Notorious with its heavy traffic jam, Jakarta still can offer tourists an interesting way to enjoy the hustle and bustle of this Indonesia’s capital without getting lost in the city.
Starting from February 2014, five city tour buses named Mpok Siti (mpok is a Betawi term refers to an older woman and Siti is Bahasa Indonesia’s spelling of the English word city) are operating to take curious passengers on a short round trip surrounding Jakarta’s touristic and historical spots.
Last Sunday, I finally had a chance to get my butt on the colorful double decker bus’ seat. The bus’ operational hours on the weekends starts from 12 pm to 7 pm and passengers can wait for the buses at different specific bus stops such as in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bundaran HI, Museum Nasional, Sarinah Thamrin and in front of the Walikota building.
I hopped on to the bus from the Bundaran HI bus stop. Because of riding the city tour bus is free of charge, you might have to compete with a group of noisy teenagers or a family of three (or more) children who won’t wait for their turn just to get on the bus and have a window front seat. This kind of commotion is a common sight especially during the weekend round trip.
I was lucky to be able to secure a seat at the top cabin. After the bus slowly departed then a woman’s voice was blaring from the bus speakers introducing herself as our tour guide. She explained all the stories behind buildings or places as we passed them by including their histories. Supported by a historical community in Jakarta, passengers can be rest assured that all the information given by the guide is historically correct.
My bus was slowly making its way through the hectic traffic and taking a route passing Museum Nasional, Harmoni, Pecenongan, Pasar Baru and then heading back to Bundaran HI passing Istiqlal grand mosque and the cathedral, Balai Kota building and Sarinah Thamrin.
You can find further information on the Jakarta City Tour from peeking into its Twitter account @CityTourJakarta and its Instagram account with the same ID. Before the short round trip was over, taking a selfie on the bus is a must. :p