Dani Yahya is my delightful friend living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dani was a great host over my two day stay and so I decided to interview him to learn why he loves living in Jakarta.

Great tips and advice from Dani the best of JAKARTA!

Name: Dani Yahya

Occupation: Business Development Manager for Combi Logistics Indonesia, Freight Forwarder

Location: JAKARTA, Indonesia

(At time of interview- Dani was in traffic.)

Email: dani@combilogistics.co.id

  1. 1. Why did you choose to base yourself in Jakarta?

It’s a good lifestyle. I grew up in Jakarta and my family is based here. Our family business also operates out of Jakarta so it makes it easier to be close to it. I could’ve actually based myself elsewhere such as Singapore or  UK, but I like being in Jakarta because I can have a maid, and driver and it makes life just that bit easier. Also my friends are here and there are so many great malls and eateries to hang out in, we never get bored.

  1. 2. What makes Jakarta typical of Indonesia?

It’s the capital so there are loads of people from all over Indonesia here trying their luck in the big city. This creates a melting pot of cultures from the different regions of Indonesia which adds diversity and flavour to the city. It’s not actually typical. You find that Bali and Jakarta are very different. So Jakarta is typical in the sense that there are many different Indonesian province cultures in the city but the modern development and construction is far ahead of all other parts of Indonesia which makes it unique.

  1. 3. What makes day to day living great in Jakarta?

Having a maid. I must confess it does make a huge difference to my standard of living. After living in the UK for 3 years in dorms by myself, coming back to those creature comforts and being pampered just made Jakarta great. Great people to spend time with. It’s a good place to make money, earn a decent wage and then enjoy that income in the malls and restaurants with your friends. I have a good lifestyle here that I perhaps couldn’t have elsewhere.

Also, you can go as expensive as you like and you can go as cheap as you like. No matter what your budget you will be able to enjoy yourself and find somewhere nice to spend your time and enjoy the city.

  1. 4. What makes life tough in Jakarta?

TRAFFIC! Traffic and Traffic! It’s a nightmare and it can really hinder your view of Jakarta. I hope that when tourists come it doesn’t taint the view of the rest of the city but it can get in the way so just plan ahead. There is also no decent public transportation apart from Taxi’s. They have brought in the TransJakarta bus way but this is new and still they are sorting out the planning and running of this system. This is buses with their own laneway but at the moment it is adding to the traffic and it’s not as efficient as say a sky train or and MRT.

There is also a large wealth gap between the rich and the poor. I am lucky to come from a well off family and cannot really speak on behalf of the lower socio economic division of Jakarta, however I do see that it would be very diffucult. Wages are low and living costs are high. Average wage would be $200 USD a month for someone in a medium sized firm as a fresh graduate. This would not get you very far with city rent prices, petrol for the cars and day to day living costs. Life could be tough in this situation.

  1. 5. Do people of Indonesia get support from the Indonesian Government?

No. I do not feel the benefit directly so it’s difficult for me to answer that. The health system is good but not wonderful. If you have money, it’s not a problem, but for those struggling it can be hard. I think this is the case in most developing countries. There aren’t really established systems for government grants for new business or education or it’s jus not commonly known how to access this.

  1. 6. What would make Jakarta better?

Less Traffic. Life is easier with less traffic. Much more enjoyable and stress free. This is never going to happen though if the sales of Toyota and Honda continue to increase as they are. A better transport system as well because it would stop so much car use.

  1. 7. Was Jakarta hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis?

Yes and no. Yes if you were doing business internationally. No because there is a very strong domestic market.

  1. 8. Is Jakarta now recovering?

Recovering. Of course, as the world is recovering, Jakarta recovers.  It will take a while however for us to get back on our feet and start building those international trade again.

  1. 9. How can Tourists experience the real Jakarta?

Contact me. Haha just kidding. But really, my email is at the top so feel free to contact me if you are visiting Jakarta. If people don’t know anyone in Jakarta they can still experience the real side. The best way to explore the city is through the locals eyes. Try and get to know some local people and ask lots of questions. The old city of Jakarta shows more of the true side and also the miniature Indonesia park, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, is a great sample of Indonesian culture. www.tamanmini.com/?language=en

10. What are the top 3 things to see in  Jakarta?

-Shopping malls shopping malls and shopping malls

-Ancol – A stunning seaside area with resorts, swimming pool and water park, theme park, indoor movie theatre, fantastic seafood restaurants and boat rides. There is even a golf course. You can stay here in the Mercure Hotel or in the bungalow styled rooms of the Butri Duyung. There is also the art village with local handicrafts and typical Indonesian designs. A great place to buy souvenirs

– Batavia, Old city. Museums, Café’s and art in this area

11. Why should people choose Jakarta as a holiday destination?

It’s cheaper! You are a millionaire here. $110 USD is approximately 1 million. It’s awesome, how often do you get to say “I’m a millionaire”. There are so many different things in one place as it’s an all in city. The mountains are only two hours drive and only two hours away there is another beachside resort. Jakarta itself has the sea and resort style as well as the modern city with sky scrapers, museums and so many activities.

12. What is the best way to win the heart of the Indonesian people?

‘Indonesian people are easy to please. They are interested by new people. They like the Europeans because they are different and just by saying hello and smiling back you can warm their heart. They love to have a chat and talk to you about their country so listen to what they have to say and you can learn a lot. They will also be very willing to help you and teach you about their country.

13. What is the typical food of Jakarta and where is the best place to get it?

Gado gado- a vegetable dish is typical of Indonesia and easy to find here. The Satay house has great gado gado and famous satay.http://www.igougo.com/dining-reviews-b114327-Jakarta-Satay_House_Senayan.html) Chicken, beef and mutton sampler is a good choice. Of course you must also have Nasi Goreng. This is good anywhere and always a safe choice.

14. If people have time, where else should they visit in Indonesia?

Other than Bali, Yogyakarta. You can see the Boro Budur Temple which is a Buddhist temple. It’s 50 minute flight from Jakarta or 8 hour drive. It’s a more cultural place and  you can more easily experience the real Indonesia.

15. Advice for travelers?

Beware of the Traffic in Jakarta. It will always be there so just be prepared for a lot of waiting (i.e. bring a good book, psp or ipod to keep you entertained). Bring lots of money and make sure you have a large credit limit on your credit card. There is such good shopping that you will want to cash in on it, So save up before you come and spend big when you’re here and enjoy your holiday. Oh and don’t be on a diet. There are too many good restaurants and great foods to try to have to say no. Especially the Gelato, it’s definitely my favourite.

Big thank you to Dani and his lovely family for my wonderful trip to Jakarta. I hope you get the chance to experience the great city of Jakarta and the hospitality of Indonesia just as I have done.

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