Chinatown walking tour, a glimpse of China’s influence in Jakarta

China 24

A new walking tour offers visitors a glimpse of China’s influence in Indonesia dating back to the 15th century. The tour covers everything from historical buildings, ancient temples to traditional Chinese food. CGTN’s Silkina Ahluwalia describes this fascinating walking tour.

This is the real Chinatown of Jakarta, a place that’s still unknown to many tourists visiting the city.

Jakarta Good Guide takes tourists around the city, exploring small alleyways and forgotten areas of the city. Their most popular tour is of Chinatown, an area where there are traditional Chinese-styled houses standing next to modern buildings.

“This is Chinatown,” said Cindy Tan, a local tour guide. “When people think about it they think it’s just a place or a market. But this place safeguards a very important and long history of Jakarta. As Chinese, we’ve been here for ages, but nobody realizes that.”

The history of Chinatown dates back to the 15th century, just like this old temple called Dharma Bhakti. The temple burned to the ground in 2015, but it was immediately rebuilt. Many places inside the temple are still under construction but its magnificent history still draws hundreds of visitors every day. It’s considered one of the biggest and oldest Chinese temples in Jakarta.

“That’s the first building that was built here and it has been here for ages. It shows the history of my grandfather’s grandfather coming here and I can relate to that,” said Tan. “That’s why I like Chinatown so much. When you’re here you feel like you’re in China – out of China – and to me, that feels like home.”

The tour ends at one of Jakarta’s popular alleys to enjoy Chinese cuisine, known as Gloria Alley. You can find everything from traditional Chinese pastries to the very popular iced coffee in this shop that has been around for more than eight decades. Tourists can truly get a real taste of China.

Akib, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told GCTN he liked the tour because it took him to places he’d never been before.

“We went to places that are not exposed in tourism media,” said Akib. “So it’s really nice and I learned a lot more about the Chinese community in Indonesia. It’s fun and I learned so much than I expected I would.”

Chinese-Indonesians make up a significant proportion of the country’s population and it will continue to grow for generations. The tour allows visitors to understand that China has played an important role in Indonesia’s development for centuries.