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Where to Stay in Jakarta - Best Areas for Tourists

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
If you visit Jakarta as a tourist, you are probably wondering about the best areas to stay in the city.

Due to the horrible traffic and the lack of public transportation, I advise you to choose your location carefully. 1 kilometer in Jakarta is like 10 kilometer in normal cities. Just going to the opposite side of a street by car can sometimes take up to 30 minutes!

If you don't have time to read my entire review, the following paragraph is a short summary:

The best place to stay in Jakarta, either you are a tourist or a businessman, is around Plaza Indonesia or Grand Indonesia, for instance: KempinskiGrand HyattPullmanMandarin Oriental. It is an expensive area though so if you are on a budget, you can stay near Sarinah Mall instead. You'll find backpacker hostels (Jalan Jaksa), 2 star hotels (Favehotel), 3-star hotels (Holiday Inn or Ibis Tamarin) and 4-star hotels (Morrissey or Akmani).

Need more addresses? See the following recommendations for Hotels near Grand Indonesia and Hotels near Sarinah.

If you have time to read my whole review, I will list below all the potential areas for you to stay in Jakarta, starting from the best.

I included a direct link to Agoda to help you book your hotel. I make a small commission on every booking but the price is the same for you. You can compare using HotelsCombined.com (excellent hotel comparator) or  Booking.com.

If you are interested to stay in Jakarta near the nightlife, please read my other hotel guides:

Contact me by email thibaud@jakarta100bars.com if you have any questions about where to stay in Jakarta (or just leave a comment below).



Hotel Indonesia (Plaza Indonesia / Grand Indonesia)

The iconic Hotel Indonesia roundabout (Bunderan HI in Indonesian) is one of the most famous landmarks in Jakarta. All around it are 5 luxury hotels (KempinskiGrand HyattPullmanMandarin OrientalKeraton at the Plaza) and the two best malls in Jakarta (Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia).

Both of these malls are great meeting points with lots of popular cafés, cinemas, restaurants, bars (Cloud, Social House, Skye) and nightclubs (Immigrant). It is a modern part of Jakarta ideal for lifestyle travelers who are interested with shopping, eating out and partying.

It is also central, so you can reach other parts of Jakarta fairly easily (for Jakarta standards). In particular, it is just a few minutes away from Tanah Abang (budget shopping), Jalan Sudirman (business district) and Menteng (government offices). Attractions like the Monas or the National Museum are only 15 minutes away. You can use public transportation to reach any of these (Transjakarta).
Summary:
Distance from airport:
Between 1h and 1h30m with normal traffic conditions.

Pros:
Central, easy to access, upmarket area
Good for nightlife, shopping, eating and drinking out

Cons:
Nothing touristic in the immediate area (no monuments, no historical buildings, no traditional markets)
Busy, crowded with a lot of traffic
Nowhere to walk around except inside malls
No street food
Expensive

Sarinah Mall (Jalan Jaksa, Wahid Hasyim, Sabang)
The Sarinah Shopping Center is only a kilometer north of the Hotel Indonesia roundabout (see above), but the feel is much different. It is a middle class area with affordable shopping and restaurants. You will also find great Indonesian street food 24/7. Most buildings are low-rise but this might change soon as several towers are being built.

There are many convenient businesses for travelers, some of which are open 24-hour: Money changers, travel agents, internet cafés, printing services, photography shops, etc. You also have several laundries (one of which is a coin laundry).

The mid-range hotels are along the streets Wahid Hasyim and Agus Salim (nicknamed Sabang).

If your budget is very tight, meaning under 10$ a night, you can get a room in Jalan Jaksa. Many of the cheaper guesthouses are not listed on internet so it's best to just walk around and look for "room for rent/kos" signs.

The location is just as strategic as the one in Hotel Indonesia (you can walk there in 15 minutes). If you are not interested in going to malls, it is probably even better.

East of Sarinah is the upscale area of Menteng-Cikiniwhere some of the richest Indonesian families live. It is central with many nice restaurants, a few museums, public parks and cultural attractions. Hotels tend to be either pricey or low-quality. 
Summary:
Distance from airport:
Between 1h and 1h30m with normal traffic conditions.

Pros:
Central, in-between modern Jakarta and old Jakarta
Many budget hotels with good value for money
Cheap shopping options
Travelers shops (Money changers, travel agents, etc)
Good street food
Very lively, even at night (many shops and restaurants are open 24-hour)
You can meet other travelers more easily (see Jalan Jaksa Nightlife)

Cons:
Not an upmarket location
Not walking distance from any tourist landmarks
It was the location of a terrorist attack in January 2016

Photo credit: https://www.instagram.com/kroenisme/

Golden Triangle
Mega Kuningan Streets
The Golden Triangle is the main business area of Jakarta and it is made from the following streets: Gatot Subroto, Rasuna Said and Sudirman. It comprises some famous neighborhoods such as Mega Kuningan, SCBD (Sudirman Central Business District) or Setiabudi. It extends in the South until Plaza Senayan and Senopati.

Mega Kuningan and SCBD are exclusive and modern areas with a Western city planning model. You'll find blocks, large streets and sidewalks, just like you would in an American city. It is the trendiest part of Jakarta and home to dozens of hip bars, clubs and restaurants. There are also several 5-star hotels (Ritz Carlton Mega KuninganMarriott) and luxury malls (Pacific Place). It is cleaner than the rest of Jakarta and you have less traffic jams. Some would say it's a ghetto for rich people that has nothing to do with the real Jakarta.

Many young, single expats choose to live there when they can afford it. If they don't have the budget, they may choose to stay in Setiabudi instead (see below).

Jalan SudirmanJalan Rasuna Said, Jalan Gatot Subroto are some of the busiest streets in Jakarta. They are packed with cars, messy and polluted. Still, choosing a hotel directly on one of these thoroughfares is a good idea to avoid unnecessary commuting time. Most are 4 and 5-star hotels though.

Summary:
Distance from airport:
Between 45 minutes and 1h30m with normal traffic conditions. Gatot Subroto is the closest and it is connected to the airport highway. Mega Kuningan is more difficult to access (traffic bottleneck).

Pros:
Modern, Westernized part of Jakarta
Easy access to nightclubs, malls, trendy restaurants
Central
Public transport options (Transjakarta)

Cons:
Expensive
Limited street food options
No traditional street life
Heavy traffic during peak hours

Setiabudi
Setiabudi is a residential and low-rise neighborhood in the northern part of the Golden Triangle. Its residents were originally low to middle income families, but this is starting to change as the land prices increase. Many houses have been transformed into boarding houses, small apartments or hotels which are popular with single office workers (both Indonesians and expats).

You can get a room there for an affordable price while being near from the Central Business District (more information: How to Rent a Cheap Room in Jakarta). It is a great area for street food as well.

Staying in Setiabudi would not be my first recommendation though if you are a tourist because it can be difficult to get there (traffic) and to find your hotel (small streets).

Summary:
Distance from airport:
Between 1h and 1h30m with normal traffic conditions.

Pros:
Very good location between Sudirman and Rasuna Said streets
Low-rise, middle class neighborhood
Near offices, malls, nightclubs, bars, restaurants
Street food
Convenient shops (laundry, photocopy, etc.)
Possibility to walk around

Cons:
More complicated to access when you are not familiar with Jakarta
More difficult to get public transport
Traffic Jams

Kota Tua
Street food near Jalan Kali Besar in Kota Tua
Strictly speaking, Kota Tua (Old Town in Indonesian) is the area around Taman Fatahillah Square in North Jakarta. In this review, I use it to describe a larger zone inclusive of Mangga Besar and Glodok.

Kota Tua is infamous for being a red-light district: This is where you will find the most expensive naughty massage parlours, strip clubs, nightclubs and gogo bars in Jakarta. Most hotels are used for short time and the streets are busy 24/7.

In spite of this, staying nearby has several advantages: Hotels are much cheaper than elsewhere and they are close from many tourist attractions (Chinese temples in Glodok, Museums, Sunda Kelapa). Some people, including myself, also enjoy the authentic street life. Jalan Mangga Besar in particular is one of the best places to eat street food in Jakarta.

From Kota Tua to the city center of Jakarta (Plaza Indonesia), it will take about 1 hour with normal traffic conditions (30 minutes at night). There is a very convenient Transjakarta line from Kota Tua down to Blok M that goes through Monas and the the National Museum.
Summary:
Distance from airport:
Between 45m and 1h15m with normal traffic conditions.

Pros:
Near most tourist attractions in Jakarta
Near nightclubs, bars, massage parlours and karaokes (naughty ones)
Cheaper area in Jakarta for sleeping and eating out
Great and colorful street life
Street food stalls open 24/7 - Excellent Chinese food
Busway line

Cons:
More dirty and dodgy than average
No modern malls and restaurants
Lots of prostitutes

Other possible areas for staying in Jakarta
Kemang
Kemang is a popular area with expats because it is near from the international schools. Many live in expansive villas with swimming pool and gardens. It has a vibe similar to the one in Seminyak.

As a tourist staying in Kemang, you will be near from many designer shops, good Western restaurants and several bars and clubs. On the negative side, there are no tourist sights and it is far from the city center.

Gajah Mada/Hayam Wuruk (+ Pasar Baru)
This area is strategically located as it is between Sudirman and Kota Tua. There are not so many things to do in the immediate vicinity apart from some famous strip clubs and massage parlours (Malioboro, V2, Emporium).

Recommended if you are planning to visit places in both South and North Jakarta. They have recently opened several brand new hotels such as Hotel Santika Premiere Hayam WurukNovotel Gajah Mada and Ibis Harmoni.

Mangga Dua
In North Jakarta, Mangga Dua is a shopping area with several naughty nightlife venues. It can easily be reached from the airport by the toll road, and it is not too far from the city's tourist attractions like Kota Tua or Ancol. If you need to go to the South, it will take you about an hour.

If you only have one night in Jakarta, it can be a more fun option than staying near the airport. After two nights, you might get bored.

Slipi-Taman Anggrek
This area is in the vicinity of the malls Central Park and Taman Anggrek. You can stay there if you want to be closer from the airport as it is only 40 minutes away by car. Downtown Jakarta is about 30 minutes away.

Pluit and PIK (Pantai Indah Kapuk)
This is an upscale area where many Rich Indochinese families live. It is close from the airport (less than 40 minutes) and you have a growing nightlife scene (see my review Nightlife in PIK).

Kelapa Gading
There are not many reasons to stay in Kelapa Gading apart from shopping and nightlife.

For shopping, you have several malls including the gigantic Mall of Indonesia and Mal Kelapa Gading.

For nightlife, you'll find mostly massage parlours plus plus, brothels, strip clubs and beer houses (Sumo, Delta, King Cross, Level 5 and other prostitution joints).

Malang Nightlife: Best Bars, Clubs and Spas

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Malang is one of the nicest cities I've been to in Java. It is a mid-sized mountain town just 2 hours from Surabaya, relatively clean (for Indonesia standards) and with a pleasant weather.

As you would expect, Malang nightlife is not the most happening. The current hotspot is actually the brand-new Starbucks, in front of which you may surprisingly see a couple of Ferraris. If you want to party, you have a few good bars and nightclubs though, enough to keep you busy for a weekend.

Most bars are laid-back beer houses or live music cafés with a student crowd. They are not so sophisticated and their prices are as low as it can get.

Clubs are more diversified. The best ones are modern, with a rich crowd, sexy girls and decent entertainment (DJs, bands, dancers). On the other end of the spectrum, you also have more underground joints with prostitutes and drugs easily available.

I learned that alcohol is supposed to be prohibited in Malang, yet I didn't have any difficulties to buy any, including hard liquor.

Getting Around in Malang
One of the most annoying things about Malang is that it is difficult to get around. There are no Blue Birds, no Express, no Uber, no Grab, no Go-Jek. Taxis do not actively look for customers but wait to be called so you should save their phone number.

I used Citra taxis (WA 08813349145 ) most of the time. They are quite cheap, they always put the meter and it took them on average 10 minutes to pick me up. The trip from the city center to the airport with Citra is only around Rp60,000.

Walking in Malang is not too bad. The sidewalks are in fair conditions, distances are short and the weather is not too hot. For simple trips, you can also use "angkot", small public buses that can be found everywhere. The price is around Rp3,000 for a 2 kilometer trip. Ask locals for directions as there is no map of the service.

4 Best Girl-Friendly Hotels in Malang
I was staying in the Hotel Tugu near the train station and I believe it was a great choice. It is very central so you can walk to almost any attractions in the city. The hotel restaurant is one of the best in the city and if you want to try local dishes, you have several street food stalls 5 minutes away.

It is more expensive than average but still reasonable for Western standards. Prices are higher on weekends.

Hotel Kartika Graha
My main reason for recommending this hotel is that you have My Place nightclub inside (see below), the best in the city. The hotel itself is not spectacular but it is clean and comfortable. You also have a McDonald's around the corner and it is a short taxi ride from everywhere.

Hotel Aria Gajayana
This hotel is not as centrally located as the two above, but it is still very convenient. Within the same building you have a spa, a mall, a nightclub (Nashville), a karaoke and several restaurants. The value for money is excellent as you'll pay less than 50$ for 4-star facilities.

Best Western Malang
The Best Western is one of the few high-rise buildings in Malang. As such, you have a rooftop bar on top and you can ask for a room with a nice view on the city. It is modern and central, with prices very reasonable (less than 45$ per night). It also has a spa.

Best Nightclubs in Malang

My Place Pub, Karaoke and Nightlife
Located in Hotel Kartika Graha, My Place is the most popular nightclub in Malang at the time of writing. It is usually crowded even during the week. There are always several sexy girls, but don't get your hopes too high as some are working as GROs. It is also one of the few venues in Malang with expats.

The club has a 200-pax capacity, on two levels. The upstairs mezzanine is a VIP area with private sofas. There is also a luxury karaoke of 11 rooms. Prices for the karaoke start at Rp2,6M net with 2 lady companions (escorts), 3 hours in the room and a bottle of Jack Daniel's.

The entrance is Rp80,000 with one free beer. Live music every night (Top 40 songs), then a DJ performance (Rn'B, House, EDM). They also have fashion shows and sexy dancers occasionally. Ladies night is on Wednesdays (Free tequila and free entry for girls). Tuesday is beer night (Buy 1 Get 1 Draught Beer).
Address: Hotel Kartika Graha, Jalan Jaksa Agung Suprapto 17
Email: info@myplacemalang.com
Phone number: (0341) 352 209

Website: My Place Nightclub Malang
Instagram: My Place Malang

Hugo's Club Malang
Compared to My Place, Hugo's is smaller and more student-oriented. Located in the basement of the shopping center Cyber Mall (ex-Plaza Dieng, next to City Point), it is a modern nightclub with good music and friendly staff. The dance floor is tiny, which does not really matter as most clubbers stay around tables.

It is generally not as crowded as My Place, except maybe on their campus night on Mondays and their Ladies' night on Wednesdays. Since there are no prostitutes in Hugo's, I'll recommend it for those looking to meet a local girl.

Music is similar to My Place: EDM, Hip-Hop, House, Top 40. For more information about their events, you can check their twitter and instagram accounts below. Open until 3am except Sunday.
Address: Jalan Raya Langsep 2, Cyber Mall, Basement
Phone number: (0341) 586305

Website: hugosmalang.com
Instagram: Hugo's Club Malang
Twitter: Hugo's Malang

Smooth Club and KTV
Smooth Club and KTV is located just across the street from Hugo's. The waiters and security in the clubs were not foreigner friendly. They made jokes, tried to scam me and short-changed me. This rarely happened to me before in any nightclubs in Indonesia.

In spite of this negative experience, I will try to be fair in this review. Smooth is a small nightclub with all-night entertainment: DJs, live bands and sexy dancers take turns on stage while the crowd, mostly older guys, sits around tables in the dark. There are a lot of very pretty girls, all of which are lady companions and possibly prostitutes. Prices are high.
Address: Jalan Terusan Dieng 36
Phone number: (0341) 555 777


Nashville
Nashville is more like an event space. It is open daily but people usually visit it during special events, particularly live bands. It is the largest nightclub I've seen in Malang and it is open until 4am. If there are no bands, they will normally play house and progressive music. Sexy girls may do a short dance as well.

The place is starting to feel a bit old and the design is kind of kitsch (Egyptian or Safari style). It is not so easy to find within the Olympic Garden Mall Complex.

You also have a karaoke with lady companions. Entrance fee was Rp100,000 the day I visited (inclusive of one soft drink).
Address: Hotel Aria Gajayana, Jalan Kawi 24, Mall Olympic Garden Complex
Phone number: (0341) 336 262 or 08 123 578 94 88

Instagram: Nashville Club Malang
Facebook: Nashville Live Music Malang

Best Bars and Cafés in Malang

Levels Brewhouse
Levels Brewhouse was the first beer beer bar to open in Malang and it is still one of the most busy today. It is cozy, with air con and comfortable sofas, pretty much like a Starbucks actually. They have a selection of foreign beers, including Hoegaarden, Erdinger and Leffe. Live bands and DJs a few nights per week. Sports on TV.

Address: Jalan Terusan Borobudur 26
Phone number: (0341) 416 814
BBM : 2263FF8E
Email : levels_brewhouse@yahoo.com

Instagram: Levels Brewhouse
Facebook: Levels Malang

Houtenhand
This café and beer house can be considered as the main hipster spot in Malang. Located on 3 floors of a tiny house, it is an alternative space opened by Donny Hendrawan, a part-time folk band member. They regularly welcome local Indie bands, some of which are famous.

There is some charm to it, but don't expect too much from the service and food. The nicest area is the rooftop where you may meet a few backpackers.

Address: Jalan Basuki Rahmat 56A
Phone number: +62 8 133 4050 777

Facebook: Houtenhand House
Instagram: Houtenhand
Twitter: Houten Hand

Chow Sports Bar
With a beer tower (3,6L) of Bali Hai at Rp145,000 net, the small Chow Sports Bar is one of the most affordable beer bars in Malang. It is a clean, bright and laid-back hang-out spot, more Westernized than most of its competitors. For this reason, you may see more foreigners and more Indo-Chinese. As the name suggests, it is a good venue to watch any sports, particularly football.

Address: Jalan Puncak Mandala 4E
BBM: 5CCC1E64
Phone number: 0856 4982 6583

Instagram: Chow Sports Bar Malang

Vivace Music Café
Centrally located and cheap, Vivace is one of the best places in Malang to listen to live music. The bands start at 8pm and generally play indie rock songs. Depending on the evening, you may also have reggae, metal and pop nights. It's quite masculine. The only girls turned out to be the girlfriends of the band members. They serve some food as well (pizzas, pasta, rice).

Address: Jalan Padjajaran 14
Phone number: (0341) 363 777

Instagram: Vivace Cafe Malang

Lavos Lounge
Lavos is a pub located in MX Mall, next to Malang Town Square (MATOS). It is a simple bar that looks like a restaurant, with an indoor and an outdoor area. It is surrounded by universities and therefore quite popular with students. If you happen to be near, you can have a look. If you are far, I don't think it's worth it as it is not really different from other beer houses in Malang. People stay in groups so avoid it if you are alone. Prices are very cheap: A beer tower of Bali Hai costs just above Rp100,000.

Address: Jalan Veteran
Phone number: (0341) 550336

Instagram: Lavos Lounge

Spas and Massage Parlours
Malang is almost a dry place when it comes to massage parlours with plus plus. It seems that in such a small town, the high-end spas closed down one after the other once the word gets out. All you have are plenty of small bordellos where the girls do not know how to do a proper massage and go straight for sex.

The best clean spas available are Griya Bugar and OJ Spa in Best Western Malang. You'll pay about Rp150,000 for an hour.

If you need something more, you can Tribuana Spa and Dhogadho.

Other Places of Interest
After Me - BNS
There are a few more nightclubs in Malang but I don't think you will enjoy them as they really cater to a local audience. If you feel like exploring the city's nightlife though, you can try:

Gama Lounge or Gravity Lounge
This is a relatively new place which is not really happening yet. It is worth checking their Instagram in case they have special DJs. They specialize in progressive, trance and EDM. Sexy karaoke available.

Address: Gajah Mada Plaza, Basement, Jalan K.H. Agus Salim 18
Phone number: (0341) 340 860

Instagram: Gama Lounge and Karaoke

After Me (Batu Night Spectacular - BNS)
This club/lounge is not exactly located in Malang but 15 kilometers away in the Batu Night Spectacular complex. BNS is a sort of amusement park with family attractions, restaurants, cafés, etc. Many locals go there on weekends to enjoy the view and the cool temperatures.

Facebook: After Me Batu

Beer Station / Beat Station
This small pub is located near the train station. They have DJs regularly. Bintang beer tower is Rp176,000 Net. Not so crowded unless they have events.

Next to Beer station, you have several other cafés like Godhang (local music) and Siluet.

Address: Jalan Trunojoyo 26
Phone number: 08 22 30 20 18 85

4 Best VPNs in Indonesia- How to Access Blocked Websites

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
In this review I will explain you how to bypass Internet censorship 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 using a unique IP address.

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.

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 4 recommendations for best VPNs in Indonesia (I used the 4 of them and they worked great):

HideMyAss.com
Hide My Ass is the most expensive of the VPNs listed here because they have 700 servers in the world, including in Indonesia. This means your connection is fast and smooth everywhere. If you can afford the extra dollars to get full speed, HMA is an excellent choice.

Pricing:
6,55$ per month with 1 year plan
8,33$ per month with 6-month plan
11,52$ per month without plan

Ivacy is considered as one of the fastest VPNs in Indonesia. They also have a server in Jakarta and a strong presence in Asia (the headquarters are in Hong Kong). The support is excellent (ask any question and they will answer you within a few minutes). You can pay with bitcoins or PayPal and you can use up to 5 devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, TV, etc).

Pricing:
1,83$ per month with 1 year plan
4,16$ per month with 6-month plan
9,95$ per month without plan

7 days free trial.

IPVanish
IPVanish comes with a strong reputation worldwide. It is very fast, with 325 servers around the world including one in Jakarta. It will allow you to access any blocked websites in Indonesia and download from P2P sites. They also offer total web anonymity by not keeping any logs of your connection.

It is one of the fastest VPNs in Indonesia but quite expensive. If you hesitate, you can subscribe and you still have 7 days to change your mind.

Pricing:
6.49$ per month with 1 year plan
8.99$ per month with 3-month plan
10$ per month without plan

7 days money back guaranteed.

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).

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

30 days free trial

There are a lot of new players entering the market every month. If you are using a different VPN in Indonesia, please leave a comment below to share your experience!

Solo Nightlife (Surakarta) - Bars, Clubs, KTVs, Spas

By Nyoman →
Small in size but touristy, Solo (or Surakarta) is often considered the little sister of Yogyakarta. I was in the city to visit a French friend who lived there for 8 years. He showed me the nightlife on a Friday and a Saturday night.

Guest-Friendly Hotels in Solo
The city is home to plenty of hotels, but beware as many are conservative and may not accept if you stay with a girl you aren't married to. As a rule of thumb, avoid small family guest-houses and any hotel with the name "syariah" on it (obviously).

Most hotels and places of interest are located either on Jalan Adi Sucipto or Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi. If you want to be near the nightlife, the best area is near the mall Solo Square. The newest part of town is called Solo Baru, in the South, but it is far from the main attractions (Best Western Solo Baru  is the best hotel there).

You can stay in excellent hotels in Solo for less than 50$ per night. The best one is the brand new Alila Solo, which is close from everything including the train station. It also has a nice open-air lounge with huge swimming pool called Largo, and a restaurant on its 29th floor called Agra.

Alternatively, the nearby Sunan Hotel is a good-value option. It is a 4-star property with the big advantage of having a popular nightclub inside, Musro.

A bit further, Aston Solo and Novotel Solo are also very central. The Royal Surakarta is an heritage hotel which can be nice if you come for a romantic weekend with your girlfriend.

Some hotels have decent rooftop bars like Amarelo Hotel and the new Alana (Aquamarine Pool and Bar).


Best Nightclubs in Solo

Social Kitchen and Social Lounge Solo
This small club is probably the most happening in Solo among young people and students. It is rather big, on two floors, with also a karaoke and an outdoor area. The attached restaurant is only ok for a snack or to hangout, don't expect great food. They have at least a weekly special event such as a guest DJ from Jakarta, sexy dancers or a live band.

There may be an entrance fee around Rp50,000 on busy days. Girls enter for free. Campus night on Monday.

Jalan Abdul Rachman Saleh No.1 Banjarsari
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 66 66 98
Pin BB: 597fbaec

SLS Executive Karaoke and Lounge
Located in the Best Western Premiere Solo Baru, SLS is the newest nightclub in Solo. It is busy but mostly for those who want to party with a bottle and lady companions. One of the best karaokes in Solo with many hot girls. Pricier than average.

Jalan Ir. Soekarno, Solo Baru
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 7880 907
Instagram: sls.karaoke

Twitter: SLS Solo
Facebook: SLS Executive Karaoke and Lounge and SLS

Musro Solo (Music Room)
Musro is the night club within the Sunan Hotel. It may belong to Tommy Winata considering he also owns Musro in Bali and Jakarta.

It is more male-oriented and older than Social Lounge. The place is small and does not really feel high class. They have first a local band, and then a DJ playing house/progressive music. If you are lucky you will see sexy dancers.

The entrance is usually free unless there is a special event. Ladies night on Wednesday. Open from 6pm to 2am from Monday to Saturday. 

Jalan Ahmad Yani No. 40
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 7 3131 2 or 08 57 91 07 93 33

You might also have heard about Hailai International Executive Club. It is now closed and replaced by the Adhiwangsa hotel.


Best Bars and Beer Gardens in Solo

11 12 Beer Garden
11 12 Beer garden is the biggest beer garden in Solo with regular live bands and cheap beer. It was really packed when we visited. I was surprised to see that even girls wearing the jilbab were among the guests. You can smoke shisha as well. Beware the music is loud and the place smokey. Open from 4pm to 2am.

Address: Jalan Adi Sucipto No 48
Phone number: 08 57 25 00 99 66
Twitter: 11 12 Solo

Am Pm Beer and Coffee
There are several AM-PM branches in Solo but I couldn't find the location for all. The one I visited was on Jalan Slamet Riyadi. It is central and, amazingly, open 24h. They have live music, cheap beer and shisha. Young and laid-back crowd. You can order Indonesian and Western food.

Jalan Honggowongso 27 (Pasar Kembang), Phone number: +62 (0) 271 65 3821
Jalan Slamet Riyadi 255 (Purwosari), Phone number: +62 (0) 271 72 8929
Jalan Adisucipto 180

Instagram: Am Pm Solo

House of Beer (HOB) by Stark
House of Beer is located in Park Mall in Solo Baru. It is more expensive and upmarket than the beer gardens listed above. In particular, you will see more Indochinese. Good live music including acoustic sessions and jazz. They also serve food (pizzas, pasta, snacks). Beer towers available.

The Park Mall, GF, Jalan Ir. Soekarno
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 789 1327
Twitter: HOB Solo

Score Bar and Grill
A bar and restaurant opened in 2014 in Park Mall, Score is a nice addition to Solo nightlife. It is part of a larger chain that has several locations in Indonesia. The one in Solo is the best I've visited. The design is modern with a large outdoor area and comfortable sofas. This is where rich kids hangout before going to Social Lounge for party. They serve American, Italian and Indonesian food.

Most people come with a group of friends. If you are alone, I would recommend one of the beer gardens above instead. No dress code but it's better to wear pants and shoes. Open from 11am to midnight (until 2am on weekends).

The Park Mall, GF, Jalan Ir. Soekarno
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 789 1322
Facebook: Score Solo Bar
Twitter: Score Solo Baru
Website: www.scorebarandgrillsolo.com

Agra Rooftop Bar (Alila Solo)
Solo City view from Agra (Alila Hotel)
On the 29th floor of the Alila Hotel, this new venue is the highest rooftop bar in Solo. It is not that sophisticated for Jakarta standard, but the view is worth going. They serve expensive cocktails and tapas.

Address: Jalan Slamet Riyadi No. 562
Phone number: +62 271 677 0888

Saraswati Bar and Lounge
Hotel bar of the Novotel Solo. They have regular live music but it wasn't very crowded when we visited. Maybe the business people are away during weekends. You can order food as well.

Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi 272
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 724 555

Uncle Bear Beer Bar
One of the most recently opened beer bars in Solo. Clean and fun with live music and DJ in the evening. Open everyday from 5pm to 1am. American and Asian food.

Jalan Veteran 108C
Phone number: +62 (0) 8 12 26 00 97 79
Facebook: Uncle Bear Solo

Par Four Cafe
This is the closest thing from an expat pub in Solo. American-owned. Not a party place but nice for chilling with home-cooked American food and beer. Open from 4pm to midnight every night except Mondays.

Jalan Kebangkitan Nasional 31, Sriwedari Park (next to Sports Station) 
Phone number: +62 (0) 8 11 26 49 36
Facebook: Parfour Solo


Other Karaokes, KTVs and Girlie Bars

Apart from SLS and Musro, you can also try one of the following places:

Primadona Lounge and Karaoke
This is a very local karaoke located in Bengawan Sport Center. They have sexy dancers on Monday and Thursday night. Live music every night from 11pm to 2am. Reasonable prices and many lady companions.

Bengawan Sport Center, Jalan HOS Cokroaminoto 55
Phone number: 08 13212 55 813

Bima Karaoke
Bima is a more expensive karaoke in Solo Baru. Open until 2am, the price for rooms is Rp200,000 per hour with minimal 3 hours. Many girls available as well.

Jalan Ir Soekarno, Ruko HC 19
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 672 7327

I heard that the Lorin Hotel had a nightclub and karaoke but I didn't visited it. There is also Kafe Bola which might be closed already.


Spas, Massage Parlours and Salons

Amazon Spa
This spa is one of the best in the city and it is centrally-located. You can get a HJ with extra tip Rp50,000 to Rp100,000. More is possible as well depending on your negotiation skills. The price of the normal massage + room + facilities (sauna, jacuzzi, cold and hot pool) ranges from Rp200,000 to Rp300,000).

Jalan Adisucipto 48
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 7551308

La Fitto Spa
This is also a recommended plus plus spa in Solo, about 1 kilometer from Solo Square. It is cheaper than Amazon and you can normally get extra services more easily. You can expect to pay Rp150,000 for the room and a normal 2-hour massage. A handjob will cost you from Rp50,000 to Rp100,000 and a blowjob around Rp200,000-250,000. Add at least another Rp100,000 for more. Open from 10am to 10pm.

Jalan Ahmad Yani 296 D
Phone number: +62 271 2700 858
Twitter: Lafitto Spa
Website (with prices): La Fitto Spa Solo

From what I read on Kaskus forum, you have several small brothels (called salons or panti pijat) but they might be hard to find. You can look for Salon Jelita, Salon Mawar, Salon Jasmin, Salon Virgo, Salon Mona and Salon Victoria.

The following spas might be closed:
Refresh Spa, Jalan Kyai Gede Komplek Ruko Beteng Blok B-1, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 657 009
Pluto Spa & Shiatsu, Ruko Bisnis Square Blok JC No. 26, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 799 8568
Athena Spa, Jalan Raya Solo Baru Permai, Blok CA-55, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 623 655
Solo Spa, Jalan Raya Solo-Wonogiri Blok CA No.1, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 623 388
Niagara Spa, Niagara Spa, Jalan Tentara Pelajar No.3, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 789 1916

Revolution Vodka Party Bar (Lotte Mall, Jakarta)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Revolution Vodka Party Bar was developed by some of the people who launched Red Square in Senayan Arcadia a few years ago. It is located in Lotte Avenue Mall, next to their sister Mexican restaurant Gonzo's Tex Mex Grill.

For those who don't remember, Red Square was one of Jakarta's best bars/nightclubs for expats. It was wild, packed with hot girls with usually good DJs playing a mix of commercial and underground music. I personally had a lot of fun there and I was sad when it closed.

Revolution Vodka Party Bar is targeting the same crowd with the same recipe. It is a fun place for partying, with the same central table/podium where people can mingle and dance as the night gets wilder. The staff is friendly and welcoming, very different from the PRs and bouncers that you get in places like Dragonfly or X2. Revolution is upmarket, but not pretentious and snob.

You have several packages if you plan on booking a sofa, starting Rp3,000,000++ including 3 bottles of Vodka (among which one Absolut Elyx Premium Vodka) and snacks. If you prefer drinking "à la carte", cocktails costs around Rp100k-Rp110k net and a local Bintang beer Rp50k.

They have a special event or promo almost every night. The most interesting is the ladies' night on Wednesdays. On that day, they have bikini dancers and girls get free cocktails from 9pm to midnight.

It is most busy on weekends but it's worth visiting during the week as well to enjoy great promotions. On Monday for instance you get a buy 1 get 1 free on Absolut cocktails.

You can get more details on their facebook or website below.

Revolution Vodka Party Bar (Jakarta)
Lotte Mall - Shopping Avenue LG No. 58, Ciputra World 1,
Jalan Prof Dr. Satrio Kav 3-5, Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia 12940

Phone number (bookings, sofas, table reservation): +62 (0) 21 2988 8986
Email: reservations@revolution-jakarta.com, socialmedia@revolution-jakarta.com

For events, party photos and latest informations, you can check:
Facebook: Revolution Jakarta
Instagram: Revo Jakarta
Website: Revolution Bar Lotte

Opening Hours:
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday from 4.30pm to 1am
Wednesday and Thursday from 4.30pm to 3am
Friday and Saturday from 4.30pm to 4am

Jenja (Jakarta)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Jenja nightclub will open in Jakarta in Cilandak Town Square (CiToS), most likely after Lebaran 2016. 

It will be their second branch after Bali, where Jenja is currently one of the best nightclubs. On the island, it is popular with expats, particularly because of the music they play (German electro, see 12 DJs I Want To See in Jakarta). Their design is nice as well but it is not the main reason for their success.

I wish them success in Jakarta. If they can make it work here, it could encourage other nightclubs to play something else than non-stop commercial EDM/Rn'B.

I'm a bit skeptical about their location though. To be successful, they will need a trendy crowd that Cilandak may not have. You have expats and rich Indonesians, but mostly families. I wonder if the people who currently party in SCBD/Mega Kuningan will accept driving 30 minutes to Cilandak. Or maybe I'm underestimating the clubbing crowd in South Jakarta?

We will know the answer soon. Please leave a comment if you have more information about their concept and opening date!

Jenja (Jakarta)
Town Square Cilandak (CiToS)
1 Jalan TB. Simatupang, Kav. 17
Jakarta, Indonesia 12430

Phone number: +62 811-3988-088