With multiple long weekends throughout the year, we made good use of the Lunar New Year celebrations to skip to neighbouring city Jakarta for a much needed getaway. Most of Jakarta operates as per normal during the Lunar New Year holidays, thus making it the ideal option to escape from nosy relatives and intolerable crowds. Plus, budget airlines such as Jetstar make it a breeze to travel without burning a hole in your wallet.

From eating to shopping and everything in between, here are some new spots we discovered alongside old haunts we frequent.

The Goods Department

A multi-label boutique showcasing a curation of homegrown labels, we’ve been long-time fans of The Goods Department. Each visit gives us a chance to discover fresh Indonesian designers and new designs from mainstay labels. Some of our favorite brands include Cottonink (best for versatile basics), Olenka, Nikicio, Monstore and newcomer Massicot (unique accessories in fun packaging) amongst others. With a few outlets throughout Jakarta, The Goods Department has expanded its portfolio to include an equally quirky The Goods Diner for a much needed tea break after shopping. Each outlet also offers a slightly different assortment, so you’ll always have something to look forward to.

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This Is April

Featuring a cafe on the first floor, This Is April (TIA) offers a selection of affordable ready-to-wear and accessories in its boutique on the second floor. TIA offers a complimentary drink with your purchase at its cafe, cheekily named Kafetia so you can unwind there when you’re done with shopping. Aside from being very Instagram-worthy, the cafe also offers a selection of homemade chilled drinks to cool off with before heading to your next destination.

Nails Story Studio

Love a good mani pedi session? Get ready to pamper yourself at Nails Story Studio which also caters to men and children, just in case you have a few others in tow. The nail artists onsite are also able to accommodate to any designs you have in mind at an affordable rate of around 1,500 RP per nail.

Socieaty

Strictly speaking, Socieaty traces its origins to Singapore but since we came across it in Jakarta, we’re including it in this list anyway. Serving up a fully European hearty fare of pastas and the like, serving portions are just enough to fill you up without the aftermath of a food coma. Drop by for a relaxing lunch, the service alone is worth coming back for.

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Union Cafe

Famed for their desserts, we had to check out Union Cafe to see what the fuss was about. The donuts are larger than those you’d find at major chains and cheaper too. We opted for the cheese donut to go with our afternoon coffee and it’s easy to understand the appeal. Savory with just the right amount of sugar kick, the cheese donut may look normal though it tastes anything but. Another recommended favorite is the red velvet cheesecake – definitely worth all the calories and trip to the gym you’ll need after.

Galeries Lafayette

Bringing a little bit of Europe to Southeast Asia, drop by Galeries Lafayette to check out premium designers such as Peggy Hartanto and The Hunger Games costume designer, Tex Saverio’s laser cut heavy collections. There are also selections from Major Minor, Argyle and Oxford, and more contemporary range for daily wear.

Cork and Screw

Located right next to Potato Head, Cork and Screw offers another drinking hole alternative for those who fancy a little wine as their nightcap. With an immense selection of reds and whites, don’t forget to choose some cheeses and light bites to go along with it. Their chocolate lava cake makes for an unforgettable way to end the night too.

Kosenda Hotel

A boutique hotel sitting amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Kosenda Hotel makes for an ideal retreat to kick back while still within reach of the heart of Jakarta. If you’re too lazy to venture out, the hotel offers great F&B options for a full staycation experience.

With plenty of amazing eateries and affordable brands cropping up, we’re already planning for our next trip back.

Bottom image courtesy of Kosenda Hotel; featured image courtesy of This Is April.