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Is Jokowi Taking Indonesia Backwards?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Many people believed that Jokowi would modernize Indonesia. They were hoping that he would fight corruption, boost the economy, launch infrastructure programs, reduce the influence of religious mafias and promote Indonesia on the world scene as a modern nation.

To say that those people, including myself, are disappointed is an understatement. 

Jokowi and his team have betrayed the people who voted for them. Not only he did not do what he promised, he did the contrary. A year after he took office, I cannot think of anything positive he has accomplished.

On the contrary, there are several reasons to think that Indonesia is actually going backwards.

Freedom of speech under attack

Indonesia was ranked #132 in the world in 2014 in terms of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders. It dropped 6 places in 2015.

Several foreign journalists have been arrested since the beginning of the year, in particular Rebecca Prosser and Neil Bonner who spent 4 months in jail for not having the proper visas. Journalists used to be deported when it happened in the past, but the current government wants to make it clear that foreign journalists are not welcomed.

Jokowi is also trying to make it harder for journalists to criticize the president, whatever than means.

He declared in August 2015: “Currently there are tendencies that people feel they are ultimately free to behave and voice their opinions as they like. This is less productive when the media only pursues ratings instead of guiding the public to be virtuous and have a productive work culture.”

This led the Alliance of Independent Journalists to issue a statement to warn Jokowi not to mess with press freedom. At the same time, SBY himself criticized the government over a plan to criminalize defamation against the president.

More about this issue: Jokowi and Foreign Press

Overt racism and xenophobia

Under Jokowi, Indonesian nationalism no longer means being proud of the nation’s achievements. It means being racist, xenophobic and blaming foreigners for everything that goes wrong.

Foreigners living in Indonesia have never been more uncomfortable than now. You will never hear from the government that foreigners are actually bringing jobs, investments and dollars. You will never hear that they pay taxes, that they help the economy and that they come with skills and knowledge.

Instead, the dumbest stereotypes are spread in the media even by high-ranking officials and ministers. Just a few weeks ago, Indonesian women were told not to date foreigners because they could be used as drug mules.

This racism can lead to more tragic stories:

Why did Jokowi choose to execute 12 foreigners out of 14 convicts even though there are more Indonesians dealers behind bars? Why the 12 foreigners chosen were almost exclusively from Black, Asian or Latin American ethnicity? Why did Neil Bantleman go to jail, if not for being a foreigner?

Using the death penalty as a TV show

My opinion about the death penalty is that it does not work and I could prove it with detailed studies. You can agree or not, it is not my point today.

What disturbed me the most in the execution of early 2015, apart from the obvious racism, is that the government used them for political gain. They were not about justice or fairness or efficiency. They were a show intended to prove that Jokowi was “tegas” or decisive. 14 dead for a few extra points in the polls.

To me, it just made Indonesia look like a banana republic. It also exposed to the whole world the failures of the Indonesian justice system, its corruption, its incoherences and its incompetence.

Destruction of the anti-graft agency

There was one institution that Indonesians respected and wanted to preserve, the KPK (anti-graft agency). The KPK was pretty much like Batman in Gotham City. It was fighting the crooks on behalf of the common people.

Problem: The whole PDI-P, the political party behind Jokowi, hates the KPK for reasons that are easy to understand. With the help of the Police, it took only a few weeks for them to take down the institution and replace its head with officers they don’t need to be afraid of.

Jokowi never spoke in public about this shameful event, and instead allowed it to happen. The whole nation would have supported him if he had had the gut to say “No”. He didn’t, and that’s how Indonesia lost its fight against corruption and went back 10 years.

Flirting with sharia

Indonesia was never founded as a Muslim state. It has a majority of Muslims, but its laws are not based on the teachings of the Koran (except in Aceh).

Yet, slowly, the rules of Islam are starting to apply to everyone. The most obvious illustration is the recent fight of the government against alcohol. First, it became illegal to sell alcohol in minimarts, then import taxes were doubled, then a law was discussed to forbid alcohol totally, then nightclubs in Bandung and Jakarta were told to stop operations at midnight, etc.

Surprisingly, at the same time, the tobacco industry in Indonesia is enjoying one of the world’s most lenient legislation.

Rupiah hitting all-time low

The rupiah has never been as low as today. Never*. The government says that it is not its fault and that all currencies are losing against the dollar. *edit: It was actually lower on August 1998

Yet how come the Singapore Dollar is appreciating while the Rupiah is depreciating? Is it possible that countries that are attractive to foreign investments perform better?

Economic growth at its lowest level

The economic growth for the second quarter of 2015 was the slowest since 2009. Naturally, the government blames the World economy. The truth is Jokowi did not do anything to spur growth. On the contrary, he has turned off foreign investment with his nationalist and populist speeches. He has raised import tariffs on most goods, making the country more difficult to invest in and more bureaucratic.

In July, he was not ashamed to ask David Cameron to lower import duties for Indonesian goods in England, just a few days after raising them in Indonesia for British products.

Indonesia is less competitive compared to its neighbors Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand. It produces goods of lower quality for a higher price. Instead of trying to improve competitiveness with bold reforms and infrastructure spending, Jokowi is using protectionism: He raises the tax for imports, thus forcing Indonesians to buy lower quality products. This strategy has never worked but it is the best one to protect private interests and large conglomerates.

In the latest Global Competitiveness Survey from the World Economic Forum, released on September 29th 2015, Indonesia fell 3 places and it is the only country in ASEAN not to improve with the exception of Thailand.

Deterioration of its relationships with neighboring countries

Indonesia has damaged its relationship with several key partners, including Australia (who reduced its aid to Indonesia), Malaysia, Singapore, Holland, France and Brazil.

Jusuf Kalla has become a joke for declaring that Malaysia and Singapore should thank Indonesia for 11 months of fresh air in the middle of the haze crisis. He then asked for help, even though the government refused it a few days earlier.

While offending some partners, Indonesia has been very careful with other countries, particularly Saudi Arabia where two Indonesian maids have been executed and 100 pilgrims died following an accident.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was also awarded a peace prize by the sister of Megawati Sukarnoputri, the current head of the PDI-P. I wonder if she considers it is an ideal for Indonesia to emulate.


Unfortunately, Jokowi killed any hopes that a better system is possible in Indonesia. This feeling, combined with the country’s refusal to confront its past, in particular a true assessment of the Suharto years, makes the search for a strong man more appealing than ever. I hope Jokowi can prove me wrong in the next 4 years.

21 Best Weekend Brunches in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Sunday or Saturday brunches in Jakarta are one of the best things you can do here during the weekend. The prices are usually very reasonable without alcohol, starting 30$ per person.

I only listed here information about the weekend brunches available in luxury hotels. You also have many brunches served in independent restaurants, but they generally do not have as much choice and they are not served as buffets. You can try those in Loewy or Koi for instance.

This is the list of the best weekend brunches in Jakarta, ranked in no particular order. Please leave a comment below if you think I forgot a great address.

C’s Steak at Hyatt Hotel
Specialties: Char-grilled steaks, seafood (lobsters, oysters, prawns), healthy salads

Time: Every Sunday from 11.30am to 3pm

Rp. 700,000++ per person
Rp. 900,000 ++ per person with white or red wine
Rp. 1,100,000++per person including wine and champagne

Reservation is mandatory:
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2992 1383

Bengawan at Keraton at the Plaza 
Specialty: Most expensive brunch in Jakarta with oysters, lobsters, caviar, foie gras, kobe beef and champagne.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 12am to 3pm

Rp1,345,000++ inclusive of free flow Billecart-Salmon Champagne
Rp595,000++ without alcohol
Rp297,500++ for kids under 12 years old

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 5068 0000

Spectrum Fairmont Jakarta
Specialties: All kinds of mojitos, fresh seafood (oysters, lobsters, shellfish), foie gras, dim sum, Indian food (tandoori), Sunday roast, pork station (crispy pork belly, cold cuts), desserts

Every Sunday from 12am to 3pm

Rp595,000++ per person
Rp1,200,000++ per person with free flow alcohol

Phone number: +62 (0) 21) 2970 3333

Rosso at Shangri-La Jakarta
Specialties: Italian cuisine (antipasti, Italian cheese, charcuterie, seafood, live pasta, italian desserts). Guests can also choose one of the dishes of Rosso’s regular à la carte menu.

Every Sunday and Saturday from 11.30am to 2.30pm

Rp470,000++ without alcohol
Rp575,000++ including free flow prosecco and wine

Phone number: +62 (0) 21) 2939 9562

Rasa Intercontinental Hotel
Specialties: Family brunch with access to swimming pool. Colorful kid’s buffet. BBQ grill, sushis, tandoor, wok dishes.

Every Sunday 11.30am to 3pm

Rp 375.000++ per person

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2939 9562 

Scusa at Intercontinental Hotel
Specialties: Italian dishes. Antipasti served at the table. Buffet stations with pastas, Italian regional specialties, cheeses.

Every Sunday from 11.30am to 3pm

IDR 395,000++

Phone number: +6221 2514188

Signature Restaurant at Kempinski
Specialties: Western food, Indonesian food, Chinese food, Japanese buffet. Kids friendly.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 3pm

Rp360,000++ per person with ice tea and water

Phone number: +62 21 2358 3898

Pearl Restaurant at JW Marriott
Specialties: "Sunday Yam Cha or Yum Cha" with peking duck, shrimps, double boiled soup, Hong-Kong style dim-sum.

Every Sunday from 10am to 3pm

Rp300.000++ per person

Phone number: +62 (0) 5798 8992

Lyon Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental
Specialties: French food, including oysters and foie gras and breakfast specialties such as crêpes, french toasts or eggs benedict. You can order your food from the table. 

Every Saturday from 11.30am to 2.30pm

Rp428,000++ per person without alcohol, including chilled juices, coffee and tea
Rp628,000++ per person with selected wines and beer

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2993 8888

Xin Hwa at Mandarin Oriental
Specialties: Dim Sum Brunch

Every Saturday from 10am to 12am (first session) and from 12.30am to 2.30pm (second session)

Every Sunday from 12am to 2pm (first session) and from 2pm to 4pm (second session)

Rp268,000++ per person (Rp134,000 for kids between 5 and 10 years old).

Phone number: + 62 (0) 21  2993 8825

Cinnamon Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental
Freshly-prepared seafood BBQ 

Every Sunday from 12am to 3pm

Rp378,000 Nett (inclusive  of chilled juices, coffee and tea)

Phone number: + 62 (0) 21 2993 8823

Il Mare at Hotel Mulia
Specialties: Modern Italian seafood, meat and pasta. Live music.

Every Sunday from 11am to 2.30pm (last order)

Rp588,000++ with sparkling wine, red and white wine, beer and selected cocktails
Rp468,000++ without alcohol (including juices and soft drinks)
Rp228,000++ for children

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 5753272

Table 8 at Hotel Mulia
Specialties: Szechuan and Cantonese favorites with Chinese tea counter. Dim Sum.

Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays from 8am to 2.30pm (last order)


Phone number: +62 (0) 21 5747777

Orient 8 at Hotel Mulia
Specialties: French, Thai and Vietnamese food with imported French cheese

Every Sunday from 11am to 2.30pm

Rp538,000++ with free flow wine (including sparkling)
Rp418,000++ without alcohol
Rp258,000++ for children

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 5753278

Edogin at Hotel Mulia
Specialties: Japanese food with sushi bar, robatayaki and teppanyaki

Every Saturday and Sunday from 12am to 2.30pm

Rp379,000++ for adults
Rp209,000++ for children

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 5753274

Pacific at Ritz Carlton Pacific Place
Seasonal buffet, international cuisine. Signature items: Foie gras, oysters, sushis, beef ribs, tacos

Every Sunday from 12am

Rp658,000++ with alcohol (wine, sparkling wine, beer)
Rp358,000++ without alcohol
Rp188,000++ for children under 12

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2550 1888

Asia at Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan
International cuisine with live music. Kids corner.

Every Saturday and every Sunday from 12pm to 3pm

Rp438,000++ per person with free flow of wine, beer and bloody mary cocktails.
Rp. 288,000++ per person with iced tea only

Rp408,000++ with free flow of wine, beer and bloody mary cocktails.
Rp258,000++ with iced tea only

Phone:  +62 (0) 21 2551 8888

Sana Sini at Pullman Thamrin
International food with kids corner and activities

Every Sunday from 12am to 3pm

Rp789,600 nett with alcohol
Rp459,800 nett without alcohol

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 390 6444

Collage at Pullman Central Park
Specialties: Champagne brunch

Every Saturday and Sunday from 12am to 3pm

Price: Rp800,000++

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 29 20 00 88

Arts Cafe at Raffles Jakarta
Specialties: International cuisine, classic food.

Every Sunday

Rp800,000++ with wine and beer
Rp550,000++ without alcohol
Rp275,000++ for kids under 12 years old


Shang Palace at Shangri La Hotel
Specialties: Dim sum buffet and Chinese cuisine

Every Saturday and Sunday from 11.30am to 2.30pm

248,000++ without alcohol, only tea

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2939 9562

Photo credit: All pictures from Instagram

15 Best Luxury Hotel Spas in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Jakarta must be one of the cheapest places on earth for luxury spa treatments. Massages that would cost hundreds of dollars in Europe cost less than 50$ here, including the tax and service charge. If you ask some expat wives, this is one of the reasons they can cope with living in the city.

Unfortunately, most hotels do not have proper spas with branded products and inviting facilities, especially compared to those in Bali. In general, they will use the Decléor brand from France, meaning all therapists receive a similar training.

To help you figure out where to get a luxury massage in Jakarta, I reviewed below all the spas located in the city's best 5-star hotels. In particular, I indicated the prices of the most popular treatments. If the price changes, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.

Willow Stream Spa in Fairmont Hotel Jakarta

Willow Stream Spa is currently among the best in Jakarta. It is brand-new and features modern equipments such as steam room, sauna, multi-temperature showers, vitality pools and a 25-meter outdoor swimming pool. Products used: Decléor (imported) and Banyu Spa (local products).

Balinese Massage 60 minutes: Rp575,000++
Jakarta Signature Massage 90 minutes: Rp900,000++
Romantic Couple Massage in VIP Spa Room for 90 minutes: Rp1,750,000++ per couple

Opening Hours:
Everyday from 8am to 11pm. Only for guests above 18 years old.

Fairmont Jakarta, Jalan Asia Afrika No. 8, Gelora Bung Karno, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62 21 2970 3333 ext. 3244

Bimasena Spa at Dharmawangsa Hotel

Bimasena is one of the most popular spas for couples in Jakarta. It is famous for having Private Suites where people can go kinky after their treatments. You will also find a hydrotherapy room and a full range of salon services including haircare, manicure and pedicure.

Prices (20% discount for hotel guests):
Hydrotherapy session for 20 minutes: Rp250,000++
Indonesian massage for 60 minutes: Rp340,000++
Romantic massage package for 210 minutes: Rp2,650,000++ per couple inclusive of a massage, hydrotherapy, private spa suite (half day), facilities, facial, light meal
They also have a Wedding spa package at Rp2,500,000++.

Opening hours:
Every day from 9am to 11pm

Bimasena Spa at Dharmawangsa Hotel
Jalan Dharmawangsa Raya No. 23, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 725 8668 ext. 6300/6420
Website: Bimasena Spa

Mulia Hotel Spa

Surprisingly for the biggest hotel in Jakarta, the spa in Mulia is very small (4 rooms only) and it has very limited options. It serves almost exclusively hotel guests who need to relax after a business trip. The only originality is that they offer mud bath treatments.

Traditional massage for 60 minutes: Rp500,000++. Rumors has that you can get a plus plus massage in the spa depending on the therapist. 

Opening time:
9am to midnight, everyday.

Hotel Mulia Senayan, Jalan Asia Afrika, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62 21 5747777

Spa Mandarin Oriental Jakarta

The spa in Mandarin Oriental is not branded and it focus on a business clientele. Facilities include steam and a sauna.

Daily from 9am to midnight. Guests must be at least 18 years old.

Javanese / Balinese Massage 60 minutes: Rp500,000++

Mandarin Oriental, Jalan MH Thamrin, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2993 8999

Kempinski The Spa

Kempinski The Spa is located on the 17th floor of Hotel Kempinski, in the center of Jakarta and next to the popular mall Grand Indonesia.

Javanese Massage / Balinese Massage: Rp450,000 for 60 minutes
Romantic couple massage: Sumatra Sunset Rp3,200,000
Signature treatment: Royal Java massage (body scrub, herbal spa, massage, facial): Rp1,600,000 for 180 minutes
Couple's room available also by choosing two treatments.

Opening time:
Everyday 8am to 11pm. Last order 10pm. Last appointment at 22:00.

Kempinski The Spa at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jalan MH Thamrin, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2358 3882

Alameda Spa in Marriott Hotel

Alameda Spa is rather old and unappealing, yet it is among the priciest in Jakarta. It is mostly aimed at hotel guests who have the option of ordering the treatment in-house with a 10% surcharge. You must always book in advance. Facilities are limited to the swimming pool and a steam room. The spa in Mayflower Apartments is run by the same company and it is half the price.

Indonesian massage: Rp600,000++
Four hands massage with two therapists: Rp998,000++

JW Marriott Hotel
Jalan Doctor Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung, Mega Kuningan
Phone number:  +62-21 579 88888

Spa in Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan

Pricey and average, the Spa in Ritz-Carlton is a disappointment. I don't recommend unless you are staying in the hotel. Facilities are nice and include a jacuzzi, a hot and cold pool, a sauna and a hammam. The 50-meter long swimming pool is adjacent to the spa. They have great couple massages that will give you all the privacy you need. Male therapists are available.

Spice Island massage: Rp950,000++ for 90 minutes with a body scrub and aromatherapy massage
Romantic couple massage: Rp4,300,000++ per couple for 210 minutes with body scrub, body masker, massage, facial, private time in jacuzzi with a glass of wine
Special promotion every morning before 12am: Bath ritual + Massage + Facial for Rp660,000++ (90 minutes)

Opening hours:
Daily from 7am to 12am, last order at 10;30pm. 

5th floor Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jalan Ide Anak Agung Gede Agung, Mega Kuningan
Phone number: +62-21 255 18888

Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place Spa

The spa in the Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place is more recent just as expensive as the one listed above. You will find the same facilities: Steam room, jacuzzi, hot and cold pools, sauna and fitness. One of the few differences is that it specializes in stone treatments (massages with hot stones). Only guests older than 16 years old are allowed.

Luxury massage (the cheapest on the menu): Rp888,000 for 75 minutes
Romantic couple massage (massage, scrubs, facials): Rp3,618,800 for 120 minutes

Opening hours:
Every day from 9am to 11pm. Last order 10.30pm.

8th floor, Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place, SCBD, Jalan Sudirman Kav 52-53
Phone number: +62-21 2550 1888

CHI Spa in Shangri-La Hotel

Located inside Shangri-La Hotel, Chi Spa has small but luxurious facilities. Therapists are well-trained. Local oil is used. It used to be called Gaya Spa.

Swedish massage for 60min: Rp530,000++
3 hours package treatment with Javanese scrub and Balinese massage: Rp1,450,000++

Opening Hours:
Every day from 8am to 11pm

4th floor, Shangri La Hotel, Kota BNI, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman Kav. 1
Phone number: +62-21 293 99612
Website: Chi Spa Jakarta

Spa at Intercontinental Jakarta

The spa in Intercontinental hotel has a good reputation. It has a wide range of services available, from shiatsu to 4-hand massages. It is also a good place for waxing for both men and women. Facilities include a swimming pool, a fully equipped gym with a yoga studio, a hammam, a sauna and a jacuzzi. Therapists use Decléor products for most treatments. Male therapists available.

25% discount available from 12am to 6pm daily.

Operating hours:
Daily from 7am to midnight. Massage in-room available. 

InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza, Jalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 10-11
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 251 0888 Spa Reception Ext. 46609

Le Spa at Le Méridien 

Le Spa is well-equipped with an hydrotherapy room, effusion showers, a relaxation lounge, a sauna, a jacuzzi, a cold plunge pool and a swimming pool. It also offers salon services. For their most expensive spa treatments, the products used are from Thémaé Paris.

Indonesian full body massage: Rp500,000++ for 55 minutes

Operating hours:
Every day from

Le Méridien, Jalan Sudirman, Kav 18 - 20
Phone number: +62-21 251 3131
Website: Le Spa

Keraton at the Plaza

The Spa in the Keraton at the Plaza Hotel is one of the best in Jakarta. Therapists are tall, pretty and friendly. The facilities are modern with hot and cold pools, steam rooms, infrared saunas and a couple's massage room. Products used are from Decléor, except for local treatments.

Anti Fatigue 90 minutes massage: Rp600,000++ for 90 minutes
Sido Asih Couple Massage: Rp1,900,000++ for 105 minutes
Half-day and full-day packages are also available for respectively Rp1,450,000++ and Rp1,880,000++ per person inclusive of a free meal in Bengawan Restaurant.

Opening Hours:
Everyday from 10am to 11pm. Last order at 9.30pm.

Spa Keraton at the Plaza, Jalan MH Thamrin, entry from Plaza Indonesia
Phone number: +62-21 5068 0000
Website: Keraton Spa

Club Olympus Fitness and Welness Center at Hyatt Hotel

Club Olympus has great gym and spa facilities, but the atmosphere is not particularly charming. You will find a hammam, a sauna, hot and cold plunge pools with TV, a tennis court and a lagoon-shaped swimming pool.

Services available are reflexology, facials, scrubs, and body massages.

Rp330,000 for a 60 minutes Traditional Javanese Massage or Swedish Massage. In-room massage possible.

Opening Hours:
Daily from 6am to 11pm

Olympus Fitness and Wellness Centre, Hotel Hyatt, Jalan M. H. Thamrin Kav. 28-30, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62-21 2992 1234

Fit and Spa - The Spa by Pullman

Fit and Spa is the official name of the spas in both Pullman hotels in Jakarta (Central Park and Thamrin). They are a bit cheaper than other spas but they are recommended because their facilities are still quite new. In particular, they have Vichy showers and a traditional hammam.

Indonesian traditonal massage + Javanese scrub: Rp580,000++ for 120 minutes
Couple Package (signature aromatic massage, body scrub, facial, mask): Rp1,790,000++ for 3 hours per couple

Operating hours:
Every day from 10am to midnight for Thamrin, from 9am to midnight for Central Park.

Pullman Thamrin
Jl. M.H. Thamrin 59, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62-21 31 92 1111
Email :
Website: Spa Pullman Thamrin Jakarta

Pullman Central Park
Jl. Let. Jend. S. Parman Kav. 28, West Jakarta
Phone number: +62-21 29 20 00 88
Website: Spa Pullman Central Park Jakarta

Spa at Raffles Hotel Jakarta

The newest hotel in this list, Raffles, opened in March 2015. The spa is still close but it will feature modern facilities including steam room, cold pool, experience showers and a beauty salon.

Raffles Jakarta
Ciputra World 1, Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio Kav. 3-5, South Jakarta
Phone number: +62-21 2988 0888
Website: Raffles Spa

Within the next few years, two new properties will open brand new spas in Jakarta: Four Season Hotel (2018 after refurbishment) and the St Regis Jakarta in Gatot Subroto.

2 hotel spas have the reputation of being popular with the gay crowd: Sari Pan Pacific Hotel and Millennium Sirih Hotel, both in Central Jakarta.

Photo source: Instagram

Planetarium and Observatory in TIM (Jakarta)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The Planetarium and Observatory of Jakarta is a little-known attraction which is well-worth visiting, particularly if you have kids. The videos projected are only in Indonesian but it is still a fun thing to do, even if you don't understand everything.

Part of the TIM (Taman Ismail Marzuki) in Menteng, it was built in 1968 and renovated in 1996. The entrance is Rp7,000  for adults and Rp3,500 for children.

Timetable for the planetarium video projections:

During weekdays, open to individuals only for 1 session (1 hour) at 4.30pm. If you are a group, you have sessions at 9.30am, 11am and 1.30pm (100 persons minimum).

During the weekend, all sessions are open to individuals: 10am, 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm (1 hour)

I didn't visit the observatory and I'm not sure it is still available to the public. With the light pollution in Jakarta, I cannot imagine that you can see many stars anyway.

Planetarium and Observatory
TIM (Taman Ismail Marzuki)
Jl. Cikini Raya No.73
Jakarta, Indonesia

Before going to the planetarium, I would strongly recommend to call them to make sure the show is available:
Phone number: +62 21 2305 147

Motion Blue (Jazz - Fine Dining Lounge)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Motion Blue is a fine dining restaurant/lounge located in Fairmont Hotel in Jakarta. It was named Cotton Club for a couple months, then changed its name. You can read my review of Cotton Club here.

The concept of Motion Blue is very similar. It is an upmarket venue with live jazz bands or musicians every day. It is even more expensive than Black Cat. The food is nice, with mostly French fusion dishes.

Music charge with first drink free: Rp250,000.

Opening Hours:
Everyday from 9:30am to 10:00pm (until 7.30pm on Sunday and holidays)

Motion Blue Jazz Lounge
Fairmont 3rd floor, Jalan Asia Afrika No.8
South Jakarta, Indonesia

Phone number: +62 (0) 21 2903 9189

Instagram (not active yet): motionbluejkt

Bachelor Party in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
This guide will give you insider's tips and recommendations to help you prepare a memorable bachelor party (or bachelorette) in Jakarta with your friends.

I will answer all the questions you may have about the best clubs to visit, how to get around in the city, which hotels to choose, how to meet Indonesian girls and how to stay safe.

If there is anything else you would like to know, please write a comment or send me an email

Why choosing Jakarta for a bachelor party:

Really, why Jakarta?
Jakarta is not as popular as Bangkok or Manila for bachelor parties, probably because the city has a poor reputation: Endless traffic jams, pollution, chaos, underdevelopment and very few tourist attractions.

All of the above are true. Jakarta is a mad city, yet it has a few advantages compared to other Asian capitals:

- It is not difficult to mix with Indonesians, guys and girls. Indonesians usually speak good English and are friendly. In particular, if you come for party, you can expect meeting girls easily in clubs or through online dating apps.

- Endless nightlife options, all relatively safe to visit. You have a mix of posh clubs and more local venues where you won't feel uncomfortable even if you are the only foreigners there.

- Nightlife curfews are usually ignored, meaning you can keep on partying until early morning.

- No difficulties to enter clubs with large groups of male.

- There are few foreigners staying in Jakarta compared to Bangkok. For this reason, being a "bule" (white person) can be an advantage, especially with girls.

Is it smart to organize a bachelor party in a Muslim country?

You may also wonder if it is a good idea to organize a weekend of debauchery in the capital of a Muslim country.

As of 2015, many middle-class Jakartans follow a moderate version of Islam and they don't mind drinking a bit of alcohol, having sex before marriage and even eating pork once in a while.
That's not the majority of the population, but that's enough to have all nightclubs packed on Fridays and Saturdays. Most Indonesian-Chinese are protestants or catholics so they amount for a large percentage of clubbers in the city too.

Indonesia is becoming more and more religious though. I think that a ban on nightlife activities and alcohol in Jakarta is very likely to happen in the coming years (I'll write about that in the near future). One more reason to enjoy it while it lasts!

How much will I spend on a 2-night weekend bachelor party in Jakarta?

Jakarta is more expensive than Bangkok. For a decent night out, you must spend at least 150$ per day (excluding the hotel). If you plan to go to the top luxury karaokes and massage parlours in the city, then it will cost even more (up to 500$ per day).

The big problem is that alcohol is heavily taxed and it's hard to get a cocktail for less than 10$.

If you cannot spend that kind of money, I advise you to go somewhere else. Try Vietnam: Saigon Nightlife.

Recommendations to make sure your stag party goes well:

Keep the party in the clubs. Don't show that you are drunk in public space. The country is Muslim and even though Indonesians are easy going, you don't want to offend anybody. Local media love running stories about disrespectful foreigners. If you don't want to make national news, you should understand that and be smart, even when you are drunk.

Do not visit during a religious holidays (Ramadan, Idul Adha). On National Day (August 17th) and at Christmas/New Year, Jakarta is more quiet than usual. It is better to enjoy Bali nightlife during that time. It is also best to avoid Jakarta during the peak of the rainy season (January-February). Jakarta can be flooded during this time, making transport more difficult from one point to the other.

Drugs are not legal, but they are widely available, especially in North Jakarta. Foreigners are more likely to get into troubles because they lack the connections and information that some Indonesians have to avoid going to jail (see for instance the story of Christopher Daniel Sjarif who got away with killing 4 people under LSD). I would recommend not taking drugs in Jakarta. If you do, never ever carry anything with you, buy it from someone you are sure you can trust, and prepare some cash in case you get arrested.

Prostitution is not legal but it is tolerated as well. There are rarely crackdown on brothels and massage parlors in Jakarta (unlike in Medan or Surabaya). To avoid any problems, make sure that your hotel is girl-friendly: Jakarta Hotel Guide.

Since Jakarta can be intimidating, it is best if a local expat help you organize or if you can come to scout the city beforehand.

Jakarta Hotel Guide: Where to sleep in Jakarta for a bachelor party?

You need to make sure that your hotel is located in the center of the city and close from Sudirman street. Jalan Sudirman is the backbone of Jakarta, it is connected to almost all the important streets and buildings you'll need to go to. 

For this reason, I would recommend one of the following (please book through Agoda, I get a small commission out of it):

5-star hotels:
Grand Hyatt Hotel: It is connected to Plaza Indonesia mall, in which you have the Immigrant nightclub, the Dreams lounge and Cloud rooftop bar.

Kempinski: It is connected to Grand Indonesia with several popular bars like Paulaner Brauhaus, Social House or Skye.

The Mandarin Oriental and the Pullman Thamrin are good as well and they were renovated just a few years ago.

The Mulia Hotel and the Shangri La are not as centrally-located but they have very busy bars with lots of working girls. It can also be an option.

4-star hotels:
There are several Accor properties in Jakarta which are relatively new. Mercure Sabang is located in the center. Novotel Gajah Mada is quite up north but it is interesting if you just want to party in that area.

Other central choices: Check the hotels in those locations - Plaza IndonesiaMega Kuningan, Rasuna SaidPlaza Senayan.

If you are wondering if your hotel is girl-friendly or not, you don't have to worry. Almost all hotels in Jakarta are except small family guesthouses.

Best luxury apartments starting 100$ per night per person:

A great way to enjoy your bachelor party is to rent an apartment during your stay. The cost for a 3-bedroom all-inclusive apartment is not that high if you split the bill.

The apartment makes it easy to buy and store booze, and it is a comfy place for starting the party.

I recommend you to check the following, all located in central locations:
Fraser Residence: The best choice - They have 3-bedroom apartments and it is brand new.
Ascott Jakarta and Aston Rasuna have 2-bedroom apartments only.

How to get around in Jakarta?

Considering you might spend a lot of time in traffic jams, your transportation choices are crucial. I strongly recommend renting a minibus or minivan to get around in the city. The price is reasonable and it will assure you continuous fun throughout the weekend.

You can rent a isuzu for instance and pack it with beer and music. The price is about 90$ per day including the driver, cheaper than paying several taxis each time you want to go somewhere.

I used the services of 911 Rental several times and it was always a great experience. You can also try Jakarta Rent Bus. Make sure to explain to the driver that you are planning on partying in the bus to avoid any troubles.

You can also rent a party bus from Royale VIP Party Bus. It is a bus specially made for bachelor parties. You can contact Dhandy 0856 64226056 or email them at
Inside the Royale VIP Bus - Special for Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties
Finally, if you choose to go with taxis, just remember to negotiate the meter in advance. I use Blue Bird and Express but other brands are fine too. The dangers of taxi is overrated in my opinion. If you go inside a "bad" taxi, your only risk is to lose a 5$ or to do a few extra kilometers.

Are there strip clubs in Jakarta?

This is not an advertisement for Marlboro...
I wrote a review about the best striptease and sexy dancer clubs in Jakarta. That's a good start for you to read. All the places mentioned are great for a bachelor party, but the best ones are naturally the most expensive.

The priciest is Alexis. Renting a karaoke room with a jacuzzi filled with 10 super hot girls is possible but it would cost you around 2,000$ for 1 hour.

Playing volleyball with girls in bikini in the 1001 Sexy Pool is also another option for those who can afford it.

If your budget is limited, you can go to King Cross, Classic or B'Fashion Hotel instead (see my review here: Striptease and Body Massage in B'Fashion).

Otherwise, a private lap dance in a strip club like Malio or Tease is not that expensive. If you pay about 10 ladies drinks (Rp500,000), you will be more than satisfied.

Where to party to meet normal girls?

I wrote several reviews that should help you decide about the best clubs and bars to visit in Jakarta: Jakarta Best Clubs 2015, Jakarta Best Bars 2015, Jakarta Nightlife 2015.

If you are not very familiar with Jakarta, I would just stay with the classics: X2, Immigrant, Dragonfly. Those are the nightclubs with the most foreigners and with the most girls looking to meet foreigners as well.

What are the things to do in Jakarta during the day?

Spa and Massage Parlours
The best thing to do in Jakarta during day time is certainly to go to a spa. They are cheap, well-equipped and you can find them everywhere (see my review: Finding a Spa in Jakarta).

Visiting a museum, a monument, a historical building, a mosque or a traditional market:
If you are interested to do cultural sightseeing, you may want to check my reviews in the category: Things to do in Jakarta.

If you just want to kill time, the best you can do is hangout in a mall such as Plaza Indonesia, Plaza Senayan or Grand Indonesia. I love spending afternoons in De Luca in Plaza Senayan and just look at the people passing by.

Dating an Indonesian girl
You can get a date on Badoo or Tinder quite easily with my guide: Dating Websites in Indonesia. A great place to bring your date is the Blitz Cinema in Pacific Place. Choose the Velvet auditorium which is specially designed for couples. You can also bring her to one of Jakarta's rooftop restaurants.

Bachelor party schedule for a 2-night and 3-day stag weekend:

If you come to Jakarta for a full weekend from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, I would recommend the following schedule:

Friday Evening:
- Dinner in B.A.T.S (steaks + live music + girls): From 8.30pm to 11.30pm
- Drinks in Cloud: From midnight to 1am
- Party in Immigrant (just below Cloud) or X2 or Dragonfly starting after 1am: Book a table + sofa in advance.
- After 3am: Karaoke in Golden Crown or Level 5.

Saturday Afternoon:
- Spa and Karaoke session in Alexis, 1001 Hotel, Illigals, Sun City, Malioboro or King Cross: From 3pm to 6pm.

Saturday Evening:
- Dinner in Loewy or Cork&Screw Pacific Place or Bluegrass: From 8.30pm to 11.30pm
- Drinks in Empirica or Potato Garage or Lucy in the Sky: From midnight to 1am.
- Party in Immigrant or X2 or Dragonfly starting after 1am: Book a table + sofa in advance.
- After closing, go to Mille's Club in North Jakarta.

Sunday morning / afternoon:
- Brunch in Potato Head or Loewy from the moment you wake up until 3pm.
- Spa session: Delta or My Place.

To make your decision, you should also check the DJs coming to Jakarta or if there are any cool festivals like Djakarta Warehouse Project, Java Jazz Festival or Color Run while you are here.


Confused? Please send me a message and I'll do my best to help you organize your trip.

Photo credit: Kuclukoye and Indra Kurniawan. I also took the party pics on the facebook page of Immigrant. If your face is in there and you want it removed, just ask.