Karaokes and KTVs in Jakarta (Complete Guide)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
Karaoke and KTV bars in Jakarta are used for a multitude of purposes. Singing is one of them, but it is definitely not the only reason. Most commonly, they are used for prostitution, drugs, private parties, striptease and sometimes orgies.

As a foreigner, it took me several years to understand what was truly going on behind those doors. It is only after discussing with girls, clients and club owners, that I finally realized what karaokes were for and why Indonesians are so crazy about them.

The main appeal of karaoke in Indonesia is the need for privacy. The Indonesian society is quite hypocritical in the sense that it is officially religious and traditional, but in real life, many people (especially in Jakarta) behave in a liberal way. A good illustration is the lawmaker from PKS Arifinto, a conservative Muslim who was caught watching porn during a parliamentary session. If you've lived in the country long enough, that should not surprise you a lot.

This clip is from the movie Iseng (2016) and it gives a pretty accurate description of how parties end in some karaokes in the red light areas of Jakarta:
Many Indonesians love to party and love sex, but they need to hide this because it is not considered appropriate by the rest of the population. Karaoke bars and clubs are the perfect place for that because they are ambiguous. Unlike a bordello or a massage parlour, you can never be sure of what happens inside unless you are also inside yourself.

Not all karaokes have prostitutes and drugs though. You will find two broad kinds of karaokes in Jakarta:

Family Karaokes (Karaoke Keluarga):
As the name indicates, these are legit venues for clean fun between colleagues, friends and family members.

Nothing really special here. People are sitting in a room, requesting songs and singing. Usually they can order food and drinks as well.

There are 3 famous companies in Indonesia with locations everywhere: Happy Puppy, Nav and Inul Vizta. Nav is usually the cheapest with less songs and less eating/drinking options. Happy Puppy is in the middle. Inul Vizta is the most expensive with the best locations in mid-to-high-end malls. They also serve alcohol (at least in the outlets I've visited).

You also have several smaller chains and boutique karaokes. For instance, X-KTV in Senayan City, Diva Karaoke, T-Rex Karaoke in Grand Indonesia, Zodiak KTV in Citywalk and The Boutique KTV in Arcadia, etc.

To my knowledge, there is not one mall in Jakarta that does not have a family karaoke inside or at least within walking distance from it.

Naughty Karaokes:
Real photo from inside a Jakarta karaoke (taken by a friend and censored by me)
Naughty karaokes are much more numerous and diverse. You will find them everywhere in the city, even in central Jakarta where I can count at least 10.

According to dozens of girls I've talked to, the majority of the customers are government officials using government money. In the accounting books, it is recorded as "entertainment expenses". Since Ahok and Jokowi have been elected though, it seems there is a tighter control on such expenses and some karaokes are struggling to make as much money as before.

The second most important group of customers are business people who need to entertain their clients. If you wonder how companies choose their suppliers in Indonesia, you have your answer: They "entertain" the key people of that company with booze, sex and drugs. An ex-boss once told me he spent 8,000$ on a night out in Kota to impress a CEO who was 70 years old.

How does it work: Rooms
You either pay for the room a certain amount, or you have a minimum spending for using the room. For instance, in Alexis hotel, the President VIP Suite costs IDR15M for 3 hours, which means you must spend at least 15M on drinks and girls to be allowed there. If you spend less, for instance 10M, you have to pay an additional 5M.

In high-end karaokes, you must generally spend at least IDR2,5M to 5M for 6 hours for a room that can accommodate up to 8 people.

How does it work: Girls
The karaokes will provide guests with lady companions, also called hostesses or Public Relations (PR) or Guest Relations Officers (GRO) or models. Girls are usually ranked by desirability, which includes beauty, age, personality, singing skills or flirting skills. The more desirable the girl, the more expensive she is.

Some places allow you to choose the girl you want through a contest, meaning all available girls will come to see you and you can pick the one you prefer. Some do not allow you to choose, but you can give your preferences to the mamasan who will then suggest someone for you. 

The price of a girl also depends on what the she agrees to do or not. In North Jakarta, most guests want a girl who is willing to take ecstasy and drink alcohol. Girls will get a commission on drinks, but also on the number of pills she takes.

There are several types of naughty karaokes in Jakarta:

- Hostess Karaokes: These are all the karaokes with lady companions, but without any rooms nor any arrangement for guests to have sex with the girls. It does not mean that girls are not available for sex and it does not meet that sex is not possible. It depends on the willingness of the girl, which is influenced by how nice you are, how many ladies drink you buy her, and how much tip you give.

There are no rules for how much you must pay to get laid. I know a guy who bought a house to a lady companion just to sleep with her. Others will get a blowjob in the toilets for Rp300,000. Some girls will only give their phone numbers, some may go straight to the guests' hotel.

Some famous addresses: Roxy karaoke in SCBD (next to Lucy in the Sky), Grand Manhattan Karaoke or the chain Roppongi Papa.

- Japanese and Korean Karaokes (KTV): They are hostess karaokes targeting those specific communities. You can usually find them in South Jakarta, particularly in Jalan Melawai (Little Tokyo) and Dharmawangsa. Girls know some Korean/Japanese songs and they will usually look younger (between 18 and 22). Popular places include Cantik, Mitsubachi, Yujiro, Jawa Jawa, Chameleon and Geisha. You can also check those two websites for more information: jktlife.com and j-spot.info

- Bordello Karaokes: Most karaokes are hidden bordellos where sex is on sale. You will find the most famous ones in big one-stop entertainment complexes that also include spas and clubs. If you take girls and pay the right price, you will get an attached bedroom. The most luxurious may also have a jacuzzi inside.

Famous addresses include:
- High-end: Grand Paragon Hotel (the most expensive and luxurious karaoke in Jakarta), Illigals, Sun City, Alexis, Malioboro, Club 36, 1001, Emporium, Diamond, Sense, Zen, V2

Sex is not automatic though. It depends on what the client negotiates and what the girl is willing to do. The difference with the hostess karaokes mentioned above is that if you want to have sex, it will happen on the spot for an amount decided by the management of the karaoke.

In some karaokes where a room is provided, sex is included in the package without having to negotiate. You generally have a voucher system: The more vouchers you buy, the more you get from the girl.

For instance, in a famous spa in North Jakarta, 1 voucher costs IDR600K. For 1 voucher, the girl will only accompany you sing. For 2 vouchers, she sings wearing sexy lingerie. For 3 vouchers, she sings topless. For 4 vouchers, she is naked. For 5 vouchers, you can have sex with her.

You must ask the mamasan in each venues about what you can get, and which girl is up for what (some girls will only accept 1 voucher).

- Clubbing Karaokes: Within the karaokes listed above, some of them cater especially to clubbers. It is what Indonesians call "open room". This is one of the most interesting aspects of Jakarta nightlife.

Even though it is still called a karaoke, people are not paying to sing, but to party with their friends. They ask for a specific mix or they get a DJ specially for them included in the price of the room.

There are several reasons for people to party within a karaoke room. One of them, as I mentioned before, is the need for privacy. Some people do not want to be seen inside a club drinking alcohol, taking drugs or flirting with prostitutes. This is especially true for married men, VIPs and government officials. Surprisingly, I also know some girls wearing jilbabs who only party with other girls in karaoke rooms as they do not want to go to clubs.

Another reason is that some karaokes have very flexible opening hours. Some are open 24-hour like in Mille's and therefore attract all the hardcore clubbers, usually those who take ecstasy. Those open in the afternoon may attract young jakartans who are still living with their parents and have a curfew. They will pretend to go to the mall, and instead drop a pill in North Jakarta.

Drugs are usually easy to buy from the staff or from the security, but you won't get the same protection everywhere. For instance, Illigals and Paragon have the reputation to always pay the police to avoid razzias, but Mille's does not.

For a full list and reviews of all karaokes in Jakarta, please click here: Karaoke Jakarta.

I tried to make this review as easy to understand as possible. If you need more details, please leave a comment below!
Photo Credit: Main photo from Roppongi Papa Karaoke

1 comment to '' Karaokes and KTVs in Jakarta (Complete Guide) "

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  1. I just asked by my friend to join as a GRO then i found your web. Thankyou so much for explained the detail. I will not join with this job :)

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