Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Fine Day in Taman Ancol, Jakarta



If you're in Jakarta on a weekend, and has gotten tired of the massive and droolling malls, you can always go to Taman Ancol. It's a themepark near the coastal area about 1hour away.

It's advisable to take a private car. But if you're adventurous souls like us, you can always take the busway. Busway is the main transportation mode in jakarta, operates like a metro rail but utilizes bus with just a special allocated lane on the road.

Be sure to print a copy of the routes, or what they call corridors of the busway. Get it from the internet. You will need it since going there will entail a few transfers from one busway corridor to another.

The nearest busway station from our place is Karet. From Karet, we went straight to the last station of Kota. I've been in that station before, when we went shopping to ManggaDua. (But it's another story altogether)From kota station, just take a cab going to Taman Ancol. It's only 10 minutes away.

We were there too early. Apparently, even on a Sunday, theme parks here opens at 11am. The Taman Ancol is an immense beachfront property. There are actually 4 themeparks within Ancol. There's Dufan (roller coaster rides & the like), Atlantis (pool area & slides for swimming), Samudra (dolphins sea lion shows, animal actors, 4D theaters) and Sea World (various huge aquariums with all sorts of strange fishes.)

Each of these parks is huge, and is a themepark in itself with separate entrance fees. Since my hubby & I aren't keen on rides, and we are reserving our swimming for our weekend in Bali, we decided to go for Samudra & Seaworld.

Samudra will cost you about 70,000 Rp and Sea World a little less. Compared to themeparks in the Philippines, this is cheaper. The first program we watched is the Dolphin Show. For awhile I felt what animal activists felt, when i went inside the tent of the dolphin show. The pool for the dolphins are really cramped, and since the place is hot. I bet the waters are hot, too.

There was a dolphin show in Ortigas, Pasig, Philippines before, which drew a lot of protests from animal activitists. But the dolphins in Ocean Adventure in Subic Bay, is better. They are kept in cages, that are in the sea itself. So, the dolphins have more room to move around.

I hope since Ancol is near the sea, they must have a channel where the dolphins can swim in a more open area.

They have several dolphins. The cutest are the false killer whales. They're huge and scary, but when they do their tricks, they look so cute. Funny trivia, the trainers do their tricks with the animals, with accompanying music. The music was a remix version of Freddie Aguilar's classic song, Anak! It's very popular here, and this will not be the last time, we will encounter that song! Everyone was grooving to the Bahasa lyrics.

Other interesting shows were the Sea Lion Show, the 4D theater (the one playing is called Creatures of the Deep), Variety of animals (birds, dogs etc.) doing tricks, they also have a small room filled with aquarium of fishes, but its not really that impressive. My hubby & i just went inside to rest in the sofas of the air-conditioned aquarium.

If you've been to Disneyland in the US and/or Ocean Park in Hongkong like us, you will be hard-pressed to be impressed with the facilities of Taman Ancol. However, taking-out your biases aside, Ancol is a great place to spend a weekend, with your kids or friends, if you need something new to do and see in Jakarta.

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