This is a post in response to this post by Travel Lush, a fellow traveller and someone who currently is residing in Jakarta. I could relate to her entire post. When I was living in Jakarta I was quite frustrated that it was hard to find good quality basic items. Cheap and chic or “bueno bonito barato” did not seem to exist.
A lot of the well made products and international brands are made in Indonesia (i.e. Nike, Massimo Dutti, Crate and Barrel, beautiful kaftans, teak furniture, etc.), but sadly many are not available locally or if they are then they cost is exponentially more expensive than how much you would pay for it abroad.
I learned many tips that helped me during our 4 years in Jakarta. And though there are many new stores now, perhaps you will find some of this information useful. Please contact them before diving into Jakarta traffic to make sure that the addresses are up-to-date and expect prices to be higher to account for some inflation.
KNIVES AND CUTLERY
via IKEA Indonesia
For cutlery try the Kedaung Group Housewares (Jalan Senopati Raya No. 71 – 73, Jakarta Selatan | +6221 520 4170 to 71) They have several branches in Jakarta but the one in Senopati is the biggest. If you know anyone from the Philippine Embassy, they can share with you their 10% discount. Or try asking them how you can get a Kedaung Card to get a discount everytime you purchase. You can find a write up for the smaller one in Kemang here. Other Kedaung shops in Jakarta:
Menteng (021) 390 5275 | Kaliangke 5437 3121 | Kemang 7179 0208 | Benda 781 4801 | Radah Saleh 398 7400
When we travel abroad we always stop by IKEA to buy home accessories like this and bring it with us back to Jakarta. It was so much cheaper. I heard that IKEA Indonesia is already open in Indonesia. You are so lucky! These knives seem pretty good for Jakarta prices.
SHOWER CURTAIN ROD
For proper curtain rods, there is the possibility of custom made ones. Try to go to Jalan Fatmawati. There are several aluminium shops that can custom make a curtain rod for you. It’s worth a try if you haven’t found a curtain rod at any of the ACE Hardware stores. ACE was a favorite of mine in Jakarta, except for the one in Pondok Indah. The staff were not very good to me when I shopped there.
But a very affordable work around can be made with an IKEA curtain rod like this. More bathroom curtain rod IKEA hacks: 1 2 3.
via IKEA USA
Admittedly the IKEA selection is a bit disappointing, but I wouldn’t mind a basic one like this in tempered glass.
For dishware I managed to find beige square plates with matching bowls etc. for a fraction of the price by going to garage type outlet stores in Fatmawati. My favorite is Familys Household Ceramics (Jl. R.S. Fathmawati No. 2-3 Cilandak I No. 3 Jakarta Selatan | (021) 7650991 | 0813 80571077). They are open air and very dusty but totally worth it. My complete set for 6 persons + 6 pieces large servingware for only IDR 640,000. I was able to ask for a 5% discount. The items I got were overruns from Marks and Spencer and Debenhams so just be sure to check for defects.
If you are not up to dirtying it up, then Kedaung would be your best bet.
If you go to Bali, make sure to drop by the outlet stores of Jenggala for some accent pieces in your dishware collection.
GLASSWARE AND CRYSTAL
Kedaung has cheap but nice glass items. It’s all abut luck though because of the limited stocks (very common in Indonesian stores) and people tend to snap up good deals very fast. I bought these Bohemian crystal glasses there.
Another place that is worth checking out is The Dewi Shop (Jl. RS. Fatmawati no. 67, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan 12150 | +6221 – 724 5476 / 720-1361 / 725 2024 |email@example.com | Owner Dewi Indra 0816 1145995) a hotel, restaurant and catering supplier that sells bakeware and so many other homeware. I bought the good quality items below and I am still using them now here in Berlin.
TOP SHEETS AND DUVET COVERS
I would go to expensive stores in Grand Indonesia or Pacific Place that are closing, for amazing quality high thread count stuff, and get the items at 70% discount because the stores were closing. When this was not possible, I would have them made here. This store in Mayestic is much more affordable and the quality is quite good. Look for Ibu Ning, she knows a little English. You can also go here and here for custom-made beddings. The latter is more expensive but they speak English and quality is guaranteed.
One time I got so frustrated getting some of my orders right that I decided to learn how to sew them. I made my own pillow cases.
Befriend a diplomat who loves wine and they can hook you up. The Duty Free shop near international school allows non-diplomats to go in (they don’t really check for an ID) and foreigners can get away with buying wine there. A Cheap okay bottle of wine can be had for 14 USD. It will be better than that 400k rupiah wine, that I wouldn’t even drink, I promise.
For clothes, TD and I would only ever buy on sale. Even then, we could only afford typical brands like Zara, Mango etc. When they go on sale, they basically become the normal price you would get them in the USA. It’s still not cheap, but at least it’s not such a rip-off. My tip would be to go on the super sales, but be wary.
- No all items in a rack may have the price that is announced. So watch the cashier like a hawk. One time in Zara I saw on item for sale for like 150,000, then I saw the cashier punch it in as 320,000. When I complained, they informed me that they mislabeled it. I had to insist to talk to their manager. Even then they wouldn’t give the item at the price that was on the tag. I am a bit ashamed to say that I had to namedrop, before they finally agreed to sell me the item at the price on the tag. Doesn’t it sound a bit fishy?
- There are also reported incidents of sale tag prices being peeled, only to discover that the price original price underneath is the same as the sale price or of very little difference. The latter has happened to me.
- I found Chez Bella a seller on FB who became a friend and on my last year or so, I would only buy clothes from her. The pants can never fit me though, because my booty is too huge even for an Indonesian large haha!
POTS AND PANS
I was fed up with pans breaking so I ended up investing in some high quality ones by ScanPan, a Danish company. It is sold in Informa in Gandaria City.
via Oz Kitchenware
Again I only bought when they were on sale. You can also check out Informa for cutlery and dishes.
IMPORTED FOOD PRODUCTS
For imported food products I love going to Grand Lucky Superstore on Sudirman. I end up buying everything there because compared to other supermarkets that cater to expats, on average their prices are lower. I found this out when I was doing some price checking for a multinational organization.
via Elder James
Another tip is to ask the staff for your specific brand of Mac n’ Cheese. In my experience they note down what you ask for and try to order it in your next shipment. Their staff are so helpful, you can even give your number and they will try to get in touch with you when they have what you are looking for.
For towels, I got really nice ones in Debenhams Senayan City when they were on sale. Just like my beddings, I would also check high end stores that were going out of business. They sell their towels at a huge discount and the quality is amazing.
via heart 2 heart
If you don’t find good deals at Debenhams or other malls stores, then go to Mayestic and haggle.
When I lived in Jakarta, I would get my Galderma and other toiletry stash when I went home to Manila, but if I ran out, I always had Grandlucky Superstore Sudirman to buy from. Again if there is specific you are looking for make sure to ask the staff. Sometimes things just magically appear after a few weeks.
via Beauty Junkee
Try looking for resellers of popular beauty brands and products (like Bath and Body, etc) on social media. There are a lot of internet sellers like this on FB, Instagram, etc. It just take time to do some research and inquiring, but there are many entrepreneurs out there who are bringing in products that aren’t officially available yet in Indonesia.
A few more notes
- You can tell that there is a trend here: buy only when it is on sale.
- Big sale month is June.
- When going to markets and other places, they only give a very small discount (especially to foreigners) like a few thousand rupiahs. If you get a 5% off, then that is very big already.
- For haggling, some basic shopping and counting in Bahasa Indonesia is required.
- Credit cards (if you can even get one) have many tie ups with stores than can give you discounts. It’s practically impossible to get a credit card in Indonesia, unless you know someone in the bank.
- I’ve gotten great deals buy getting shopping cards, but this only works if you are there for longer period because you need to gather points.
- Because of the crazy traffic, most stores deliver. They might not advertise or announce it but simply ask the staff.
- Different store carry different things, so if you don’t find what you are looking for in one store, don’t lose heart. Try another branch.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. If you know of some updated information about the stores or brands mentioned here, I would appreciate a comment or an email so I can update the information.
More practical yet fabulous Jakarta shopping tips and finds here.
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Justine of The Travel Lush says
This post is amazing! It’s so nice to read a whole post dedicated to helping me locate all these hard-to-find items in Jakarta! Seriously, there tips are wonderful. It looks like I have some major shopping to do 😉 It’s really interesting to hear that you could relate to the challenges I’ve faced finding certain things in Jakarta. Honestly, I was starting think it was just me who was having trouble locating these things. Three months in and I still don’t have a shower curtain rod! Is that bad? I’ve found them at ACE Hardware but none of them are small enough to fit in my shower. I will definitely look into having one made. And I’m definitely going to go to Grand Lucky Superstore as soon as I get a chance. I’ve found some of my favorite brands around Jakarta, but this sounds like it might be a great grocery store (and I haven’t found Kraft Mac & Cheese yet!). I will also have to give that duty free shop a visit. Which international school is it near? I can’t imagine buying a decent bottle of wine for $15. I haven’t even attempted to try some of the cheaper 400k wines here, like the one’s from Bali. I cannot imagine that they taste good, at all! Anyway, this information is awesome. I will be referring to it over and over again. And I will definitely give you some updated information as I visit these places. Thanks again 🙂
Dear Justine, noooooo do not try the ones from Bali. I had them when I was in Bali because they were being sold for 200k, but no they were still not worth it for me.
I can definitely relate to your post, even after 4 years in Jakarta so it is totally normal for you to feel this way! I learned to survive without a lot of things in Jakarta and it totally taught me not to be the perfectionist that I was before. I realized I could live with leaky shower doors, rust in my water pipes and much much more. Though tough, this is the beauty of expat life… you learn to be resourceful or to live with what you have haha!
If I am not mistaken, it is JIS. You will love Grand Lucky. It was my pleasure and I am so happy to help and I wish you luck! I am looking forward to hearing updates!
Happy new year,
I love this post and am currently looking for indonesian kaftans and would like to know if you have any contacts of stores or whosalers that have a variety od designs?
Happy 2015 to you too janice. Why thank you! Are you based in Indonesia? Unfortunately i am no longer based there, but if you are, then I would recommend that you go to chicmart because I loved the Kaftans they had there. Unfortunately I can no longer remember the brand. It’s a small store but I love the selection. Enjoy shopping!
This is a very, very helpful post! If I may add a few things, I’ve seen Cetaphil products in Century and Guardian for quite sometime now so I made a mental note not to lug (I bring a lot!) these anymore from Manila when I run out of the ones I brought last summer. The Ace Hardware in Pasaraya Blok M is bigger than most Aces so they must have wider/better selections, I suppose. Plus you can also go batik and wood carving shopping in the upper floors of the department store. And Grand Lucky in Sudirman has become a favorite of mine, it is within walking distance from the building where we attend church services every Sunday so it has become a habit to drop by there to pick up a few items that are not available or are cheaper (yes, it is possible) than in our local grocery.
Please be warned though when you find items that you love to stock up on those because the next time you go back it is possible that you won’t find them on the shelves and you may have to wait for a bit before they are back. This has happened to me multiple times in different stores involving local and imported products. All I can do is stock up and check the stores before I run out.