There are bags of smart and all-encompassing shopping malls in town, yet they are quite spread out, making visiting the various shopping spots tough in a short space of time. Most big malls have all types of shopping, eating and entertainment options along with brutal air conditioning.
There are loads of cultural items to seek out in the Indonesian capital such as batik and handicrafts, and the flea markets, of which there are many, together with the independent stores, are the best bet. As with anywhere in Asia, haggling at the markets, and especially in Chinatown, is a must.
Jakarta's favorite area for shopping is a vibrant open-air market in the Mentang district of town and is good for exotic items and souvenirs. Everything from carvings to traditional batik can be had here, as well as Javanese puppets (wayang golek). It is located in central Jakarta and is easy to reach by public transport.
Good for temples and hawker food, Chinatown also has some of the most attractive shopping options owing to its bustling atmosphere and range of cheap products. You can get to Glodok Market by taking Line 1 on the Busway system.
Located in an easily accessible downtown area of southwest Jakarta is Blok M, featuring many malls and big department stores. One of the top malls is the Pasaraya Grande shopping mall, which has a floor dedicated to handicrafts, antiques and great eating.
This fun area is located in North Jakarta on Jakarta Bay and has excellent shopping and entertainment options. Pasar Seni is especially good for paintings and sculptures, while Kelapa Gading is another popular mall. You can get here from the city by train or bus and explore the bay by ferry, to boot.
Jakarta shopping tips
Head to the markets for the best deals, where haggling is the done thing. Traditional Indonesian items can be had in the markets, with Surabaya Street having the best range and deals, while for duty-free Soekarno Hatta Airport is the best bet. Higher-end stuff can be had in the shopping malls of Blok M, South Jakarta. Shops generally retain office hours, apart from the later opening malls.
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