Taxis are available directly outside arrivals. The hour-long journey to the city centre should cost no more than 25,000 rupiah (less than £1.50). For those on a tighter budget, an air-conditioned bus travels from the airport every 30 minutes, stopping at five key points around the city.
Most of the five-star chains have places in Jakarta but the most relaxing, elegant hotel is the Dharmawangsa. Part of the elite Rosewood group, its high-ceiling lobbies and calm atmosphere takes one a million miles away from the bustling city outside. Internet deals for £160 plus 21% tax and service are the best going.
Jalan Brawijaya Raya 26, Kebayoran Baru;
Indonesian food is never pricey so for an expensive night out go to William Kafe Artistik, run by one of Indonesia's top gourmands, William Wongso. One has to book a couple of days in advance, which is when one plans the menu as each meal is made specially. The result is likely to be an amazing Asian-Western fusion meal. Food alone will be about £40pp. Drinks could easily see that double.
Jalan Panglima Polim Raya 63-65
Starring Mel Gibson as an Australian TV reporter caught up in the tumultuous last years of the Sukarno era in the 1960s. Yes, it's dated but it conveys well the sense of Javanese mysticism that influences so many people's lives.
A window table at Cafe Batavia in Fatahillah Square. This 19th- century building has been turned into one of Asia's great watering holes. Rarely full to the brim, it combines a relaxed, old-world charm with excellent modern Chinese and western cuisine. A great exhibition of portrait photography can occupy time if watching Jakarta at work, rest and play outside gets too much. And it's open 24 hours a day.
Taman Fatahillah; Tel: 691 5531
Very reasonably priced design hotel (even more so if you book via an agency), helpful staff, close to Monas and 'old' Jakarta sights. The rooftop pool area is a very welcome break from Jakarta's heady mix of heat, humidity and pollution.
Vendors of "meals on wheels" can be found everywhere, although different food is sold at different times of the day. For very fast food, try the fried rice (nasi goreng), fried noodles (mie goreng) or anything that catches your eye. Cooked in front of you, the meals are generally palatable but, if not, at a maximum of c.Rp.5,000 you haven't lost anything except, possibly, your taste buds. Hint: if you don't like your food drowned in chilli sauce (sambal), just say Tidak pedas.
There aren't really any listings magazines. The Jakarta Post is the leading English-language daily (www.thejakartapost.com), or try Jakartakini, a city magazine. Try Jakarta Inside Out by Dan Ziv for an irreverent but very entertaining guide to the city.
This street and the alleys off Jalan Jaksa are Jakarta's backpackerland. There is plenty of choices and the best thing to do is to walk up and down checking out what's on offer. Should be able to get a clean, if basic, room for less than £7.
Situated in the leafy, upmarket Kebayoran Baru neighbourhood. Great local food with a Sundanese (an ethnic group from West Java) twist and without the tacky music that gets played in so many restaurants. You'll be stretched to spend more than £7 per head.
Jalan Wolter Monginsidi 41
These 13 short stories were written between 1948 and 1956 by Indonesia's premier novelist. Translated into English four years ago, they give a gritty tour of post-independence Jakarta, through the eyes of some of the city's less fortunate residents.
Foods to look out for are sate (meat skewers), nasi goring istimewa (special fried rice - with chicken and prawns) and martabak telur (stuffed savoury pancakes). The greatest risk to one's stomach is from the drinks, ice and uncooked vegetables so newcomers should probably avoid these. Most stalls serve bottled or canned drinks. £1.50 is an expensive feed.
This chain of several dozen islets immediately north of the city, is administratively part of Jakarta and usually an oasis of quiet. Speedboats take visitors to basic but comfortable hotels an hour or so from the city, where one can snorkel, dive or just lie on a white sand beach with a friendly turtle.
About 25 miles south of the city. Go early before it gets too hot and see how many of the 400 palms and 5,000 orchids you can identify. Entry is free. Avoid on Sundays as that's when the locals invade.
Jalan Ir H Juanda 13; Tel: 322 187; www.bogor.indo.net.id/kri
Mangoes - season from late May to October. There are dozens of varieties and virtually all are mouth-watering. The round ones with orange skins are a little pricier but well worth the extra few pence per kilo. For the rest of the year sample rambutan. These lychee-related fruit come in a bright red, spiky skin.
If one can get beyond the fact that it was established with money from one of the world's most controversial mining companies, this museum-cum-gallery has a fascinating permanent collection from Papua - Indonesia's half of New Guinea Island - and regular temporary exhibitions that stimulate and provoke.
Gedung 28, Jalan Kemang Utara
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