Cultural Exploration In Jakarta Over The Weekend

November 14, 2018

There is nothing more fascinating than to learn about something we’ve never knew before. People have always craved for that sense of satisfaction whenever they’ve realized or figured out something that used to be hidden from them – and that what makes us, as human, unique and special in our own way. We don’t always have to agree with the saying “Curiosity killed the cat,” because sometimes curiosity can lead us to numerous of exciting adventures – the ones we’ve always think of doing, but we haven’t got the time to.
For those of you who live in a tight and sometimes harsh ‘nine to five’ kind of life, ‘adventure’ slowly becomes a word that sounds quite overwhelming. “There is no way I’m leaving the comfort of my bed on the weekend. I’m too tired to even think about doing something right now” that would be the most common phrase we use as a mean to express our feeling and actually there is nothing wrong with that. Dr. Paul Kelley, an academic at the University of Oxford, stated that people who are following the traditional 9-5 schedule is more likely feel miserable and sleep deprived. Perhaps, that is the reason we often feel way too tired to even seize the weekend.
However, there is one thing that we must bear in mind – adventure can take many different forms. When Friday comes, you don’t have to immediately pack your bags and wonder off on this wonderfully long journey to climb a mountain or any place that’ll take you more than 24 hours to reach. If you live in a metropolitan area which is surrounded by malls and hotels like Jakarta, there is a chance that you can explore another side of the city – to learn about many different aspects which shape Jakarta into a city we know and love.
One can start to dig more information about Jakarta through its long history and it will perhaps lead you to the western and northern side of Jakarta. Take Petak Sembilan Market, for instance, a main area in Glodok’s Chinatown that was developed into a trade center during Dutch colonial era in 1740. At that time, Glodok was designated as residential area of ethnic Chinese by the Dutch East Indies Company and that action was seen as a great opportunity for Chinese immigrants to start a new life in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the colonial government started to issue a restriction toward Chinese immigrants who were now swarming in Glodok area. This then led to a heart-wrenching tragedy on October 9th, 1740, which killed almost 5,000 people.
200 years had passed since the downfall of Glodok, this legendary market is still known as one of the most important place to visit if you wish to learn more about Chinese culture in Indonesia. From the moment you enter Petak Sembilan area, you will be greeted by these two buildings which will instantly take you on a trip down a memory lane. The main used of these buildings on colonial eras was undetermined, but now it is functioned as traditional Chinese medicines shop. Few hundreds meter from the shop, you’ll meet a small alley that is known as ‘Gang Gloria’ and this is where your fun exploration will soon to begin.
However, one thing you must be paying attention to is that Petak Sembilan Market is closed at 4 PM, so starting your day early isn’t always a bad thing. At Gang Gloria, you can indulge yourself in a culinary fiesta – starting from enjoying tasty traditional snack such as Cakwe, the legendary Gado-Gado Direksi, Lam Curry, Amoy Noodle, and a glass of Tak Kie Iced Coffee to finish it off. After this eating galore, you can head to Vihara Dharma Bakti and Jin De Yuan Temple to learn more about Chinese cultural assimilation in Indonesia. If you’re into street photography, you can snap a few pictures while you’re taking a stroll around this area. Needless to say, adventuring on the weekend doesn’t have to be a burden – it can be as simple as exploring an area you’ve always known for as long as you can remember like Jakarta and everything that might hidden behind it.

Photo credit - Instagram @sandika.sndk