Jakarta is a densely populated town, with not a huge deal of space for sports pursuits. On top of this, Indonesia is not famed for it’s sporting achievements on the global stage, so Jakarta may not seem like the natural choice for a sporty weekend. However, the inhabitants of this town are fierce football fans, so finding somewhere to enjoy spectatorship is a breeze. Furthermore, if you’d like to actually get in on a slice of the action for yourself, then just digging a little deeper can uncover some secret sports spots, where you can get involved. Here are ways you can spend a sporty weekend in Jakarta.
Start the Weekend with Some Seclusion
Just outside of Jakarta, you’ll find Bogor, and although this is about a Jakarta based weekend, you’d be crazy not to visit this area. Bogor is cooler than the sticky streets of Jakarta, they have elevation on their side which provides a welcome breeze year round. Owing to this slightly cooler climate, several horse riding stables have sprung up around the city and there are a couple where they’re more than happy for you to have a go.
One of these stables has been open to the public since 1992 and has developed a strong reputation as the best place to ride in the area. Arthayasa Stables and Country Club is set in 14 hectares of idyllic scenery and owned by the friendly couple Rafiq and Alla. Those who are already competent in the saddle can book a ride and enjoy the FEI level facilities, whilst those who aren’t so sure of their riding ability can book a pony ride around the estate. The horses are well cared for and well mannered, perfect for a relaxing morning’s riding.
If you just don’t fancy a morning in the saddle, then your trip to Bogor has certainly not been wasted. Fishing Valley is hidden in a little known spot just down river from Mount Salak. Here there is always an expert or two on hand so that you can hire rods and buy bait. Sit yourself in the picturesque valley and enjoy views of Mount Salak as you, hopefully, reel in a big one! Of course, sometimes even the luckiest fisherman has an off day, so if you finish your morning empty handed then there’s no need to panic. Just up the road there’s a restaurant serving traditional Indonesian cuisine, including the occasional fish caught from the valley. It’s a great way to spend a sporty weekend in Jakarta.
Get Involved with the Indonesian Football Fans
If you’ve worn yourself out with the morning’s activities then a good idea is to find some sport where you can spectate, instead of participate. Pizza e Birra is a welcoming sports bar in the centre of town, where you can pick up, unsurprisingly, pizza and beer at very reasonable prices. They show the football frequently here and offer free wifi, so it’s a good place to make your base for the afternoon. The free wifi is a blessing for those who want to bet on the game and to use platforms like OddsChecker to compare betting offers and pick which ones cover the Indonesian league.
Depending on when you arrive, there could be a variety of games available to view, but if you feel like getting a taste for the real Indonesian supporters then try to pick a local match. The football league here is incredibly popular and fans are fiercely loyal to their teams. Whilst it can be nice to watch a team from wherever you’re from, it’s certainly exciting to sit in on an Indonesian match with some die-hard fans. It’s a great way to spend a sporty weekend in Jakarta.
Learn the Ancient Art of Japanese Sword Fighting
If you’re feeling all riled up from that football match then maybe it’s time to expel some of that energy with a bit more sport. Kendo is the art of Japanese sword-fighting and it’s incredibly popular in Jakarta. One organisation that really helps to bring the sport to the masses is the Kenyukai/Jakarta Kendo Association. The JKA is a non-profit community organisation, which prides itself on widening the circle of kendo practitioners in Jakarta. The club has been around since 1990, so they’ve had plenty of time to practice!
This club is the largest in Indonesia and so it is the easiest for beginners to practice in. The JKA practice in two different dojos, but those who are new to the sport should visit the Jakarta Japan School Dojo during practice hours if they’d like to have a try. Before you begin you’ll be given a full safety briefing, asked to fill in a couple of forms and then you’ll be taught step by step the basics of Kendo. Although you’re unlikely to be pulling any of the moves you see in martial arts films, you’ll be guaranteed to learn a lot and who knows, maybe you’ll find an unlikely new hobby.
Go Rock Climbing
If you’ve managed to fit all of that into one day then you deserve a good, long sleep! Once you’re wide awake and raring to go again then rock climbing is next on the agenda. Many of us have tried rock climbing on indoor walls and whilst that’s great fun, it’s so much more exciting being in the great outdoors. If you make your way to the Plaza Festival Kuningan then you’ll find a slightly incongruous outdoor climbing wall. It’s a great way to spend a sporty weekend in Jakarta.
The Plaza Festival is largely a row of restaurants which look out onto the climbing wall. Those who are afraid of the limelight might want to sit this one out in that case! The Indonesian Rock Climbing Federation built this wall so that their national athletes could practice, but quickly became aware that there were plenty of beginners that wanted a go too. Now the wall is open for everyone to try, you just need to get set up with some kit and wait for your turn to climb. Avid climbers will be delighted at the presence of a timer, so that everyone can participate in the race to the top. Although it’s great fun to compete, the likelihood of you beating the Indonesian national champion is small, but hey, it’s fun trying!
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