Jalan Surabaya is in the posh neighbourhood of Menteng where the houses are huge, the pretty tree lined streets are clean & quiet & there is an air of calmness. The antiques are sold in the long stretch of little wooden shops (some 40 or so of them, I reckon!) along part of the street. You may want to book a taxi or rent a car to get here & back, especially if you intend to purchase large items, since other means of public transport doesn't seem available (well, this is a posh part of town where presumably everyone living here have cars!)
Since there are so many shops, it will take you at least an hour to cover all of them from one end to the other and that's just for browsing, more time if you decide to stop at every shop, even longer if you decide to bargain & buy! There's lots to see as they sell everything from books, jewelry, wooden craft items, silverware, beautiful bottles, old typewriters, cameras, telescopes, microscopes - the list goes on & on & on! Shopowners are very friendly & obliging, often allowing you to photograph their wares (or even themselves!) & never pushy to secure a sale.
We got there at about 9.30am when most shops had only just opened, which was good as most of them were looking to "pecah telur", literally translated as "break egg" meaning shopowners would be eager to secure a purchase from the first person who walked into their shop, ensuring good luck throughout the day. Again, eager but never pushy.
So we took our time to browse, stopping to enquire prices of items that interested us, made a mental note, continued browsing & returned later to negotiate a price for the items we wanted. Between my friend & I, we ended up with some silverware & a pair of vintage sunglasses & were pleased with our purchases & the prices we paid.
Yes, there's a dirty river right behind the shops. We were fortunate as it didn't smell when we were there, but you may want to bring along something (whatever works for you) in case it does! Even though you're in the shade, it can get quite hot, so, dress light & maybe bring along a fan, tissues/wet wipes (also for wiping your hands as some items may be dusty) & some drinking water. We did also spot a nice cafe across the street, so, if the heat (or smell) gets to you, I suppose you can go there to seek refuge, have a drink & use the loo.
I foresee that we'd most likely be back here during our next trip to Jakarta. Even if you don't end up buying anything, it's a great place to visit & a bit of a trip down memory lane as you're bound to spot something from your childhood or something that your grandparents/parents owned.
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