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Abortion in Indonesia: My Personal Experience

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Note from Jakarta100bars: One of my readers sent me the following email regarding abortion in Indonesia. I'm publishing it because it might interest some people. This is NOT a professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor if you need to perform an abortion. You can also get support from Indonesian women's group such as Samsara (email: or Misocare.

"Hi Thibaud,

As you know, abortion is officially forbidden in Indonesia. My girlfriend got pregnant a few weeks ago and since we didn't want to keep the baby, we had to find a solution.

We considered several options, including going to Vietnam where abortion is legal. Finally, we met an expat who told us it could be done in Jakarta because my girlfriend had been pregnant for just a couple weeks.

In my home country in Europe, chemical abortion follow this procedure:

→ 1st step: The girl takes one pill of Mifepristone (Mifegyne) to stop the pregnancy to develop further
→ 2nd step: After two days, she must take Cytotek (Misoprostol). This is to make the bleedings start (and therefore the flushing of the fetus).

You can read on the net about details, possible side effects, etc.

However, it seems like in Indonesia, the focus is only on the Cytotek if doing abortion by pills.

A friend of mine (who is a doctor) said Cytotek is enough if pregnancy is in early stage (but if later, better to take both pills like described before, for better chance of success).

It was surprisingly easy to get Cytotec in Jakarta. The reason is that this drug is primarily used for healing ulcers in the stomach, but the “side effects” is making cramps in the uterus and if 4 pills are taken, it will make heavy bleeding – making abortion happen as a “side effect”.

One would think that Cytotek was forbidden in countries where abortion is forbidden, but because Cytotek has another purpose, it seems easy to get.  

My girl called a “pramuka” (a grocery store for apoteks - pharmacies) and bought it online, also ordered home delivery. Very easy. Maybe you can get it in ordinary apotek also, I don’t know. There are also many illegal reseller on internet, for instance on Instagram (you can check the tag Cytotek for instance). The price depends on the number of pills you need, which depends on how long your girl was pregnant. You can expect to pay IDR1M for 1 month pregnancy and double that for 4 month pregnancy. I can't vouch for them as I didn't try.

Also remember, if taking Cytotek for abortion, the girl should also take Ibuprofen (ibux) as painkillers as the possibility for big pain is very high. Ibuprofen does not influence the effects of the Cytotek. One can also buy Ibuprofen from the pramuka together with the Cytotek, of course.

Remember also, the pain and bleeding can be very strong (as my girl experienced), so one should be able to contact doctor or hospital as a security if pain / bleeding is very heavy. It is for your own safety.

It is better to be looked upon as a “bad girl” than to bleed to death. My girl experienced heavy pain and bleeding so she had to go to hospital. There, she got painkillers and treatment, but she said the doctors looked at her with an attitude (did not believe her because she would not tell about abortion). So this is big stigma in Indonesia. To be pregnant if not married – very bad.

Okay, hope you can use this information in Jakarta100bars."

If you have had a similar experience, please don't hesitate to share with readers below in the comments.

There seems to be a private clinic in Cikini that performs abortion as well but I don't have more details. You can see their Instagram profile here: Klinik Aborsi Cikini.

Best VPNs in Indonesia- How to Access Blocked Websites

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Frog - Vypr VPN - Fastest VPN Indonesia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEW: 2 Years Deal for 3,29$ per month - Click here to get the offer: 72% Off Nord VPN
4$ per month with 1 year plan
5$ per month with 6-month plan
8$ per month without plan

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

3 Best Ways to Send Money to Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
There are many reasons people send money to Indonesia, but only a few ways that are cheap, easy and safe.

This article will be very useful to you if you are:
- A foreigner living abroad who supports his Indonesian girlfriend financially
- An Indonesian working abroad who needs to remit his salary in his Indonesian bank account
- An expat who wants to transfer funds to Indonesia to make a purchase (car, home) or an investment
- A traveler who lost his wallet and urgently needs money

I've written it based on my experience living in Indonesia for the past 12 years (first in Jakarta, then in Bali). I'm sure you have your own stories as well so please do not hesitate to leave a comment with your own tips.

TransferWiseCheapest and Easiest Way to Send Money to Indonesia
You can make your own transfer simulation in just one click here
Created in 2011 by one of Skype's founders, TransferWise is a fin-tech startup that was recently declared a unicorn (more than $1 billion valuation). It is a game changer when it comes to international money transfers.

Compared with traditional banks, TransferWise does not actually transfers any money. It maintains banks accounts in key currencies in various countries. When you make a transfer request, for instance from USD to IDR, they will debit your US bank account from their US bank account and credit your Indonesian bank account from their Indonesian bank account.

Using TransferWise, the cost of sending money from abroad to Indonesia is only 1,5% of the transferred amount (minimum charge IDR14,500).

If you transfer USD1,000, it means you will only pay USD15 (+ a credit card charge depending on your bank). There are no hidden fees and they use the official exchange rate. That's at least 8 times less than what you would pay with traditional banks.

➝ Cheapest way to send money from abroad to Indonesia
➝ As simple as it can be, just like booking a hotel room or buying stuff from any e-commerce site
➝ Less than 10 minutes needed to make the request
➝ They do not take commission on currency exchange rate (they use the official rate)
➝ You can make an accurate simulation of the cost of the transfer in a few seconds on their website
➝ They will tell you in advance when the money will be transferred and you can follow your money in real time through their app
➝ 100% transparent: They let you know how much commission they took and the exchange rate they used

➝ Available for transfer from USD to IDR but not yet from IDR to USD
➝ Limited number of currencies you can transfer from: EUR, USD, Pound, AUD, JPY, SGD. You can check here if your home currency is accepted.
➝ You need an Indonesian bank account to transfer the money (You must know your IBAN and your SWIFT/BIC number)
➝ The transfer is not automatic and it may take from 1 to 2 days to be completed (for an Indonesian transfer)

Western Union: Only for Urgent Money Transfer to Indonesia
Unlike TransferWise, Western Union charges a fee but also takes a commission on the exchange rate
Western Union is facing tough competition but it can still be a useful way to send money to Indonesia. In particular, if you are a traveler who lost his personal belongings and need fast money, there are no better alternatives (actually, there is also MoneyGram which is similar).

I was using Western Union a lot when I didn't have an Indonesian bank account. You can pick up the money sent in cash in any of their agents locations (for instance in post offices - there are thousands in Indonesia).

The problem with Western Union is that it is expensive. If you want to transfer 1,000USD to IDR (instant transfer from an agent to an agent), it will cost you over USD80 + an hidden exchange rate fee of around IDR500,000 (as a reminder, it costs only USD15 with TransferWise).

If you transfer the money to an Indonesian bank account, it is cheaper yet still over 40$ and it takes a few days.

➝ You can send money to Indonesia within minutes
➝ Money can be sent even if both the sender and the receiver do not have a bank account
➝ Works for virtually every country
➝ You can pay directly on Western Union's website using your credit/debit card

➝ Very pricey if you choose fast service and to send/receive money in agent's location
➝ Hidden commission on the currency exchange rate
➝ If you send money to an agent location, you can only use the service during operation hours (close on weekends)

Skrill iT: An Alternative to Western Union For Small Amounts
Skrill iT is a mix between Western Union and TransferWise
Skrill is a great way to make international money transfers. It is fast, yet much cheaper than Western Union (about 3% from total amount while Western Union takes up to 15%). The other advantage is that the person who receives the money does not need to have an Indonesian bank account. He can just take the money in any Alfamart in Indonesia. All he needs is an Indonesian phone number and a valid ID.

For a normal transfer of money, I don't recommend it over TransferWise as it is still more expensive and you can't send more than the equivalent of Rp5,000,000 at once.

As an alternative to Western Union (meaning for an urgent transfer or to send to someone who does not have a local bank account), it is perfect as long as you don't need to send too much money.

➝ Instant money transfer, just like Western Union
➝ Fees and commission on exchange rate relatively low (around 3% of total amount)
➝ You can pay online on their website:
➝ You only need an Indonesian phone number to receive the money
➝ It's very easy to find an Alfamart in Indonesia and they have long opening hours

➝ Only works for small amounts under Rp5,000,000 (though you can make multiple transfers)
➝ Still more expensive than TransferWise
➝ The staff in some Alfamart may be confused as they are not trained properly to handle the cash disbursement (just be patient!)

Other Ways to Send Money To Indonesia
Some online currency exchange companies are starting to offer international money transfer now with competitive rates. They will always be more expensive than TransferWise though. They can be useful only if you intend to send a lot of money to Indonesia (over 10,000$). The most famous companies are TorFXHiFX or OFX. I would advise you to try the latter as it has an online simulation tool.

PayPal is cheap when you send money in the same currency to another PayPal accounts holder but for international transfer it is not worth it (when you add up the fee and the commission on exchange rate, it costs about 80$ for 1,000$ sent).

A transfer from a foreign bank to an Indonesian bank with SWIFT is out of the question. You shouldn't even consider it. I did it once to send 200$ and I paid 40$ in fees (that's a 20% commission!).

If you know a cheaper and more convenient way than TransferWise to send money to Indonesia, please leave me a comment below. I wouldn't mind saving even more on my transfers. I'm also interested if you have tips about how to send money from Indonesia to another country.

10 Best Bars to Meet Expats in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
The expat population in Jakarta has always been limited, both because of government regulations and because of the lack of attractiveness of the city. My guess is that if it wasn't for Indonesian girls, there would probably be close to zero foreigners around.

The upside of this situation is that the expat community is compact and rather friendly. It is easy to meet people as long as you are willing to socialize in the right places.

To help you with that, the following article will give you a list of the best bars in Jakarta to meet other expats.

Note: If you are single, you may want to meet Indonesian girls instead. Check my article Best Dating Websites in Indonesia for that.

Eastern Promise (Kemang)
Live music in EP Kemang
Also called EP, Eastern Promise is certainly the most famous expat bar in Jakarta. It has 4 distinct rooms: A small bar, a restaurant (serving Indian and British dishes), a sports café and a beer garden with live music. Weekends are packed with expats of any age, gender and nationality. Based on my observations, it is also a hunting ground for Indonesian cougars.

Eastern Promise is part of the Bugil's group that also owns Frank's (Kemang), De Burse (SCBD), Cazbar (Mega Kuningan), Double Doors (Puri Indah) and De Hooi (Pondok Indah). Each of these bars has a similar concept and I would recommend to try the nearest from your home.
Double Doors
De Hooi
De Burse
Molly Mallone's (Senayan) and Murphy's (Kemang)
Live music in Murphy's Irish Pub
Both of these Irish pubs were created by an Indonesian-Irish couple. They feature live music every day, live sports on every screens, International pub food (including Irish dishes) and various kinds of draught beers (Bintang, Heineken, San Miguel, Kilkenny, Guinness). Their prices are about 10% cheaper compared to the venues of the Bugil's group. I would say the crowd is more Indonesian as well (but I might be wrong).

Murphy's has a ladies night on Thursday with 50% off every cocktails for ladies

More information: Murphy's and Molly Malone's.

BATS (Sudirman - Hotel Shangri-La)
Before 10pm, BATS is a great American restaurant with some of the best steaks you can eat in Jakarta. After that, a live band (imported) starts playing Top 40 songs to an enthusiast crowd of expats, businessmen and Indonesian girls (many of whom may be interested by the size of your wallet).

More information: B.A.T.S.

Masters Sports Bars (Mega Kuningan)
This bar is still new but it is probably one of the best venues in Jakarta to watch sports, thanks to their massive projector screens. It is owned by a group of long-term expats (with also an Indonesian partner) who can often be seen talking with customers or playing pool. Very affordable prices and laid-back atmosphere.

More information: Masters Sports Bar

Aphrodite is the first restaurant of the eponymous group (which is also behind Fez, Dungeon, Kinara and Liquid Exchange). It has always been popular thanks to the proximity of the Taman Rasuna towers that provide a never-ending supply of expats. Its restaurant is much-recommended if you are looking for affordable Western food, especially their lunch specials. They also have pool tables, live music and live sports.

More information: Aphrodite

Blok M
Though Blok M (and more precisely Jalan Falatehan) is long past its heydays, it is still a friendly area where you can meet other expats easily. You will find there a few hostess bars, a bit like those in Thailand or the Philippines, with plenty of working girls. It is rather cheap but not so clean.

More information: Blok M - Jalan Falatehan Bars

Basque and Loewy (Mega Kuningan)
Those two restaurants are under different management but they are both within 300 meters of each other in Mega Kuningan. The expats you'll meet there are usually in their 30s or 40s, single, and looking for girls. If that does not match with your profile, you can still enjoy their food: Casual French for Loewy and Spanish for Basque.

More information: Basque and Loewy

Paulaner Brauhaus
With its perfect location in Grand Indonesia, Paulaner Brauhaus attracts a mix of expats, travelers and many Indonesian Chinese as well (they are drawn by the non-halal pork menu). As it is part of the 5-star Kempinski Hotel, you can expect high standards for both the food and the service (but also rather expensive prices). Live music every night.

More information: Paulaner Brauhaus

Buying Alcohol in Jakarta - Liquor, Wine, Beer

By Nyoman →
Buying alcohol in Jakarta used to be an unpleasant chore, especially after the law banning the sale of beer in minimarts was passed in 2015.

With the development of internet and delivery services, it has become much easier as long as you know the right websites and application. I personally use HappyFresh and Gojek, but there are other services that I will describe below. 

For those who are still living in 2010, I will also give you the best "brick and mortar" wine and spirit shops, particularly those that are located in Central and South Jakarta. 

To give you an idea of where it is cheaper, I've added the prices of popular bottles. You can comment on these or suggest a better place to buy beer, liquor or wine in the comment section below.

What to Know Before Buying Alcohol in Jakarta
Import Tax
The import tax is 150% on spirits and 90% on wine. This means you will pay at least twice as much for any bottle that was not produced in Indonesia. If you buy an imported bottle for less than Rp250,000, it is suspicious and you can assume it won't be genuine alcohol.

Locally-Produced Spirits, Wines and Beers
There are a few local alcohol brands that have cheaper prices. For wines, the most famous is Hatten which grows its own grapes in Bali. You can buy some of their bottles online or at their Kemang boutique for around Rp200,000. The same company owns Two Islands which makes wine from imported Australian grape juice. It is more expensive (around Rp290,000 per bottle).

There are several lager beer producers in Indonesia. The most famous is Bintang, a subsidiary of Heineken but you also have other players like Prost, Anker or Bali Hai. A 33-cl can of Prost beer will normally cost you around Rp16,000.

You also have Indonesian alcoholic specialties like arak (rice alcohol), tuak (palm wine) and anggur hitam (black wine) but I've rarely seen them sold in Jakarta.

Genuine / Fake / Illegal Bottles
Having spent some time in the hospitality industry in Indonesia, I know that a large number of imported bottles sold in shops, restaurants, bars and clubs have entered the country illegally and avoided proper taxation. This does not mean that they are fake but simply that no import taxes were paid. There are so many intermediary and such a love for cheating in Indonesia that even in high-end venues you cannot be sure that the bottles are legal.

Fake bottles are a much larger problem as they can be dangerous, if not lethal. As I mentioned before, spirit bottles that cost well under Rp250,000 are very suspicious and unless they are sold by a reputed company or in the duty free, they should be avoided. The same logic applies in bars if your glass or your cocktail costs less than Rp50,000.

Legal Drinking Age
You must be over 21 years old to buy alcohol in Indonesia. Most venues will ask for your ID before handling you the liquor. Surprisingly, in bars and nightclubs it is much easier to get alcohol even if you're not 18 yet.

Buying Alcohol Online or with Delivery Apps
The smartest and cheapest way to get alcohol in Jakarta is to shop online. There are A LOT of options but I'll just give you the best ones below. 

HappyFresh allows you to buy groceries from your mobile phone or your laptop and to get them delivered to your door within a couple hours. They have a partnership with the liquor store chain Red & White so you can get the same prices as in the shops. HappyFresh can also get beer delivered from several supermarkets (including Grand Lucky SCBD). You can choose cash on delivery.

The service costs Rp20,000 per delivery and it is available during the normal operating hours of the shops (until 10pm).

Example of prices for HappyFresh delivery from Red & White (November 2016):
Jack Daniels 700ml = Rp790,000
Smirnoff Vodka Flavored 750ml = Rp590,000
Ketel One 750ml = Rp825,000

HappyFresh delivery from Grand Lucky SCBD
Bintang Large 620ml = Rp31,300
Prost Beer Large 620ml = Rp30,200
Bintang Small 330ml = Rp18,600
Prost Beer Small 330ml = 16,800

Gojek is another option if you don't want to download HappyFresh. The service is called Go-Mart and they also have a partnership with Red & White (same price as the shops). The cost of delivery depends on the distance (normally between Rp10,000 and Rp20,000). You can use Go-Pay for payment or cash on delivery.

Example of prices for Go-Mart delivery from Red & White (November 2016)
JW Black Label 750ml = Rp940,000
Smirnoff Red 750ml = Rp290,000
Ciroc Vodka 750ml = Rp1,150,000

Gojek delivery from Drink Corner
Bintang Beer 6X330ml = Rp116,000 (Rp19,333 per unit)

This website belong to Red & White and features more choices compared to Gojek and HappyFresh. The price are the same but the delivery fee is higher (Rp50,000) and the goods may take up to 4 days to arrive. You can pay with credit card, American Express, PayPal or bank transfer.

A much cheaper option for buying alcohol in Jakarta is to visit the online store Mambo Bodega. They are part of a bigger group that is licensed to import alcohol, hence reducing the number of intermediaries and in fine allowing them to be one of the cheapest retailers in the city.

They offer free same-day delivery in Jakarta if you purchase at least 6 bottles. Otherwise, they'll send the bottles with Gojek which is pretty cheap anyway (departing from Rasuna Epicentrum). Cash on delivery is available from 9am - 4pm and after that the payment must be done through a BCA transfer. They close at 10pm.

Their prices are lower on Facebook and you can directly book using the "Shop" button. Some of their price:
Jack Daniels 700ml = Rp425,000
JW Black Label 750ml = Rp525,000
Absolut Blue Vodka 750ml = Rp360,000
Greygoose Vodka = Rp750,000
Jacobs Creek Chardonnay = Rp240,000

They have great prices, among the lowest in Jakarta, and it is a trusted website. Limited choice of spirits and wines but they have enough to make you happy (rum, bourbon, scotch, red and white wine, champagne, vodka, gin, cognac, etc). The only problem is that they may take time to deliver (from 2 to 7 days). You can pay by credit card or bank transfer.

Jack Daniels 700ml = Rp455,000
JW Black Label 750ml = Rp525,000
Belvedere Vodka 750ml = Rp600,000
Bacardi Gold Rum 750ml = Rp324,000
Moet Chandon Imperial 750ml = Rp975,000

My friend has used this website several times and he says he got delivered fast each time. Delivery is free if you spend more than Rp2,000,000 (otherwise Rp50,000). Payments can be made with bank transfer or through Paypal.
Jack Daniels 700ml = 550,000
JW Black Label 750ml = Rp600,000
Absolut Blue Vodka 750ml = 450,000
Greygoose Vodka = Rp600,000
Jacobs Creek Merlot Red Wine = Rp350,000
Moet Chandon Champagne Imperial 750ml = 1,000,000

Other websites:
There are many other websites offering online delivery that I haven't tried yet. Some have good reviews on the internet, other are unknown. It is quite a bet to use them so I would advise to buy only one or two bottles to try at first. Be wary if the prices are too low. If you've had a good or bad experience with them, don't forget to comment below.

WineSpiritShop (Indonesian): You can order with them through line @winespiritshop. Prices 10-20% lower than the competition but I can't guarantee that the alcohol is genuine. They have positive reviews on kaskus forum so it does not seem to be a scam. Payment with BCA/Mandiri transfer. Delivery in two days for Rp35,000-Rp50,000.

Indoliquor, Liquor Shop 88, Little Wine Shop, Rumah Wine, Wine Shop IndonesiaBatavialiquor (only in Indonesian): Not first choices as they aren't so cheap, have limited payment methods or do not offer one-day delivery.

Wine Line: They have fair prices and they possess an actual store in Pluit but they didn't reply the message I sent them. They also sell soju, sake, choya and cigars.

Buying Alcohol From Instagram
This is not a method I've personally tried but a friend told me she buys her booze on AlcoholSupply and BirDelivery (for beer only, interesting because they have a last order at midnight).

Buying Alcohol From Duty Free Shops
If you are not interested to buy online, you can still go to brick-and-mortar shops. The cheapest ones are the Duty Free Shops though they have rather strict rules for non-diplomatic passport holders. Indonesians cannot shop there.

DFS has two locations in the airport and in Lotte Shopping Avenue (near Mega Kuningan). In the Lotte branch, you are allowed to buy alcohol but you'll only be allowed to pick it up at the airport only, after you've passed immigration. Diplomats can go home with their purchase though. Moral of the story: Forget it unless you work in an embassy.

There are 3 shops in South Jakarta that have more relaxed rules. They are not supposed to sell to regular passport holders, but they might still do it on occasion. It is best to call them in advance to ask about their stocks and confirm their opening hours.

Eco Prima Duty Free Kemang
Jalan Kemang Raya 8A
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 7179 3935

In front of Swiss-Belhotel Arion, it is open every day except Sunday. They will give a 10% discount to holder of diplomatic passport but others can shop there too (though in limited quantities). The prices are in dollar but still generally lower than elsewhere. No delivery available. 

Tama Duty Free
Jalan Kemang I No 8
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 7198 558

RAM Duty Free (Rejeki Artha Mulia)
Jalan Ampera Raya No 4A
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 782 9512

A discreet shop on Jalan Ampera Raya, not far from Rolling Stones Café.

Buying Alcohol From Other Shops
Supermarkets generally only sell drinks with less than 5% alcoholic content (= beer). I've noticed the following prices near my place:

Hypermart: Small Bintang = Rp18,900, Small Prost = 16,100
Carrefour: Small Bintang = Rp19600, Small Prost = 16,800
Food Mart: Small Bintang = 20,200, Small Prost = 17,200

Many of the supermarkets located within malls in South Jakarta have a spirit and wine shop attached, for instance Red Line in Grand Lucky Supermarket in SCBD.

Other interesting supermarkets for expats are Hero (Jalan Terogong), Toko Rejeki (Harmoni), Foodhall (Senayan City, Plaza Indonesia and Pondok Indah Mall) or KemChicks (Kemang, Pacific Place).

Dedicated wine and spirit shops
Red and White has several stores within high-end shopping malls in Jakarta in Pondok Indah Mall (Street Gallery), Lippo Kemang, Kota Kasablanka, Dharmawangsa Square, Pacific Place or Ratu Plaza. They can also be found in housing complexes such as Kemang Mansion, Green Lake Sunter and South Quarter Cilandak.

The prices in their shops are identical to delivery prices on HappyFresh, Gojek or their own website Minuman

Restaurants and bars
If you don't mind paying more, there are wine shops inside some trendy restaurants and bars. The most famous is the chain Vin + with locations in Kemang, Senayan Arcadia, Central Park (Taman Anggrek) and Pondok Indah Mall (Street Gallery). 

You can also go to Social House in Grand Indonesia or to one of the three branches of Cork & Screw (Jalan Rasuna Said, Plaza Indonesia, Pacific Place).

If you stay in North Jakarta, you have Chamber of Liquor in Kelapa Gading and Vam House in Pluit.

Photo credit: I took all the pretty model pics from Aditya Photo's Instagram.

How Life in Jakarta Turned Into a Nightmare for George Pritting

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Today I want to share a story happening right now in Jakarta.

We all remember the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a worldwide fundraising effort to fight against ALS (or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a chronic and rare disease that affects the neuroglial system and leads to a complete paralysis. It had a huge impact and massive funds were raised at that time.

It hasn’t reached George Pritting yet. 

The thing is George is not really as sympathetic and fun as the challenge. To be honest, George is not really friendly:  He insults people, screams and requests help that no one wants to give. George is not really "bankable" i.e. the kind of guy that generates a lot of empathy. Worse, he has even been suspected of scams.

The reality though is that George is ill and stuck in the middle of Jakarta suffering from ALS and nobody seems to care. Every day his condition is getting worse. He cannot walk and he has difficulties for eating and breathing.

I am writing an article about his story today to highlight the gap between all the nice intentions we read every day and the fact that someone is left to die alone because of his personality / communication skills.

Yes George is quite antipathetic but does that justify to let him die in the middle of nowhere far from his family?

Let’s go back in time.

Originally from Tennessee in the US, attracted by a different culture & seeking new life - George decided in 2012 to take on a new adventure: He flew to Jakarta. Quickly, he took on a the position of a teacher for a small wage. All was going well. He got married with a local Indonesian, had a daughter, and was happily running a new chapter of his life.  

Everything went well until 2013 when he was diagnosed with ALS. Thunder.

He ended up losing his job, his wife and his daughter, while all the money he had saved was going into day-to-day treatment.

As of now, George is stuck in a kos in the suburb of Jakarta with no money. Yet, he needs special assistance, nurses and medical equipment to be able to go home. The doctors are saying that in his condition he cannot travel without a dedicated flight and crew. The trip is worth 140,000 USD that the embassy is not in a position to cover.

This is a what George said himself about his condition:
“I have lost every function of my body. My arm and half of my body is paralyzed and I don’t have any money to cover my daily needs anymore. To be honest, I am not smelling great and each day is much more than ice bucket on the face. I am dying second per second. I just want to see my country again, my family and die as a human being. Really nice people are helping me here on the day to day but my condition requires professional help and environment. The US Embassy has been visiting me and is regularly trying to help me but they are unable to organize the repatriation. I have only one wish: To go home and to see my country again”
Tata, George's help said:
“George is in critical condition, he cannot walk, he needs permanent assistance. He went to the hospital as he couldn't go to the toilet for one week, his body needs professional care. His leg circulation is getting worse and worse. Sometimes he doesn’t get out for months and he is depressed. I'm trying my best but George can be really annoying, nervous and insulting. I am thinking about giving up.”

What can we do to help him?

A few things
⇨ Email him or visit him. For those living in Jakarta, you can contact him via his Facebook Page. Even a simple message will cheer him up.

⇨ Share that article on your social networks

⇨ Share that article with people who can create some kind of buzz among important people

More informations about his story Help George Pritting and

Note from Jakarta100bars: This article was written by my friend Julien. It reminded me of the one I wrote urging expats to subscribe to a travel/health insurance (Why You Absolutely Need Travel Insurance in Indonesia). 

9 Best Things to Do at Night in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I recently wrote about the best things to do in Jakarta. In the following review, I will be more specific and focus about night-time activities.

A cliché used to describe Jakarta is that of "a city that never sleeps". While this could apply to any major capitals in the world, I think it is particularly accurate here. There is always some kind of life in Jakarta, whatever the time and whatever the location.

It is quite logical considering the city has one of the highest population densities in the world. Another reason is that there are a lot of Indonesians working long shifts or night shifts, especially small business owners and independent workers. As long as money can be made, they won't close shop or go home. This is why you can always get food, cigarettes or a taxi rides at anytime of the night.

For the traveler, the advantage of this situation is that there are a lot of things to do at night. Even better, if you go out after 9pm, you'll also enjoy less traffic, cooler temperatures and less pollution. 

The following list will give you some ideas on how to spend time after sun sets in Jakarta. If you feel I forgot something, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below the article.

Street Food
Photo: Jonathan Perugia
Night-time is the best moment to go around and try some delicious Indonesian street food. Many of the small stalls on the sidewalk are actually only allowed to operate in the evening (to avoid disturbing pedestrians during the day).

My personal favorite location for street food in Jakarta is Jalan Mangga Besar, a red-light area busy with a eclectic mix of people. It's a great place to try some authentic Chinese food or some more unusual specialties like cobra and monkey.

If this is too far or too weird for you, Jalan Sabang and Jalan Wahid Hasyim in Central Jakarta are a good alternative. You'll also find many 24/7 restaurants in the area.

Rooftop Drinks
Photo: Sandrine VB
Jakarta is the 9th city with the most skyscrapers in the world and it is at night that the view is the most spectacular. The darkness hides all the city's flaws: The potholes, the dirt, the dust and the rust disappear, replaced by millions of colorful lights.

The best rooftops to enjoy the view of the skyline are Cloud or Skye. I give more recommendations in my review Top 10 Rooftop Bars in Jakarta as well. I also enjoy watching the city from the Burgundy Bar in Grand Hyatt even though it is not a rooftop.

Live Music, Theater and Concerts
Photo: Aura Kasih and Atika Dora
There are several great venues for listening to live music in Jakarta. Two of the most famous are B.A.T.S in Shangri-La and CJ's in Mulia. Both have a Western band playing Top 40 and pop/rock hits. They may not suit everyone's taste though as they attract a lot of working girls. Paulaner Brauhaus in Kempinski, Hard Rock Cafe in Pacific Place or Eastern Promise in Kemang are three more family-friendly options. I also like to visit the speakeasy Prohibition in Senayan Arcadia (make sure to check their secret live jazz room).

For cheaper drinks and a younger atmosphere, you can try any branches of Beer Garden.

In Menteng, Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) is an art complex popular with Indonesians. There are daily cultural performances (concerts, theater, movies, etc).

Clubbing and Karaoke
Normal clubs (meaning those that don't have a majority of prostitutes) are normally busy on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. You can read about my favorites here: Best Nightclubs in Jakarta.

The other days of the week, only the more naughty places are crowded. Apart from BATS and CJs mentioned above, you can try the famous one-stop entertainment centers like Malioboro, Alexis, King Cross, Emporium or Golden Crown. The bar Club 36 is also always very lively. North Jakarta is also where several 24h karaokes can be found.

Jakarta has excellent and modern cinemas that cost about half what you would pay in Europe. The CGV-Blitz chain has movies until 10pm during the week and until midnight on weekends.

Massage and Spas
Some massage parlors and spas close rather late in Jakarta (and I'm not talking about the naughty ones), especially those located in 5-star hotels: Bimasena (Dharmawangsa Hotel) and Willow Stream (Fairmont) close at 11pm, the spa at the Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan is open until 12am.

Photo: Pasar Bary by Art535
All the high-end shopping malls close at 10pm in Jakarta but there are some more traditional markets (pasar) that stay open 24 hours, for instance the fish market of Angke Muara and the flower markets of Cikini and Rawa Belong. Closer from the city center, you also have Pasar Senen and Pasar Mampang Prapatan.

Photo: Jeremy Tobing
Running/cycling at night or very early in the morning is very common among fitness enthusiasts in Jakarta. It is a way to avoid the heat, the traffic and the pollution. Popular running spots include the Monas, the Senayan Stadium and Ragunan Zoo.

A good way to meet Indonesians is to join a running club. Indorunners run every Thursday starting 7.30pm from FX Mall in Senayan. On the same day, you can also join the Nike Run Club.

Amazingly, there are also some 24h gyms in Jakarta such as Rai Fitness in Senopati, Clark Hatch in Sari Pan Pacific Hotel (which I heard is a gay hangout) and Club Olympus in Grand Hyatt.

Night Tourism
Photo: Bunderan HI by Inguna
Many tourist sights in Jakarta can still be visited at night. Taman Fatahillah, the Monas, Ancol or the Kota Intan Bridge remain crowded until very late. They attract middle class Indonesians, especially tourists, and all kind of street vendors. During Ramadhan, you can also visit the Istiqlal mosque all-night long.

Young Indonesians also like to hangout in some public areas like the Taman Suropati and Taman Menteng parks or around the Bunderan HI fountain.

How to Access Blocked Websites in Indonesia with LiquidVPN?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
As of November 2016, there are are 766,000 porn websites blocked in Indonesia, but also 2,120 betting sites and about 100 radical websites. If you are a sex-addict, a gambler or a fanatic, you can make your life much less miserable by spending less than 5$ a month on a VPN.

I had already written about the best VPNs in Indonesia a few months ago, but since then I've been invited by a company called LiquidVPN to try their services (they have a 7 Days free trial). This review will be about my experience with them and how it helped me access blocked websites in Indonesia.

To make sure everyone can understand this post, I will keep my explanations as simple as possible, especially on the technicalities. Please leave a comment below if you think I left out something important or if you require additional information.

What is a VPN and why you need one?
A VPN client is a small software that you can install on your computer or your phone in order to access a VPN (or Virtual Private Network). When you connect to a VPN, you can surf the web anonymously, from another location than Indonesia and with all your data protected.

In the case of Liquid VPN, the software looks like this:
When you click on the connect button, you will access the internet through a server (here in Singapore). From this moment on, the websites you visit will not know that you are in Indonesia and instead they'll assume you are in Singapore. Since the connection is encrypted and anonymous, there is also no way for third parties to know who you are and what you are doing online.

The benefits of using a VPN in Indonesia are particularly important for 3 main reasons:

- Access websites blocked by the Indonesian government
Almost all porn websites are blocked in Indonesia, including the most famous ones like PornHub, XHamster, YouPorn or XVideos. As soon as a new one is popular, it will get banned almost immediately. Sex-oriented forums and dating sites like or AdultFriendFinder may also be inaccessible.

- Bypass regional restrictions affecting Indonesia
Some internet content may not be available from Indonesia, not because of the government, but because of the content providers themselves. For instance, I cannot watch TV replays from a French TV channel because it only allows viewing from Europe. This is a common problem with many streaming services (Netflix, BeIN Connect, etc).

The leading betting website also do not allow bets coming from Indonesia.

When using a VPN, it is very easy to bypass those restrictions as you can simply connect from a server in the country of your choice. This can be done in just one click:
Changing your location is very easy with Liquid VPN
- Protect your identity from the Electronic Information and Transaction Law of 2008
When you surf the web in Indonesia either from a laptop or a mobile phone, you are not anonymous. Your internet provider knows who you are and which websites you visit (even if you are in incognito mode). Worse, he may communicate that information to your employer or to the government. Western countries spy on the internet and there is no reason to think that Indonesia does not. If you are used to exchange sensitive information or to visit unorthodox websites, using a VPN is a necessary protection for your privacy.

Furthermore, after Indonesia voted the law on Electronic Information and Transaction in 2008, it has become more easy to accuse anyone of defamation, insult or blasphemy. If you enjoy political discussions about Indonesia on forums or on the comment section of news sites, I really advise to to remain as anonymous as possible.

If you are regularly traveling to Asia, the VPN will also help you in almost every countries as each have their own restrictions: China blocks pretty much everything (Google, Facebook, Youtube - and even, Malaysia blocks porn and opposition websites, Thailand blocks any websites criticizing the monarchy, etc. In almost all Asian countries, at least a few people have been arrested for writing "inappropriate" comments on Facebook.

Liquid VPN Features

I was not familiar LiquidVPN because it does not have (and it does not wish to have) servers in Indonesia. As they explained to me, they prefer having servers only in locations where the internet is not under attack from the local authorities. As I later found out, the fact that they don't have a server in Indonesia did not affect my speed at all (I connected from their Singapore server instead). The only issue I had was to connect to the streaming website as it is only accessible from Indonesia.

See more: Liquid VPN Servers Location.

Liquid is one of the most serious options when it comes to the protection of their users' privacy. The main reason for that is that they do not keep logs from your connection, meaning that even they do not know which websites you visited. Also, they have a Modulating IP feature that modify your IP address continuously while you are surfing. This makes it impossible for anyone to track your whereabouts.

There are several privacy and protection features that would please more demanding users. I invite you to check this page for more information: Liquid VPN Features.

Accessing Blocked Website in Indonesia with Liquid VPN
My most important concern when using a VPN is: Can I surf any websites, even those that are blocked? Can I use any streaming websites (like Netflix)? Can I download movies and torrents fast?

I can answer YES to all of these questions. I managed (for research purpose of course) to access all porn websites I could find, and all the blocked websites mentioned above. I also could watch Netflix USA using my friend's account. I could connect to the torrent website and I download some movies (only legal ones naturally). Using Liquid VPN did not affect my speed (I was even watching YouTube at the same time). Finally, I visited the website of the French TV channels I mentioned earlier and I could watch all their videos without any restrictions on content.

Is is legal to use a VPN
YES. There are no laws forbidding the use of VPN in Indonesia, even to access illegal websites (like porn). You will not get into any troubles for using one.

Installing and Using Liquid VPN
I was planning to do a very detailed step-by-step guide on how to install and use Liquid VPN but it is so easy that all you need to make it work is a somewhat functioning brain.

Step 1: Register (7 Days Free Trial)
After you choose a Liquid VPN plan, you will be invited to create an account on This is where you can update your information and set up your VPN (if you have special needs, otherwise just ignore it). This is also where you can contact the support team and read dozens of tutorials and guides.

Step 2: Install
After you've subscribed to Liquid VPN, you will need to download the VPN client software from your account on You just need to click on "Download Liquid VPN" under the Dashboard tab:

I used LiquidVPN on a MacBook but it also works on a PC or an Android phone.

Step 3: Connect
Once the client software is installed and launched, all you will need to do is click on CONNECT and enter your login/password.

Note: You login/password for the VPN client can be found on the top bar of your account at
Click on "Show VPN Credentials to see your password"
Step 4: Surf the web freely and anonymously
Once connected, you can now surf any blocked websites and nobody will know what you are visiting (including your boss, your internet provider, etc).

You may switch server location as often as you'd like to and you can also monitor in real-time your traffic speed.

Liquid VPN has a similar pricing compared to other VPNs like Hide My Ass or Golden Frog (actually, it is even cheaper if you buy a 12-month plan).

There are 3 packages depending on the number of devices allowed. Here is a summary:

Sidekick Package (2 devices): 7$ per month or 4.75$/month with annual plan
Road Warrior Package (4 devices): 10$ per month or 5.75$/month with annual plan
Ultimate Package (8 devices): 18$ per month or 8.8$/month with annual plan

You can see more details by clicking on this link: Liquid VPN Plans & Pricing.

For most people, 2 devices are normally enough (laptop and phone). This means that with just 57$ (Sidekick package) per year, you can have access to any blocked websites in Indonesia. You'll also enjoy stress-free web browsing, knowing that no one can find out about your online activities.

In case you want to cancel your subscription, you can do it for free after 7 days. If you take a monthly plan, you can cancel any time also.