After such an exhilarating trip into the jungle, we set off on our transfer from Medan to Jakarta. Medan airport was new and not really that exciting which was unlucky for us as we had arrived nearly 6 hours early!! Our transfer to the airport was not half as long or dangerous as our arriving journey. With so much time to kill we ate (standard!) and relaxed for a few hours before what we believed to be a cultural few days in the capital of Indonesia.
How sadly wrong we were. On arrival to Jakarta we were met with the usual taxi touts and we stayed clear of the first several until we chose a friendlier looking service run by a woman. She explained 170,00Rp all in. We had already learnt that the price could be up to 200,000Rp so we took it. However this journey would be our entry to Jakarta…and what an entrance it gave us!
After a reasonable enough 15 minute drive towards the city, the taxi driver seemed pretty adamant that he was to stick to the same speed throughout the whole journey, no questions asked. Until of course a huge lorry pulled out into the, should we call it, the 'faster lane'. The driver was still beeping his horn and no doubt flashing his lights when we literally came within inches of ploughing straight into this beast! It is safe to say we were both taken a back with this and began to worry about the rest of the journey.
On the way to the impossible to find hostel, I recall counting 5 lanes for traffic yet 8-9 actual 'lanes' of traffic all crammed in to the 5 dotted lines. This was insane! To add to this, in-between each lane there were mopeds, scooters or motorbikes which would house 1-4 maybe 5 individuals if you count babies and toddlers. This was insane and everyone was fighting for whatever space they could get. Now after making flash judgment's on places before, I felt like we should give the capital a chance. So after arriving with all limbs attached at the hostel, we were checked into our amazing… bunk bed room!! Now this was the smallest room we had stayed in and had a shared bathroom which you had to access through the main dining area.
In fact the hostel, Citi Residence was not that bad. It was cheap and clean with very helpful staff. However, I must admit here, I was turning into a grump. I had ant bites on my back and legs, no clean clothes, my rucksack was unorganized and smelly, my daypack was stinking, there was no place to do laundry except a place a 15 minute death walk away and expensive and I was feeling constipated…again. With this in-mind, we ventured for food and found no cheap edible street food so ventured into a restaurant and had a great meal for around 3-4 pounds each. We also ventured to a supermarket to buy an Indonesian plug adaptor. On our return we set about looking for new accommodation and found a lovely place called Hotel N3. Not a great breakfast, consisting of glass noodle soup or rice. So the following day we spent checking in to a new hotel, doing laundry and working out what to see. We ended up going to a clothes mall type place as there were no roads for cars to get you inside those places! I bought some new tops and Sam got a SIM card and we headed back to the hotel for the night. It was at this point we decided to definitely head out of Jakarta at the earliest convenience to head for Yogyakarta.
So the following day was the nicest in Jakarta. We set off early to get our train tickets after researching this as the best option. On arrival we were told to fill out a request form for tickets. This seemed a very difficult way of buying a ticket but 40 minutes later we had our Executive tickets to JogJAH! (YogYakarta). We then spent the rest of the day around the nice parts of Jakarta (of which there were few) and visited the several key touristy hotspots. Sam had found a tourist walk off trip advisor, of which she is now an expert, in which we could visit the key areas within a day. The roads were nowhere near as rough as where we were staying but the walks were longer to each attraction as first thought! We completed the museum, monument and central park but were hungry and tired from the seriously tough heat.
After a quick bite to eat we headed back to the hotel to organise our things for the next day. We could not wait to get out of the only place we knew we would never return to unless we absolutely had to...!!! Bring on Jogjah!