10 Must-Do Things for New Visitors of Jakarta’s Chinatown

10 Must-Do Things for New Visitors of Jakarta’s Chinatown

WHENEVER I visit a certain destination for at least a week, part of my itinerary is Chinatown. There’s something about it that I feel connected to.

Just like most Filipinos, I am a mix of all races that colonized and resided in our country. My paternal grandmother was Spanish and my paternal grandfather was half-Chinese. Because he was a cook, he dominated the kitchen where I was introduced to Chinese cuisine in early childhood. It has become a major part of my taste bud.

I love Chinese opera, even though I do not understand it (when there are no subtitiles). I love the actors’ graceful movements and the sing-song tones had so much soul in them! How about the cinema (esp. the critically-acclaimed ones that were filmed by Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, War-Kang-Wai, Ang Lee, etc.)- I follow the film critics’ review of the best Chinese films and make sure my husband (also a fan of Chinese films) & I watch them. The stories behind the books written by Amy Tan and Anchee Min resonate to me as if I was one of the characters in them.

The terrorist bombing in Jakarta’s city center the week before I arrived was an unfortunate incident. However, it didn’t discourage me from trying what locals in Jakarta do and Chinatown is top of my list. Because there’s only a small percentage of Jakartans who can speak English, I planned on getting a tour guide for my first solo sojourn of the city. I found Jakarta Good Guide that listed Chinatown (Glodok) as one of  the 6 routes in their “Pay-As-You-Wish Walking Tours.” It means, “you are free to tip the guide as much (or as little) as you wish, depending on your satisfaction towards his service.”

I liked it that they said that.

So on this sunny Tuesday (February 23, 2016), I met with 2 other tour group mates, Francois of France, Novie of Bogor, and our remarkable tour guide, Indra, who made it possible for us to enjoy our short tour. I am glad I didn’t listen to the bad reviews. I believe that the Law of Attraction may be at work here!  Read more