Sunda Kelapa Harbor, When I Tried to Run Away From The Crowd of Jakarta

Living in big city as Jakarta could be exhausted. Long walking hours with cosmopolitan living style, and to mentioning huge traffic jam that could catch you for hours. Yes, it was exhausted. And I am not kidding, my friend.

Lucky me, while I was in living in the capital of one of the most populated countries in the world, I was fortunate t get accommodation in Central Jakarta which was located only five minutes walking from my office. So,unlike other friends who had to live home at 5 am in the morning to be at the office at 8 am, I could wake up at 7 am, and walked slowly to the office only 5 minutes before my working hours started. I remember, one of my friend that aways chose to go to the gym downstairs  after works, he was going to stay there for two hours, and then riding back to his home. When I asked why he did it, he said that he prefer to spend the time in the gym instead of in the long queue of traffic jam that at the end of the day, he would reach the home at the same time if he chose to leave the office at 5 pm. So, you can imagine how crazy Jakarta could be during the busy hour.

Therefore, I had not so much nice activity while I was living there. I stopped join my Toastmasters club since it was located at the other part of Jakarta where took me like two hours, and I was even hardly to make myself on time. Yeah, I was closed to the city centers with huge shopping malls with luxury coffee house. But, to do it everyday? People could be bored as well.  I need something different, where I could walk freely ad took a deep fresh air that would be really difficult to find in the capital.

Well, one day, my friend, the Jakartan, suggested me to visit Sunda Kelapa. It’s still located in Jakarta that wouldn’t consume my time so much to get there, it’s also not a very famous tourist attraction so I would not find abundant human beings while I was looking for some peace places. In addition, it has beautiful sunset view that could fulfill my satisfaction to play with my camera after having tough working life during the week.

“Trust me Nurul. You won’t regret spending your Saturday afternoon there. Take many pictures, and we could hang out together on Saturday nights afterwards with our group” my friend Franky tried to to convince me.

So, in one weekend, I left my home in the afternoon, headed to Sunda Kelapa. Sunda Kelapa could be reached easily from Central Jakarta, the area where I lived in. I just needed to hop on to the metro bus (TransJakarta) to the old town of Jakarta, called Stasiun Kota of Jakarta. Then, I continued my journey by taking Bajaj (three wheels motor taxi) to take me to the harbor in approximately 10 minutes.

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunda Kelapa, is an harbor, its name is also meaning as fish market, located at the downstream of Ciliwung River. The fishermen would catch the fish in the morning and then sold them by the auctions at the old fish market. This harbor was an important port in the past where the Portuguese faded with the Kingdom of Padjajaran in 16th century. Dutch domination in Indonesia also began from this neighborhood, where an old fort and trading post of the Dutch East Indies company still stood there. Groups of Bugis people came from South Sulawesi anchored there while trading their goods and merchandise.

Tough there were not so many left, the harbor is still one of the most important port for sailing vessels from all over Indonesia. Now, the eyes catching painted vessels called Pinisi is still having significant means of goods transportation to and from the outer islands.

When I entered the sites, the view surrounding was likely most of other harbor that I’ve visited. The row of wooden boats stood in one long line with the workers working on the boat, carrying the goods from one boat to the others. At the other side, a group of workers uploaded big number of bags of cement from one big boat to the trucks waiting right in front of it. Not far, stood in the corner, group of street food vendors tried to get their luck, waited for workers or visitors to buy some street food from their wagon. I felt a bit sad when I passed one of area that was a bit flooding due to the tides, I presumed, and one vendor walked in the water, tried to sell his street food.

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

The workers carrying goods from one boat to another.
Location: Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Some workers taking rest for a while.

Big trucks passing the flooding road due to the tides.

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Street Food Vendor.
Location: Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia.

That harbor was not too crowd and not too quite either. I could take photos freely and slowly, and in the same time I had chances to see the other part of Jakarta and the people who live in. Jakarta is not just about Monas. Jakarta is not only about skyscrapers and fancy shopping mall. Jakarta is not the Ivory tower. Jakarta doesn’t only for good looking business man/women working in stock exchanges and other fancy offices.  Jakarta is a city where everything mixed in the same time, where the rich meets poverty, where luxury condos meet slum houses, where the riches meet the poor. Anyway, that’s Jakarta, and I saw one of the reals of Jakarta on that afternoon.

Franky was right. I was not regretting spending my whole afternoon in Sunda Kelapa. It gave me another perspective in seeing life. It taught me a lesson to be grateful for what I had and what I didn’t get yet.

Workers uploading bags of cements onto a truck.
Location: Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunset in Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Jakarta, Indonesia

Franky was right. I was not regretting spending my whole afternoon in Sunda Kelapa. The sunset was amazing and I must agree with him that that was definitely one of the finest sunset panorama in Jakarta.

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