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10 Most Expensive Hotel Rooms in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Have you ever wondered where celebrities, foreign dignitaries and rich entrepreneurs sleep whenever they stay in Jakarta?

On this article, I listed the most expensive rooms and suites currently available in Jakarta. Most of them are generally not available on booking engines like Agoda so I contacted each hotel directly to enquire about the rates. The prices may fluctuate throughout the year so I asked a few dates and calculated an average price.

All prices are net (after tax and service charge).

Hotel Mulia Senayan - The Duke Suite - 15,730$ / Night
This is the most luxurious and most expensive hotel room in Jakarta. The suite occupies 595m2 split in two wings, one for living and one for entertainment. The master bedroom has a 3,5 meters long bed (almost twice as large as a normal king size bed) and a 55-inch TV. The bathroom has golden bath and shower fixtures from designer Sherle Wagner. A free bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne is included in the price.

Hotel Raffles - Raffles Suite - 12,100$ / Night
The 390m2 Raffles Suite features an all-marble bathroom, 2 bedrooms with king size bed and a massage room. It seems a bit overpriced compared to what the competitors are offering but this property is brand-new and has the highest ratings on Agoda for a Jakarta hotel (read comments here).

Dharmawangsa Hotel - Presidential Suite - 10,792$ / Night
The 443m2 suite is decorated with Javanese artifacts and furniture. Occupying the top floor of the hotel, it is actually a villa with its own plunge pool, two bedrooms, a working space, a living room, a kitchen and two terraces.

Ritz Carlton Pacific Place - Presidential Suite: 9,200$ / Night
On the 25th Floor of the Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place, the 340m2 Presidential Suite features its own dining and living room, an oversized marble bathroom with Bulgari amenities, a King master suite with a 360° view on Jakarta and a 46-inch LED TV with Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan - Presidential Suite: 9120$ / Night
The suite is similar to the one of its sister property in Pacific Place, except that it is larger at 401m2. You have an oversized jacuzzi, a 55-inch LED TV, robotic toilets and a luxuriously-appointed living room.

Grand Hyatt - Presidential Suite: 8,800$ / Night

The best suite of the Grand Hyatt Hotel Jakarta is 315m2 large. It has its own covered terrace, a working area, separate dining and living rooms and an all-marble bathroom with a jacuzzi.

Mandarin Oriental - Suite Mandarin - 8,470$ / Night
On the last floor of the Mandarin Hotel, this relatively small suite (200m2) is decorated with refined taste. It boasts a kitchen, a state-of-the-art home theater, a study and a spacious bathroom with a soaking bath.

Kempinski Hotel - Presidential Suite: 7,538$ / Night
This huge 412m2 suite comes with a full kitchen, an entertainment center, a powder room and a lounge. The bedroom has a stunning view on Bundaran HI, one of Jakarta's iconic landmark.

Fairmont Hotel - Presidential Suite: 6,655$ / Night
The Presidential Suite of the Fairmont Hotel is 303m2. It features a living room, a gym, a marble bathroom, a small kitchen and a private massage room. 

Shangri La - Presidential Suite - 6,547$ / Night
A 370m2 suite considered among the best hotel rooms in the city. It is located on the highest floors of Shangri-La with a huge bedroom, a bathroom with a jacuzzi, a dining area, a kitchen and a sitting room. President Obama slept there when he was in Jakarta in 2010.

Jakarta Nightlife Explained in Less Than 500 Words

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I've written dozens of articles about Jakarta nightlife, but some people don't have the time to read them. This is a summary of everything there is to know, in less than 500 words:

Even though Jakarta is the capital of a conservative and Muslim-majority country, it has a fun and diverse nightlife that comprises some of the best bars, nightclubs and spas in Southeast Asia.

As you can see on my Jakarta nightlife map, most of the trendy venues are located in the South of the city while "naughty" spots can be found in the North. For this reason, it is ideal to stay in the city center around Plaza Indonesia or Sarinah Mall (Where to Stay in Jakarta?). Budget hotels in this area cost around 40$ per night and 5-star properties around 200$.

The only way to get around at night in Jakarta is to use taxis or apps like Uber/Grab. A 30-minute midnight ride from the nightclub X2 in the South to Colosseum in the North will cost about Rp60,000 (5$). Taxis are cheap and safe as long as you use companies like Blue Bird or Express.

South Jakarta Nightlife:
This area corresponds to the business district. If you decide to party there, you are more likely to meet normal girls (non-prostitutes), rich Indonesian-Chinese, expats and business travelers.

I recommend you to start around 8pm with a dinner in a bar/restaurant. Current hotspots include Basque, Loewy, E&O, Bluegrass, Social House, Cork&Screw, Union and Potato Head. They are very similar as they all belong to the same groups.

After eating, you can head to a bar for more drinks. My favorites are rooftop venues like Cloud or Skye. Young and trendy expats may prefer Safehouse, Lola or Bauhaus while rich Indonesians will hide in speakeasies like Hemingway, Monty's or Proof. If you are on a budget, Beer Garden is a good option. If you are looking for girls, try Jalan Falatehan, B.A.T.S or CJs.

Most nightclubs get busy at 1am and close after 4am. Dress codes are strictly implemented: Men should wear a shirt and women should wear high-heels. All the best nightclubs have a first-drink charge between Rp150,000 and Rp300,000 on weekends. You can avoid it if you reserve a table and order bottle service. Smoking is normally allowed inside. The best nightclubs in Jakarta are Immigrant, Dragonfly, Empirica, Blowfish, Domain, Fable and X2.

Kemang has cheaper nightclubs that are popular with a younger crowd (999, Nu China or Tipsy).

North Jakarta Nightlife
North of the Monas (National Monument), you will find large one-stop entertainment venues that have nightclubs, karaokes and spas in the same building. They are filled with prostitutes, freelance or not, and the clients are mostly locals.

The famous ones, from most expensive to cheapest are: Alexis, Malioboro, 1001, Illigals, Emporium, King Cross, Golden Crown, Classic. Each have striptease/sexy dancers. The spas are hidden brothels. If this is too hardcore for you, have a massage plus-plus instead in Delta or My Place.

Clubbers in North Jakarta often take drugs in karaoke rooms or inside after-hour clubs like Mille's. Punishment for drug use is harsh in Indonesia, it's best to abstain.

495 words. Still confused? Please leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer.

28 Best Shopping Malls in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Malls in Jakarta are much more than just shopping venues. They are privately-owned cities where you can find pretty much anything including offices, residences, cinemas, schools, hospitals, restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, mosques, churches, karaokes, games, banks, boutiques, supermarkets, etc. It is not surprising that many malls add the words "town", "village" or "city" to their names, for instance Kuningan City, Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, Kemang Village, etc.

The environment of Jakarta has become so hostile that malls are one of the only places where you can escape from the heat and the pollution. Living in Jakarta means that you will spend large chunks of your time visiting malls, whether you like it or not, because it is one of the very few things to do here.

The following review is a subjective list of my 28 favorite malls in Jakarta, starting with the best. I added a short description to explain the particularities of each and why you should visit them. I only wrote about malls I have been to within Jakarta (I could have listed over 50 but many are not really interesting).

Plaza Indonesia (called PI)
Plaza Indonesia has always been my favorite mall in Jakarta. It is the most expensive for renting retail space, before Plaza Senayan.  Rich and beautiful Indonesians shop here, in one of the numerous luxury shops such as Cartier, Chanel, Gucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. It has two famous nightlife venues, Cloud Rooftop Lounge and Immigrant Nightclub. For day-time eating, I enjoy La Moda or Kitchenette because they are well-placed for watching people. The main Starbucks at the entrance is perfect for setting up dates. It is home to two 5-star hotels, the Grand Hyatt and Keraton at the Plaza.

There is nothing more cliché than saying you'll meet your friends in Grand Indonesia. Much larger than Plaza Indonesia but not as luxurious, it has several department stores, including Seibu and Central. Indonesian girls from the middle to upper class enjoy it because they can buy from Zara, H&M and other popular fashion retailers. On the 4th and 5th floor, you will find an upmarket food court and trendy restaurants. The Blitz-CGV cinema is one of the largest in Jakarta. There are no nightclubs in Grand Indonesia but Social House and the rooftop Skye are two happening bars. The luxurious Kempinski hotel is within Grand Indonesia.

Located right in the Central Business District of Sudirman, it is a medium-sized luxury mall with a lot of popular cafés, including Potato Head, Cork&Screw, TWG and Paul Bakery. It also has the French department store Galeries Lafayette (the most exclusive in Jakarta), the amusement center Kidzania and several luxury brands (Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Lamborghini, etc.). It is mostly busy during the week with office workers so I enjoy going there on weekends for a quieter atmosphere. The cinema in particular is rarely full. The Ritz Carlton SCBD is attached to Pacific Place.

The third luxury mall in Jakarta with Pacific Place and Plaza Indonesia, it is managed by a Japanese company who also owns the boutique mall Senayan Arcadia, the luxury hotel Fairmont and the Sentral Towers. Luxury brands boutiques include Dior and Louis Vuitton. It has some interesting F&B venues like Union, Garçon, Rustique and Kayser. I also like to sit in Monolog or De Luca and watch the people go by. For party, there is the famous X2 nightclub.

The major mall in South Jakarta, it consists of several buildings (PIM 1, PIM 2) and an extension dedicated to F&B restaurants and cafés (Street Gallery). It has a luxury feel but the brands are mostly middle-class ones. Many expats visit it.

Senayan City (Senci)
Just opposite of Plaza Senayan, Senayan City is a mall targeting younger upper class Jakartans with several fashion boutiques and trendy F&B venues (Domain, Portico).

One of the most popular and largest malls in North Jakarta. I generally go there to watch IMAX movies. It is a middle-class mall with all the local and international brands you can think of. The crowd is almost entirely made of Indonesians, particularly Indochinese. The food court is excellent.

I was living near Lotte Shopping Avenue so I'm quite familiar with it. It is a modern, upmarket mall with popular fashion brands (H&M, Uniqlo), an art center, a duty free shop and a concert hall. There are also several bars and restaurants including Bacco, Revolution, Gonzo's and JJ Royal Bistro. It is part of the larger complex of Ciputra World I with DBS tower and the Raffles Hotel.

Central Park
With brands like Sephora, Bershka, H&M, Zara and Skechers, Central Park is the favorite mall of Jakartans in their late teens/early twenties. On the ground floor, there is a small park with regular events and several open-air cafés. The nightclub Nebula and the hotel Pullman are also there.

Kota Kasablanka (KoKas)
The first decent mall in the East of Jakarta, Kota Kasablanka is very crowded with people coming as far as Bekasi. It does not have anything special though apart from the usual mid-class brands and restaurants.

Gandaria is a lifestyle mall in South Jakarta and the second one with an IMAX theater in Jakarta. Targeting young people, it has several trendy fashion boutiques, mobile phone shops and some larger stores like Gramedia, Metro and ACE. The best restaurants are Basilico, La Hoya and Eric Kayser.

One of Jakarta's most iconic malls, you cannot miss it if you come from the airport with its huge outside LED display. It is a massive complex with several residential towers and over 350,000m2 of retail space. One of its unique features is the ice rink on its 3rd floor.

Located within the complex Kemang Village, this medium-sized mall is noticeable for its Avenue of the Stars, an open-air area with cafés and restaurants including Colonial, Meat Me, White Elephant and Seribu Rasa.

This is a lifestyle mall for young people with mostly restaurants, coffee shops and bars. You also have trendy boutiques, fitness centers, a university (BINUS), a hotel (Harris Suites FX) and the Arab nightclub De Leila.

A small shopping center located next to Taman Rasuna complex, it is convenient if you live nearby, but not really interesting for others. It has the expat bar Liquid Exchange inside.

Cilandak Town Square (Citos)
A popular mall will many coffee shops and restaurants. It is a meeting point for expats living in the area. The nightclub Jenja will open there in the second half of 2016.

This modern mall in West Jakarta is similar with Pondok Indah Mall. It is clean, with an upmarket feel and it is popular with expats. Since it is far from the city center, I've only been there a couple times.

ITC Kuningan/Ambassador Mall
Conveniently located in the city center, ITC/Ambassador is one of the oldest malls in Jakarta. It is very popular with middle-class Indonesians. It is recommended if you need to buy cheap clothes, electronic equipment and accessories. I also enjoy the food court on the 4th floor, especially the Manadonese food stalls.

I've only been once to Mall of Indonesia, which is supposed to be one of the largest in Jakarta. It has several large tenants like ACE Harware, Centro, Sportstation, Payless, Carrefour. They only have chain restaurants. Mall Kelapa Gading is better.

A large mall with many unbranded and fake products (accessories, clothes). It is a popular destination for tourists from all over Indonesia because it is close from the airport and affordable. You have several hotels inside (Amaris, Ibis, Novotel).

I used to be a regular of this mall 10 years ago because they had the best collection of pirated DVDs. I only go there now if I need to buy cheap electronic or photography equipment. It is connected to Mangga Dua Mall, Pasar Pagi (wholesale) and Harco Mas Mangga Dua. If you are a tourist, it is worth visiting for the local atmosphere.

The main reason to visit Baywalk is to hang out in the outside area where you have a nice seaview Apart from that, the mall is still a bit empty and lacks remarkable shops.

Citywalk is a small shopping gallery with mostly F&B outlets, including a bar and a family karaoke. It is targeting the middle class with affordable prices and fast food joints. It is more busy during week days than weekends.

Ancol Beach City
While this mall does not have any interesting shops or restaurants, it is the only one in Jakarta that possesses its own beach. If you have kids and if you live nearby, you may enjoy it. See more here: White Sand Beach in Jakarta.

Pasar Tanah Abang
This huge wholesale complex is split into 7 "blocks". It is where Indonesians go to buy cheap fabric and traditional clothing (muslim wear). I don't go there for shopping, only as a tourist. You can read more about Pasar Tanah Abang on my review Top 25 Traditional Markets and Shopping Streets in Jakarta.

Artha Gading Mall
Each section of this middle class mall has a particular theme: Italian, Japanese, Arab, Chinese, etc.

A new mall, it is walking distance from ITC Kuningan and opposite Lotte Shopping Avenue. It suffers from the area's tough competition and as a consequence, it is quite empty. I still visit it sometimes to go to Exodus nightclub and for the cinema XXI.

This mall has mostly mid-range local and international brands like Body&Soul, Charles&Keith, The Body Shop, Sogo or Giordano. They usually have small events in the large atrium.

Source: All photos from Instagram.

10 Best Things to Do In Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Many tourists hate Jakarta because they visit it the wrong way. They check the things to do in a guidebook or on the internet, and then try to do as many as possible in a short time.

Since they are not familiar with the city, they get stuck for hours in traffic, walk in the heat from one sight to the other, and spend more time bargaining than actually talking with Indonesians.

I am not saying that Jakarta is perfect, but if you know what to do, you can definitely have a good time.

Below is my list of the 10 most recommended things to do in Jakarta, starting from the best. An alternative title for the article could probably have been "How Not To Hate Jakarta". Your suggestions are welcome, please just write a comment at the end.

You can also read Is Jakarta worth visiting? for more information.

1) The best thing to do in Jakarta is to date a local (at least for guys)
Let's be honest here. Would Jakarta be as interesting for expats as it is today without Indonesian girls? Certainly not.

Dating local girls is the main activity of most guys I know who live here, and even for those who already have a Western wife. It is a fascinating introduction to Indonesian culture and the best way to learn the language. Leaving Indonesia without this experience is a bit like leaving Italia without eating pizza.

As a traveler, an easy way to get a date is to use online dating apps like Tinder. I wrote an article with the best services you can use: Online Dating Apps and Sites in Indonesia. Many girls in Jakarta will be suspicious about your intentions if you are a tourist though. If online dating does not work, you can read more advice in How to Meet Girls in Jakarta.

2) The second best thing to do in Jakarta is to party
The nightlife is one of the few areas where Jakarta can compete with Bangkok or Singapore. If you go to X2 on a Saturday night, you have at least 200 tourists. I don't think there are as many visiting the National Monument (Monas) over the whole weekend.

Clubs in Jakarta are not perfect but they are fun. Foreigners get a special treatment as long as they dress well and, unlike in Europe, you stand a chance with girls.

My whole website is about Jakarta nightlife. If you are not familiar with it already, start with Best Nightclubs 2016, Jakarta Nightlife 2015 and Jakarta Nightlife Guide.

3) The third best is to eat Indonesian food
I advise you to do the same when you visit Jakarta. You can go to Sabang street in Central Jakarta or Mangga Besar street in Kota (for more ideas, read Street Food in Jakarta) and choose one of the crowded food stalls. The prices are low: A dish without meat usually costs around Rp10,000, a dish with chicken or fish about Rp20,000 and a dish with beef or lamb between Rp30,000 and Rp50,000.

Don't make the mistake of only trying Nasi Goreng as you'll miss hundreds of delicious specialties. My personal favorites are Gudeg (cooked jackfruit), Ayam Gulai (chicken with Indonesian curry), Beef Rendang (slow-cooked beef with spices), Bebek Mercon (duck with extra spicy sauce), Grilled Fish with Dabu-Dabu (Manado spicy sauce), Lawar (minced vegetables and meat), Konro (ribs soup), etc.

You can also read: How I Became Fat in Indonesia.

4) The fourth best is to get a massage

Indonesia is one of the best countries in the world to get an excellent massage.

In Jakarta, for just US5$ you can have a professional masseuse at your door who will massage you for an hour. The easiest way to find a therapist is to download the app Go-Jek and to use the feature "Go-Massage". Alternatively, almost every hotels in Jakarta with more than 3 stars have an in-house spa or 24/7 massage services.

You can also check independent spas. The prices are between 15$ and 30$ for a 90-minute treatment in a decent venue. For a luxurious one, you can read my article: Best Luxury Spas in Jakarta.

To find the spa nearest from your place, you can use my guide Finding A Spa In Jakarta. Beware as I'm also mentioning plus plus spas (that are also quite an experience... you can try Delta if you are curious).

Expat women would tell you that Jakarta is a great place to have an inexpensive creambath, a nail polish or a scrub. Beauty salons are not expensive and they can be found everywhere.

5) The fifth best is to do nothing 
"Nongkrong" ("hanging out" in English) is the trademark hobby of Indonesia. Basically, it means doing nothing with other people.

You can hangout pretty much anywhere: In a coffee shop, on top of a rooftop bar, in a restaurant, in front of a 7-eleven, in the street, at a friend's place, at the mosque, etc. All you need is at least another person. You may also add a beer, a kretek, a coffee and some snacks. A chair is not required as you can see on this photo:

You may feel it is a waste of your time but it's not. It is a time for relaxing, eating, drinking, socializing and adapting to a new environment. In such a hectic city, slowing down is essential to avoid going mad.

6) The sixth best is to walk around
As surprising as it may seem, my favorite day-time activity in Jakarta is simply to walk around in normal Indonesian neighborhoods. It is a free and simple thing to do, yet very rewarding.

Whenever I have guests coming to Jakarta, I always take them for a walk and they love it. It allows them to discover the softer, slower-paced side of the city, where regular folks live.

This is something you can do almost anywhere as long as you understand how Jakarta is organized. Most of the malls, offices, luxury residences and hotels are located along huge streets like Rasuna Said, Sudirman or Gatot Subroto. As soon as you venture behind those skyscrapers, you have smaller and smaller streets (also called "gangs"), where only motorbikes can enter. The atmosphere changes completely: It becomes almost rural with no traffic, low-rise houses, chicken running wild and women going to the mosque with their daster (a sort of daytime pajamas).

This drawing may (or may not) help you understand:
Three nice areas for walking around are Glodok (Jalan Kemenangan, near the Chinese temple Vihara Dharma Bhakti), Tanah Abang (you can go to Jalan Kebon Kacang I, II, III, etc) or Pasar Baru (Jalan Kelinci).

7) The seventh best is to visit the tourist spots
Some tourist spots in Jakarta are interesting, but it would be a mistake to visit them before doing the things listed above.

My most recommended attractions are the Istiqlal Mosque, the National Museum, Taman Fatahillah (a square in the Old Town with several museums and coffee shops) and Sunda Kelapa (the old harbour). All of these can be done within a day if you start early and if you choose a hotel in a central area (Where to Stay in Jakarta).

Other sights that you can skip:
Monas is not that special and the surrounding park is not well maintained.
Taman Mini is too far from the city center so it will take you the whole day to visit it.
Waterbom and DuFan are two themed parks that are only interesting if you have kids.

If you need more ideas, I have been to most tourist attractions in Jakarta and I reviewed them on Jakarta100bars here: Things to Do in Jakarta. You can also check my ranking of the best museums: 16 Best Museums in Jakarta.

8) The eighth best is to learn Indonesian
Indonesian is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is easy to learn because there are no verb tenses or declensions (noun modifications). You can make sentences just by putting up words together. The pronunciation is also simple: Every letter has a sound.

A traveler I know managed to reach a conversational level within two weeks only. All he did was to memorize 200 words, then seize any opportunity to start a conversation with Indonesian people. He was dating a girl also, that helps.

If you stay in Jakarta more than a few weeks, or if you live in Southeast Asia, I recommend you to learn at least a few words. It will make your Indonesian experience richer and more enjoyable.

9) The ninth best is to go shopping
Indonesia is a protectionist country. This means anything imported or requiring imported components will be expensive, and anything that can be made local is (normally) cheap.

Shopping in traditional markets and shopping streets is a great local experience. I've written a complete article about these here: 25 Best Markets and Shopping Streets in Jakarta.

Shopping in middle class malls is also fun and you may find a few bargains (though not as good as in Thailand or Vietnam). Indonesian-made clothes and accessories are generally cheap. Electronic equipment, mobile phones, computers and cameras with a local brand don't cost a lot as well, but the quality can be poor. There are always a lot of fake products too. Some of the best middle class malls are ITC Mangga Dua, Mall of Indonesia, Mall Kelapa Kading, Mall Ambassador and Mall Taman Anggrek.

Shopping in luxury malls like Plaza Indonesia, Plaza Senayan or Pacific Place is not really interesting in terms of prices. Most items sold are more expensive than elsewhere. Those malls are still worth a visit if you want to see the glitzy side of Jakarta. It is also where you will find the most popular cafés, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cinemas.

10) The tenth best thing to do in Jakarta is to get out
If you don't get out from Jakarta once in a while, you will start to hate it. There are flights from Jakarta to most airports in Indonesia, making it the best base to visit the country. 50$ will take you thousands of kilometers away to white sand beaches, world-class reef corals and indigenous tribes.

Get some travel ideas here: 11 Indonesian Islands You've Never Head Of and Bali Cheap Travel Guide.

Is Jakarta Worth Visiting?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
There are barely any tourists visiting Jakarta. Most foreigners you see are expats or businessmen. In the backpacker street of Jalan Jaksa, you will have a maximum of 50 travelers on any given night. For a capital city with 10 million inhabitants, this is exceptionally small. 

It is not difficult to understand why most people avoid Jakarta: It is noisy, smelly, dirty, polluted, hot and messy. Getting around is difficult with massive traffic jams, no sidewalks and bad public transportation. There are no spectacular tourist sights and the attractions are disappointing compared to those in Bali, Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. 

Things are not as bad as they seem though. If you can get past your first negative impression, you will discover that Jakarta is home to museums, modern malls, authentic neighborhoods, traditional markets, monuments, religious buildings, parks, cultural centers, art galleries, a beachfront and of course one of the best nightlife in Asia.

As the most diverse and liberal city in Indonesia, it is the best place to meet Indonesians from various background. You'll be surprised how easy it is to start a conversation with anybody in Jakarta. It often starts even before landing, when you're still on the plane. Unlike in Bali, most people are genuinely interested in you and not trying to sell you something.

It is also in Jakarta that you will find the best Indonesian food. All the cuisines of the archipelago are easy to find, from the ubiquitous warung Padang to fine dining restaurants.

For all these reasons, I would say that yes, it is worth visiting Jakarta for at least 2 days. On the first, you'll have enough time to visit the National Museum, the Monas, the Istiqlal Mosque and Taman Fatahillah. In the evening, you could try some local street food, have a drink at a rooftop bar and end up in a nightclub.

On the next day, get a massage in a luxury day spa and wander in huge malls like Grand Indonesia. If shopping is not your thing, an exciting experience is to walk inside smaller streets, also called "gangs", where Indonesians live in a surprisingly peaceful, almost rural atmosphere.

If you choose a strategic location, you can do all of the above without suffering too much from the traffic. You can read Where to Stay in Jakarta for more details. It is best to come during the weekend as the streets will be more quiet. You'll also have the opportunity to try one of the city's numerous weekend brunches. Sunday morning is also car-free day on Sudirman street (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th photos of this article were taken during that day).

Jakarta is not for everybody though. To enjoy it, you need to have an open and positive mind. The standards are lower than in any Western countries for almost anything you'll do (except the malls and the cinemas). If you compare it with other cities, you'll keep on being disappointed. You should also be a bit adventurous, particularly if you are on a budget as you'll rely on public transport.

If you are preparing a trip to Jakarta and need more informations about things to do, hotels and general advice, don't hesitate to drop me an email thibaud@jakarta100bars.com. Jakarta is safe but you should get a travel insurance for the duration of your trip. Read my advice here: Choosing a Travel Insurance for Indonesia.

Wu Bar & Club (PIK - Jakarta)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Wu is a bar and nightclub located in North Jakarta. Opened recently, it is one of the few proper nightlife venues in PIK (see my review PIK Nightlife), a trendy area among young and affluent Indochinese.

Wu is actually more of a lounge where most people sit down and drink until they get so drunk they start dancing. It is better to come with a group as you are very unlikely to meet anyone if you are by yourself (unless you get invited to a table). They also serve shisha.

The current schedule is the following:
- Old school music, rap and Rn'B on Monday
- Acoustic nights on Tuesday
- Ladies' night on Wednesday (girls get free shots if they come before 11pm)
- Trap, hip-hop and Rn'b nights on Thursday
- Live music followed by DJ on Friday and Saturday
- Progressive, house and trance DJ on Sunday

Overall: Recommended if you are under 25, staying in Pantai Indah Kapuk, and part of a group.

Opening Hours:
Every day from 7pm to 4am

Wu Bar & Club
Rukan Crown Golf blok D8-10,
Jl. Marina Indah Raya 
Pantai Indah kapuk - North Jakarta

Email: wubar.pik@gmail.com
Phone number: 08 77 81 43 6393 / 08 5711 888 187

Instagram: Wu Jakarta

30 Best Bangkok Nightclubs in 2016

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
There are so many nightclubs in Bangkok that it may be hard for first-time visitors to decide where to party. The objective of this review is to give you a basic understanding of Bangkok nightlife to help you plan your nights out better.

All the best nightclubs and party spots in Bangkok are listed below. For clarity purposes, I inserted them into categories as follow:

- Tourist Nightclubs in Bangkok
- Expat Nightclubs in Bangkok
- Backpackers Nightlife
- Hi-So Nightclubs in Bangkok (for Rich Thai)
- Middle-Class Thai Nightclubs
- Hip Hop Nightclubs in Bangkok
- Late Night/ After Hour Nightclubs in Bangkok
- Free Nightclubs (No Entrance Fee) in Bangkok
- Ethnic Nightclubs (Russian, Arab, African) in Bangkok
- Gogo Bars in Bangkok
- Gentlemen's Clubs in Bangkok
- Best Venues to Pick Up Girls
- Best Nightclubs for Each Day of the Week
- Best Ladies Nights in Bangkok

For each venue, I included a link to their Facebook page. I encourage you to check the opening hours, event and entrance fee there directly. In general, most clubs are open until 2-3am and they will charge you between 250THB and 400THB for the first drink/entry. The most expensive, Onyx and Cé La Vi cost 500THB.

Beware! Not every hotel in Bangkok will accept if you bring a girl to your room. If you want to avoid an embarrassing moment, you can book the following guest-friendly hotels (that are also close to the nightlife): Heaven @ 4Ambassador BangkokRuamchitt Plaza HotelSukhumvit 12 Suites and Sofitel Bangkok.

Tourist Nightclubs in Bangkok
I will start with the nightclubs you should actually avoid. Tourist nightclubs are the worse, but unfortunately many visitors only go to these places. One of the reason is that they ask for advice to taxi drivers who get a commission on each person they bring (200THB). This is why some taxis will even offer you a free ride.

In this category, you have the following nightclubs: Shock39, Spicy, Climax, BossyEQ. CM2 was one as well but it reopened under the name Play by CM2 and I haven't been back there since. Those places are all pretty much the same: They are rather dirty, have no design, rarely organize special events, rely on an endless supply of tourists and have 99% prostitutes. The only positive thing is that they stay open later than usual (until 5am-6am). The ratio guys/girls is terrible, meaning you may struggle to find a decent looking girl, even if you are willing to pay.

You should cross them from your clubbing list unless you fit into one of these categories:
  • You love commercial music (Top 40, Hip Hop)
  • You want to find an average-looking, yet expensive hooker
  • You want to party after 3am
  • You want to party in short pants and flip flops
  • You are a 20-year old countryside boy on his first trip abroad
  • You come from a country where clubbing is forbidden
Some tourist clubs are a bit better though. In particular, you can try Mixx or Insanity. They have a similar concept (Freelancers + Tourists + Stay Open Late + Commissions to Taxi) but they are classier.

Insanity is very near from Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza so all the girls working in gogo bars tend to visit after they finish their work. It has a nice set up, it is modern and you may meet some normal girls as well. The music is not too bad, mostly house and EDM. I like the set-up with the central podium.

Mixx is OK as well, but quite expensive. You have two rooms there, one of which has hip hop music. It is located in the 5-star Intercontinental Hotel so the crowd is upmarket and the prostitutes more like high-class escorts (some are Russian). It closes at 5am. It is popular with expats as well.

Expat Nightclubs in Bangkok
Those bars and nightclubs are preferred by richer expats and travelers who are already familiar with the city.

Levels (on 6th Floor of Aloft Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 11)
This nightclub almost made the tourist clubs lists. It has lots of prostitutes (pretty ones I must admit) and a mixed crowd of 30-something expats and travelers. You may still meet normal girls though, especially if you say you have a good job in Bangkok. The music is EDM and House with a hip-hop night on Sundays. A nice feature is the garden rooftop from which you can smoke. The entrance is free but drinks inside are pricey.

Cé La Vi (on 39th Floor of Sathorn Square)
Used to be called Ku De Ta. Sister branch of Cé La Vi in Singapore. This is the top high-end nightclub for expats in Bangkok at the time of writing. You need to dress sharp and bring money. It's a good place to meet other people and possibly some upper class Thai girls. If you are looking like a tourist, you can forget about it though. Hip hop ladies night on Wednesday. The music style changes often depending on guest DJs or events. There are probably high class escorts but they are discreet.

Glow (Sukhumvit 33)
A small nightclub on two floors with European techno and electronic music. It is a favorite of Bangkok expats. You will barely see any tourists or Thai people (apart from the expat's girlfriends). Glow is recommended if you want to experience European-style clubbing.

Beam (Thonglor)
I have mixed feeling with Beam. It is a beautifully designed nightclub, with impressive lighting and smoke effects. I've rarely seen something similar elsewhere. It also has a great variety of DJs who play non-commercial electronic music and hip hop. On the negative side, it is pricey (400THB entrance) and the crowd not so friendly to be with. If you like it, you can also go to Dark Bar which is similar.

Mustache (Ratchadaphisek)
Under Belgian management, this alternative bar is one of the current hotspots in Bangkok. It is not exactly in the city center but 15 minutes away by taxi from Sukhumvit (it's a new location). The music there is similar to that of Beam or Glow but the crowd is younger and more laidback. You have two floors, including a rooftop bar. It closes late and the entrance is free.

Sing Sing TheaterMaggie Choos and Iron Fairies
Those 3 bar-clubs are similar as they all have world-class design, a chic expat crowd, good cocktails and non-commercial music. Each are worth a visit, ideally just after eating and before heading to bigger nightclubs.

Live RCA (Royal City Avenue)
Live RCA is a clubbing event space attracting major International DJs (techno, tech-house, house, EDM). They will have something different each week so it's better if you check on their Facebook beforehand. The crowd can be more or less expat depending on the DJ. Open only on weekends.

Other bars you may want to try to meet young expats: Revolucion and Oskar.

Backpacker Nightlife
Backpackers and expats on a budget normally party on Khao San Road. It is not classy but it can be fun once in a while. It is the best location to meet Western girls in Thailand.

You cannot go there directly with the BTS or MRT. It's a 120THB taxi ride from Sukhumvit. The advantage of Khao San Road is that everything is in one spot. You can just go from one bar to the other, buying cheap buckets of booze in-between.

The main nightclub is simply call "The Club". It is next to a bar called Golf which is always packed. If you cannot afford the club entrance (250THB), you can just party in the street, it's pretty much the same crowd and atmosphere. For a more rustic option, you can go to GulliverBrick Bar is also popular, but the crowd mostly Thai.

Hi-So Nightclubs in Bangkok
Hi-so (for High Society) is a popular term in Thailand to describe the richest Thais, the top 1%. If you are a 20-year old kid who owns a Porsche and dates a famous actress, then you are hi-so.

Hi-so Thais party in only a few locations in Central Bangkok: Royal City Avenue (Onyx) and Thonglor/Ekkamai (Funky Villa, Demo, Do Not Disturb). Thonglor is also where you'll find most hipster and trendy bars of Bangkok.

You will see the most beautiful Thai girls in some of these clubs, but you have very little chances with them unless you're part of a group. These girls are scared of tarnishing their reputation by mingling with foreigners. So you need to get the approval of the group first, and then you might get the approval of the girl.

In most Thai nightclubs (including the ones listed below), people party Asian/Chinese style: They book a sofa, order expensive bottles, stay within their small groups of friends, get drunk until they pass out and show off their wealth as much as they can. If you cannot book a table, you'll be squeezed and you'll struggle to get a drink from bartenders who are too busy to take care of VIP guests.

Booking a table means that you agree to spend a certain amount on alcohol. For instance, if the minimum spend to get a table is 300$, it means you can spend 300$ on bottles, mixers and food. If you are splitting the bill with several friends, it is often a better deal than buying drinks individually. Bottles in those clubs are not that expensive, THB2,000 is largely enough for a good whisky.

Dress code are enforced (and anyway you don't want to look like a tourist): No shorts, no sandals, no singlets. They always check IDs so make sure to bring your passport with you, even if you look 40. Some places will charge you more if you are a foreigner (Farang), but you'll get free drinks with your entry. 

Onyx is one of the poshiest nightclubs for Thai. It is pricey (500 THB entrance fee with a drink), yet so crowded you'll barely be able to move around. Go with friends and order bottle service. An ID is necessary to enter.

Funky Villa was one of the most famous nightclubs for rich Thai but it burnt down just a few days ago (end of June 2016). They had live Thai music with famous local bands.

Next to Funky Villa (same owner), they have EDM and a smaller bar  called "Dirty Bar" with hip hop.

Very young rich Thai crowd listening to live bands. Similar to Funky Villa.

Do Not Disturb Club (DND Club): Similar to Demo, located behind Nunglen. They have live Thai bands and EDM DJs.

You may also want to check Myst, Safehouse and Falabella.

Nightclubs for Middle Class Thai
Unlike nightclubs like Funky Villa or Onyx, you'll be more welcome here as a foreigner. Those places are among the most fun to party in Bangkok as long as you don't mind commercial music.

They are also excellent for meeting regular, non-prostitute Thai girls. Typically, this is where students and office workers party. Don't expect that everything will be easy though. The main problem is that girls are often already accompanied by some guys who are paying for their drinks. Because of this, they may not be so comfortable spending time with you within the club. The solution is either to befriend other members of her group and join the table, or to exchange numbers. The next day she should be more relaxed.

Many tourists avoid these clubs because they cannot get laid instantly. You will only have 5%-10% foreigners on average, most of which are younger expats.

I am only listing places with DJs and Western music. If you are adventurous and looking for a local experience, you'll also find many other nightclubs with a 100% Thai crowd and Thai live music, especially outside the city center.

Route 66 in RCA
Route 66 is the place to go to for down-to-earth, normal clubbing in Bangkok. It is really big, with several rooms including an EDM zone, a hip-hop room and a live music area. The crowd is middle to upper class. It has become more popular with expats because it is always crowded and easy for meeting people.

Clubs of Ratchada 4
Ratchada 4 is a small entertainment complex 10 minutes away from Sukhumvit. There are several nightclubs, bars and karaokes in one spot. Among them, you'll find Snop, Embassy MBS, HollywoodNext 7 Pub, etc.

Not too far, on Ratchada 4, you can visit the brand new MAD, which used to be Mansion7.

Brick Bar
This is a good place to party with Thai if you are in the Khao San Road area.

Narz is one of the oldest clubs in Bangkok. It used to be the place to go for hip hop but now they play mostly EDM/Trance. It is not as crowded as it used to be but on Weekends it's still OK.

Hip Hop Nightclubs in Bangkok
Bangkok has the largest hip-hop and Rn'B scene in Southeast Asia. On every given night, you have at least 5 venues to choose from that are either dedicated to hip-hop or having a special hip-hop event.

The best one is Sugar, conveniently located on Sukhumvit Soi 11. This is a NY-style nightclub where the Bangkok hip-hop community meets. There is a good mix of expats and Thai people. The entrance is quite cheap, 200THB, inclusive of a drink. Another popular choice, more high-end, is the Dirty Bar within Demo club in Thonglor.
G Club is the favorite club of the African community in Bangkok. They play hip-hop, Rn'B, Reggae and Afro music.

There is a recently new hip-hop club I didn't visit called Vibe. They stopped updating their Facebook a few months ago so I don't know if they are still open or not.

Some large nightclubs in Bangkok also have smaller rooms with hip hop or Rn'B. It is the case of Route 66 and Mixx.

Finally, Cé La Vi has a great hip hop ladies night every Wednesday and Levels has one on Sundays.

Late Night/ After Hour Nightclubs in Bangkok
The curfew policy of many Bangkok nightclubs is a big turn-off for me. The rules seem to have eased a bit the past year (you can party until 3am now), but I still find it too early.

Don't start your nights out late in Bangkok, even more so during the week. I recommend you to eat around 6pm, find a nice bar at 8pm, and hit the clubs at 11pm.

A recommended after hour club is Scratch Dog (until 6am) inside Windsor Suites Hotel. It is a place with many prostitutes but if you're lucky you can meet some normal girls as well. There is a good mix of Thai and foreign guests, including some Asian nationalities. You must pay 400THB to get in with a drink.

Even though I'm not a big hip hop fan, I would say that Sugar (mentioned above) is one of the best places for late clubbing. It closed at 8am when I went there and it had a great atmosphere with no so many hookers. People were friendly and happy to meet talk to strangers.

Mustache is closing at 6am and it is where many expats are heading for underground music. There are no prostitutes at all so if you're horny and trying to score, you should avoid. It is also a bit far.

If you are looking for a female partner, go to Insanity where you'll have the largest choice of affordable freelancers + a few normal girls. Mixx closes at 5am and have a lot of (high-class) working girls too.

Finally, tourist nightclubs like Shock39SpicyClimaxBossy and EQ are also closing late.

Free Nightclubs (No Entrance Fee) in Bangkok
If you are a guy, you must pay to get into most nightclubs in Bangkok. Girls can get for free during the ladies night (see below for a list of the best ones).

There are 2 nightclubs with free entrance that I know of. Levels and Mustache. Some Thai nightclubs like Demo are also free during the week, but they may charge a first drink to foreigners (apparently to filter the weed). Cé La Vi is free during the week but it costs 500THB on weekends.

If you are really a cheapo, you can party for free in the streets of Khao San Road. Many bars are packed with people who bought their drinks in 7-11.

Ethnic Nightclubs (Arab, African, Russian) in Bangkok
There are a few ethnic nightclubs in Bangkok, near Nana Plaza in particular. I haven't been inside but I passed in front of some several times.

Arabs/Middle Eastern visitors will go to Dino Club inside Graceland Hotel (which is a girl-friendly hotel). Needless to say, it's full with hookers there. They also love to go to Shock39.

The African community gathers in G-Terminal Club that I mentioned above.

There are also some nightclubs and lounges with many prostitutes from Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. For instance in Rajah Hotel, Bossy or Mixx Disco.

Japanese visitors tend to stay near Sukhumvit Soi 33 as there are several Japanese style massage parlours there (nuru massage). They also go to Thermae in the basement of the Ruamchitt Plaza Hotel where many freelancers can be found.

Asian clubbers from Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong tend to stick to the Thai nightclubs in RCA or Thonglor.

Gogo Bars
Almost all the gogo clubs in Bangkok can be found in just 3 locations: Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Patpong. If you are confused about where to go: Nana Plaza is the largest complex, Soi Cowboy is the hottest, Patpong is the trashiest. You can walk from Soi Cowboy to Nana Plaza in 15 minutes, and go from both to Patpong in 15 minutes by taxi (or public transport).

In each of these, you have dozens of gogo bars, one after the other. To the undiscerning visitor, they may all look the same, but a regular could tell you the differences between each. Some will feature topless girls, some will have naked girls, some allow you to touch the girls, some have special shows, some have ladyboys, some have older girls, some are for Japanese, etc.

You are usually sitting down in a circle and looking at the girls. You can ask to talk with one and buy her ladies drink. She may also go home with you if she agrees. In this case, you must compensate the bar with a bar fine. It is best to visit gogo bars early in the evening, ideally around 7pm or 8pm, because the prettiest girls haven't been booked out already.

I've listed the hottest gogo bars in Bangkok in the following review: Top Nude Gogo Bars in Bangkok. If you are too lazy to open the link, I recommend you to try Baccara and Crazy House in Soi Cowboy, Spanky's in Nana Plaza, Black Pagoda in Patpong.

High-Class Gentlemen's Clubs in Bangkok
If you have both money and a taste for exceptionally gorgeous ladies, you may want to avoid the average gogo bars scene of Nana Plaza, Patpong or Soi Cowboy. Bangkok has several high-class gentlemen's clubs spread all over the city where you are almost assured to lose your head at the sight of dozens of scantily-clad hotties.

In Bangkok, the term "Gentlemen's Club" is used to describe a kind of hostess bars with coyote shows, where most clients are "members". To become a member, you must buy in advance several bottles of alcohol that you can use within a year. The prices aren't that high if you are a regular: At The Pimp for instance, with 550$ you get membership + 12 whisky bottles. If you go there with 4 friends and drink 2 bottles in total, you will have spent less than 30$ each on alcohol for your night out (and then you have to do it 5 more times during the year).

Without a membership, it is unfortunately expensive. In the best gentlemen's clubs, a non-member can expect to spend up to 200$ between the entrance fee, the drinks (for you and your hostess) and the tips. Again, you'll save a lot of money if you buy a bottle so go there with a few friends.

Girls in those clubs usually make enough money with commissions they get from drinks so they aren't really interested to sleep with you. Your chances of taking one back home are slim, or you'll need to spend a crazy amount of money. 

If your budget is limited, you can go to an upmarket gogo bars instead like Baccara or Black Pagoda. The best ones have a great selection of girls and a luxurious atmosphere. It is much easier to barfine someone there as well.

Here are a few recommendations for gentlemen's clubs in Bangkok: Kush Mansion, Sherbet & Pianoforte, The Pimp, Monte Carlo and Vegas.

Best Venues to Pick Up Girls
It really depends on what you are looking for: Paid sex, free one-night stand or relationship.

For paid sex, the best places are certainly the gogo bars, Mixx club and Insanity.

For one night stand, you need to find Westernized Thai girls. I'd recommend Cé La ViSugar and Levels.

For relationships, the best places are Route 66, Live RCA and the clubs of Ratchada 4.

Best Nightclubs for Each Day of The Week
Best Nightclubs for Monday: OnyxInsanityMixx
Best Nightclubs for Tuesday: LevelsSugar
Best Nightclubs for Wednesday: Cé La ViDemo
Best Nightclubs for Thursday: Route 66Levels, Ratchada 4
Best Nightclubs for Weekends: Anywhere is busy
Best Nightclubs for Sunday: InsanityLevels

Best Ladies Night in Bangkok
The best ladies4 night in Bangkok is on Wednesdays at Cé La Vi from 9pm to midnight. Girls get a free flow of sparkling wine. They also have a Free Flow wine on Saturday from 9pm to 11pm.

Levels has a great one on Sundays: Girls get 3 free drinks before midnight and all-night-long 99THB cocktails.

Insanity has a ladies night on Sundays: Girls get 2 free drinks and if they come by 4, they get a free bottle of sparkling wine.

In Hi-So in So Sofitel Bangkok, girls get a free glass of Champagne from 8pm to 11pm.

In Bangkok Betty, girls get 3 free drinks before 9pm

Any questions about clubbing in Bangkok? Please write a message below and I'll try to answer it. Photocredit: Win Photos.