Picture of Pasar Baru, Jakarta
There are many traditional markets in Jakarta but one could spot the best go-to-shopping destinations that have unique and trendy style. Photo courtesy of Jakarta Tourism/NOW!JAKARTA

A traditional market or Pasar (in Bahasa Indonesia) is the part of Indonesian life where people have a buying and selling transaction for daily household necessities from vegetables, spices, pieces of clothing, to local artisan products. It’s an everyday delight for any Jakarta residents to find the goods at a cheaper price. Powering a micro-economy in the city, Pasar is the soul of Jakarta and any other cities in Indonesia where the vibrant culture immerse with tradition and economic activities that makes its unique urban facade of the Capital.   

If one wants a convenient shopping destination, one may go to a list of airconditioned malls in the city. At the traditional market, heat, crowd and bustling noise are part of the atmosphere. With city revitalisation projects in the last few years, Thanks to the government that has rebuilt several popular markets in Jakarta into a trendy spot which allure visitors including tourists and young people to come by. 

Pasar Baru

Pasar Baru is the city’s historic shopping dates back in the 19th century when Jakarta is Batavia. Located across Jakarta Art Building, Pasar Baru is the staple of daily lives of Indonesian where around 100,000 stalls sell household items, spices, antiques, painting, and accessories. On a facade, the gate of Pasar Baru is designed alike Chinese Oriental fortress but the market itself is also known as ‘Little India’ where many vendors sell affordable-yet-quality textiles. Visitors don’t have to go anywhere to find food as the traditional market is also a place to enjoy local food at tiny eateries. For first-timers, this market tells a lot about Indonesian history and it’s a perfect example of how the city is a melting pot of diverse culture, seen through the lenses of local economic activities. 

Pasar Santa

The prior traditional market in Kebayoran Baru is turned to be the trendiest market in Jakarta where tourists, expatriates, and youths go to this hip hangout spot in South Jakarta. One could still find people sell goods such as fruit, vegetables, or meat. As one takes to the upper floor, a number of creative shop selling books, clothing, footwear, desserts, coffee, and even vinyl records. Since the revitalisation in 2014, Pasar Santa is a go-to-destination for creative communities in Jakarta and it’s a hub for emerging entrepreneurs who activate the value of the traditional market as a place to exchange ideas. 

Pasar Seni Ancol

Situated close to Jakarta’s biggest amusement park Ancol Dreamland in North Jakarta, Pasar Seni Ancol or Ancol Art Market is a cultural destination for visitors who look for local artisans, artworks, and crafts. at the open-air art market, many shops sells many differents things including intricate sculptures, painting, puppets, and jewelry. This trendy market also regularly organises art performance and exhibition within the area. It’s indeed a place for anyone looking for an artistic experience in Jakarta. 

Tanah Abang Textile Market

Pasar Tanah Abang is the largest textile market in Southeast Asia, comprising a few block establishments where one could find abundant textiles pieces as raw material to items of clothing. Located in the namesake sub-district in Central Jakarta, Tanah Abang Textile Market is known as the trading destination in the early days in the 18th century. Those coming to the textile market, one will be spoiled by the vibrant Indonesian textile, from batik to modern fabric in different clusters of shops. The bargaining spree can be seen here, as people want to get the cheapest price. Here, the visitor could also discover local food court which provides snacks and refreshments. Whether buying an article of clothing or dozen textile for reselling. Pasar Tanah is the gem of most vibrant textiles that one could find.

Surabaya Flea Market

For those walking along Jalan Surabaya in sub-district Menteng in Central Jakarta, don’t hesitate to stop by at Surabaya Flea Market where one could hunt vintage and antique stuff. Discover the shops along the street to find rare trinket, ornamental wayang, or vintage decorations at low prices. If ones are in luck, dial telephones or vintage radio can be found there. During twilight, the lamplight coming from a unique open-air antique gallery will give one fairy strolling experience. It’s the perfect place to go back in time during a short trip to Surabaya Flea Market. 

Rintang Azhar

Rintang Azhar

Rintang is a previous staff writer for NOW! with experience in hard news and lifestyle journalism. He specialises in art, design, culture, fashion, environmental, and urban issues.