Time do flies so fast! Just few days ago I posted that I am going to Bangkok. Now, I already back to J-Town (Jakarta) and trying to catch a bit with my blog while listening to the music from my laptop and enjoying the breeze from my window. Late here and raining outside. I always like rain when I am not outdoor. Being inside of my room and feeling the chilly breeze is a good thing and kind of romantic, don’t you think? Anyway, for me, it’s always bring a good feeling and give a mood to write.
That clear blue sky gives you an addiction to go outdoor!
I am happy that I finally able to go to Bangkok. As you might already heard, we, Indonesian – especially the workers, can not go that long for holiday. We only have 12 days off/year. Me quite lucky cause I have 18 days/year compared to others. Well, I asked to my Siamese friend, and she said she is working as accountant in Bangkok and only get 6 days off/year. What?! That’s so bad! So this trip, I only go for 5 days and only choose to stay in Bangkok. This time, I don’t really wanna go to place by places. I just want to have a peaceful, laid back and slow vacation. I just want to enjoy minutes by minutes without being in hurry to jump and catch the bus to go from one place to another. But I can say this trip was so full of fun! I quiet do a lot too for a laid back holiday in my version, hihi.
First impression of Bangkok when I finally step in the city was like.. “Hey, is it Jakarta? Why it looks so similar!” To be honest, I didn’t expect it will be plainly kind of same with Jakarta (but honestly, Bangkok is a better version). I expected something authentic or more different than the daily view I have in Jakarta. But Bangkok is like a twin of J-Town! All the building, mall, road, sign board, even some people – how the way they dress and taste. I feel like have a vacation in J-Town only here, with gold temple everywhere (which makes Bangkok different than Jakarta). To be honest, this kind of shock me and disappoint me. I miss a situation that really interest me because of the differences. But stay with me, I saw some different between Jakarta and Bangkok.
In fact, I wrote down some things Jakarta (or the our local government and the people) can learn from Bangkok. Here is it ;
- I love seeing how Thai people love their King. I heard from my friend, he reigns for almost 60 years now, but the people still love him. I even asked to my friend, did people want he stop leading? Did anyone want to put him down from the position? “No way! People love him,” she said. “He always do and think which best things for Thai people, that’s why people love him so dearly.” she continued. I can feel all the huge image of their King and Wife in front of some companies, institution, park, road or everywhere, wasn’t do it forcefully. I think they put their King face with their own willingness. How sweet! Now the King is sick, I hope he’s getting better soon. Back to Jakarta, I never see people really love our leader in such adoration – except for our first President, Soekarno – since he lead us to be independent country. But I wish the same adoration can given to our president by Jakarta (Indonesian) people. I hope the new president really good thinking what best for Indonesians so the genuine adoration will show naturally by the people – not by forcing or in the name of public image only. Will you like it to go to a place where the people love their leader so much? I like it.
- We need to put more our National Flag in everywhere. This is what I realized in Bangkok (or most countries I’ve visited), people there love to put their national flag in front of their house, their car, their bag, everywhere. They just so proud to be born as part of the country. We can do that too, don’t we? The habit of showing our flag everywhere not really happened in Indonesia. We only fill the country with flag once the day of the Independence Day celebrated. Other than that, we missed that red and white colors in our daily life. Simple, but can be such a huge sign.
- Once I arrived in Jakarta, I disappointed with how dirty our city is. Seriously dirty. We need to learn how to not littering and put trash everywhere. Dunno why, but the road and the bridge, or even all the pillars seem so dirty and gray comparing to road and another public places in Bangkok or most countries I’ve been. Like all the road full with ashes and so gray. I missed the clear blue sky I able to see in Bangkok, even it’s also such a huge city with lots of skyscraper.
- Where is the park in Jakarta? Yes, in Jakarta, there are much park as well. But, mostly are small – comparing to the people who want to enjoy the park, so again, the park will be so crowded, yes it’s small because people used the land for building mall or something rather than public park cause it gives them benefits more! Also in Jakarta, most of the park is lack of maintenance. Either they don’t have proper trash bin so people littering everywhere, or no beautiful landscaper design so it looks bored or lack of light so people (teenager or uneducated people) used the park as “dating place” which makes the park sound so suspicious and better not to enjoy it in the evening. Go abroad and see, that so many park can be enjoyed in the evening as well in the daylight.
I love how they still care to build a really nice public park which we can sit for relax after a busy day.
- To attract tourist, we do seriously need a proper pedestrian walk! Actually, it’s not only for tourist, but also for the citizens as well. There are so many complains about us want to build the habit of walking (for instance from one building to the nearby building) but so not interesting because we need to fight with motorbikes, street food stall, pollution from the cars while walking. That’s why Indonesians are lazy in walk. We don’t used to do that. While traveling, to reach one place to another, usually better do by walking cause it’s all nearby mostly.
- Bangkok is so famous with the traffic (it was looong time ago) but now, there is no one can beat the Jakarta’s traffic. I took the Skytrain in Bangkok and asked to my friend, since when they have the Skytrain? She said, “Maybe since 10 years ago.” What? 10 years? And Indonesia never learned from closer neighboor to build this stuff – yeah, now if you can see, government started to build the MRT in Sudirman street, but it’s like we already late 10 years. Once I arrived in the airport and wanna go to the city, I already prepared physically and mentally to face the famous Bangkok’s traffic, but when I experienced it, well, c’mon, Jakarta’s traffic is still worse, worse, worse. I might quote what my ex told me here, “Us, the Engineer thinks, if people can fix the complexity problem with Jakarta, people can fix everything in this world.”
- I realized, Jakarta doesn’t have a real backpacker street, a real backpacker bars and a real backpacker hostels. Me, as the local, if people asked me, “Hey, where is the backpackers street where I can dance all night in cheap cost and really enjoy all the backpackers-touristic-street food and entertainment?” I will confuse which area to say. Ok, we have Jalan Jaksa area, but that’s not like Khao San road in Bangkok or District 1 in Vietnam. To be honest, Jalan Jaksa is such an old and ugly road. I don’t really feeling fun to go there as I feel so much fun to walk along the Khao San road. If I say, Kemang! Then Kemang is so expensive compared to usual backpacker streets I’ve been abroad. Why not we build that kind of backpackers area? Please, if you want money, that’s the business idea – but please do it, in a real backpackers International standard way – if you know what I mean. If not, please do travel more.
Seems legit, tourist/backpacker always go to a street where offers everything in cheap way. That’s why it called Backpacker Street… Those massage service, Indonesia also has authentic traditional massages in many variety/function for body. Why we didn’t offer it to people in good wrapping affordable package?
- If I can take a conclusion why people love to go to Bangkok, because beside the capital city and full of another boring skyscraper as we can see many in big city, because Thailand does really care with their historical site. They paid lots of effort to maintain and reserved their treasures. The temples are still in perfect condition. Government really serious maintain it as a tourism object, so people want to pay more to come inside. There are so many beautiful site in Jakarta as well that lack of maintenance and promotion, named Cathedral, Istiqlal Mosque, Immanuel Church that can be so powerful tourism object to explain about the religion diversity in this country but still live together. Or National Museum (my fave museum so far!) and the Old Town/Square – which really good as tourism object, but become so disgusting with all the uncontrollable street markets everywhere! If we can really manage it, there are so many ancient-interesting-historical powerful tourism object in Jakarta instead of plainly-boring-ugly modern malls everywhere!
- Thailand knows the power and benefits of tourism for their country. That’s why they managed it really in good way. Let’s say, they created so many “authentic Thailand stuff” as souvenir. Even, some sellers learn Indonesia language because so many Indonesians shopping in Bangkok! They created such as “Thailand long pants – that you can see many backpackers wear it proudly, because it’s cheap, nice to wear (I like it too!) and because it’s so “Thailand!” Here, even for finding fridge magnet as the souvenir are so difficult to find. If I find it, it can be so ugly in quality and design. Or if I find the one that good, it’s really expensive! Can cost 10 USD, while I bought fridge magnet in Europe only 2 Euros (maybe around 3 USD) – Can you see the difference?
- Indonesia’s food is so delicious. I am not exaggerated it. I love Bangkok’s street food, but Indonesia riches in variety. But why tourist/backpacker/or all the foreigners who come to Indonesia (name it as you like) will be so scare to eat food in the street? Because it’s dirty or what? In Bangkok, they also sell on the road, but people are love to buy and eat it. It’s like a common view to see people eat Pad Thai while walking and eat Mango or Pineapple as their snack in Bangkok. Really, Indonesia has it too.. But why we can’t make it as tourism thing to do to make tourist/backpackers feel – “Ohhh this is sooo Indonesia…”
We also eat and have so many fruits in Jakarta, only seem people not really have habit to snacking fruits here.
I have this urge feeling to write this thought because I love Indonesia and I want people over the world to visit Jakarta more and be happy while they are staying in Jakarta. I think we can really become a tourism heart object as a big city for tourist and backpackers. A place where people can be proud to say, “Hey, I already visited Jakarta! Have you? It’s really a cool city to go! You must go there for once in your life.” Then they buy the “I love Jakarta” T-Shirt and go around the world while wearing it – just like how Indonesians buy “I love Bangkok” T-Shirt and so happy to wear it here.
I hope you (if you are Indonesians – or from tourism aspect) get some positive inspiration after read this article. As my fave travel book author said, “Tourism is everyone’s business.”