Jakarta is, by no means, a friendly city to walk. A rumor about Jakarta citizen who use Ojek (motorbike taxi) to a destination within 10 minutes walking distance is true. There are at least 2 reasons for this, first is the fact that Jakarta is very hot and humid, walking around in the afternoon will be very exhausting. The second reason is because the pedestrian walk way in Jakarta is very awful. And no, I am not exaggerate it. The pedestrian walk way in of Jakarta, where it exists, mostly damaged, or blocked by street vendors, or occupied by construction works, or in some strange way, trees grow on it, I am not kidding. One of my expatriate friend once told me that pedestrian walk way in Jakarta is one of the worst in the world, and judging from my travelling experience, I have to agree with him.
I have stayed in Jakarta for 13 years now, and I have very rarely walked in this City. When I lived in South Jakarta, I bought a motorbike to go to the office everyday, and the distance was less than 1 km! The reason that I told myself was because there is no pedestrian walk way, so it is very dangerous to walk between cars and motorbikes, I did not want to be a victim of a hit-run.
But it was changed 4 months ago when I moved to my current place where traffic is much worse and walking becomes the fastest way to get to the office, literally. The distance between my place and office is 2 km one way, so I walk 4 km daily. I am skeptical about this at first, and I still have to be very careful everyday considering the pedestrian walk way condition, but the walk is growing on me. I like it, and somehow I feel better.
Then I start to read a dozen articles about the benefit of daily walking exercise, and becoming more motivated. It was mentioned that walking is good to improve our health, it can slash our risk of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. One of the benefit I felt is during my recent trip in Japan, the whole week there, my total walking distance is 50 km (yes, it is real, I use “moves” app in my iPhone to track my walking distance). But I was not exhausted at all! I even got complaints from my travelmates because I walked too fast and rarely took a break.
My experience in Japan motivated me to walk further and more often, even in Jakarta. I want to try hiking also for next, but knowing that there is no hiking place in Jakarta, for now I determine to walk whenever I have the time, instead of using ojek or taxi. The key to walk in Jakarta are to do the research first to find a better walk way, remain careful along the way and wear shoes! never use sandals or you’ll end up with injured feet. Just today I walked to a mall (Blok M Square) within 2.3 km walking distance according to Google Maps’ suggested route. I bump my feet several times because of uneven pavement and I almost got a hit by a Bus when walked along the way near flyover construction in Trunajaya street. The construction occupies the whole pedestrian walk way and no dedicated replacement provided, so pedestrians have to walk on the street. So I tried a different route when I got home, longer distance but safer. I walked 6 km in total, and I felt very good about it. I will try a longer distance on my next walk.