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JAKARTA AND BEYOND

Before to along the Eroupean were back - this time the Dutch who took the city in 1619 and renamed it Batavia afther the latin name for Holland. Under its governor, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, Batavia became the capital of Dutch East Indiest. The Dutch dug canals, which only encoraged the spread of mostquitoes and disease, and built houses like the ones they had left behind in Holland, wich proved highly unsitable for the tropical climate.

The dutch droped like flies from tropical disease, but indonesian and chinese immigrants flocked to the city ( now the "Old Town" area in the north of modern Jakarta) and its spresed steadily. By the time of Indonesia Independence Jakarta was notoriously run down looking city of slums and squalor, and despite adding a few monuments in dubious taste the Soekarno regime did title to tackle Jakarta 's problems. Since the 1970s the indonesian government hoas got an grip on Jakarta, however, and nowdays the city bristles with new developments, new roads and numerous improvements. Jakarta stil as hot , noisy and bustling as it always was, but is never dull for a moment, and makes a worth while stopover for a day or two on your way into or our of Indonesia.

Monas the tower of Indonesia in  Jakarta Perhaps the best place to start is around the National Monument "Monas" which dominates the city skyline. There is viewing patform at the top from which much of the city can be seen . Around Monas are several of Jakarta's most important bulidings including the Presidential Palace, and the National Museum. To the north of the city center is what what remains of Old Batavia, centred on Taman Fatahillah square. Around here you can find the Jakarta History Museum and varety of the old style buildings which still give some impression of what colonoal Batavia was like. Further to the north is harbour area, from wich the picturesque Buginese "Pinisi" sailing ships still set out to trade across the indonesian archipelago.

A stopover in Jakarta is perhaps best planned as either an introduction to what Indonesian has to affer- check ot Sarinah departement store for a taster of what Indonesian has in the ways of hadicrafts, or Taman Mini Indonesia with its traditional houses from every province of Indonesia- or as a final chance to pck up what you've missed out on. Jakarta also has some wonderful family tourist attraction such Dunia Fantasi, Indonesian's answer to Disney Wolrld, or Sea world at Ancol with its walk-throug underwater tunnel, giving non divers opportunity to see indonesia's marine life up close.
From sandy beaches facing the volcanic island of Krakatoa, to cold mountain passes lined with tea plantation , the coparatively little known region has much to offer the traveller.

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