Amidst the concrete jungle that is Jakarta, the presence of green public space is greatly akin to an oasis in a desert.
Although they might not be as green as Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, nor as colorful as Keukenhof in Lisse, the Netherlands, the busy capital is gradually improving its urban green spaces and providing more public parks for its residents. Some are even considered worth a visit whenever you have the chance to travel to the capital, since walking into a public park-however unappealing its physical features might be-allows us to momentarily escape the city rush without actually leaving.
As the name suggests, Taman Langsat is situated near Jl. Langsat in South Jakarta.
Although a little bit hidden from the main road, the park is easily accessed from Taman Ayodya in the Melawai area.
Occupying an area of 3.5 hectares, the park is open to the public every day from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. There is a jogging track here, as well as children's playground.
There is a narrow creek through the park as well, creating a peaceful ambiance. If you go out of the park from the back, the path takes you directly to the nearby Jl. Langsat.
The park is a little quieter than Taman Ayodya, but it offers you more lush trees and, of course, a more peaceful place to escape the city's jumble.
Situated at the heart of the Menteng area in Central Jakarta, the park is equipped with a children's playground, open-air futsal and a basketball court that can be used for free.
Opened in 2007, the two-hectare park is strategically situated at the corner of Jl. HOS Cokroaminoto.
There are two small houses made of glass in the park area that can be used to hold exhibitions and other events. A small playground has also been built near the basketball court, while a four-story parking lot stands nearby to cater for all the visitors' vehicles. No wonder, with all these complete facilities, Taman Menteng is a popular place for locals and communities to hold activities or to simply hang out.
On certain days and at weekends, skateboarders and self-defence communities can be seen practicing in the park.
Serving as an urban green space, the park also has up to 44 absorption wells around its area to increase its ability to absorb rainwater and 30 ornamental tree species to preserve the fresh air.
Taman Suropati is another public park that is popular with the locals.
Originally named Burgemeester Bisschopplein during the Dutch colonial period, the park is located at the junction of three main roads: Jl. Teuku Umar, Jl. Diponegoro and Jl. Imam Bonjol.
Unlike Taman Menteng, which was built more recently, Taman Suropati was built back in 1920 and therefore has many towering, shady trees to provide shelter from the scorching sun.
It is also one of the few parks in Jakarta where you can see people really come to take part in a variety of activities.
Although there isn't a children's playground or any sports courts available here, Taman Suropati still serves as a tranquil sanctuary with its lush green trees, two water fountains and a pond.
The park is also beautifully adorned with sculptures created by artists from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which stand in several spots around the park.
In the morning, many people go to Taman Suropati to have their morning jog or walk, while on certain evenings, the orchestral group Taman Suropati Chamber practices in the park. On the weekends, children's activities, such as painting competitions, often take place here too.
From Central Jakarta, let's head south to Barito in the Melawai area, famous for its bird and fruit market.
The park is situated just across from St. Yohanes Penginjil church and is a popular spot for young couples to hang out, especially just before nightfall. A big pond with fountains is located right at the heart of the park, serving as its landmark.
A stony footpath has been built around the pond for people to take a leisurely walk and there are rows of amphitheater-like stone benches built on one side of the park.
Food carts selling various street food delicacies can be seen lining the roadside nearby, selling siomay (a Chinese fish cake drenched in peanut and sweet soy sauce), chicken satay and slices of fresh tropical fruit.
Jl. Mahakam, which is famous for its culinary scene, is only a walk away from the park. The delicious Blenger Burger diner and other eateries are only walking distance away.