I kept this diary of things we have done in Singapore for 2 years. I have now moved some of it to other travel pages but you can still find links to many of our activities here. I have also created a reading list of books we have read about the region.

Western Japan

Birds in Singapore

Kuala Lumpur stopover

Thai Diving

Singapore Liveaboard

Local Residents

Beijing Summer

Diving with Sharks

Shanghai Heatwave

Taiwan Tourists

An Indian week

Where U bin?

Island hideaway

Steamy running

A Trip to the Zoo

Gardens by the Bay


Singapore walks

Mind the bus

Flower power


Early weeks


Vicky's Blog


Jakarta - a busy city

My interviewers

Jakarta is not a great tourist destination. We discover this when we arrive on Easter Saturday to spend the week end exploring before I have to work during the week. A holiday weekend is a deceptive time to arrive in Jakarta - the traffic is flowing relatively smoothly - as lots of people are out of town.

Jakarta skylineThe hotel (Manhattan) turns out to be rather tired - mould growing behind the sink in the bathroom and the crumbiest internet system I have come across in a long time. It does have quite a decent (if narrow) rooftop swimming pool where you can do lengths above the traffic.

On Saturday we explore central Jakarta and walk around the huge central square full of locals taking strolls and flying kites. On Sunday morning we head up to Kota, or Old Batavia - the original Dutch settlement which still has old buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th Centuries. Both Vicky and I are interviewed by charming school children and we explore the old buildings. The heat defeats us before we can look around the old harbour which is a shame. Instead we retreat to the rather fine Batavia Cafe, a Dutch building dating from the early 19thC, for a drink and some lunch. The drink and surroundings were fine, the food unimpressive as warned by our guidebook. In the evening we explore the huge Plaza Indonesia - one of the largest malls in SE Asia and packed with designer brands. It also has a rather good bar where we retreat to for cocktails.

The best thing about our visit was the friendly people and some very good food. Java is the home of satay and Nasi Goreng - fried rice. We visit the extravagant Samarra restaurant, an exotic mixture of Arab and Indonesian design, for a delicious Indonesian dinner and also try Kembang Goela - more of a colonial style restaurant, again with very good Indonesian food.

By midweek the traffic is back to its normal madness. Cars jammed bumper to bumper with motobike taxis weaving in between and mounting pavements to get by. I am glad that I leave plenty of time for the 90 minute crawl back to the airport.