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The DA Guide to Jakarta

This sprawling megalopolis of more than 10 million souls might be losing its special status as the capital, but it will always remain Indonesia’s cultural and economic powerhouse. The common nickname used by expat residents, the Big Durian, is a fitting one: beneath a prickly, intimidating exterior lies a surprising warmth and friendliness. Dive a little deeper and you’ll discover an ambitious city with a creative, entrepreneurial streak; Jakarta’s increasingly sophisticated hospitality and restaurant scenes are matched by a strong indie coffee culture. Thankfully, getting around has become easier with major infrastructure improvements like a Japanese-built MRT line (the city’s first), pavement-widening efforts along major avenues, and further pedestrianization in Kota Tua—the compact Dutch-colonial Old Town that will be accessible by MRT, Inshallah, come 2027.