candra naya

Candra Naya: From Major’s House to Nation’s Heritage

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Finding Candra Naya building was a bit funny experience when I had to be there for a gathering with Chinatown Walking Tour members of Jakarta Good Guide. At a glance, Candra Naya is like a hidden gem in a concrete forest, that only can be found after passing the alley of Novotel Jakarta Gajah Mada Hotel, right before Green Central City superblock. Its unconventional location is in fact has an interesting story behind it.

candra naya

candra naya
front door

It is estimated that Candra Naya was built in the rabbit year in Chinese Lunar Calendar, somewhere around 1807 or 1867. It is a former residence of Major Khouw Kim An, who inherited the house from his father, Khouw Tjeng Tjoan, who had 14 wives and 24 children. Khouw Kim An was the last Major of the Chinese (Majoor der Chinezen), a leader of Chinese society during the Dutch colony period from 1910 to 1918 and re-elected from 1927 to 1942. Therefore, the building was also known as the Major’s House.

candra naya
Major Khouw Kim An

candra naya

Born on June 5, 1879, Khouw Kim An was not only the Major of the Chinese, but also an entrepreneur and a shareholder of Bataviaasche Bank. He received numerous awards from the Dutch for his merit to the local people. Unfortunately, he was arrested in 1942 during Japanese occupation and died in the concentration camp on February 13, 1945.

candra naya

candra naya

After the major’s passing and not long after the end of World War II, the house is inherited to his family and rented to Sin Ming Hui Association in 1960s. Initially founded to help victims of the riot in Tangerang in 1946, Sin Ming Hui Association held many social-oriented activities in Candra Naya building, from establishing a medical clinic, sports center, Candra Naya school to Sin Ming Hui Photographic Society, the oldest photography community in Jakarta founded in 1948.

After the prohibition of the three-syllable names (aka Chinese names) in Indonesia, Sin Ming Hui Association was renamed into Tjandra Naya Social Union, whose spelling has changed into Candra Naya. It was also a popular wedding venue in 1960s to 1970s.

candra naya
one of the wing rooms in Candra Naya

candra naya

Unfortunately, it is quite common that cultural heritage buildings in Indonesia are not always save from harm, even if they are protected by law, including Candra Naya building. After the property was sold to Modern Group, the 3 original buildings at the back side of Candra Naya were demolished in 1993 to be the site of Green Central City, a superblock of apartments and offices. The demolition lead to protests from heritage conservation groups.

Finally, the front building manages to survive, consisting of a living room for guest receptions and Khouw Kim An’s office, semi-private rooms for close guests, right and left wing side for maids, concubines and their children, and a gazebo behind the main building with a veranda and a pond. The demolished buildings have never been rebuilt ever since.

candra naya
pool and fountain
candra naya
pool and fountain

For older generations, like my dad for instance, visiting Candra Naya brings back his memory when my grandfather took him there to play badminton. On the other hand, millennials may not notice the role of Candra Naya for new generations and never heard of Sin Ming Hui Association.

Nonetheless, its legacy still remains nowadays. The medical clinic is the predecessor of notable hospitals in Jakarta, such as Sumber Waras Hospital and Husada Hospital. Candra Naya school has developed into Tarumanegara University, situated in Grogol area, West Jakarta.

Apart from historical visit, Candra Naya is also a popular place to chill out on lazy Sunday afternoon (or any day you prefer) with friends and family. There are seats available outside the rear entrance, facing the pond and fountain. Overall, the environment at Candra Naya is convenient, safe, well-maintained and clean.

The only thing that needs some improvements is the public toilet. The circle gates with their pink borders looks classy and quite eye-catching. Nonetheless, the facilities and cleanliness are poor. The toilet bowl looks shabby and dirty, no toilet paper and the room is a bit smelly. The wash room has neither soap nor toilet paper. I believe it won’t break the bank by providing those basic necessities. The only problem from this matter is negligance. Well, poor toilet facilities happens lots of times to main tourist attractions in Indonesia, unfortunately.

candra naya

candra naya

When hunger strikes, there’s no need to leave Candra Naya area. The are some restaurants in the neighborhood, whose building is a former guard house. Kopi Oey is the one you will instantly notice when you visit Candra Naya, situated on the right hand side of the building. Serving Chinese Peranakan dishes, Kopi Oey Candra Naya is the most beautiful branch of the chain. The food is pretty good in affordable price and the interior is very cozy to hang out.

kopi oey candra naya
inside Kopi Oey

Other restaurants are Token Resto, a Taiwanese restaurant, and Fubar, a Chinese restaurant. If you like spicy food and some Taiwanese snacks, Token Resto is the right place to try. The only restaurant I haven’t tried is Fubar and I’d like to have a visit someday.

candra naya

candra naya

Despite obstacles over the years, I’m so glad that it still stands gracefully nowadays, so all of us and the next generation are able to witness of the most beautiful Chinese style heritage houses in Jakarta. Overall, I enjoy visiting Candra Naya and make sure you don’t miss it when you visit Jakarta.

candra naya
Candra Naya and Novotel at night

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pantjoran tea house

Pantjoran Tea House: The Taste of Heritage in Jakarta Old Town

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Pantjoran Tea House is situated in Glodok area, Jakarta, the biggest Pecinan or Chinatown in Indonesia that has been existing since 380 years ago. Jalan Pancoran is part of Glodok area coverage, apart from Gang Gloria (Gloria Alley) and Petak Sembilan. The two-storey building is also the main gate to Jakarta Old Town, formerly called Batavia, from the south.

The name “Glodok” is inspired by “grojok grojok”, the sound of running water from the douche in the yard of the City Hall. Nonetheless, Chinese people pronounced it as “glodok”, that finally becomes an official name of the area. On the other hand, the translation of “douche”, which is pancuran in Indonesian, inspires Pancoran (local’s unofficial pronunciation of pancuran) as a street name.

Operating since nearly 3 years ago, Pantjoran Tea House is definitely not the oldest tea house and restaurant in Jakarta. Nonetheless, the age of the building is much older than the tea house itself because it used to be Apotheek Chung Hwa (Chung Hwa Pharmacy), the second oldest pharmacy in Jakarta opened in 1928.

pantjoran tea house jakarta

After it runs out of business, the building was neglected and untreated for years, occupied by illegal tenants and shop houses on the 2nd floor. After the government initiated a revitalization program in the Old Town area, The Head of Indonesia Architect Association, Ahmad Djuhara, lead the former Apotheek Chung Hwa renovation project started in September 2014. 16 months later, in December 2015, Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corp (JOTRC) CEO, Lin Che Wei, reopened the privately-owned building,  transforming it into Pantjoran Tea House. It also has been nominated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Commemorating the tradition of drinking tea is one of the major reasons why the building is functioned as a tea house. The birth of tea culture can be traced back in the 17th century, when a Dutch botanist named Andreas Cleyer brought the tea seedling from Japan by a VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or Dutch East India Company) ship that regularly harboured around the Old Town.

At around 9.30 am, our tour guide from Jakarta Good Guide, Cindy, I and the rest of tour members arrived at Pantjoran Tea House that took 7 minutes walk from Candra Naya building. What makes it distinctive is the presence of 8 teapots on the long table situated on the right side of the entrance door.

The teapot display is in fact not only for the sake of eye-catching view, but also a symbol of solidarity in diversity that has been told from generations to generations.

pantjoran tea house

The tradition began when Gan Djie came to Batavia (now Jakarta) in 1659 for his trading business and lived in Kota Tua (Old Town) area. In 1663, he was appointed by the Dutch to be the third Kapitein der Chineezen (Chinese Captain), a prominent leader in the semi-autonomous Chinese community, until his death in 1666. His wife replaced his position until her retirement in 1678.

Captain Gan Djie and his wife were famous for their kindness and solidarity during their lives. They always put eight teapots in front of the captain’s office for peddlers and those  who were tired to shelter while zipping some tea with for of charge. Those days, cafes, restaurants as well as other food and drink vendors were rare.

Since then, the area where they lived is known as “Patekoan”, whose name is originated from pat (eight in Chinese) and teko (teapot in Indonesian). Although the name of the area has changed into Jalan Peniagaan (Peniagaan Street), a lot of people still call it as Patekoan.

pantjoran tea house

To revitalize the spirit of solidarity, those tea in the teapots are served for free for everyone, forever, even without dining at the restaurant itself. The inscription in front of the teapots says it out loud, “Tradisi ‘Patekoan’ (8 Teko); SILAKAN MINUM! TEH UNTUK KEBERSAMAAN; TEH UNTUK MASYARAKAT” (‘Patekoan’ (8 Teapots) Tradition; PLEASE HAVE A DRINK!; TEA FOR TOGETHERNESS; TEA FOR THE PEOPLE)

Cindy gave us some time to drink the tea before heading to Gang Gloria (Gloria Alley). The tea house waiter also encouraged us to do the same and convinced that it’s free.

A month later, I returned to the same place with my family. In my case, it’s my second time to taste the free black tea from one of the old-fashioned white-green teapots next to the entrance door. We planned to taste the dim sum, but it was too late. Opening at 7 am, most of the dim sum menus were already finished by 10 am. The peak hour is usually between 7.30 am to 9 am, where nearly all the guests who just finish walking and jogging around the Old Town area.

Therefore, we finally ordered some main courses to share, such as fried noodle, fuyung hai (egg omelette with minced prawn), the signature nasi goreng Pantjoran (beetroot fried rice with seafood), stir-fry chicken with salted vegetable in fermented rice sauce, and 2 other remaining dim sum menus still available, ha kau (prawn crystal dumpling), chicken siomay and jasmine tea.

pantjoran tea house
first floor

The tea house interior is dominated Chinese style wooden shutters that allow sunlight coming into the dining room. The first floor where we sat is a non air-conditioned room with a fan placed on the high ceiling. Fortunately, it wasn’t so hot inside because the entrance door remained open facing our seat.

pantjoran tea house

I love what I saw on the second floor. Long and vertical windows, Chinese style wooden shutters and antiquities deliver nostalgic moments of Chinese occupation during the Dutch colonization era, although the whole parts of the interior is brand new and nothing like the original because its condition was so bad that it was hard to see the traces of the original look at that time. Moreover, it’s air conditioned and has roomy spaces among the seats.

pantjoran tea house


pantjoran tea house

pantjoran tea house

There are several paintings depicting the old glory of Apotheek Chung Hwa on the walls. The original building was bigger in the past, yet it was cut off from 400 meters to 300 meters left due to the expansion of the street. Also, there are other paintings showing the same building with distinctive elements of colonization from 2 countries, the Japanese red torii gate and Dutch style trams passing by.

pantjoran tea house

pantjoran tea house

Apart from paintings, there are some frames of cheatsheet and chart showing the history of drinking tea, types of tea and how tea culture enters Indonesia. Suppose you have a patience in reading them all, visiting this floor feels like entering a museum.

Well, I think it’s my time to return to reality and I believe our food should be ready to serve.

pantjoran tea house

pantjoran tea house

pantjoran tea house

private seating for meetings
private room for meetings

The ha kau and chicken siomay was pretty good. We also liked the jasmine tea. Nonetheless, the fried noodle, nasi goreng Pantjoran, fuyung hai were just okay and not very special. I didn’t consume the last 3 meals since I have severe allergy in fried food, so I only conclude from what my family said about it.

There was an issue with my stir-fry chicken with salted vegetable in fermented rice sauce. The chicken was deep fried with flour instead of stir-fry. Apparently the chef improvised the menu without informing the waiter. It’s a common sense that every dish should be in line with the image and description in the menu book. I asked for a replacement since it would trigger my allergy later on. She agreed to change it with the stir-fry chicken as it should be and the taste was quite good.

pantjoran tea house
Yes, I was too late to take the pics of the food 😉

In a nutshell, Pantjoran Tea House is an interesting tourist spot and a lovely ambiance for gathering, especially in terms of history and unique heritage of Patekoan tradition that remind us to embrace cultural differences as part of a nation’s pride.

The price range is middle to high segment with an approximate total spending of Rp. 70.000 to Rp. 100.000 ($5 to $8) per person, depending on what you order. Although there are many more recommended Chinese restaurants in Jakarta, it still has a decent food quality and not a tourist trap at all.

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Pantjoran Tea House

Opening hours: 07:00 am – 09.00 pm

Address: Jl. Pancoran Raya No. 4-6, Glodok

Phone: +6221 6 905904

vihara toasebio

Chinese New Year’s Post Highlights

New Year celebration is over according to Gregorian solar calendar, but it’s just about to start according to Chinese lunar calendar. Usually, Chinese New Year celebration ranges from January 21 until February 20. The 12 animals in Chinese Zodiac, such as rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, have a cycle that runs every 12 years. In 2018, it’s the year of dog that will fall on February 16.

Apart from celebrating Chinese New Year with my family, I’d like to celebrate it online as well through my blog. Therefore, during the month of February, I will dedicate my posts to historical destinations in Chinatown Jakarta I visited with Jakarta Good Guide, such as:

  • Candra Naya, the former residence of Khouw Kim An, the last Major of Chinese during the Dutch occupation, once housed 14 wives and 24 children.
chinatown jakarta
Candra Naya
  • Pantjoran Tea House, a Chinese restaurant whose building used to be a pharmacy called Apotheek Chung Hua before its revitalization project in 2015.
pantjoran tea house
Pantjoran Tea House
  • The oldest temples in Jakarta called Dharma Bhakti Temple, known as Kim Tek Ie Temple, and Dharma Jaya Toasebio Temple.
vihara toasebio
Dharma Jaya Toasebio Temple

And some more Chinese related destinations I still need to think about, probably in the following month? Oh well, let it be a surprise for you. So, stay tuned!


New Year’s Eve: Morning Walk on Car Free Day in Jakarta


New Year’s Eve celebration is identical with fireworks, booze, fancy dinner, traveling and gathering in public places at night. Which is great, actually. But I just don’t do that anymore.

Being a Jakarta resident, staying at home on New Year’s Eve has been my choice for the past few years because of the terrible traffic jam in the evening (of New Year’s Eve) every year, which is killing me. Not to mention road blocks on main roads for stage installations for night performances and street food vendors, that worsen the existing bad traffic.

Instead, I joined my uncle for photo hunting on December 31, 2017, the last day of Car Free Day in Jakarta at 6 am. It was a great effort for me to be on site at 6 am since I’m not a morning person, but I think it would be a great alternative way to celebrate New Year’s Eve.


Car Free Day in Jakarta has been initiated since 2002, held every Sunday morning, to reduce dependency on using vehicles to commute. At the same time, it encourages healthier activities, such as walking, jogging, cycling and hopefully, the level of air pollution decreases. From time to time, the week period and duration of Car Free Day have experienced some changes. Finally, since 2012 until now, Car Free Day starts every Sunday morning from 6 am to 11 am.


Arriving at around 6.10 am, we passed the vendors, who were in the final stage of setting up their tents and merchandise along the street, to reach the roundabout of Hotel Indonesia known as Bundaran Hotel Indonesia or Bundaran HI with the signature Selamat Datang (literally means “welcome”) Monument situated on MH. Thamrin Street.  Although it wasn’t crowded yet, I still couldn’t avoid the presence of “unwanted” figure on the left side in my photo.



I zipped a glass of hot Milo drink while sitting on the pavement of Bundaran HI facing the front side of Grand Hyatt Hotel. It felt like hanging out at an outdoor hotel cafe in a shoestring because it cost me only Rp. 5000 ($ 0.30) per cup.



Mingling with people from various background and activities on street when no cars passing by, except Transjakarta public buses, is an amazing experience. It opens my eyes that I’m looking at 2 sides of a coin simultaneously. One side shows a number of people who depend on Car Free Day as a(n) (additional) source of income, while on the other side shows a number of people who enjoy a day off from work and tend to spend some amount of money when necessary.


Occupations on the street may vary, and each of them is unique in its own way.

Street Food Vendors


When hunger and thirst strike, there’s nothing to worry about. Vendors on the bike sell coffee, coffee milk, ginger drink, oatmeal, hot chocolate and cup noodles. I got my hot Milo drink from one of these fellas on the bike, anyways.

Besides, the carts parking along the street offer more food variety. Gorengan or deep fried food is what most vendors sell, such as tahu bulat (round shaped tofu), fried fermented soybean, fried tofu, chicken nugget and many more. For healthier options, there are half-ripe mango, fresh cut bell fruit with spicy sugar, papaya, palm juke water and fresh juices. Heavier meals from vermicelli or egg noodle with meatballs, chicken porridge, fried rice until fried noodle are also available. If you are a sweet tooth, traditional lolly pop and cotton candy could be a perfect choice.

chicken porridge with crackers

Souvenir Vendors

Ondel-ondel is originally a giant puppet having 2.5 meters high used for welcoming important guests. The tradition belongs to Betawi folk, the indigenous people of Jakarta, and ondel-ondel the icon of Jakarta. Nowadays, these puppets are also produced in smaller sizes to take home. They also appear in the form of illustrations on t-shirts, mugs, bags and more, but mostly sold in outlets at shopping malls.

Other vendors sell masks, bubble solutions, non-branded and counterfeited branded bags, shoes, shirts, jeans, belts, as well as bras and underwear. Besides, there are trumpets, confetti and other new year related goods.

bubble solution
the masks

Additionally, vintage bike spare part stall is also quite popular because the members of Vintage Bike Community or Komunitas Sepeda Onthel have a gathering every Sunday morning on Car Free Day. And these items don’t come that cheap since their availability is rare nowadays.

vintage bike spare parts

Odong-odong Rider

odong-odong rider and a couple

In this picture, Odong-odong is kid’s rides assembled on a modified rickshaw or motorcycle. It usually comes with fast-paced music like dangdut or kid’s songs the attract future customers, who are obviously children. The rate per ride may vary, between Rp. 2000 ($0.10) and Rp. 5000 ($ 0.40).

Street Artists

Street artists usually wear costumes of famous cartoon characters or imaginary creatures they create themselves.

Posing with street artists is a fun activity, too

However, you will find more than one street artists dressing up like pocong. Pocong is an appearance of a dead body whose soul is trapped in its shroud and one of the most popular ghost characters showing repeatedly in Indonesian horror movies. What they need to do is to stand still until somebody wants to pose with them.

get ready to work
pocong off duty
Kid: “Mom, can I take a picture with her?” Mom: “No, honey, she’s too scary. Leave her alone.” Ghost Lady: “You should try harder, kid. I need some money to eat.”


The main cause of Library on the Go or Perpustakaan Keliling is to encourage local citizens to have more interest in reading. Librarians are assigned to serve walk-in customers who wants to borrow some books for certain period of time or read them on the spot.


If earning some money is not the purpose, what do the rest of people do on Car Free Day?

Walking the Dog

Human beings are not the only ones who need some exercise, after all.



Cycling is a sport that you can either do it individually, with a group of friends and families or gather in a cyclist community.


We specifically drew our attention to the members of Komunitas Sepeda Onthel or Vintage Bike Community, who labelled themselves as onthelist. The community incorporates people with common interest in cycling and old bicycle called onthel bikes, the type of bikes used in Jakarta during the Dutch colonization period until the year of 1970’s.

Unlike other cyclists with their sportswear, onthelists outfits are replicas from the old generation era, such as KNIL soldier, traditional Betawi and Javanese clothing, World War II pilot and many more. Many of the outfits are custom made since it’s hard to get the right style and fitting from the stores.

Moreover, onthelists are born to be cool  models.




Posing with some of the onthelists, why not? They are nice people and proud to be captured with someone else’s camera. Simply ask for their permission and there’s no need to sneak and chase them just for a picture. Before we left, one of the onthelists reminded us to watch our bags since he has witnessed several daredevil pickpockets regardless the gender.

Last but not least, I’m not sure in which community this kid belongs to, but I think he looks cute in that outfit.

DSCF1941 copy


During Christmas and New Year holiday, a lot of Jakarta residents are either traveling to other cities within the country or overseas, affecting the decreasing amount of participants on Car Free Day.

car free day jakarta
not as crowded as usual

Unexpectedly, we heard a woman’s voice at around 8 am, probably one of the Ministry of Transportation officials, saying that there was no car free day on that day and she warned everybody on the street to leave the spot. Get real! A lot of people, including us, were confused and disappointed since there was no official announcement beforehand.

Fortunately, we were about to leave the spot and continued our journey to the Port of Sunda Kelapa. Although sometimes things just don’t happen like the way we want to, we still cherished the day to conclude the year of 2017.

Happy new year and may all of you be blessed in 2018!



central park jakarta

West Jakarta Cityscape Tourists Overlook: Evening in Central Park


When it comes to a short stay in Jakarta, especially in the west side of Indonesia’s capital, The Old Town (Kota Tua) and Chinatown, where both are situated nearby, are the most visited destinations for tourists.

Nonetheless, West Jakarta is quite a big piece, stretching about 129.54 km2 (50.02 sq mi) and consisting of 8 sub-districts, thus historical sites are not the only ones defining the identity of the west. The growing population over the years in “newer” areas also contributes today’s culture and lifestyle.

Not to mention the spreading of big shopping malls in several areas and districts in West Jakarta since the end of 1990’s, that were once only located in South and Central Jakarta.

The presence of shopping malls in Jakarta is more than just about shopping. They actually apply the concept of superblock, catering the needs and wants under one roof. Various facilities are available at a stone’s throw away without leaving the complex, from department stores, hair salons, restaurants, banks, ATM centers, fitness centers until English course and community church. It saves a lot of time to commute without facing a traffic jam from one place to another.

It’s no surprise to see a (Jakarta) citizen does a grocery, cuts one’s hair, withdraws money, eats out, takes a gym class and a shower in a fitness centre and when one gets home or a condo adjacent to the mall, what one needs to do left is to sleep.

In tourists’ point of view, visiting a shopping mall could be the last option or a “spare” attraction, which is totally understandable.


There’s one activity in West Jakarta I had not thought of until I joined one of the events held by Gallery Photography Indonesia community: a cityscape photography to capture bird’s eye view of Central Park Mall and surroundings after the sun goes down from 2 different locations: the rooftop of Alaina Tower at Central Park Residences and Royal Mediteranea Garden.

The Central Park cityscape hunting is actually not something new. Nonetheless, a couple years ago, someone did a suicide by jumping off from a tower next to Alaina tower that caused the management of Central Park Residences prohibited any photography activities from their towers.

Therefore, last November 2016 marks the return of this activity and my first time ever to gather with other amateur and experienced photo enthousiast members to learn and excel low light photography.


Central Park Mall is a shopping mall that has been launching since 2009 by Agung Podomoro Land in Grogol Petamburan subdistrict, West Jakarta. The mall is adjacent with Central Park Residences, Tribeca Park, Agung Podomoro University, Pullman Hotel and Neo Soho, the latest shopping mall developed by the same developer.

The most eye-catching part of this West Jakarta superblock is the sky bridge linking Central Park and Neo Soho, which is accessible from the 1st floor of Neo Soho.

I’m happy enough that my “old” Fuji XA-1 manage to capture the cityscape, although it’s not as sophisticated as its sister products (Fuji XA-2, XT-1 and so on).

central park jakarta

Central Park (right) and Neo Soho (left) at 5 pm after the rain, from Alaina Tower

 Nothing much to capture unless the lights shine at night. A few days earlier, the unoccupied residential building of Neo Soho was on fire, whose remains were still visible during the day. The sky was rather dark and capturing the sunset was something no one could do on that day.

central park jakarta

Central Park and Neo Soho after the sun goes down, from Alaina Tower

taman anggrek jakarta

Apartemen Taman Anggrek (Taman Anggrek Apartment), the competitor, from Alaina Tower

Like Central Park Mall, this apartment is connected to Taman Anggrek Mall. It has been operating a few years earlier than Central Park Mall, but nowadays Central Park Mall has much more traffic than Taman Anggrek Mall.

central park jakarta

The “bowl” of Tribeca Park, from Alaina Tower

A few minutes before leaving the rooftop, I spotted this spectacular view of Central Park Mall I had never seen in my life. The angle is actually against the mall façade, but Tribeca Park is in the limelight of this picture.

pullman hotel

Pullman Hotel, from Royal Mediteranea Garden

central park jakarta

Tribeca Park, from Royal Mediteranea Garden

central park mall

The main entrance, from Royal Mediteranea Garden

noe soho sky bridge

The sky bridge in focus, from Royal Mediteranea Garden

neo soho sky bridge

Pedestrians on the sky bridge

neo soho skybridge

Zooming the details of the sky bridge 

central park jakarta

Tribeca Park with Pullman Hotel background in the month of Christmas

 It displays the same Christmas tree every year. It’s appealing at first, but after 4 years?? It needs to refresh!

central park

Tribeca Park, from the sky bridge

Perhaps, what I did with Gallery Photography Indonesia community could be something inspiring for an alternative place of interest and activity in West Jakarta, especially for photo enthousiasts. Why not?

However, tourists cannot access the rooftops I visited since they are residential areas. Alternatively, both Neo Soho and Central Park have balconies somewhere, which are accessible for public and provide nice views and angles for photography.


By bus: Take a Transjakarta Bus, get off at Grogol 1 Bus Terminal. Then, walk along the bridge to Grogol 2 Bus Terminal for a transfer. From there, you can take any Transjakarta bus and get off at the first stop, which is S. Parman Bus Terminal.

By Taxi: Alternatively, you can take a conventional taxi (so far, the safest is Blue Bird) or online transportations, such as Uber, GrabCar and GoCar. Generally speaking, everybody knows where Central Park Mall is.

roasted stuff pumpkin

Lewis & Carroll Tea x Trimeats: Revolutionary Oatmeal Dining and Tea Tasting Experience

I wasn’t a fan of oatmeal until I tried overnight oats from Trimeats purchased at the food bazaar. Announcing their first anniversary on Instagram, they collaborated with Lewis & Carroll Artisanal Tea to launch a Pop-Up Brunch event last year in October at Lewis & Carroll in South Jakarta.

Trimeats is an oatmeal-based food manufacturer, producing multiple flavours of overnight oats (my favourite ones are Blueberry Cheesecake and Black Forest, among others), cray oats or healthy Indonesian fried rice, granola and healthy bread.

On the other hand, Lewis and Carroll is a tea house offering over 20 artisanal tea blends. Apart from that, the tea house also serves Indonesian, Western food, some light bites and desserts.

lewis & carroll tea house interior
lewis & carroll interior

The collaboration ended up with three-course menus. Future guests were required to inform the chosen appetizer, main course and dessert prior to the d-day:

  • Appetizer: Mango Kale Açai Bowl or Cheesy Potskinz
  • Main Course: Roasted Stuff Pumpkin or Hainan Chicken Oats
  • Dessert: Fudgy Cacao Brownies with Peanut Butter Nana Ice Cream or Matcha Panna Cotta

Although I was open to another possibility that fancy names and tempting descriptions (the latter will be revealed afterwards) are not always in line with great quality, I got a good feeling about the Brunch and I knew that this kind of collaboration may not come twice.

So, I didn’t think twice to book the spot (which was required to do) in advance and to pay the 25% down payment (of the Brunch value of Rp. 200.000 ($20)) each to confirm the booking. I asked my friend to accompany me to the culinary event.


When I heard “Lewis & Carroll”, I instantly relate it with the author of Alice in Wonderland by eliminating the “&” symbol.

sets of teapot arranged in rainbow colours lewis & carroll
sets of teapot arranged in rainbow colours

Inside the tea house’s modern, clean cut interior with a very spacious dining room, it tells me that Mad Hatter’s tea party that Alice attended is their main inspiration, shown by the presence of colours on teapots and cups arranged in rainbow colours, representing Hatter’s eccentric look and behaviour. Elaborating the unconventional character of Hatter, Lewis & Carroll displayed assorted tea leaves inside test tubes and cups to challenge guests with new experience of tasting artisanal tea blends.

test tubes and cups filled with assorted tea leaves with strip papers mentioning the name of each blend

As mentioned in the book’s (and the movie’s) story line, The Hatter has a tea party everyday. It’s more than just a coincidence that the tagline of Lewis & Carroll is “It’s Always Tea Time.”


Lewis & Carroll’s elevated tea time experience by serving three-course tea drinks, from appetizer, main course until dessert. It was not mentioned previously that we would get all of them in the package. Unlike the three-course meals, we couldn’t choose the tea flavours ourselves. But still, what a pleasant surprise.

The waiter passed us a teapot set for two and a test tube filled with tea leaves to give a free smell experience of the tea we were about to drink to accompany our appetizer. A significant refreshing tangerine smell with hints of spices boosted my appetite.

teapots lewis & carroll tea
appetizer tea

Being a mixed fruit juice lover, I made the right decision to have Mango Kale Açai Bowl definitely presented by Trimeats, an açai smoothie with mango, kale, bananas and black quinoa cereal, as my appetizer. The dominant taste of mango and some notes of banana for thicker smoothie texture defined its natural sweetness. The crunchy quinoa cereal was an additional sensation of the meal.

Mango Kale Acai Bowl

My friend chose Cheesy Potskinz, baked potato skin stuffed with cheese, broccoli topped with salmon bacon and avocado cream. It sounded very tempting, for sure, and I initially wanted that too. But I decided to choose a healthier option. Unless informed, hardly did anyone can tell that there was broccoli since it was turned into a creamy sauce on top of the potato skin and the bacon was from salmon. A notable taste of cheddar and creamy taste of avocado on the side made the meal enjoyable.

Cheesy Potskinz


If you think oatmeal is only for breakfast and milk is its only soulmate, think again. At first, Trimeats broke that stereotype by creating cray oats, so-called healthy Indonesian fried rice, by replacing the rice with oatmeal and served in a jar. It has become a hit ever since, and they did another breakthrough with Hainan chicken oats on the Brunch.

Just like cray oats, they alternated the savoury rice with oatmeal. It was as tasty as the beloved Hainan chicken rice, except the flaky grain I chewed reminded me that I wasn’t consuming rice in that moment. The only “complaint” for the dish was that the Hainan rice oats portion was too little and a bit unbalanced with that of the steamed chicken.

Hainan Chicken Oats

I envied my friend’s Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin and I wish the menu had pictures besides descriptions, although it doesn’t mean I regret my own choice. It was the most attractive food presentation of the day and perhaps, I’ve ever seen.

The roasted pumpkin became an edible bowl accommodating cilantro lime oats in it. The savoury oats were zesty and since I’m a fan of cilantro, I think its notable taste spiced up the oats flavour. The mild taste of roasted pumpkin created a perfect balance to neutralize the zesty flavour a bit. Another interesting fact was that the red stars on the plate were actually cranberry tomato sauce, but I didn’t manage to taste it.

roasted stuff pumpkin
Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin

Furthermore, the organizer picked my Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin picture as the winner of Best Picture of the day on Instagram food photography contest. As a reward, I received a purple teapot set whose appearance was like the previous “appetizer tea” image above.

Furthermore, the fruity taste of Iced Rooibos Tea for the main course tea drink was very refreshing! I completely forgot taking a picture of it because I was thirsty.


We finally had something in common. We both chose Fudgy Cocoa Brownies with Peanut Butter Nana Ice Cream as the dessert, especially I don’t have a fond of panna cotta. The brownies was not to sweet with a significant taste of cocoa and the crunchiness on its surface was just right. The peanut butter ice cream wasn’t Skippy-ish at all. I think the creamy and milky taste took over most of the real peanut butter taste. I was happy about it since I’ve never been a fan of peanut butter since forever.


The dessert tea was served in a lovely Japanese style teapot set, which are also sold for souvenirs. A mild taste of white tea succeeded to clean the remaining sweetness from out mouth, without washing away the “sweet memory” of the meal itself.



And that’s not it. We also received a goodie bag, containing a jar of Trimeats’ Cray Oats and two flavours of Lewis and Carroll tea blends packed in a gift box. For the price of $20 each, it was really worth it.

When I said this kind of collaboration may not come twice, I was right. This month, it marks a second anniversary of Trimeats and they do a different type of collaboration to celebrate. In a consumer’s point of view, I personally would rather join the Brunch.

japanese teapot
Japanese teapot for souvenir

How To Line Up for Public Toilets in Jakarta

Eating out with family members, hanging out with friends in shopping malls is part of the common lifestyle in Jakarta. In fact, they are not only built for shopaholics and branded good top spenders, but also for fulfilling some other necessities with the availability of supermarkets, hair salons, a fitness centre, banks, a post office, and more.

The more hours you spend in the mall, the more possibility you answer your nature calls there. Fear not, public toilets are abundant in every floor and free of charge. Yes, a free of charge public toilet is the luxury I hardly get in Europe unless I sneak in to the one inside a cinema building or a hotel.

Nonetheless, I experience a constant confusion every time I go to public toilets in the malls in Jakarta, in terms of the norm of lining up. This time, I focus on ladies public toilets in the malls, that usually comes with a room with multiple toilets inside.

Living in The Netherlands for years, I always line up on the side or the alley before the rows of toilet inside the (toilet) room. So do the rest of the Dutch and European people in general. And I do exactly the same way when I enter a public toilet in Jakarta.

After that, a woman behind me cuts my line to one of the rooms she thinks it will be vacant in a bit. It happens over and over again in different day and time. I piss off and keep asking myself why Indonesian women cannot maintain their manner to queue up patiently and obediently like Europeans.

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Then I recall something. Actually, it’s been a custom in Indonesia that people queue up by the door, regardless how many (toilet) rooms available. It’s up to the people to pick which room will be the fastest to get empty for their turn, like queuing up for a supermarket cashier. It’s all about luck and everybody knows that.

I did that too, until I graduated from high school. I stopped doing that when I went abroad to pursue my study and adjusted with the local culture in The Netherlands for another 7 years. I forgot about it. Now when I return to my hometown for good, it becomes some kind of culture shock.

Thus, I remind myself that I only need to readjust with Indonesian culture that I previously had left behind.

I thought that’s enough. Until I witnessed my friend insinuating another young woman who walked straight to the door, ignoring the rest of them standing patiently on the side before the rooms.

“What a lady, cutting other people’s line just like that!” My friend said in a satirical way.

Seconds after my friend shut the door when her turn came, the young woman looked at me and asked, “Is there any certain guidelines to line up that I should know beforehand?”

I shrugged, avoiding potential conflicts that could happen in such situation.

And that’s not it.

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Once I stood by a toilet door in the cinema. After a woman walked out of the room in front of me, I took my turn. I had to be quick, the movie was about to start. Then, I overheard a Caucasian woman who stood by the door next to mine complained to the cleaning lady that I simply cut her line, claiming that she came earlier although not by the same door as mine.

The cleaning lady justified my action, “The starting point of the queue is by the door, Ma’am.”

I felt bad, but if the norm of lining up is standing by the door, I did it right. I experience the same thing as that of the Caucasian woman repeatedly and I’m finally okay about it, knowing that it’s the common practice. Because I readjust with it already.

In a nutshell, how to line up for public toilets in Jakarta?

Some line up by the toilet door. Some others line up on the side before the toilet rooms.

Based on my observation and experience, anyone who comes first defines the norm. If anyone before you stand by the door, that means it’s today’s house rules. If anyone before you stand on the side before the rooms, that means it’s today’s house rules.

I believe there’s a shifting trend towards this issue and both manners stand side by side. With a growing amount of people studying abroad and return for good years later, they apply the (foreign) manner to their homeland before they know it, while the local manner is still well-maintained.

How about other cities or towns in Indonesia? From what I see, standing by the door remains the common practice.

Suppose you want to avoid lining up conflicts but feel too hassle to ask, do the same thing as anyone before you. Or ask the cleaning lady when she’s around or ask other guests in front of you.

Get used to it, and have a great travel!