We went to Jakarta with one thing in mind and that was the only thing we really wanted to do. Nothing else was important. We wanted to see Anak Krakatoa. It was a dream of mine for ages and being in South East Asia and not going there would be a crime!
With this goal in mind, we didn’t look for any special location. It had to be relatively cheap, with some shops and restaurants nearby and in a quiet area. Jakarta is famous for its’ huge traffic jams so to avoid that we also looked for a place somewhat outside the city centre. All those criteria met an Airbnb titled Gold Coast Sea View Apartment. Well sort of. But let’s start from the beginning.
A very expensive taxi
We arrived at Jakarta airport quite late and we were worried we won’t find a Grab to get to our new place. Luckily the host suggested he’ll send “a friend” to pick us up. For a small fee… obviously! The small fee was 250,000 IDR(about $17). We agreed to this price because the last time we were in Indonesia was Bali and we paid much more for a taxi there. Yes, the distance was much longer, but still, we didn’t know what prices could be in Jakarta, after all, it’s the capital of the country.
When we arrived the host waited for us outside the condo. I paid him 300,000 because I didn’t have any change. He promised he will bring me the change back tomorrow… but he never did. Never mind. Also, to be clear, we checked Grab to see how much the trip would cost us and it was around 70,00 so that was a bit disappointing because we’ve already agreed days earlier for the lift and the driver was already waiting for us on the airport so there was no way of cancelling it. That doesn’t change the fact that we felt a bit tricked by the host.
Ok, back to the apartment.
The condo was brand new and shiny. The host also confirmed that not all flats in this building are occupied yet. Our apartment was a small studio with a tiny kitchen, toilet with a separate shower and the living area taken mostly by the bed. Very comfortable bed. On the wall opposite the bed was a long desk-table where we set our “office” later, and a large flat-screen TV. The balcony was quite large and it did have a sea view, as well as pool view, but I must admit it wasn’t exactly what we expected but it was a sea view nonetheless.
After a week or so in this apartment, we started to feel a bit claustrophobic. There was about a meter between a desk and a bed, but if someone sat at the desk there was no space to pass by. Another problem was the internet. We knew that the internet in Indonesia is not great, but here we often didn’t have a connection at all, or some devices couldn’t connect while others were perfectly fine. A few times we had to use our mobile internet because we couldn’t connect at all. So that’s not ideal for our job at all and we were counting days to move out there. Sea view was not what we expected. Yes, you could see a sea there, but most of the view was taken by a sort of island that was one huge construction site.
The local shops and restaurants
What we really liked about the location was a lot of local shops and restaurants nearby. And we are very glad for that because as we found out the very next day from moving in the stove wasn’t connected to anything and there was no pots or plates at all anyway. At least we could eat quite cheap and really nice meals in local restaurants.
We especially liked a Chinese restaurant that was the closest to our condo, but it didn’t stop us from trying other restaurants too. We even went to the place called “Holy Cow” that specialise in wagyu beef. It was expensive but my god so worth it! Every time we went out we were greeted with a large smile from local people. It looks like they were not used to tourists in this area. We didn’t see any during our stay there anyway.
The lack of tourists caused something else though. Most people around didn’t speak English at all, or very little. That caused a few funny situations, for example, once we ordered a drink in a restaurant but received a bowl of rice!
Not far from the condo was also a Mangrove Park. We went there since we’ve never seen one before but to be honest we regret that decision.
First of all the tickets are expensive. Well, expensive for Asia. What struck us the most was that the ticket price for local people was literally 1000% lower. And I mean it! We got used to higher prices for tourists by now, but it has never been such a huge difference. Additionally, there was as high price for a camera as our tickets. Ridiculous! We decided to not use the camera in the end. What surprised us, using a phone camera was allowed and free. So… errrm… why?
Anyway, after paying so much to get there, we expected that walk in nature will compensate us the ticket price. Nope. Not even close. The park is not well maintained at all. Some paths were squeaky and wobbly and we were scared to walk on it. Not too many places to sit and enjoy the view and those few we found were also broken. In the end, we decided to go back home early because this walk wasn’t fun at all.
Overall we were a bit disappointed with the place and if not for Volano trip I’d say it was the worst place we’ve been to so far.