If you want the real shopping experience in any city, shun the air-conditioned malls and head to the traditional markets instead. Jakarta is no different. While I enjoy shopping in ambient surroundings, for photography, only the hot and sweaty will do! 😉
Moreover, I’m lucky to have friends who will all push each other to head out in the sun, and make it a fun outing. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to visit not one, but three such exciting markets.
Pasar Minggu. Best known for fruits and veggies. Don’t head into the enclosed building as we did. All over town, we are stopped and barred by security guards from taking photos with big cameras inside market buildings. In any case, the outdoors is more fun.
We found some excellent fruits and some vegetables at the end of the street, and a lot more than we bargained for.
Flower market. All big cities must have a flower market. It’s only a matter of waking up at an ungodly hour to find out, because flower deals are all done well before sunrise, to have them looking fresh and pretty when customers want to buy. I will be missing the flower market tour with my explorer group because of India travels, but the tour organisers let me tag along on their recce trip, and I got a sneak peek.
Cake market. That one I hadn’t seen coming. Housewives from all over bake cakes of all sizes and sell at the cake market where local bakeries source their wares. The market lasts for less than 2 hours after which it turns into a parking lot.
Whichever market we visit, we find that the character of the place is defined and enhanced by the people. They smile and chat with us, and happily pose even if we aren’t buying anything.