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Shopping in Jakarta


Shopping malls

Newcomers to Jakarta are often amazed at the modern property developments including skyscrapers, palatial residences, sparkling new apartment towers, and not to be forgotten, major shopping malls each featuring hundreds of shops and services. It hardly matches the image of a rural developing country that some expatriates picture before their arrival. Welcome to Indonesia's largest city which, within the Greater Jakarta area, has a population estimated at 19 million people.

In the last 10 years, the retail sector in Indonesia has seen amazing growth. In the early 80s shopping would have been limited to Sarinah, Ratu Plaza, Gajah Mada Plaza, Blok M and Pasar Baru. Since then, major shopping malls have been constructed all over town. The growing middle class has been flocking to the shopping malls in recent years to buy an ever growing variety of consumer goods. Foreign department chains such as Metro (Singapore), Sogo (Japan) and Marks & Spencer's (UK) have tested the waters by opening outlets in prestigious malls.

Most malls have a good retail mix with several anchor department stores, small clothing boutiques, stationery/book stores, framers, toy stores, household furnishings and even car dealers. Visit the various malls to familiarize yourself with the stores available. The information desk near the main entrance often has a brochure or listing of all the stores in the mall.

Malls are not only a place to shop, but increasingly, a recreation site. Movie theaters, ice skating rinks, arcades, laser tag, simulated rock climbing, simulator rides, coin operated children's rides, food courts and restaurants abound. In clean, air-conditioned surroundings you can shop, entertain the kids and have a nice meal or snack. Restaurants feature Indonesian, Asian and western menus from snacks to fast food to family restaurants.

Malls utilize that great Indonesian service, the car call. Your driver drops you off at the entrance and disappears into the bowels of the parking lot to await your departure call. When you're ready to leave, look for the car call counter outside the main exits. Tell the attendant the name of your driver and he will call him from the garage to pick you up. Such convenience!

While the current economic slump has effected the buying power of consumers, the malls still seem to be popular destinations for window shopping, buying the basics, or weekend fun.

Listing of major Jakarta Shopping Centers

South Jakarta

    Pasaraya Grande, Jl. Iskandarsyah II No. 2, Blok M. Phone: 722-2221, 726-0170

    Plaza Blok M, Jl. Bulungan No. 76, Blok M. Hours: 10:00-22:00, Phone: 720-5586, 720-9288,720-9101

    Plaza Senayan, Gelora Bung Karno, Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8, Senayan. Hours: 10:00-22:00, Phone: 572-5555

    Must sees at Plaza Senayan:

    • Sogo Seni - Indonesian Craft Museum Shop for handicrafts - Sogo - 5th floor

    • Biyan, Ghea and Sebastian's - Indonesian designers -1st floor

    • Sogo Bakery - excellent selection of Indonesian kue basah snacks - basement

    • Royal Selangor - Malaysian pewter designs - 2nd floor

    • QB Books - 3rd floor

    • Indonesian food - Spice Garden or Sari Ratu - basement

    • Marrygold Clock in the atrium. Every hour on the hour the Seiko clock opens up and visitors are serenaded by a 6-figure orchestra.

    • Metro Department Store

    Pondok Indah Mall, Jl. Metro Pondok Indah Blok 3B, Pondok Indah. Hours: 10:00-22:00, Phone: 750-6750,

    Must sees at Pondok Indah Mall:

    • Biyan - Indonesian designer - ground floor

    • Royal Selangor - pewter handicrafts - ground floor

    • Pondok Indah Water Park - south side of mall

    • Pondok Indah Climbing Wall - outside exit near Times Bookshop

    • Indonesian food - Bakmi Gajah Mada and Dermaga food court - 3rd floor

    • Metro Department Store

    Plaza Semanggi, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav 50 Lt 6, Jakarta 12930. Tel. (021) 527-5878, 2553-6388, Fax (021) 2553-6305

Central Jakarta

    Plaza Gajah Mada, Jl. Hayam Wuruk No. 19-26, Gajah Mada. Hours: 10:00-22:00, Phone: 231-1011

    Jakarta International Trade Center (JITC), Jl. Arteri Mangga Dua, Mangga Dua. Hours: 10:00-18:00 Phone: 601-7771

    Sarinah, Jl. M.H. Thamrin 11, Menteng. Hours: 9:00-21:00 Phone: 3192-3008

    Plaza Indonesia, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 28-30, Facing Welcome statue on Bundaran HI. Hours: 10:000-22:00 Phone: 310-7272, 390-3728,

    Must Sees at Plaza Indonesia:

    • Sogo Seni Handicraft Center- Sogo department store - 2nd floor

    • Batik Keris showroom - 1st floor

    • Sogo Bakery - excellent selection of Indonesian kue basah snacks - basement

    • Finna traditional snacks - basement

    • Toko Ampuh - Indonesian traditional medicines - basement

    • Indonesian food - Spice Garden or Sari Ratu - basement

West Jakarta

    Mal Ciputra (Citraland), Jl. Letjen. S. Parman, Grogol. Hours: 10:00-22:00, Phone: 566-2121

    Mal Taman Anggrek, Jl. Letjen. S. Parman No. 21, Slipi. Hours: 10:00-22:00. Tel 560-9964,
    Must sees at Mal Taman Anggrek:

    • Sky Rink - ice skating rink - 3rd floor and 4th floor viewing balcony

    • Indonesian food - Dapur Anggrek Food Court - 4th floor

    • Jakarta Stamps and Coins - Indonesian coins and stamps for collectors

    • Batik Danar Hadi, Batik Keris and Batik Semar

    • Metro Department Store

      Refresh your aching feet with a foot reflexology treatment at Oriental Reflexologi in the basement near Hero

Mal Puri Indah, Jl. Puri Agung, Puri Indah. Hours: 10:00-22:00 Phone: 582-2582

North Jakarta

    Mal Kelapa Gading, Jl. Bulevar Kelapa Gading, Kelapa Gading. Hours: 10:00-22:00 Phone: 453-0690

    Megamal Pluit, Jl. Pluit Indah Raya, Pluit. Hours: 10:00-22:00 Phone: 668-3888

Jabotabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Bekasi)

    Supermal Karawaci Jl. Bulevar Diponegoro No. 150, Karawaci, Tangerang Phone: 546-6666, 546-7777 Hours: 10:00-22:00 M-Sun

Reprint of article "Shopping Centers in Jakarta"

When planning a trip to Jakarta, consider spending a day at one of the many modern shopping malls the city has to offer. You may welcome a day off from tourist and cultural sites and enjoy spending time in air-conditioned comfort, where you can relax and shop without annoying hawkers.

If you've spent much time visiting outlying provinces or rural areas, it will be quickly evident during a trip to the capital city that Jakarta showcases the wealth of Indonesia. Skyscrapers, impressive monuments, wide boulevards (albeit crowded) and large malls rival those of any major world capital.

In traditional Indonesian society, open common areas in villages and towns or the courtyard of the Sultan's palace have long been a place to gather and spend late afternoon and evening hours. Small vendors set up their wares, food carts gather and people stroll around meeting friends and sharing gossip. Jakarta's shopping malls are a modern urban equivalent of traditional meeting points – a place to shop, eat and gather with friends and have some fun on the weekends.

Fashion Malls

International fashion items may not be at the top of your Jakarta shopping list. But if you enjoy window shopping and following fashion trends, you'll enjoy the fashion showcased at Plaza Indonesia and Plaza Senayan. Shops offer the latest collections from the fashion capitals of the world – Milan, London, Paris and New York – to titillate the fancy of well to do Indonesians and visitors alike.

Prior to the opening of luxury malls, Indonesians had to shop in Singapore, Europe or the U.S. to buy such well-known international brands as Bvlgari, Prada, Cartier, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Bally, Aigner, Ferragamo and Escada. Now, these brands, and many more, are available in Jakarta.

Amongst Indonesia's emerging middle and upper classes international brand-consciousness is strong. Discerning shoppers seek original goods, which these shops can guarantee. Often, due to special sales or discounts, international fashions may actually be cheaper in Jakarta than in other fashion centers.

While fashion malls don't offer as many recreation opportunities as the family-oriented malls, a big attraction is 'people watching' for the see-and-be-seen crowd. The elegant marble, expansive open spaces and lofty atriums offer a sense of luxury that is further enhanced by no-smoking policies, good housekeeping and security.

Indonesian Specialities

Plaza Senayan features the creations of Indonesian designers, Biyan, Ghea and Sebastian's. They offer beautiful traditional dress as well as modern evening wear. Don't expect to find their creations in large sizes – small sizes only! Fashion from other Indonesian designers can be found in the mall's department stores.

Handicrafts departments can be found in Sogo department store at both Plaza Indonesia and
Plaza Senayan. The Japanese-based chain offers an exceptional selection of quality Indonesian handicrafts from across the archipelago in the Sogo Seni handicraft centre. Modern and traditional handicrafts are found side by side in a uniquely Indonesian setting. Life-sized clay models demonstrate techniques for making batik, weaving, carving, clay pots and other handicrafts.

Take a dip into the world of traditional medicine at Toko Ampuh, a shop in Plaza Indonesia's basement selling traditional Indonesian medicines and potions from across Indonesia. You'll be greeted by the pungent smell of balsem, healing rubs, as you enter the store. Nearby shops sell Ginseng from Korea and delicious Oolong tea from Taiwan. Stop in for a taste test and discover the medicinal properties of these popular drinks.

Food Glorious Food …

...what more could you ask for! Remember the line to the song? One of the major attractions at Jakarta malls is the numerous cafés, restaurants and food courts. On some days eating seems to be the main attraction, with shopping coming in second! From trendy restaurants offering cuisine from around the world to cafés where coffee is king to fast food fixes from home … you're sure to find something to please your taste buds.
For Indonesian food, try Sari Ratu restaurant which features spicy hot dishes from Padang, West Sumatra. The Spice Garden food court in the basement of Sogo offers a good selection of Indonesian dishes. You can eat your way through the archipelago, even if you can't travel through more than a few islands.

The many cafés at Plaza Indonesia and Plaza Senayan are excellent places to spend a few quiet hours, drinking coffee and chatting with friends. The young, trendy be-and-be-seen crowds hang out in the coffee shops scattered throughout these two malls.

Family Malls

If you're not into high fashion or trendy hangouts, you could spend an enjoyable day at Taman Anggrek or Pondok Indah Mall, two of the most popular family-oriented malls. The focus is on recreation and family fun in addition to a wide range of shops and services for one-stop shopping to meet the needs of the family.

Travelers will find a place to get their hair cut, buy medicine or toiletries at the drug store, get money exchanged at a bank or withdraw funds from an ATM, eat a meal, enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee and of course – shop!

Taman Anggrek is the largest mall in Jakarta and a prominent landmark on the toll road into Jakarta from the airport due to the 8 distinctive blue-topped apartment towers crowning the 7-floor shopping mall. The interior is a marvel of space, light and marble – and serious noise levels on the weekend.

Dapur Anggrek food court at Taman Anggrek offers hundreds of traditional regional specialties - pempek from Palembang, South Sumatra (fish balls), 27 kinds of sate at Aneka Sate Djitoe, and fried rice and noodle dishes galore. The truly adventurous can even try goat testicles (terpedo) at Sop Kaki Kambing.

Pondok Indah Mall is a popular family mall in suburban South Jakarta. The adjacent Water Park and Climbing Wall are the main tourist attractions. The mall offers a good variety of shops and services, but no handicrafts.

Best Time to Shop

The best time to shop at Jakarta malls is during the week, soon after the mall opens at 10:00am. Most daytime shoppers are housewives, who begin bringing their children as schools let out mid-day. By late afternoon the malls are bustling with the after-school teen crowd and young professionals who begin showing up after office hours.

Hanging out at malls is part of the affluent Indonesian teens' lifestyle. They have "acronym names" for their favorite malls -- tay ahh (TA) for Taman Anggrek and pay ess (PS) for Plaza Senayan and pim for Pondok Indah Mall (all reflecting the Indonesian pronunciation of the letters in the acronym).

Weekends see a literal flood of families into malls; visitors average 20,000 at Plaza Indonesia, 40,000 at Plaza Senayan, 100,000 at Taman Anggrek and 40,000 at Pondok Indah Mall. Taman Anggrek alone projected 25 million visitors.

Getting there

Take a taxi from your hotel to the mall and you can return by taxi from the mall's taxi stand. During late afternoon rush hour it may take some time to get a taxi. Alternately, you can ask your Silver Bird or Blue Bird taxi from your hotel to wait for you while you shop.

Those traveling in private cars can call your driver from the parking garage via the Car Call near the mall's entrances. Be sure you know your driver's name or other identification to call him to the front the pick you up.

Enjoy a great shopping adventure … at one of Jakarta's premier malls.

by Danielle Surkatty
This article was originally published in Island Life in November 2001.
Photo Credits: Taman Anggrek, Pondok Indah and Plaza Indonesa malls


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