The Jakarta A to G

By Kylah Brown
This sprawling city is evolving so quickly that keeping up can sometimes be a challenge. This quick guide tells you the top ways to spend your days and nights in Jakarta.

A - Art
I Once heard that Bali has more art per square meter than any other place on the planet. This is easy to believe. From painting and woodworking to local textiles and handicrafts, Indonesia is a veritable smorgasbord for the art lover. The only difficulty is knowing where to begin and your rason for collecting. Buying art is much like buying wine, or simply buy what you like, regardless of its monetary worth. Beginner art buyers would do well to check out the Affordable Art Auction, held in both Jakarta and Bali a few times a year.

B - Brunch
Brunch is an institution in Jakarta and I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday. If you have kids, a good destination is the Four Seasons Hotel. For a more sophisticated repast, try the Martini Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton or the five and nine course set brunch menu at SHY on the first Sunday of every month.

C - Clubs & Organizations
The single most unfair complaint about Jakarta is that there is " nothing to do " here. Even if golf and girls aren't your thing, there are plenty of ways to amuse yourself. The city is rife with clubs and organizations catering to practically any hobby or interest. With membership fees being a mere fraction of what they'd be in the west, it seems silly not to take full advantage of what's on offer. And if you're new to this city, there is probably no better way to meet people. For more information, check out www.expat.or.id and of course our Expat Directory 07/08.

D - Dining
This city has some stellar restaurants. People often ask me to name the "best restaurant" in the city, which is a terribly difficult question as a good dining experience is entirely relative. But there are a few standouts : Emilie, SHY, Cassis, Riva, Kinara, Portovenere, and of course my favorite Din Tai Fung.

E - Entertainment
Jakarta has so much going on in the way of concerts and performances that it is hard to keep up. Every month in our What's On Section, we feature many upcoming concerts and performance around the city. They are often world-class and are extremely affordable ( often free ) and well worth checking out.

F - Fashion
Four years age, the fashion scene in Jakarta was a joke. But it has com a long way and now the city is home to many top international brands, as well as up-and-coming young designers. While Jakarta still has a way to go before securing a name for itself on the international fashion scene, its progress must be commended. It is a shame that some really great boutiques are overshadowed by the monstrous malls, but if you can spare an afternoon to comb through the streets of Kemang, you'll find some real gems.

G - Golf
The golfing industry in Indonesia has always been sterling: beautiful sprawling courses, affordable green fees, attentive caddies. And there has been a recent movement to promote golf tourism to Indonesia. Jakarta has a range of golfing options from driving ranges to full 18 hole courses, even putt-putt for kiddies and beginners. Those in search of a quick getaway from the city often head straight for the courses for a brief dose of green.

H - Heritage
With thousands of islands, hundreds of different languages and dialects, environments ranging from the tropical to deserts, a constantly shifting geological foundation and a varied political climate, Indonesia has a seriously vast and varied history. It's well accepted that it would take more than a lifetime to visit every corner of the country and it's safe to say that it would take much longer to have a full understanding of Indonesian history. But the Indonesian Heritage Society does an excellent job of helping locals and expats discover the rich history of the country with its guided museum tours and evening lectures.

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