Ask any Jakartan how they spend a typical weekend and shopping will no doubt be part of the answer. Given the city’s paucity of sidewalks, and its sweltering climate, retail experiences generally revolve around air-conditioned shopping malls. One of the most popular is Grand Indonesia, opposite Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta in the heart of town. The mall delights with Gucci, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana boutiques. For a local flavour, stop by Alun Alun in the west wing – 4,000sq m of Indonesian arts, antiques and handicrafts. More home-grown talent is on display at Plaza Senayan, where you’ll find flagship stores from prominent Indonesian designers such as Ghea, Biyan and Sebastian Gunawan. The boutiques that line the streets of Kemang, a vibrant enclave in the south of Jakarta, are among the best for high-end homeware. Highlights include the warehouse-like Moie, crammed with lacquered tables, chestnut dressers and handwoven pillows, and Toimoi for quirky furniture and pop art.
Jakartans like partying more than shopping – and the capital has plenty of hip nightspots. Begin with alfresco cocktails at Potato Head, a lounge with a drinks menu that will please even the most jaded night owl. The upbeat Blowfish transforms into the most happening destination after dinner (creative Japanese), while just around the corner, the party spills onto the sidewalk at Loewy, a French-inspired bistro, all tiled walls and ceiling fans.