Jakarta Busway Museums Trip
Driving in Jakarta you have got to be prepared to spend 2 – 3 hours in the car that should take you 30 minutes to get to. The Traffic in Jakarta is infamously bad. There is however a good and cheap way of traveling across Jakarta with minimum traffic, that is using TransJakarta buses (otherwise also known as busway). The bus has its own special way that cuts through the traffic. After spending several days driving around Jakarta, I decided I would do my museum visits using this mode of transport.
Started the Journey by parking my car at Ragunan, this is just beside the entrance to Ragunan Zoo, paid Rp.6.000 to park all day. Then I got on the bus paid Rp.3.500 ($0.40/€0.30) on the till to get a card similar to London Oyster card, to be instantly swallowed by the machine. You don’t have to pay again to change buses. Got on the bus which departs every 10 minutes.
The bus is air-conditioned, the inside is… what I call ‘well used’. The good thing about getting on at the end of the line is you get a seat, after that it is rather full. According to the map I needed to change to go to Kota, which is where the Jakarta Old town is. However it turns out I didn’t have to change, the journey took 1 hour, driving your own car would take about 3.
It has been awhile since I have been to Old Town, I went almost everyday when I was doing my research on it, I wanted to see how it has changed. There are 5 museums around the stop. Jakarta Historical Museum (Museum Fatahillah), Wayang Museum, Art and Ceramic Museum, Museum Bank Indonesia and Museum Mandiri. So would recommend anyone who is interested in museums to visit this part of town.
Museum Mandiri was directly in front of the Kota Stop, but guess what? it was closed! because the staff are in Friday Praying time. It is definitely is always my luck. So I walked on and tried Jakarta Historical Museum, which was open! wohooo! The ticket was Rp.2.000 ($0.25/€0.15). This lovely building is sparsely filled with history of Jakarta, it requires a lot of maintenance work and curatorial work. Some of the labels are not translated to English, which would be great if it was.
I walked across the road to Museum Wayang. Which also cost Rp.2.000. This museum seems to be newly renovated and had better displays than across the road. There is a small shop at the end, which sells Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppets made out of Cow hide) and you can have a go at the shop at carving a wayang, the wayang they were selling was really handsome. They were handmade wayangs that took 3 days to 1 week to make, so not surprising when they cost around Rp. 800.000 ($83/€63).
If it was my choice, the museum’s postcard would look like this.
The time was getting on, and I wanted to go to the National Museum, so I skipped all the other museums which I promised I am going to visit next time.
So I hopped on the busway again towards Monas Stop. Monas is Monumen Nasional which is the tall monument of a golden torch. Inside Monas there is also a museum. But anyway I didn’t really want to go to Monas but wanted to go to Museum Nasional (Museum Gajah). At the moment they are having some refurbishment to it and also putting up a sculpture to compete with the Gajah (Elephant in front of the building).
This museum has lots of interesting things, including the history of Indonesia & Indonesian archeological artifacts.
My postcard from National Museum of Indonesia.
That was a whole day, went back to the bus and was in my car driving home within 40 minutes. I really recommend people to travel with busway if you are staying somewhere near a bus stop. Here is where you can find the routes full map: http://www.transjakarta.co.id/peta_rute.php
But because you can’t download that map easily, here is what I printed and used to help me navigate myself.