Actually we did this tour on June 2nd, 2009 but I haven’t post about it.
Since we have a toddler, we decided it would be best to do this tour on our own, meaning we rent a car and have the driver took us places. Simple and there were no rushing. For a less than $50 we got to rent a car for a whole day (yep, 24 hours!).
First stop was the Jakarta History Museum (better known by the locals as Fatahillah Museum). Located in the old part of Jakarta this building was originally built for the governor’s office during the Dutch colonial era in 1707-1711. There’s a small entrance fee to go inside the Museum building (cost about Rp. 2,000/$0.2 per person).
This place is also famous for pre-wedding photo shots spot among the future bride-groom to be. When you’re in that area, don’t forget to stop by for some refreshing cool drinks (or food) at the awesome Batavia Café.
From there we went to the old port, known as Sunda Kelapa Port. It’s one of the oldest port in Indonesia and was once the most important port in the country. While taking pictures there, a guy approached Mr. X and offered to give us a guide to some more historical places in Jakarta. The guy’s English is excellent and he holds a tour guide permit issued by the government although the card looks really old and faded when he showed it us. At first I hesitate but then I realized some of the places he mentions are the ones that I never even heard of and for Rp. 700,000 ($70) he took us to these amazingly hidden places.
The first stop he took us was the Maritime Museum. This place is so small and tucked behind the city traffic, one could easily miss it. We climbed up the old wooden stairs to the old watchtower and the views are really nice. Although, it disappoint me to hear our guide explained that in a few years, the old ‘kampung’ (village) located behind the museum will be gone and turned into fancy apartments and God knows what else. Our guide really is very knowledgeable in his field as he explained a lot about the history of every place.
From there we took a little walk to another building, again, tucked away behind the small fishing village. This building is still part of the Maritime Museum. We saw the largest traditional boat ever built being restored.
Then we crossed the streets to another old building that was once used as storage facility for the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or the Dutch East India Company). Some Indonesian conglomerate bought that place, restore it and use part of the area as a restaurant. It is really beautiful and kudos for her to preserve one of the heritage of this country.
The last place he took us was really interesting. Unfortunately, Lil’ A fell asleep after a long day of walking and sight seeing that Mr. X stayed in the car parked nearby a mall. Our guide took me across the busy street, into the alleys and I had no idea where I was. We ended up in one of the oldest Chinese temple in the city. It is so hidden; doubt I can find it again alone. He wanted to show me the largest burning candle in the world, or so he claimed, I have to admit I never seen a candle that big before. Too bad, we got there a bit too late after 6:00 PM and they already blew the candles out. Those really big giants candles are lit every morning from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. I bet they’ll make a fantastic picture!
All in all, we are glad we hired our guide, he turned out to be one heck of a guide with so much valuable information stored in him. Too bad I lost his phone number!
This tour was so worth it despite the sweats from humidity and heat as a change from mall to mall activities. Why don’t you give it a try?