Wayang kulit, or shadow puppet theatre, is an Indonesian hallmark and one of the most unusual cultural performances anywhere. Entire epics are “acted” using these elaborate and ornate puppets, and there is no better place to see a show than in the nation’s capital. The National Puppet Museum (Museum Wayang) has a vast collection of all styles of puppets, and every Sunday morning they stage performances. Southeast Asia’s largest performing arts centre, Taman Ismail Marzuki, also features wayang theatre regularly.
Almost all wines and spirits are imported, but the local adult beverage of choice is Bintang, the country’s most popular beer. Indonesians, however, love non-alcoholic beverages, from Teh botol (bottled tea) to the more traditional bandrek, a hot, sweet, gingered drink. Start your day with kopi tubruk, a strong but sweet coffee also called “mud coffee,” and end it with es cendol, an icy coconut milk and palm sugar concoction usually enjoyed as dessert.
A Perfect Day
Have the Concierge arrange a morning tour in a private car—with a driver and guide—to get a sense of this huge city. After lunch, try a shopping spree at one of the city’s premier shopping venues: Grand Indonesia, Pacific Place, Plaza Senayan or Senayan City. And in the evening, check out the Black Cat Jazz Supper Club for live jazz and Cajun/Creole cooking.
Like Swedish or Thai, Javanese massage is a unique style, once reserved only for Java’s royalty. The treatment is a medium- to deep-tissue massage using only the thumb and palm to deliver strong kneading strokes, and uses essential oils indigenous to Java. The Hotel’s state-of-the-art, two-level Spa is as close as you come to the tropical island without leaving the capital.
Many people take the opportunity to shop for home furnishings and decorative items while in Indonesia. The Concierge can set up a private shopping excursion or arrange introductions with exclusive local furniture designers, as well as help organise the shipping of purchases to your home.