Rawa Bening jewelry market. JP/P.J. LeoMalls and supermarkets were created for the benefit of one-stop services, where buyers could get any product they needed, all in one place. However, where do you go if you only need a single item, but want many options? Markets based on various themes, located in all corners of Jakarta, are your answer. Although they might be far from your home, make the extra effort to go there. You will not only go shopping, but also tour the many areas of Jakarta.
When you turn left from Jl. Ahmad Yani to Jl. Basuki Rachmat in East Jakarta, the hundreds of toy stores located at Gembrong market, officially named Prumpung market, will instantly catch your eye.
The row of small shops, which extends for more than 500 meters along the edge of the street, is packed with dolls, toy cars, dolls’ houses, building blocks, water pistols, puzzles — you name it.
Although the market is not air- conditioned, and the shops are not very well organized, many people go to this market, instead of shopping at a more comfortable mall.
Don’t underestimate the quality and variety of toys here. “They even have imported toys that can usually only be bought in Singapore,” said Nur Afni Sofiani who bought two Minnie Mouse dolls for her daughter and niece.
Hunting pastries in the early hours
The Bursa Kue Subuh (pastry market) in Senen, Central Jakarta, in operation since 2005, has the unusual operating hours of 8 p.m. until 8 a.m.
Although you will need to wake up early, going to the market at dawn won’t be altogether an unpleasant experience since Jakarta is undeniably more enjoyable in the early hours, when streets are still vacant and the air is still fresh.
The market, located next to the Senen bus station, will make you drool. As far as the eye can see, cakes and cookies in all various colors, smells and tastes lure the buyer. The market mostly sells traditional pastries free of preservatives. The sellers will mention when the pastries were delivered to the market, so that the buyer can estimate the expiration date.
In spite of its many traditional delicacies, Senen cake market also offers many western cakes and pastries, such as Danish bread.
Fishy bird market
JP/P.J. LeoIf it’s your first time visiting Pramuka bird market in East Jakarta, the stench of bird droppings may discourage you from walking any further. But the variety of birds, along with their bright colors and sounds can be very entertaining.
In this market, buyers can choose almost any type of bird imaginable. If you have had enough of parakeets, canaries, cockatoos, or rosella robinsons, you may get a unique – yet fishy – offer.
Besides legally selling local and imported birds, some vendors also sell protected and endangered birds, such as a peacock or a Bali starlings — if the price is right.
Market for bling-bling fans
Established by the city market operator PD Pasar Jaya two-and-a-half-years ago, the Rawa Bening jewelry market in East Jakarta has become the main destination for gem lovers.
Although Rawa Bening is still a traditional market, it is equipped with air conditioning, elevators, and an adequate parking area for a comfortable shopping experience. Buyers can also use their credit cards in some of the stores.
Here you will find a small jade pendant, priced at only Rp 50,000 (US$5.50), or a blue sapphire ring on offer for Rp 350 million.
The good news is that you can haggle, except for purchases of gold and diamonds. Be prepared to bargain hard because your opponent, the seller, has many years of experience, and skills that are honed over many generations.
Rawa Belong in West Jakarta is one of the biggest flower markets in Southeast Asia.
If you are celebrating a special event, just come to one of the many stalls located in the market, choose your beauties, and the seller will arrange and wrap them beautifully.
Besides flowers, the left side of the market displays wedding stages that can be bought or rented, all which can be customized.
For the sellers, the flower business never dies. “We just need to adjust the type of flowers with the occasion,” said Ian Maulana, 42, who has been selling flowers since the 1990s. “Don’t wait until a special occasion to give your beloved a bunch of flowers. Flowers are more expensive on those special days.” — JP