A glimpse of China's influence in Jakarta



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.

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 one of the area's oldest temples, the 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."

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

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 CGTN 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. The tour gives visitors a view of China's role in Indonesia's history.