Jakarta Travel Guide - For Single Guys (2017)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
In this article, I will explain you everything you need to know about traveling to Jakarta as a single guy.

I tried to keep it as concise and short as possible. For more details, you can email me directly at thibaud@jakarta100bars.com.

If I wrote something inaccurate, please leave me a comment and I'll correct it.

Visas for Indonesia
The citizens of almost every country on earth can enter Indonesia without a visa for at least 30 days. This visa is non-renewable and non-extendable so you'll have no choice but to leave the country after it has expired. Overstaying is currently charged IDR250,000 per day.

For staying as a tourist for more than 30 days, you have 4 options:
→ Make a 60-day tourist visa in any Indonesian consulate abroad (I did one in Saigon, Bangkok, KL, Singapore and Paris). It takes 3-4 days and costs 50$. This visa can then be extended 4 times 30 days for about 40 dollars (you must use an agent).
→ If you have a sponsor (any Indonesian friend or an agent), you can apply for a Sosial Budaya visa in any Indonesian consulates (60$). It is valid for 2 months and it can be extended 4 times for 30 days as well. The extensions are easier and cheaper to process (25$ each).
→ Purchase a 30-day visa-on-arrival/VOA (35$) at the airport in Jakarta, and then extend it for another 30 days (IDR450,000) at any immigration office. The process takes about a week and you'll have to make 3 trips to the immigration. The VOA is not extendable a third time.
→ If all of these are too much hassle for you, flying to Singapore and back to Jakarta on the same day is a popular option as well and it can be done for less than 70 dollars. If you do it too frequently though, you might get into trouble with immigration officials from both sides.

Transfer from the Airport to the City
The airport is located in the city of Tangerang, 20 kilometers from Central Jakarta. An airport rail shuttle is currently being built and it should be ready by 2018. In the meantime, these are the 3 best ways to make the transfer:

→ Traditional taxis: There are plenty of them, mostly from small companies who paid bribes to occupy the most strategic spots in the airport. They are safe to use as long as they put on the meter. They will cost the same as more reputable taxi companies like Blue Bird, Express or Gamya which can be difficult to catch, especially during peak hours.

Cost to city center: Around IDR120,000 taxi fare + IDR16,000 toll road.
Duration of the trip: 45 minutes without traffic / at least 1h30 minutes with traffic

UberGrab and Go-Jek: Drivers from these transportation apps can be booked from Jakarta airport. They offer much cheaper prices compared with taxis (at least 20% less). The taxi mafias mentioned above are naturally unhappy so you have to be discreet when taking them. In case someone asks you, just say that you are waiting for your personal driver. Never mention Uber/Grab/Gojek.

Before downloading these apps, it is a good idea to get a local phone number (see below).

→ Public buses (operated by DAMRI): Budget travelers and backpackers may use those buses which are available in each terminal. They reach at least 10 destinations in Jakarta and its suburbs, but the most convenient for you should be either Mangga Dua (North Jakarta), Gambir (Central Jakarta), or Blok M (South Jakarta).

Cost: It is cheap if you are alone (IDR45,000 for the city center), but for two persons it isn't worth it (IDR90,000 + you'll still need to take a taxi to your hotel).
Duration: Between 1 hour and 2 hours.

Where to Stay in Jakarta
I wrote an entire article about the best areas for a stay in Jakarta that you can read for further information.

Here is a short summary: If you only come as a tourist or for partying, stay anywhere along Jalan Sudirman between Sarinah Mall and Senayan Mall. Beware of good deals on hotels located far away from the major points of interests. What you heard about traffic jams in Jakarta is real and probably worse than you imagine.

Here are some hotels recommendations (all of them are girl-friendly):
→ 5-stars (more than 150$/night): KempinskiShangri-La (has a bar), Mulia (has a bar), Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons (New), Fairmont (New)
→ 4-stars (more than 100$/night): Oakwood Premier Cozmo (Great location near Loewy), Morrissey, Kosenda, Artotel, The Gunawarman, Fraser Residence, Fraser Place, Ascott Kuningan
→ 3-stars (more than 40$/night): Harris FX,  Ayaka Suites, Liberty Hotel, A-One, Ashley
Under 40$ per night: Dreamtel, Cipta, MaxOne

→ Backpackers: You can just ask to be dropped in Jalan Jaksa and find a guest house by walking around. Price around 100,000 per night.

Some hotels in Jakarta have "naughty" massage parlors inside them (more info on Hotels with Spas Plus Plus in Jakarta).

Cost of Staying in Jakarta
Staying in Jakarta is not as cheap as in other Asian cities. Even a backpacker in surviving mode needs to spend at least 15$ per day (8$ for a room without AC, 4$ for food and 3$ for transportation).

A more reasonable minimal budget is 45$ per day (25$ for a double room with AC, 10$ for food and 10$ for transportation).

To be really comfortable, though, and to be able to afford some luxuries (alcohol, inviting a date in a classy restaurant, spas, etc), you probably need at least 150$ per day.

Prices of selected items (single guys stuff):
Beer in a bar: 3-5$
Alcoholic drink in a bar: 6-9$
Booking a sofa for 8 people in a nightclub: Minimum spending of 250$-350$
Spirits bottle in a club: 100$

Street food: 1$ (no meat) to 3$ (with meat)
Indonesian meal in a casual restaurant: 5-7$
Western meal in a chic restaurant: 15-20$

1-hour "massage" in a medium class spa: 30$
1-hour "massage" in a high-end male spa: 70$

15-minute taxi ride: 3$
15-minute motor taxi ride: 1$ (with Go-Jek or Grab)
TransJakarta bus ticket: 0.3$

How to Get Around?
Moto-taxis are the fastest way to get around in Jakarta
Getting around is the worst thing about staying in Jakarta. Unless you can afford a helicopter, you'll have to spend a considerable amount of time in traffic jams (fortunately, less on weekends and after 9 PM).

Transportation Apps
The applications mentioned above (UberGrab and Go-Jek) are a must in Jakarta. They allow you to order private cars, taxis or moto-taxis from your mobile phone for cheaper than what it normally costs.

Moto-taxis are not comfortable to use, especially when it's hot outside, and they can be dangerous. Still, they are extremely popular because they cost almost nothing to use and they can beat the traffic.

I don't have a favorite app. I've installed all of them and I use whichever is the cheapest for a particular ride.

Buy a local sim card so the driver can call you to ask about your exact location (except if you use Grab as they have an in-app messenger). You can pay your fare in cash, by credit card, or by loading credit in advance (at a convenience store for instance). With the latter option, you will normally get special discounts.

Taxis
Rather cheap and plentiful. Avoid those parked right outside nightclubs and you'll be fine. Blue Bird is the most reputed company.

Walking
Walking in Jakarta is almost impossible except for very short distances (less than 1 kilometer). If you wonder why, please just try and have fun.

Buses
Public transportation is confusing for newcomers. I don't recommend it unless you are on a very low budget (in that case, just use a moto-taxi). The line 1 of the TransJakarta - a fleet of buses with their own dedicated lanes - is useful as it goes from the North (Kota) to the South (Blok), passing through all the major attractions of the city. You must buy a prepaid card to ride it (IDR40,000) and the cost is IDR3,500 per trip (deducted from your IDR40,000 credit).

Internet/Mobile Phone
Even if you stay in Jakarta for a couple days, buying a sim card is the first thing you should do upon arriving. It is available in most convenience stores like 7/11 and it costs between 5$ and 10$ (including an internet package). Simpati is the best one. XL is also fine and slightly cheaper.

Many expats complain about the internet speed in Jakarta. It is slower than in Thailand or Singapore, but faster than in the Philippines, China, Vietnam. Video streaming is usually possible in most circumstances. If you need to download movies, wait until after 12 PM.

Almost all porn, torrent and gambling websites are blocked in Indonesia. Modifying your proxy can solve this problem, or you can subscribe to a VPN instead. I've used several and I'm making recommendations here: Best VPNs in Indonesia.

Dating Indonesian Girls Online
Indonesia might be the easiest country in the world to meet girls and this is nowhere more obvious than in Jakarta. Its slogan could be: "The city where white privilege comes true".

The best way to meet someone is online. You can read my guide Best Dating Apps in Indonesia for a comparison between each.

Broadly speaking, Tinder works great in most situation (especially if you are a white, handsome, young).

For an older guy who is average looking, I recommend more traditional websites like IndonesianCupid as you can write a longer profile bio and engage in less superficial conversations. IndonesianCupid works also well for guys wishing to chat with girls a few weeks before visiting Indonesia. Most girls who use it don't mind the long distance as long as there is a chance to meet in the future. It is a smart way to plan a trip if you are alone.

Best Bars and Nightclubs to Meet Girls
In the real world, there are plenty of opportunities to meet girls in bars and nightclubs. Beware, though, some may already have boyfriends somewhere in the world. Hint: If a girl spends a lot of money without having a job, you can be sure she has one or more sugar daddies backing her. Even if she has a regular job, it is very rare that she will earn more than 500$ per month. Just do the math if that's something you care about.

As of today, the best nightlife venues for meeting girls in Jakarta are Basque, Loewy, Immigrant, Dragonfly and X2. You can also try Eastern Promise (older girls), Liquid Exchange, Bluegrass, Lucy in the Sky, Foundry 8, Jenja, Dronk (younger girls).

You can read my two updated guides:
- 10 Best Nightclubs in Jakarta
- 50 Best Bars in Jakarta

Single Guys on a Bachelor Party?
Read my travel guide: Bachelor Party in Jakarta

Best Places to Hangout During the Day
Jakarta can be quite boring during the day, especially if you don't know anyone there. I wrote several articles that you might find helpful such as:

- Best Things to Do in Jakarta
- Best Museums in Jakarta
- Best Malls in Jakarta
- Best Cinemas in Jakarta
- Best Markets in Jakarta

Best Spas and Massage Parlours
Another way to quickly spend an afternoon in Jakarta is to go to a spa. You have 3 options:
→ A regular/traditional massage. Some recommended ones, from cheap to expensive, are Bersih Sehat, Relax Living, Martha Tilaar Spa, Zen Spa, Taman Sari Royal Heritage. All of them are in Central Jakarta.
→ A massage with a happy ending. Two famous spa companies are Delta and My Place. Each of their branches has a jacuzzi, a pool, a hammam, a sauna.
→ A happy massage. You can read 10 Best Spas in Jakarta for the popular addresses (Alexis, Malioboro, Emporium, Illigals, etc).

Is Jakarta Safe?
I spent about 5 years in Jakarta and I never had any particular issues apart from a minor motorbike accident (read Why You Need Travel Insurance in Indonesia).

→ Crime is rare, even in infamous neighborhoods like Mangga Besar. I've never felt unsafe walking around and there are no reasons you should.
→ There aren't any scams I'm aware of, probably due to the low number of tourists in Jakarta. This does not mean you won't be bothered with touts in touristic places (Taman Fatahillah, Jalan Jaksa, Monas). The only thing you risk is buying some overpriced crap.
→ The terrorist threat exists, like in any other worldwide metropolis.
→ If you get arrested by the police (it is rare but it can happen), you will be asked to show your passport. They might ask for some money if you don't have it with you (IDR100,000). If you haven't done anything wrong, just wait and they'll let you go after a few minutes.
→ Don't do drugs (read Is It Dangerous to Buy Drugs in Indonesia).

More on this subject: Is Jakarta Safe?

Do you think I forgot to mention something important in this Jakarta travel guide for single guys? Please just leave me a comment below.

7 comments to '' Jakarta Travel Guide - For Single Guys (2017) "

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  1. Reading this makes me think that my only option is p4p as im not white, not REALLY handsome bla bla... (Just joking)

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    1. This is not what I wrote. I said that white guys have an advantage in Jakarta. It's hard to deny that, unless you are blind. It doesn't mean non-white can't be successful. A lot of them are. And I said Tinder is enough for handsome guys, but the rest might want to consider more traditional websites. Again, I just recommend a strategy and I'm not saying you can't get a girl if you are ugly. Just don't use an app where you are judged based on your look. That's just logic.

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  2. Great Guide. One other good piece of advice I would add is for withdrawing cash from ATM machines in Indonesia. As your bank may charge you high fees for using an overseas card to withdraw money it is best to try and withdraw the maximum amount each time you use an ATM. You generally have two dominations that are issued from ATM machines - IDR50,000 and IDR100,000 notes. There were normally be a sign on the machine showing which domination is issued. Generally the 50,000 ATM's well only issue a maximum of IDR1.5 Million (30 notes) while the 100,000 ATM's vary from between IDR 2 million to IDR 3 million.

    For best value you should try and find a 100,000 machine that issues the maximum amount of IDR 3 Million (30 notes). Some bank 100,000 ATM's I know that allow the maximum are the following:

    1. CIMB
    2. Permata
    3. HSBC
    4. Citibank
    5. Commonwealth Bank

    The advice is especially important If you make it to the underground clubs of North Jakarta to party hard as there are somethings you may require that can only be purchased using cash and even if cards are accepted it may be best to use cash because of a risk of card skimming in the more seedy establishments.

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  3. Hi thibaud! Could you please give some information about which clubs and bars that will open during ramadhan season? Thank you

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  4. what do you recommend for accommodation for a 3 months stay in jakarta?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on your budget... I often stay in studios in Taman Sari Semanggi or in Thamrin City... Around 7-8M per month all inclusive... Please read: http://www.jakarta100bars.com/2016/02/rent-cheap-room-jakarta-daily-weekly-monthly.html

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  5. Hey thibaud if you have the time to visit cibubur area, come visit our beerhouse : Beersaudara Beerhouse Ruko Acropolis C10-12 Legenda Wisata Cibubur. We await your review!

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