The Jakarta Post
Middle- and upper-income residents of Greater Jakarta are no strangers to malls. Since childhood, many of them have frequented malls to play, eat, study and shop. Meanwhile, those who have arrived in the metropolis later in life rely on malls perhaps grudgingly for many reasons, one being the lack of proper, comfortable public spaces in the capital.
Jakartans who can afford it, therefore, go to malls for many things, not just shopping. Property developers keep building these malls, dismissed as pseudo public spaces by urban experts, on every corner, including the already crowded business district. Still, new malls are planned for the city.
Read also: Jakarta to have four new shopping malls
Mall managements see this as opportunity to cater to every need inside an air-conditioned building and compared to a decade ago, there is a growing list of what one can do at malls besides shopping and here are some examples:
1. Enjoy the vast array of cuisine in restaurants or food courts.
2. Go see a movie.
3. Hang out at a coffee shop.
4. Go to the gym.
5. Sing your heart out in a karaoke lounge or go bowling with friends.
6. Wake up and smell the coffee. Many malls have cafes opening earlier to cater to workers who want to start their day with breakfast and coffee.
7. Be groomed at a beauty salon or barbers.
8. Get teeth fixed or skin treated at a dentist or dermatologist.
9. Be pampered with all kinds of self-care services such as a spa, massage, waxing or pedicure and manicure.
10. Work or engage in public discussion at a coworking space.
11. Have fun playing games at arcades or entertain the kids at a playground.
12. Vlog or take selfies. Some malls have "selfie cafes" others have interesting backdrops to use for free.
13. Take an English course. Several reputable English-language course providers like English First and Wall Street English also operate in shopping malls, such as in fX Sudirman, Pondok Indah Mall and Kelapa Gading Mall.
14. Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree, some universities are located in malls, including Bina Nusantara University in fX Sudirman, Podomoro University in Central Park and Bakrie University in Plaza Festival Kuningan.
15. Attend a skills-based workshop like a cooking class, one of which is ABC Cooking Studio in Central Park.
16. Pray at a house of worship. While most malls have designated prayer rooms or even mosques for Muslims, some also have churches, such as Kota Kasablanka in South Jakarta.
Visitors ice skate at a shopping center in Bintaro, South Tangerang, Banten. (Antara/Fakhri Hermansyah)
17. Ice-skate at Taman Anggrek Mall or Bintaro XChange or any other malls that offer such entertainment, usually during the Christmas season.
18. See sea creatures at an aquarium like at the Jakarta Aquarium in Neo Soho mall.
19. Play with your pets, a few malls with outdoor space welcome your furry friends. Examples are Tribeca Park in Central Park in West Jakarta and outdoor mall The Breeze in BSD City in South Tangerang.
20. Enjoy an art exhibition or bazaar at the plaza. Every weekend, malls all across the city hold a variety of events, ranging from dance or fashion show competitions for kids to holiday fairs.
21. Enjoy outdoor activities. Some malls provide outdoor areas. Even though some might call these pseudo-public spaces, given the lack of outdoor space, such malls are popular for the outdoor facilities.
Some malls provide sizable outdoor space. (The Jakarta Post/Wendra Ajistyatama )
22. Watch a performance by your favorite musician, malls such as Gandaria City for example, have permanent stages where they often hold concerts.
23. Foreigners visiting malls who are short of rupiah cash in their wallets have no need to worry since almost all malls now have money changers.
24. Repair your broken suitcase, clean your shoes or launder clothes.
25. Donate blood at an Indonesia Red Cross (PMI) branch, such as in Senayan City.
26. Arrange a visa, passport or other civil registry document. Kuningan City and Lotte Shopping Avenue in South Jakarta are home to VFS Global, the agency serving visa applicants. Local administrations also open public service kiosks at shopping malls such as Bekasi Trade Center or Lippo Keboen Raya in Bogor, both in West Java. Taxpayers can even pay taxes or file tax reports.
27. Visit tech experts that can repair your gadgets – mobile phones, laptops, etc.
28. Make use of the customer services of telecommunication providers or airlines, or do your banking errands at a bank branch.
29. Show off the latest wardrobe, something, especially women cannot do on the streets. Women are less subject to harassment for wearing short pants, tank tops or cute summer dresses in malls compared with on the streets.
30. Throw a birthday party.
31. Get married. Some malls such as Lippo Keboen Raya in Bogor have public service kiosks that provide a one-stop civil administration service run by the local administration, including the religious affairs agency.
32. Burn off calories by walking or join an aerobics class. Many Jakartans walk at the mall as exercise. Some malls like fX also have regular aerobics classes.
33. Watch a theater performance. Grand Indonesia has Galeri Indonesia Kaya, which hosts performances by the country's top-notch performing artists. Meanwhile, fX Senayan caters to JKT48 fans and Ciputra World has a large theater boasting international performances.