Jalan Surabaya, Jakarta, is a great place to visit if you are passing through the capital city. It’s quaint. One side of the quiet road, which is on the edge of one of the poshest parts of Jakarta, is lined with small stalls. The stallholders sell antiques or fake antiques like wooden sculptures, wayang puppets, masks, porcelain, ceramics, brass utensils, souvenirs, traditional antique guns, metal ornaments and antique lighting.
There are also shops that sell bric a brad, old boxes of vinyl and records, suitcases, bags, hand bags and even golf bags. The road has been going upmarket in the last few years. The last time I visited I saw a dentist setting up shop in one of the small shops (I wouldn’t advise using it though).
The market on Jalan Surabaya Jakarta has been there since the 1970’s. Initially it was only open for a half day in the morning on the weekends. The stalls sold household goods and appliances. That was until some bright smallholder in the 1980’s started selling antiques. His business was really successful and in the best traditions of capitalism everyone copied him! As a result Jalan Surabaya Jakarta is now really well known for its antique market.
On the other side of the road you’ll find one of the best cafes in the city. Giyanti Coffee Roastery take their coffee seriously. They roast their own beans every week and the coffee is great. The crowd is young and hip and the place is always very busy. The snacks here are nice as well. Just up the road from Giyanti Coffee Roastery is Cali Delhi, which serves nice Vietnamese french bread sandwiches. It’s spacious and a good place to relax or work in the middle of the day.
The Area and Local Attractions
Menteng is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Jakarta. It was a residential area for the Dutch civil service families in old Jakarta. The area has kept many nice parks in this district of the city as well as the tree lined streets, which makes the area really nice to walk around.
Just round the corner from Jalan Surabaya is the Metropole Cinema. The building design has a 1970’s LA feel to it. There’s a few restaurants on the grounds, but not really worth visiting. Cikini Train Station is just up the road and the new Double Tree by Hilton is on the corner (which is in a convenient place near the centre of town).
If you are visiting the capital city, don’t forget to come to Jalan Surabaya Jakarta. There is some really super cool stuff that you can find here if you have the senses of antique collector (however a lot of the things here are modern replicas, so be wary). Most of the stall holders are really friendly and some of them are fluent in English. Having a conversation with them is a great and interesting way of learning more about Jakarta’s history.
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