WITH it being the Ramadan fasting month now in Jakarta, there are several tips to bear in mind so that when you travel around the city, it will be a much more pleasant affair.
1. Traffic jams start earlier
Jakarta as a large metropolis has long been closely associated with unbearable traffic jams. For Jakartans, hustling and bustling in the midst of crowded public transportation is business as usual.
Normally rush hour occurs at around 6 to 8am and 5 to 8pm. During Ramadan many offices shorten their working hours, so that the evening rush hour starts 30 to 60 minutes earlier.
Take note that most people prefer to break their fast at home. The trick to avoiding traffic jams is to go out during the Maghrib prayer time at around 5.55pm to 6.30pm. because most Jakartans will already be at their tables at home or at malls breaking their fast.
2. Different clubbing times
Unlike in Bali, all discotheques, night clubs, spas, and bars in Jakarta will be closed from one day before Ramadan to one day after Eid al-Fitr (Aidil Fitri). The places will be opened again as usual afterwards.
However, there are special operational times for karaoke and live music lounges at night. The two places are still allowed to operate from 8.30pm to 1.30am.
Other cities in Indonesia also follow the same special entertainment operation times. But this rule is not applied in Bali.
3. Refraining from eating or drinking in public places
Some of your Muslim friends may find it uncomfortable if you eat or drink in front of them during Ramadan, so it would be considerate of you to do it discreetly. Most restaurants or food vendors usually cover their windows so people who are eating inside can not be seen from outside.
You will not have any trouble finding seats at lunch but it will be difficult at dinner. Some restaurants or mini markets also stop serving alcohol to their customers.
4. Avoid travelling out of Jakarta near Eid al-Fitr; enjoy the capital city’s empty streets instead
It is more difficult to travel from Jakarta near the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Most people in Indonesia, especially from the big cities will travel to their hometowns, the phenomenon that is also known as mudik or pulang kampung. It is a tradition for Indonesians to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their family and friends in their hometown.
The peak of the mudik holiday always occurs around seven days before and after Eid al-Fitr. In regard to the annual exodus, airplane tickets will be more expensive. On the other hand, the streets in Jakarta will be less congested than usual and, at certain periods, will be virtually empty – which is an increasingly rare sight in the capital city. (Jakarta Post)