by the Dutch, and it was all still called Batavia. It houses the old city hall which is now a museum of Indonesia’s history, as well as Kota railway station and the old national post office. All the buildings and some roads are still left as they were, trying to hold on to its roots and history, and now accompanied with street vendors, a couple of local and foreign tourists here and there, and sometimes, you could also rent an old bicycle to go around the area.

Pasar Baru

Pasar Baru, literally translates into “New Market”, is the oldest market in Jakarta, located in the area of Pasar Baru, established way back from 1820 and filled with basically everything. From clothes, textiles, Indonesian street food, some old restaurants that head back to late 50s, second hand vintage clothing that ranges from 70 cents per piece, and even one section of the market dedicated to old analog cameras. You can really get a different view of the hustle and bustle here. This market was once a top destination for weekend outings a long time ago, before all the shopping malls and other modern entertainment came in. In the area you could also find a few galleries.


Last, and definitely, never the least, food. Good food is basically scattered all over the city, it would be hard to pick just one street that holds it all, but Sabang is home to a lot of food vendors that would satisfy your taste buds, and it would be a good way to start your journey through the Indonesian food haven. This street is also not that far away if you have saved some time to explore the old town of Jakarta. The street basically comes alive at night, there the food vendors start to cook up their dishes, and it would then house a good night in the city with good food that is basically some of the inexpensive food you could acquire in the city.