I avoid Jakarta because of expensive and traffic jam

I’m Not Snobbish, Here’s Why I Avoid Jakarta

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 of 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

tempe mendoan jakarta food hunting
Tempe Mendoan – make sure you eat tempe in Indonesia as it tastes much better.
The price of tempe is varied depending on where you buy it.

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.

fresh avocado juice jakarta not expensive
Not this one – enjoy fresh avocado juice with chocolate condensed milk as much as you can while in Jakarta. This protein cup is just around RM10!
tempe goreng Jakarta
This is how we fry the tempe – not too thick, slightly slashed therefore the spices will sink in, bringing out the aroma and flavour

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.

the naked traveler gramedia jakarta
Shout out to Trinity, her 1st book inspired me to travel the world!
The first thing to do after landing – go to a bookstore to find her latest and last travel book.

Also read: Investing for a Bucket List, Tony Robbins’ Way
Also read: Serene Sunset and Floating Houses at Tempe Lake

Jakarta? No Thanks, Traffic Jam!

unicorn red mug jakarta
Unicorns have wings so y’all can skip the 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.

kopi kenangan jakarta
Kopi Kenangan (Memory Coffee) cafe is affordable and highly recommended. Its cheeky menu includes Ex Memory Coffee, My-Ex-Got-Married Coffee and The Cheating Drinks.

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

travel blogger in jakarta the city with worst traffic jam

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.

Also read: Digital Detox Trip: Nature Edition in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

iga bakar soto betawi nyonya afung jakarta
Soto Betawi (back, 45k rupiah) and Iga Bakar (front, 70k rupiah) at Soto Betawi Nyonya Afung
ketoprak grenville jakarta
The famous Ketoprak (peanut sauce, fried tofu, bean sprouts, ketupat, meehoon, fried crackers) sold by the cart at the roadside. Price is 9k rupiah (around RM3).
Location: Grenville, opposite Papa Mama Bakery.

If you wish to enjoy Jakarta with a 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.


  • Satya

    I think most Jakartans feel exactly the same way, Clara. You were not being snobbish at all. You just described the excruciating details about why Jakarta is pretty much avoidable. Yet you survived the short trip anyway hahaha

    • theresiaclara

      Hi Satya, thank you for your opinion and understanding. Yes, I survived hahaha… In 5 days I gain 1kg, not sure if the foods are too delicious or because the traffic jam made me a couch potato lol

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