…there are six choices of routes and I am running out of time. Seems like Menteng is the area that I have no idea at all. Let’s walk!
It was early in the morning as I was counting down to the day of continuing my journey and I found out about Jakarta Good Guide (instagram: @jktgoodguide). In short, they are a group of people providing walking tour through 6 routes in Jakarta area at the duration of approximately 2 hours. Honestly, I do not know how to sum it better, but check out their FAQ.
Following the direction provided, I contacted them through WhatsApp and I got a reply real quick. After back and forth conversation with Candha to schedule the walk, I was shocked because at the end of the conversation, I was scheduled with another guide. I got my guide’s number and also the requested meeting point. I picked Menteng as my requested route as I have never been to any of those locations.
On the day, I walked from the city center to the meeting point and something came across my mind —> “How do I know he is the person that I am supposed to meet?”. My fault, I forgot to ask and I did not have any active phone number. I do not like to break promises so I decided to go on. I was 2 minutes early but I noticed someone is wearing a T-shirt with Jakarta Good Guide sign embroidered. After a brief Hi and Hello, I realized that I am the lucky guy because he will only guide me, so it is like a private tour. If there were people scheduled at the same route and same day with you, the crowd will be combined. Anyway, we started to walk.
Meeting Point: Taman Suropati
We took a loop walking along the park. Honestly, it is so peaceful here unlike the crowd in the city center. Some abstract arts and statues are observable in this park, probably you’ll love it if you are an artist but I like the quietness of this place. So peaceful.
Just right across this park is our next destination. We stopped at the median of the crossroad and my guide, Farid, asked me a question: “Do you know who is this hero?”. Easy answer, “No”. Good job Farid, you tricked me into revealing that I am terrible with history.
He showed me couple of interesting places that I can not get good pictures of and telling me the history behind those buildings. All of the stories are very eye opening and new to me, well I am a tourist after all. Off to the Declaration of Independence and we headed into the museum.
Ahoy! Even though I speak really bad Bahasa Indonesia, I know how to read perfectly and I understand those!!! Trust me, this is just a piece of information about the declaration of independence. Farid told me a bunch more that I feel like he must be there during all these incidents. After this place, I decided to start talking a little informal and he revealed that he is so much into history. I think it is better if you walk with your friend instead of with a guide, right? With some laughter and jokes, we made it to our next destination.
Yes!!! The 44th president of the United States, President Barack Obama, used to live in Indonesia. Not much to do at this place aside from taking picture with the statue but Farid kept the journey interesting with telling me stories about other places in Jakarta. We went to couple other places and too bad the rain poured so heavy. I had my umbrella ready but a stop at a coffee shop sounds better. As the heavy rain turned into drizzle we started to walk to the Art Gallery before heading to the Cut Meutia Mosque.
We spent approximately 3 hours actually due to the rain and the walk is reaching the end. Overall experience, I loved it and if I ever got a chance, I will definitely go for another route. Farid is not just a super talented guide, but he knows history like he is living in that era. Along with that, he is so good in sharing the glimpse of that history to you. Plus, he owned that soft skill that makes you feel like you know him forever already. Oh yeah, he is a really good English speaker, too. Even better than me, I think. Well, I am bad at language after all.
In one sentence: Super fun, super awesome, loved it, and will definitely do it again.
To wrap up the journey, I requested to have lunch together with him and he brought me to eat Sop Buntut. Yummy!!!
After the lunch, he offered to drive me to Grand Indonesia (otherwise I will walk again) and during the drive he asked me what do I think of Jakarta? Well, in my opinion, Jakarta is a city where luxurious cars, motorcycles, bicycles, street sellers, bajaj, and people sharing the same road while being so cooperative to each other. Interesting city, isn’t it? If you guys want to know more about Jakarta, definitely check them out here and don’t forget to check 11 Reasons to Visit Jakarta.
Below is me and my favorite guide ever, Mr. Farid Mardhiyanto. I really hope to see him again someday.