If you think by earning Ringgit you’ll live like kings/queens in Jakarta, you’re wrong. On top of the surprise, be prepared to sit for hours in the car thanks to the traffic jam.
My aunties and uncles often ask me why I seldom return home, don’t I miss the food and so on. As someone who has only 14 days annual leave, I choose my travel destination wisely and the capital city of Indonesia is, to be honest, a place I avoid.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m from Jakarta and with the statement above, I hope you won’t think I’m snobbish. I just prefer to use my annual leave and saving to visit Bali or other parts of Indonesia because of these two reasons:
Everything is Expensive in Jakarta
I just returned from Jakarta last week for five days and found it difficult to survive with RM500. At that period, RM1= 3,400 rupiah.
Ringgit was >3x stronger than rupiah but trust me, it didn’t create much impact. It doesn’t work like when you’re bringing SGD to Malaysia, which is 3x stronger than ringgit.
Bear in mind that I didn’t pay for a hotel and most of the times I was with my relatives, commuting with their cars plus had a few free meals. So, I thought RM500 should be enough for food, snacks and a bit of pampering. I was wrong.
How Expensive is It?
Here’s a general comparison of the
living food costs:
- A junior cup of Baskin Robbins is RM8 (around 27k rupiah) in Malaysia, it’s RM17.6 (60k rupiah) there
- 2pcs fried chicken set meal in fast-food chains like KFC, McDonald’s and A&W is around RM15 in Malaysia (51k rupiah), it’s around RM20 (65k rupiah) there
- A bowl of a famous noodle (not the big-restaurant type) is around RM7-8 in Malaysia, it’s around RM14 (50k rupiah) there
- A bowl of yummy Soto Betawi (Indonesian traditional food – sliced beef with clear/coconut milk soup, not the big-restaurant type) is around RM13 (45k rupiah) excluding rice there whereas in Malaysia, generally, soup dishes are below/equal to RM10 (34k rupiah)
- A bowl of yummy Soto Betawi of a famous local restaurant in a shopping mall could be a whopping RM23 (80k rupiah) in Jakarta, while we can get a bowl of soup or noodle from famous HK/Taiwanese/Michelin-star restaurants with lesser/same price in Malaysia
Additional info: the imported books (English version) is almost double the price of the books in Malaysia.
Jakarta? No Thanks, Traffic Jam!
Another reason why I avoid Jakarta is because of the traffic jam. I thought it’s the #1 city with the worst traffic jam, but apparently, it’s #7 this year according to Forbes.
Seventh yet it’s enough to make me scared of getting into the car.
I’ve been living in Malaysia for so many years, I enjoy my daily commute with public transport and walking. Even the car ride is enjoyable, less than an hour to KL during the weekend.
Travelling in Jakarta can be exhausting solely because of the traffic jam. Trust me.
It’s exhausting sitting in the car for hours, getting stuck in the traffic jam. You could reach the destination by car within five minutes but when you’re unlucky, be prepared to get your a** flattened for an hour.
Thinking to get off the car and walk? Good luck. The air quality is poor, you’ll be more worried about your health, safety and arriving in the destination covered in sweat and smell like s**t.
…But, Don’t Cross Jakarta Off Your List
Depending on your occupation and income, you can live like kings and queens there. The interior design and hospitality of our four and five-star hotels are top-notch!
The foods are great, especially if you’re a fan of spicy foods and seafood. The people are friendly. There are tons of traditional dishes, drinks and snacks. Attractive hang out places and rooftop bars are everywhere. Ladies dress up like they’re going to a party in the clubs.
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If you wish to enjoy Jakarta with low budget (assuming you bring RM), I feel it would be challenging. Sure, there are a lot of yummy traditional foods sold by the carts at the roadside, but you’ll miss the fun.