Jakarta is chocked full of places to shop. Besides the glut of modern malls, there are enough specialty markets in Jakarta to keep a dedicated market Rambo engaged for months.
If you’re really wanting to explore Jakarta’s markets in detail, Gagus Ulung recently published, Pasarnye Jakarte, 100 Tempat Belanja Barang Khas & Grosir Di Jabodetabek. In English – The Markets of Jakarta – 100 Special Places to buy Goods & Groceries in Greater Jakarta. It’s in Bahasa Indonesian, but there is plenty of pictures, so it’s easy to understand what each market is all about; addresses are also included. Most of the bookstores around town have it.
I have my favorites too, but there are not nearly 100 of them.
First on my list is Surabaya Street – a combination antique and flea market. On Surabaya street you can buy a old cannon, a steering wheel from a 18th century schooner, heirloom body armor, traditional handicrafts (carvings, puppets, musical instruments, art) jewelry, or a suitcase – pretty much anything.
One word of caution though – if you’re really looking for antiques, they are there, but there are also plenty of replicas.
One of the friendlier shopkeepers, Alfin (photo above) is a really nice guy, and his English is good. Look him up while you’re there – he may be able to help you find what you’re looking for. I cannot vouch for his business practices though, as I have not bought anything from him.
Surabaya street is in Central Jakarta in an area known as Menteng. It’s open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. everyday. Every taxi driver should know where it is.
Other Noted Markets
Pasar Baru is one of the oldest markets in Jakarta. It has shoes, textiles, clothes, household goods, sporting goods, and a number of other things at very good prices. Located in Central Jakarta.
Sarinah Department Store was the first department store in Jakarta. In addition to the variety of modern goods, it has two floors of traditional items from all over Indonesia. Located in Central Jakarta.
Pasar Tanah Abang features all things imported from Arab countries. It’s located in Central Jakarta near Plaza Indonesia Mall. Its huge, lime green building is hard to miss.
The artists of Pasar Baru Lukisan Potret will sell you original artwork, or accept a commission, and paint something just for you. It is in Central Jakarta on Jl. Gedung Kesenian. Another place to find all kinds of artists is at Pasar Seni Ancol in North Jakarta in the Ancol Recreation Complex, where you’ll also find a traditional Shadow Puppet Workshop.
Coin collectors congregate at Pasar Baru Uang Kuno, on Jl. KH Samanhudi, in Central Jakarta.
Pasaraya Grande is a huge, modern department store where you can find all kinds of things. Of special interest to travelers is the two floors of traditional handicrafts. It’s located in South Jakarta in an area known as Blok-M.
Pasar Rawabening Batu Akik is one of the regions largest precious stone markets. It’s located in East Jakarta on Jl. Bekasi Barat, Jatinegara.
Jakarta is a city of specialty markets where entire streets are dedicated to one product. I probably could not find them again, but as I was sitting in a taxi, I have spotted streets of wheel chair shops, BB gun shops, dolls, car upholstery, and just about everything else you can imagine.
For the urban shopper, Jakarta is certainly a mecca of opportunity. The American Womens Association has published 30 years of Jakarta shopping wisdom in The Jakarta Shopper’s Guide, available at Kinokunia bookstore in Plaza Indonesia, or at their center. Call 021 718-1877 for directions.
Enjoy your Jakarta shopping experience!