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TRAVEL WATCH: AUGUST 23-30, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 7/8

J A K A R T A   C I T Y   G U I D E
Hot Tip



Fine Food and Fun in Jakarta
Need to jumpstart your senses? Set aside a weekend for a whirl through Jakarta

Short Cuts
Hilton International has withdrawn from its namesake properties in Indonesia

Beat the heat in Jakarta by heading south

Web Crawling
Indonesia's official national tourism site is a worthwhile pit stop

Jakarta is a city of cultural contrasts, and nowhere is this more evident than its treasure trove of museums. The National Museum, on the western side of Merdeka Square, is a culture-crossing showcase of historic wonders like bronze and stone Buddhist sculptures, ancient Indonesian textiles and Chinese ceramics. The Textile Museum in Tanah Abang features a cutting-edge collection of cool cloths from around the archipelago. The Kota district is home to a few cultural standouts: the Wayang Museum houses a fascinating family of leather shadow puppets, the Fatahillah Museum shows off works by modern artists, the Ceramics Museum, and the beautifully renovated National Archives. Kitsch-lovers should visit the Purna Bhakti Museum, which houses 32 years of gifts to former president Suharto--including a four-poster bed carved from jade. Admission to these worthy heritage spots costs under $1.

Once you've had your fill of craft-eyeing, there are plenty of shops for buying locally produced works. For the finest hand-dyed batik, Bin House in central Jakarta is an ode to the traditional cloth. Silk wraps and one-of-a-kind scarves for women are a specialty, while men can choose from a range of hand-blocked batik shirts in unique patterns. Iwan Tirta in central Jakarta and Tenun Baron in Kemang and Carmanita in the south are also famed for designer batik, while a less pricey selection can be found at Danar Hadi in the Blok M shopping district or at the Pasaraya, Sarinah and Sogo department stores. Furniture-fanciers can cruise Surabaya Street for antiques (and funky facsimiles) or peruse the streets of Kemang and Ciputat Raya for stylish teak and Javanese-style pieces. Restaurants like Padi Padi in Kemang or Koi in Blok M also sell furniture, so be sure to check out the decor while you sip or sup.

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