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Jakarta Post

The good old days: Digital age dims the lights of Jl. Jaksa

  • Sausan Atika

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Tue, February 4, 2020   /  07:02 am
The Jakarta Post Image
A view of Jl. Jaksa, Central Jakarta, on Friday. The road, once famous as a place for nighttime entertainment, has seen a severe decline in tourists, both local and foreign.(JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Once a center of nightlife and popular spot among foreign tourists, Jl. Jaksa in Central Jakarta has lost its luster, with business owners there struggling to stay afloat. The 400-meter long street was known as a haven for backpackers as it offered affordable accommodation in downtown Jakarta. When Wisma Delima Hostel was founded in 1969, its owner Nathanael Lawalata had no idea it was about to pioneer change by bringing Jl. Jaksa to its heyday, according to Boy Lawalata, Nathanael’s son and operator of the family business. Networking skills and the ability to speak a number of foreign languages landed Nathanael the business opportunity of providing guestrooms at his house for foreign backpackers. Boy recalled that the hostel only had two rooms with a rate set at Rp 200 (0.015 US cents) per person per night when it was first established 50 years ago. “After a d...