JAKARTA: Three young people gathered in front of the Karet Sudirman Pedestrian Bridge on one of Jakarta’s main roadways at 10 p.m., as workers rushed to build the walkway styled like a traditional catamaran.
“We’ve been looking for Instagrammable sites throughout Jakarta,” Karina Suryabrata, one of the teenagers, told Klikasean as her pals took pictures of one other.
Their final stop that evening was the Karet Sudirman Bridge, which was just days away from opening to the public.
Jakarta, a metropolis with a population of 10.5 million people, can be a chaotic place with debilitating traffic and deteriorating air quality. It’s also known for having poor infrastructure, especially in low-income regions and locations outside of the city’s main commercial districts.
As a result, citizens like Suryabrata applaud the local government’s efforts to improve the city’s aesthetic infrastructure and amenities. These efforts began in 2016, when the city was preparing to host the 2018 Asian Games, and have continued until this day.
“They are quite good in diverting our attention away from the tension we experience as Jakarta residents,” the 20-year-old university student remarked.
Despite the pandemic, infrastructure upgrades continued, with new facilities quickly becoming the go-to spots for social media savvy city inhabitants and photography aficionados, especially as Indonesia’s COVID-19 regulations are eased.
Some historic buildings have also been given new life, becoming trendy hangout spots for the younger generation. Private businesses, too, have added additional attractions to their commercial areas in an attempt to attract customers.
Here are five of the Indonesian capital’s rising number of Instagrammable places.
GBK CITY PARK
Jakartans travel to the park, which is located inside the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex in the center of Jakarta, to enjoy a calming breeze after their morning or afternoon exercise.
The 4ha public park, which has an unobstructed view of the Jakarta Central Business District’s high rise skyscrapers, is also popular with visitors looking for a calm and soothing location to have a picnic or an afternoon scroll.
The park is on what used to be a golf driving range and is dotted with ponds and water fountains. The driving range was demolished in 2016 to make room for a high-end hotel and restaurant on one end and a public park on the other. The former was inaugurated in 2018, just in time for the Asian Games.
The park’s construction was completed shortly after the pandemic struck Indonesia in March 2020. Because of the subsequent activity limitations, the park did not reopen to the public until August of that year.
However, the park did not become a hit right away since people were still hesitant to go outside. People began flocking to the park in droves after another closure in mid-2021 while the country battled COVID-19’s Delta variation and another reopening in October 2021.
From 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the morning and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the afternoon, the park is open. It will be closed for maintenance on Monday.
KARET SUDIRMAN BRIDGE
The Karet Sudirman Bridge, an imposing structure on Jakarta’s biggest roadway, Sudirman, has been attracting attention even before it opens. Its unusual traditional catamaran-like design attracts visitors and passers-by.
There are four pedestrian bridges that connect in the center part, where there is a viewing platform with views of the nearby high-rise buildings.
The Karet Sudirman Bridge is illuminated with flickering yellowish lights at night. Meanwhile, a system of color-changing lights illuminates the observation platform’s roof.
The bridge connects to the Karet bus stop, which is run by TransJakarta, a city-owned company.
TEBET ECO GARDEN
The Tebet Eco Park is another public amenity that is generating a lot of talk on social media, despite the fact that building is still underway.
The park, which will be located in Tebet, a middle-class neighborhood, will not only serve as a place for residents to socialize and unwind, but will also include a plant nursery for gardening aficionados and a children’s playground.
On January 9, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on his Instagram account that the park is “90% complete” and would serve as a flood retention pond during the rainy season.
“The park will serve as a social, educational, and recreational place as well as an ecological role,” he wrote.
The park’s crown gem, which is sure to attract a lot of photographers, is a ramp shaped like the infinity symbol. It links the park’s two sides, which are presently split by a road.
The ramp is illuminated by a series of lights that shine every color of the rainbow at night, providing a magnificent spectacle both on the ground and in the air, which is why the spot has already attracted a lot of drone enthusiasts eager to photograph the light show.
When the country was still under Dutch administration, the building served as the headquarters for the mail and telegraph services. The art deco-style building’s construction began in 1912, and it was completed in 1927.
The structure is still in excellent condition, and its interior and exterior, which feature stained glass windows and marble floors and counters, have remained virtually untouched for nearly a century.
Despite this, its purpose has shifted several times. The structure was converted into a philatelic museum when Indonesia got independence in 1945.
With the rise of the Internet, interest in stamp collection and postal service waned, and the Indonesian Postal Service began to explore for new methods to monetize the space.
The structure was turned into a co-working facility in 2015. However, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the coworking industry, as many are compelled to work from home.
The Indonesian Postal Service teamed up with a private enterprise in October 2021 to transform the site into a mix of eateries and a shopping center, which includes a number of stylish cafés and restaurants as well as stores selling anything from T-shirts to antiques.
The 7,000-square-meter structure, which is a short distance from the Jakarta Art Building and the West Irian Liberation Monument, is a hit with Jakarta’s youths, who are drawn to its historical beauty, plenty of selfie places, and broad range of eateries.
SKYWALK IN SENAYAN PARK
The Senayan Park shopping mall, which features an expanded bird’s nest facade, a large park, and a manmade lake, opens in August 2020.
While the shopping mall has been relatively quiet, with only a few places occupied, the semi-outdoor space on the bottom level, which features a number of chic restaurants and cafes facing the park and lake, has been anything but.
The park, which is close to the Jakarta Convention Centre, the Gelora Bung Karno sports complex, and the Indonesian parliament complex, offers a peaceful respite from the city’s chaos. There is a running track as well as an amphitheatre.
However, Senayan Park, which is only a few hundred meters from the TransJakarta JCC Senayan bus station, is not the main reason why Jakartans visit.
The operators of the Senayan Park shopping mall built its latest attraction, a multilevel skywalk on its rooftop, just weeks before the year 2021 ended, and it was an instant popular with Jakarta residents searching for a clear view of the city’s cityscape.
However, due to the pandemic, the skywalk’s operation hours are restricted to 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the number of visitors is limited to 100.