It’s also on Jalan Jaksa that you will find former footballer Taufik Frans Wijaya, who knew a good thing when he saw it and decided to open one of Jakarta’s very few tourist information centers on the street.
The former tour guide puts his vast trove of knowledge to good use as he points tourists toward Jakarta’s established attractions as well as the city’s hidden gems.
Pak Taufik comments that Jakarta is the most famous transit area in Indonesia. Most tourists come into Indonesia through Jakarta because it’s a lot cheaper than flying straight to Bali or other destination spots. They can save millions on transport while visiting more places, and this matters a lot for backpackers.
Asked about travel books like Lonely Planet, Pak Taufik shows a distaste to the brand and talks about how it ruins the definition of a travel guide book.
He thinks that it is full of inaccurate information. There has been many cases in Jaksa where the book causes nothing but trouble. Some tourists even argue about prices with hotel owners, saying the owner is charging more than what it says in the book. And some information is misleading: [Lonely Planet] suggests tourists take long-distance buses, when you can travel faster and cheaper with the train.
So getting good information can be problematic for tourists. His passion and experience as a tour guide and traveler for nearly over 10 years can really help people out.
Jaksa and the surrounding subdistricts have already been acknowledged by Jakarta’s local government as nightlife entertainment areas. In the past, Jaksa was known as the place to get narcotics, but that has long been history.
Adapted from My Jakarta Globe, Catherine Yusmita, Marchelina & Megahwati Effendy, 1st March 2012