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Tangerang Nightlife: Exploring BSD and Serpong

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I've been living in Tangerang for over a month now and I've had a few occasions to visit the bars and nightclubs there.

This review will give you a short overview of the nightlife in Tangerang and more precisely in the new cities Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) and Gading Serpong.

Note: If you need a hotel, please check Serpong Hotel Deals and Tangerang Hotel Deals (I make a small commission on every booking but the price does not change for you and it helps me maintain Jakarta100bars).

Overview of Tangerang
Enigma Nightclub in Gading Serpong
Tangerang and South Tangerang are two separate suburban cities located about 20 kilometers from the center of Jakarta. You have probably been there without realizing it since the Jakarta airport (CGK) is actually in the northern part of Tangerang.

When I first arrived in Jakarta in 2004, Tangerang was a conservative, working-class area that was flirting with shariah law. Alcohol was prohibited even in hotels and the police was arresting women simply for walking in the street alone at night.

Since then, things have smoothed a bit, though not everywhere. The most visible transformation is happening in the privately-owned new cities that have emerged in recent years. I'm sure you are already familiar with a few of them such as:

→ Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) owned by the Sinar Mas Group
→ Gading Serpong owned by Summarecon Agung Group
→ Lippo Karawaci owned partly by Lippo Group and Salim Group
→ Alam Sutra owned by the Argo Manunggal Group

These new cities are well-planned with modern roads, brand-new malls, offices towers, apartments, housing complexes, hotels, golf courses, hospitals and schools. They have attracted tens of thousands of middle and upper class Indonesian families as well as several large companies. Judging by the number of new construction sites in Tangerang, this trend is likely to continue over the next decades.

This new demographic has led to a new demand for entertainment venues, starting with restaurants, coffee shops, bars, nightclubs and spas.

Nightlife in Tangerang: Best Bars and Clubs
While the nightlife in the traditional neighborhoods of Tangerang is still limited, it is slowly starting to take off in BSD, Gading Serpong, Lippo Karawaci and Alam Sutra.

Almost all the places I'm writing about below didn't exist 5 years ago and I'm sure that in 5 years, there will be twice as many. Please do leave a comment below if you know about a new opening so I can check it out.

This is my ranking of the best clubs and bars in all Tangerang (starting with my favorites):

Enigma (Gading Serpong)
Enigma is just across the street from Summarecon Mall Serpong and it is the best nightlife option in Tangerang at the moment. You have a coffee shop on the ground floor, a club on the second and pool tables on the third. During the week, it is a popular hangout for students. On weekends, the club normally gets full and happening until 4am. Once or twice a month, they'll have famous DJs.

Its crowd is mixed, including some really young people and older executives/professionals. There are normal girls, but also some semi-prostitutes/freelancers. The entrance fee is Rp100,000 on weekends with 1 drink.

You can read my full review here: Enigma Gading Serpong

Clique (Gading Serpong)
Clique is close from Enigma and you can reach it by foot if you're not too lazy. It is also built on several floors with a lounge and an Italian restaurant. I only visited the lounge, on a Saturday night. There was no entrance fee , the drinks were cheap and the small dance floor was packed. It is more upper class than Enigma.

You can read my full review here: Clique Serpong

The Breeze (BSD)
The Docks German Restaurant inside The Breeze
The Breeze is a crossover between a public park and a lifestyle center. You'll find many restaurants there, including a few that serve alcohol. They are not party places but you can grab something to eat while having a few beers. Most have an open-air terrace with a view on a muddy lake. As it is new, it is still quiet and it probably hasn't reached its full potential yet.

The best venue is The Docks German Restaurant (previously known as Metro). It is the closest thing from an expat bar in Tangerang. They have good food, some games (darts, pool) and live music on Saturday. It is open until 2am on weekends.

The sports bar/microbrewery chain Brewerkz is the second best option. It is part of a Singaporean group that also owns a branch in Senayan City. It is similar with the Docks but with a more Asian touch (in the sense that it is a more modern/playful). They craft their own beer in Singapore and they import it in Indonesia. They have several pool tables as well.

If you need more options, you can also visit The Fool and Juan Coffee Bar.

Venesia (BSD)
Venesia is a one-stop entertainment center, the only one of its kind in Tangerang (to my knowledge). It features a hotel, a karaoke, a spa and a small lounge/club. It is quite expensive and not always crowded unless they have a special event. The crowd is older than elsewhere and consists mostly of guys accompanied by lady hostesses.

You can read my complete review here: The Venesia Hotel, Karaoke and Spa

Summarecon Mall Serpong (SMS)
Live music in The Barrels
There are a lot of restaurants within Summarecon Mall but the majority doesn't sell alcohol. Still, it can be a fun place to hang out on the weekends as it gets quite crowded and you'll often have a live band.

There are two recommended venues serving alcohol: The Barrels, a semi-open air café with various types of draft beer and some basic food, and the tiny but popular Poka Ribs, where you might meet a group of loyal expat customers (apparently because that's where they can buy the cheapest beer). 

Backyard Café (BSD - Teras Kota)
Backyard is a laid-back café in Teras Kota, just across the street from the Venesia Hotel mentioned above. It is a nice place to watch sports, listen to live music or just to hang out. A few of their waitresses are cute. They serve cheap food (Rp40,000-Rp60,000 for a main course) and alcohol (beer tower Rp325,000++).

Benton Junction (Karawaci - Lippo Village)
Waitresses/SPG from House of Bintang Spirit
This is a small colonial-style complex next to Supermall Karawaci with a few restaurants and coffee shops. It attracts many students from the nearby Pelita Harapan University (UPH), most of them Indonesian-Chinese. The only real bar is House of Bintang Spirit, a small café with an indoor area and a terrace that serves all types of beers, spirits and cocktails. You can also hang out in the 24-hour Dim Sum Inc and in Poka Ribs.

Not far from Benton Junction, the Hotel Aryaduta has a sports bar with live music called RJ's.

Aeon Mall (BSD)
Stopover Beer and Satay
I didn't find a proper bar in the Japanese-oriented Aeon Mall apart from Stopover Beer and Satay and Little Tokyo Bar.

Masters Sports Bar (Bellagio - Mega Kuningan)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Masters Sports Bar and Restaurant is located on the ground floor of Bellagio Mall in Mega Kuningan. The place looks unassuming from the outside and you may have already walked past without noticing it. Should you decide to step inside, you'll be surprised to find a spacious 350m2 area with a long wooden bar, a 50-seat dining area, 2 professional electronic dart boards and 5 full-size tournament pool tables. Unlike the trendy venues nearby like Loewy or Basque, Masters has a much more laid-back atmosphere, perfect if you are looking for a quiet place to chill after work. Later in the evening, it gets a bit more loud and busy, especially on Friday and Saturday as they have a live band.

It is one of the few dedicated sports bars in Jakarta and it features at least 8 different TVs, including two massive HD projector screens near the entrance. It must be among the largest ones I've seen anywhere in Asia. If there is any live sports event in the world, you are pretty sure you can watch it in Masters: Football, Rugby, AFL, Racing, NBA, NFL, MLB, etc. They may also change their schedule to make sure you can watch special events like the Superbowl, the Olympics or the Fifa World Cup. Some screens also have music videos from an eclectic playlist of over 600 titles (pop, rock, Top 40, etc).

One of the particularities of Masters Sports Bar is that it is owned by a group of Jakarta expats who each have their own day jobs. I've met a few of them and it was refreshing to see how passionate they are. They come from different backgrounds and nationalities (Swedish, Indonesian, Malaysian, Nepalese, Denmark and Irish), but they share the same goal: Having the most friendly and comfortable bar for them to meet, drink and watching sports. The result is that Masters feels particularly homey and that a lot of their customers are regulars (sometimes with their families).

The crowd is quite diverse, but I would say there are about 50% expats and 50% Indonesians, most of whom are over 30 years old.

One of the best reasons to visit Masters is to play billiard. There is one table near the entrance and four more in the back. For casual players, you can use them for free as long as you make a purchase. Some competitive players train there as well, including several teams that participate in the Jakarta Pool League. There are seats all around the pool tables so it is nice to just watch (better) people play as well. Masters arranges pool events & tournaments on a regular basis, you can find more information about this on their very busy Facebook page (see below).

Regarding the food, they serve all the traditional pub fare for a reasonable price considering the area.

Light meals, soups, sandwiches, salads and snacks cost about Rp50,000 to Rp80,000 (Nachos, Wings, Spring Rolls, Wedges, etc...). Thai and Indonesian food cost between Rp50,000 and Rp100,000. Pizzas and Western main courses cost between Rp70,000 to Rp150,000. Their imported steaks (from US and Australia) are a bit more expensive as usual in Indonesia (starting at Rp200,000).

They also have lunch specials on their pies, hotdogs and Indonesian food with a fixed price of Rp50,000++ from 11am to 3pm.

The beer is rather cheap, starting at Rp38,000 for a Prost 33cl. You can see below the whole beer menu with happy hour prices (HH = 4pm to 9pm):
Cocktails and hard liquor glasses are priced between Rp70,000 and Rp90,000 per unit while a bottle of Jack Daniels will cost you only Rp1,000,000.

Every Thursday evening is Ladies Night (from 5pm to 8pm) with a free flow house pours for girls.

Masters Sports Bar and Restaurant
Bellagio Shopping mall Unit 20-21
Jalan Lingkar Mega Kuningan Barat Kav E4 No. 3
East Setiabudi, South Jakarta

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 300 199949
Email: mastersjakarta@gmail.com

Instagram: Masters Jakarta Sports Bar
Facebook: Masters Jakarta or add Masters as a friend for an updated sports schedule.

Guide to the Djakarta Warehouse Project (DWP) - 2016

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The Djakarta Warehouse Project (DWP) is an electronic dance music festival happening every December in Jakarta. It used to be in Ancol but it has now moved to JiExpo in Kemayoran. It is organized by Ismaya, an Indonesian lifestyle group behind some famous nightclubs and bars like Dragonfly, Skye, Blowfish or Social House. It is also heavily sponsored by all kinds of brands and particularly cigarette manufacturers.

It is a mainstream event featuring mostly commercial DJs who play commercial EDM, Trance and Techno. Many of the world's most famous DJs have participated in DWP in the past few years, among which Tiesto, Skrillex, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Axwell, Avicii and Calvin Harris. 

DWP happens on the same weekend as Zoukout in Singapore. Both festivals share a very similar line-up and concept: The DJs who play on Friday in Jakarta will often play on Saturday in Singapore and vice versa. It is probably a way to split the cost of bringing expensive artists from Europe or America to Asia. The good news is that tickets are almost 50% cheaper compared to Zoukout and that you'll pay much less for food, drinks, transportation and hotels in DWP.

Buying Your Tickets to DWP 2016
The Garudha Stage at DWP2015
Update December 5th 2016: The promotion I mentioned below are over. The best way to book your ticket now is by visiting the official DWP website.

Check prices and packages
From the list of official ticket retailers provided by DWP, I found there was more availability and cheaper prices on BoBoBoBo.com. One of the reasons might be that this e-commerce site is partially owned by Ismaya.

The current fares on BoBoBoBo as of November 9th are the following:

1-Day Pass  - GA (General Admission): Rp775,000
2-Day Pass  - GA (General Admission): Rp1,1250,000

VIP Gold Ticket: 1-Day Pass - Rp1,500,000 and 2-Day Pass - Rp2,875,000
The VIP Gold Ticket gives you access to a special, faster entrance and a reserved area with better facilities closer from the DJs.

Diamond Packages: 1-Day Pass for 10-12 people + VIP location + 2 Bottles + Champagne - Rp35,000,000 up to Rp45,000,000

They also had some hotel packages but they are all fully-booked already. Anyway, the deals were not interesting. For my list of recommended place to stay near DWP, place scroll down below.

BoBoBoBo allows you to pay with Mastercard or Visa. If you have an Indonesian bank account, you may also make a bank transfer.

You can compare BoBoBoBo's prices with other official retailers such as Tiket.com or Rajakarcis. Another good option for foreigners is to use Viagogo as they allow payments with PayPal.

Once you've made your purchase, you will receive an electronic ticket that you must exchange with a special wristband. The exchange for the wristband can either be done on the spot on the day of DWP, or in advance in a location given by the management (Gandaria City Mall last year). The guidelines for that will be sent to you 2 weeks before the event.

The wrist band will then need to be activated to allow for entrance. Even with the wrist band, note that you'll still need to show an ID (passport, driving license, ID card) to get inside.

Warning: Do not wait until the last minute to buy your tickets as you may end up paying a higher price or worse, without one.

Beware of the fake DWP Website
The website on the picture below is FAKE. Do not buy your tickets from there. The complete list of valid ticket resellers is available at www.djakartawarehouse.com/ticket.
You can book on Tiket.com and BoBoBoBo.com safely as they are among the official retailers.

Food and Drinks
Food and drinks are not included in the price of a ticket and you cannot bring any from outside (nor cigarettes). This means you'll need to spend quite a bit of money on the spot. Even the water is not free (around Rp40,000 or US$3).

At DWP, you do not pay directly in cash. Instead, you buy "tokens" that you exchange at the food stands or shops. It is a way for them to avoid monkey business. You have Blue tokens, Silver tokens and Bronze tokens. They are non-refundable so you should be careful to buy only as little as you need.

The F&B area is well-organized in a foodcourt (Eats and Beats) and features several restaurants brands from Ismaya like Kitchenette, Pizza e Birra and Fook Yew. You can get proper meals there in a comfortable setting, with AC. The prices are OK (around Rp120,000 or US$9 for a meal with soft drinks) but you shouldn't expect great taste.

Alcohol drinks are less reasonably-priced: You'll need to spend Rp130,000 (US$10) per glass of liquor or cocktails and Rp90,000 (US$7) for a beer. A bottle of spirit will cost you Rp2,000,000 (US$150). You need to be at least 21 years old to buy alcohol (a valid ID is required).

If you are on a budget, I recommend you to grab a few bottles at the duty free shop and to drink with friends in your hotel before the event. Remember that it is a bit hard to buy alcohol in Jakarta as convenience stores are not allowed to sell them.

You should bring at least Rp1,000,000 (US$75) with you for a decent, intoxicated night out. Note that there are several ATMs inside if you need extra cash.

Location and Best Hotels Nearby
The location of the Djakarta Warehouse Project 2016 is now in Kemayoran, an area in the North of Jakarta about 1 hour away from the airport and 30 minutes (with normal traffic) from Plaza Indonesia.

Honestly speaking, it is a bit of a seedy area, not far from several hostess bars, strip clubs, red-light streets and naughty nightclubs. Some nearby hotels, such as Orchardz Industri or Orchardz Jayakarta, can even be considered to be brothels as their spas offer sexual services.

The closest "normal" hotels from JiExpo such as the MercureSwiss-Belinn, Best Western or the Holiday Inn are either already full or much more expensive than usual. Surprisingly, the Media Hotel is quite affordable at around Rp700,000 (US$50 - it is an old 5-star that used to be a Sheraton).

Another option is to go a bit further from Kemayoran in nearby districts. These are my recommendations for alternative places to stay within reasonable distance from DWP:

Mangga Dua: This is a middle class shopping district with several giant affordable malls. It is easy to reach from the airport and only 15 minutes away from JiExpo. It is also not too far from the touristic Old City of Jakarta (Kota Tua).

Mangga Besar: Only 10 minutes from JiExpo, this is a red-light area with tons of budget hotels, cheap street food and decadent nightlife spots. It's not very clean but it's colorful and affordable. The best hotels are the Swiss Belhotel (very near from Kemayoran) and the Hotel 88 Mangga Besar 62. 10-15 minutes from JiExpo.

Gajah Mada/Hayam Wuruk: This is the main road going from North Jakarta to the South. It is a convenient location as most attractions in Jakarta are along this axis. It can be a bit seedy at night (street prostitution, naughty nightlife, viagra stands, etc). There are a few new hotels there like the Santika Premiere, the Novotel, the All Seasons and the Ibis Harmoni. All of them offer excellent value-for-money. You'll need about 20 minutes to go to JiExpo from there.

Pasar Baru: Not a very interesting area except for a few attractions like the Istiqlal Mosque, the Pasar Baru market or the Monas. Mostly cheap hotels, including a branch of the Thai chain Red Planet. JiExpo is 15 minutes from there. It is near from the train station Gambir from where you can take trains to Yogyakarta, Bandung or Surabaya. There is also a public bus going from the airport to Gambir.

Sarinah/Plaza Indonesia: If you don't mind spending a bit more time in the transportation to go to DWP, I would recommend staying there. It is a central area close from the city's best malls, restaurants, bars and clubs. It is also much cleaner and safer. The Artotel and the Kosenda Hotel cost less than US$60/night and they both have trendy rooftop bars.

You can see more advice about hotels in Jakarta in Where to Stay in Jakarta and Jakarta Hotel Guide.

Getting Around in Jakarta
It is quite challenging, especially for first-time visitors, to get around in Jakarta. In terms of traffic, the worst time is every Friday after work. If you can avoid being on the road between 4pm and 8pm on that day, I urge you to do so. This means it is a good idea to take your Friday afternoon off and arrive at the airport before 2pm. On the contrary, Saturdays and Sundays are rather quiet and easier to circulate.

The cheapest way to go from the airport to the city center is by public bus. They are called DAMRI and they are easy to spot at the airport. There are 3 lines going to Central Jakarta: 1 for Kemayoran (the closest one), 1 for Gambir (near Pasar Baru) and 1 for Thamrin City (near Sarinah/Plaza Indonesia). The price is Rp40,000 (US$3) per person.

Taxis are more expensive but still very affordable. There are many waiting at the arrival and they'll cost you around Rp150,000 or US$11 (including the toll road) to the city center. Blue Bird and Express are the best companies but there aren't so many of them available. If you don't want to wait, it is safe to take any as long as they are in the official taxi stand and they agree to use the meter.

Uber and Grab Car are better and cheaper, but it can be tricky to get them at the airport. Regular taxi companies tend to chase them so you'll have to be discreet. They'll cost you only about Rp100,000 (US$7.5) during normal hours.

Within Jakarta, I personally use almost exclusively Grab Car or Uber. You can download both apps and switch from one to the other depending on the prices you get. When the traffic is too slow, I may also take moto-taxis from Gojek or GrabBike. It is very cheap and much faster.

Public transportation in Jakarta is not exactly tourist-friendly. There is a system of AC buses with dedicated lanes called Transjakarta from about 5am to 11pm. As you can see on the map, the line 2C goes until JiExp and you can take it from Gambir train station or Harmoni (a large hub with multiple connexions). You can also use the Line 1 to visit Jakarta as it stops near from many attractions. A ticket costs Rp3,500 (US$0.25).

I recently updated my article Getting Around in Jakarta and I invite you to read it for a more complete picture of the transportation system in Jakarta.

The Party
The Crowd
Last year, 75,000 people attended DWP, making it one of the largest festivals of the kind in the region. It attracts mostly a local audience, including Indonesians from provincial cities like Bandung, Surabaya or Yogyakarta. There is also a sizeable number of foreigners from nearby Asian countries who visit Jakarta just for the occasion (Malaysians in particular). According to official figures, foreigners account for 20% of the attendance.

The participants are from mid-to-upper level background and they are well-behaved. Since it is an exceptional event by Indonesian standards, people can be really excited and they'll plan the festival months ahead. Most are friendly, cool to hang out with and open to meet with fellow clubbers.

Note that the festival is only allowed to adults over 18 years old and that you aren't allowed to buy alcohol if you are under 21.

Meeting Indonesian Girls
If you are hoping to meet girls, there are a lot of pretty ones, including scores of SPGs (Sales Promotion Girls). Many will be with a group of friends so you should be careful when approaching them.

Dating sites and apps are a good way to get some contacts before arriving in Jakarta. Mention that you are going to DWP on your profile and you're pretty sure to match with a few party girls.

Dress Code
The dress code is relaxed. The coolest people will wear some kind of accessories (hats, glasses, etc...) and they'll be more busy updating their Instagram than dancing. Wear comfortable shoes, pants and t-shirts and bring along some changing clothes (lockers cost for Rp40,000 up to Rp100,000 - US$3-US$7.5).

The Performance Stages
The DJ performances are held on several distinct stages. The main one, called Garudha Land, features a giant sculpture representing the mythical Garuda bird. It is really world-class, with impressive visual effects that involve multicolor lighting, laser shows, fireworks, smoke and screens. The show is an important part of the party, just as much as the DJs.

Garudha Land is located outdoor which is quite a bet considering December is the rainy season in Jakarta.

Fortunately, the smaller stages are under a roof with AC. For Djakarta Warehouse Project 2016, there will be a special stage featuring the festival "Life in Color" as a part of their worldwide Kingdom tour. The main particularity of Life in Color is that multicolor paint is thrown at the audience. It is a completely different set up and it can be considered a festival within the festival.

I'm not sure yet about the other stages for 2016 but they might include the same as last year: Neon Jungle, Mad Decent and Darker Side.

Schedule of DJ sets
The timing of each set will be known early December only. The first DJs start at 4pm (local ones) and the last ones end at 4am. It is best to arrive early (before 7pm) to avoid entrance queues (though at that time you'll get the worst part of Jakarta traffic).

DJ Line Up DWP 2016
The line up for this year's DWP includes several famous names of the commercial EDM, trance and techno scene. Most of them rank high on the DJ Mag Top 100 and they are regulars of all the big festivals like Tomorrowland or Ultra.

The following names have been announced so far:

Hardwell (No. 3 on Top 100 DJ Mag)

Martin Garrix (No. 1 on Top 100 DJ Mag)

DJ Snake

Zedd

Yellow Claw
Some other famous names are Carl Cox, Tiga, KSHMR, W&W, Yellow Claw or Alan Walker (see full DWP 2016 Line Up).

There are also performances by the sexy dancers of CyberJapan.

Travel Insurance and Safety
You should have a proper travel insurance when traveling to Indonesia. It is not expensive for just two days and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble in case of accident, disease, cancellation or loss of personal stuff. If you are a foreigner, you can get a quote in a few seconds on WorldNomads.

If you are Indonesian, you can get an even cheaper Travel Insurance with the website Travellin (it belongs to Adira, part of Danamon Bank). You can insure yourself for 2 days for just Rp24,000 but naturally you'll get less guarantees (see more details about the benefits here: Domestic Gold).

Questions about Djakarta Warehouse Project?
If you have any questions about your trip to Jakarta for Djakarta Warehouse Project, please just leave a comment below and I'll answer as soon as possible.

New Year Eve 2017 - 31st December 2016 in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Spending your New Year's Eve 2017 in Jakarta is actually not a bad idea, especially if you compare it with the alternative of going to Bali.

Bali during New Year is crazy expensive (expect hotel prices to triple at least), overcrowded even by Jakarta standards, and worst of all: Rainy. I spent 2 NYE there in 2012 and 2014 and they were each disappointing. The only thing that I liked was the fireworks on the beach.

In 2016, I decided to stay in Jakarta for the holiday season, including Christmas. The city was much more livable than usual during the day (much less traffic) and there were great parties almost every night before and after New Year. The city also organizes several fireworks that you can watch from your hotel room, from the street or from a rooftop restaurant.

Where to Watch the Fireworks on New Year Eve?
Fireworks in Ancol on 31st December 2015
The official locations for the NYE fireworks are Ancol, Taman Mini, the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout (Bunderan HI), the Monas (National Monument) and Kota Tua (Taman Fatahillah).

Last year, I watched the one in Bunderan HI which is near Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia. It is the most convenient location for those who plan on going to a nightclub afterwards. You should get there early though as the main roads are blocked starting 7pm.

The atmosphere was messy but it was fun. 99.99% of the people were Indonesians, many of them young and from a working class background. It was frightening at times because fireworks were shot from everywhere, sometimes just a couple meters from us. Avoid it if you are with kids and in any case, make sure you have a good travel insurance.

After the fireworks, our plan was to walk to the nightclub Immigrant (Plaza Indonesia Mall) which was literally 200 meters away. It turned out to be an impossible feat as the normal entrance of the mall was blocked and the crowd was too dense to be penetrated. We ended up stuck in Pullman Hotel for over an hour. My conclusion is that if you choose to watch the fireworks from the streets, you won't be able to go anywhere else until at least 2AM.

To avoid this problem, you can spend your evening in one of the restaurants and bars that have a nice view on the city. 

My first choice would be the rooftop lounge Cloud because it is in the same building as Immigrant club. The entrance fee for Cloud last year was Rp250,000 and Rp750,000 for the dinner. 

The other venues I would recommend for watching the fireworks are SKYE, Paulaner Brauhaus, Social House, Burgundy or MO Bar.

Where to Eat, Drink and Party in Jakarta for New Year's Eve 2017?
I will update this section later as most venues haven't released their program yet for the 31st December 2016. If you want to get an idea of what to expect in terms of events and prices, you can check my review of last year: 20 Best New Year Eve Parties in Jakarta 2016.

There will be several fun areas with a good atmosphere. Personally, I would recommend checking Basque, Loewy, Potato Head Garage and Jack Sparrows. For a more formal dinner, most 5-star hotel restaurants will have a special offer for a NYE dinner.

Where to Sleep in Jakarta for New Year's Eve?
You have to realize that from 9pm to 2am on New Year, it will be difficult to circulate in the city center. Some major streets like Sudirman/Thamrin may be closed and smaller ones will be clogged by traffic jams. Read carefully my reviews Where to Stay in Jakarta and Jakarta Hotel Guide to make sure you are in the right neighborhood.

The best hotels for New Year's Eve in Jakarta are without any doubts the ones located around Bunderan HI. Hurry up to make your reservation as they will be quickly fully-booked. Most of them have a required minimum stay of 2 nights during the festive season. If you search for them on Agoda or Booking.com, they will not appear if you only select 1 night.

Here are the best deals I could find for luxury hotels that have a view on the Bunderan HI fireworks:

Price for a 3-night stay from 30 December to 2 January: Rp9,400,000 on HotelsCombined.com.

Price for a 3-night stay from 30 December to 2 January: Rp11,600,000 on HotelsCombined.com

Price for a 3-night stay from 30 December to 2 January: Rp13,000,000 on HotelsCombined.com

Price for a 3-night stay from 30 December to 2 January: Rp17,600,000 on HotelsCombined.com

Other Recommended Hotels
If your budget is more limited, there are still plenty of options but you should not wait the last minute to make your booking.

These are centrally-located hotels that will cost you between Rp500,000 and Rp1,500,000 per night (listed from cheapest to most expensive):

You can explore more hotels by searching for the following locations on Agoda: Hotels near Grand Indonesia and Hotels near Sarinah.
The Grand Hyatt offers one of the best views to enjoy the NYE fireworks

Enigma Nightclub (Gading Serpong - Tangerang)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Enigma is a complex on several floors with a nightclub, a sports bar, a billiard room and a restaurant. It is located in Gading Serpong, an area of South Tangerang (1 hour from Jakarta by car). It is walking distance from Summarecon Mall, Clique Bar & Kitchen, Grand Royal SpaAtria Hotel, Atria Residences, Ara Hotel and Ibis Hotel.

I visited Enigma once on a Saturday night. I didn't try the food and didn't play pool. I reached the place at 1AM, paid a Rp75,000 entrance fee (that included a beer) and went straight to the bar. The main room is quite large, with a low ceiling and a sort of underground feel. The crowd was young, not looking particularly fancy but definitely fun. The people I talked to were students living nearby, obviously from well-off families but with a limited budget. There were also a lot of ladies hanging around and some could have been hookers. At the end of the night, they all seemed to go home with guys they barely met. As far as I can tell, I was the only foreigner.

The DJ that night was playing commercial dance music, including some old songs. I remember hearing "I Like to Move it" and possibly "Baby One More Time" (my memory is blurred). Some clubbers were shaking their head so furiously that I suspect they were on some kind of drugs.

The prices are interesting, comparable to those in Kemang nightclubs. You can get a beer for less than Rp40,000 and a hard drink for under Rp80,000. There are promo on bottles before 12pm (2 Red Label for Rp1,1000,000). If you are a student, bring your ID card as you may get additional discount on food, shisha and pool.

It closed at 4am.

Overall: Enigma is much more laid-back than most nightclubs you'll go to in Jakarta. It is easy to meet people, the drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is fun. Probably the best place for partying in Tangerang/Serpong at the moment.

Enigma Restaurant, Sports Bar, Pool and Nightclub
Ruko Paramount Digital Arcade no. 12-18
Gading Serpong, Tangerang

Phone number: +62 0) 21 542 030 01 or 087808608381
BB Pin: 56FEFE20
Email: info@enigmaserpong.com

Clique Bar & Kitchen (Gading Serpong - Tangerang)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Clique is a restaurant, bar and nightclub located in Gading Serpong, in the vicinity of Summarecon Mall.

It is open daily for lunch and dinner, serving moderately-priced Italian and International food. I haven't eaten there though as I visited at 2am on a Saturday night. Just before that, I was partying in Enigma which is just 3 minutes away by taxi (you could also walk there if you aren't too lazy).

The clubbing area of Clique is rather small and I don't think it could hold more than 200 people. You have a long bar on one side, the DJ booth in the back, a small dancefloor and a dozen high tables. There are some cool mural paintings of pop icons like John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe and Micheal Jackson.

I don't know if this is because of the alcohol, but I felt people were very friendly and I ended up chatting with several groups. The crowd was young, mostly Indonesian-Chinese in their early 20s, with a fair number of pretty girls. I was the only foreigner except for a guy who told me he was British (but actually looked Indonesian).

I didn't pay any entrance fee but you may be charged a First Drink Charge (FDC) during special events. Recent famous acts include Winky Wiryawan, DJ P. Joana and DJ Riri. They have mostly commercial EDM with several Rn'B and live music nights.

Prices: I only bought a beer: Rp43,000 net. The cocktails cost a bit more than Rp100,000 net.

Overall: If you stay in Tangerang/Serpong, it is a good idea to start a night out in Clique first, then later on head to Jakarta. I'm not sure if the place is busy during the week though.

Opening Hours:
Every day from 10am to 10pm for the restaurant
The club closes at 3am officially on weekends but there was still some music until 3.20

Clique Bar, Kitchen and Nightclub
Graha Sapphire Tower A No. 9,
Jalan Boulevard Gading Serpong Blok M5 No. 9A
South Tangerang, Indonesia

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 54 22 09 17/18

To check the current schedule of events:
Website (currently not working): www.clique-kitchenbar.com

K43 Bar and Club (Kemang)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Last Saturday (December 3rd 2016), I visited the club K43 in South Jakarta (K is for Kemang, 43 is the street number). I had already been several time to this location that was once called Second Floor, then SF Club, and then Hangover.

The entrance fee was Rp100,000 and it included a drink. Not many people were inside and I guess that several customers were just friends of the owner/manager/PR. There were some hostesses as well, two of whom came to introduce themselves and chatted with us for a while. Apparently they have fashion shows and sexy dancers occasionally.

The music was commercial EDM, nothing really special. Drinks were rather expensive for Kemang at Rp100,000 for a whisky coke.

The only thing I liked was the set up of K43 which is quite intimate and modern. They also have a cool LED light display on the ceiling.

Overall: Not really worth it, it is better to go to Tipsy, Venue, 999 or Nu China if you want to party in Kemang.

K43 Pub and Club
Jalan Kemang Raya No.43A
Bangka, Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta

Phone number: 082211767657
Email: k43.bar@gmail.com

Cloud 9 (Manado Nightlife)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Cloud 9, formerly known as Score, is one of the most happening nightclubs in Manado. It is located near the beachfront, in the mall Manado Town Square (MANTOS). It belongs to the same group behind Corner Club that will reopen in 2017.

The best place to sleep in the immediate vicinity is probably the budget hotel Biz Boulevard (Rp300,000 per night). 10 minutes further away, you also have the 4-star Swiss Bell Maleosan and the 5-star Aryaduta.

Cloud 9 is rather large with a high ceiling and a mezzanine. It was renovated quite recently and it is modern compared to other provincial nightclubs in Indonesia. The sound and lighting system in particular are good. Most customers sit around tables with a group but if you are alone you can also stay at their main bar, in the middle of the club.

They have a resident live band and a DJ every night. The music is Western, apart from a few Indonesian love songs from time to time. They normally have more famous DJs at least once a week on Saturday. Wednesdays and Fridays are also busy.

Overall: Cloud 9 is a must-try if you want to sample Manado nightlife.

Cloud 9 Nightclub and Lounge Manado
Manado Town Square, Blok A, Second Floor
Jalan Pierre Tendean Boulevard

Phone number: 08114333365 or 08114306550 or 087846354977
BB Pin: D38B37EB

For an updated list of events:
Instagram: Cloud 9 Manado
Twitter: Corner Club/Cloud 9

Best VPNs in Indonesia- How to Access Blocked Websites

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In this review I will explain you how to bypass Internet censorship (mostly porn) in Indonesia by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. I will also give you tips on how to watch Hulu and Netflix in Indonesia.

Most porn and torrent websites are blocked in Indonesia. This includes all the most famous ones like XVideos, YouPorn, PornHub, XHamster, KickAss Torrents and The Pirate Bay. It is also not possible to visit some forums like Reddit or InternationalSexGuide. Same thing with the dating website Adult Friend Finder.

Some regular websites have also been banned like Vimeo. Tumblr was shut down during 24 hours earlier this year as well.

Another problem internet users are facing in Indonesia is the 2008 Electronic Information and Transactions Act. This vague set of laws can make you the target of a defamation suit for exposing your views online. You are not allowed, for instance, of suggesting that someone might be corrupt.

Because of this law, posting a comment on Facebook, Twitter or Path in Indonesia can land you in jail. This is what happened to Alexander Aan or Florence Sihombing.

Since about a year ago, I decided to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in Indonesia. This allows me to visit any websites I want on the internet without anyone knowing about it. It is 100% legal, secure and safe. Actually, according to this 2015 study, Indonesia is the country with the most VPN users in the world: 23% of its Internet users are bypassing censorship by using a VPN.

The cost is cheap (less than 10$ per month) and it works great. If you travel a lot in Asia, it is also very useful in heavily-censored countries like Vietnam or China.

Since VPN companies usually give you a free trial for a few days up to 1 month, I tested several of them to make sure I was choosing the best. There are so many different companies that you could probably get a free VPN for at least a year just by changing provider once in a while. The prices are really reasonable though so once you've found one that works well, it's really more simple to just pay.

Here are my top 3 recommendations for best VPNs in Indonesia (I used the 3 of them and they worked great):

Hide My Ass (HMA) - Best VPN in Indonesia
HideMyAss.com
Hide My Ass is often considered the best VPNs in the world here because they have a massive 700 servers in almost every countries on earth, including in Indonesia. This means your connection is fast and smooth anywhere you go. If you can afford the extra dollars to get full speed (compared to free VPNs), HMA is an excellent choice. Remember that in the end, it is still only 60$ per year.

Hide My Ass is the VPN recommended by the Wall Street Journal to access blocked websites in China and it was also selected as the best VPN by the Guardian, Bloomberg and Forbes.

You can now try Hide My Ass for FREE! Just open the following link Hide My Ass Free and click on "Free Trial". You need to give your credit card details so don't forget to cancel after one month to avoid being charged.

If you decide to keep the paid version, it is much more interesting to choose a full year:

Pricing:
4,99$ per month with 1 year plan
7,49$ per month with 6-month plan
9,99$ per month without plan

The set up is super easy even if you are not good on computers and they are really fast to answer your questions of you have any.

Golden Frog - Vypr VPN - Fastest VPN Indonesia
I found that Golden Frog's Vypr VPN was even faster compared to Hide My Ass. They also have a server in Jakarta and a strong presence in Asia. The support is excellent (ask any question and they will answer you within a few minutes). You can pay with Alipay or PayPal and you can use up to 5 devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV, etc).

NEW! You can do a free trial for 3 months by opening this link: Promo Deal for Ivacy VPN - Indonesia!!!

If you choose to keep it after the free trial period, you will pay the following:

Pricing:
5$ per month with 1 year plan
9,99$ per month without plan


NordVPN - VPN for Watching Netflix
This is often considered the best VPN on the market as they have a great support team that will help you with any of your requests. If you are planning on using US Netflix, this is your an excellent choice too as they have not been banned yet. This means you can use NordVPN to watch Netflix if you position your IP in the US. Only problem for Indonesian web users, they don't have a server in Indonesia at the moment so the speed is slower than the VPNs listed above. It is still good enough for most people (you can still download from torrents, watch movies, etc).

To try their services for free, you can just visit the following link: Nord VPN - 30-Day Money Back Guaranteed.

Since you can cancel and get your money back any time within the first month, I advise you to choose the 1 year plan directly to save on the long term.

Pricing:
4$ per month with 1 year plan
5$ per month with 6-month plan
8$ per month without plan

How Do You Access Porn/Blocked Websites in Indonesia? Do You Use A VPN As Well?
There are a lot of new VPN providers entering the market every month. If you are using a different VPN in Indonesia or if you have another way to visit porn/blocked websites in Indonesia, please leave a comment below to share your experience!