The Homestay was built relatively recently, so it’s in good condition and an oasis if compared to its surroundings. Eveline Chandra is a great host, speaks good English and makes sure you are well looked after. She has worked professionally with western expats in her past career and now runs the Homestay with her son and daughter with the additional benefit of 2 grandchildren running around to keeping the place lively. She will take the time to answer your questions and enjoys socializing with her guests. I fell sick one day and Eveline was able to arrange food delivery to the room. There are actually two properties that are 100-200 meters apart one is managed by a son and the other by the daughter. The one with the rooftop deck is a more open style and more suitable for backpackers and with relatively less privacy. The rooftop acts as a common area place to socialize.
The place is kept sparkling clean. There are various types of rooms and it is advisable to call in advance for information on room sizes, windows and amenities. I took the largest room with A/C, flat screen TV, desk, chair, closet, attached bathroom (no wash basin though) and a window. Most rooms don’t have windows. The biggest disappointment was the poor Wi-Fi. It mostly did not work with Apple products for some reason – old router maybe? You will feel at home staying here.
I chose to stay at Evy’s based on Tripadvisor reviews. From the reviews I gathered that this would be a clean, comfortable place with a welcoming host. It turned out much better than that. This is an area where you find the struggles of Jakarta daily life unfold before your eyes, all compounded by the fact that the neighborhood got flooded twice during my stay. I was provided a boat by the host -- cool. The immediate neighborhood village of Karet Pasar Baru is poor, but have very friendly decent people, who will welcome you to their homes and share food with you. Don’t be intimated by the area and surrounding poverty. The surrounding area of Benhil is generally poor that sits on potentially the most expensive land in town. There are a few expensive homes across the river within 300-400 meters from Evy’s Homestay. This area is one of the older parts of Jakarta that lies within the Golden Triangle not too far from some Luxury apartments and hotels. A walk around the neighborhood’s narrow alleys suggests that people watching, cleaning house floors, washing clothes and petty trading is the dominant activity here. The daily grind of Jakarta commoners can be seen and felt here. This is great neighborhood to capture real life up close with your camera. Bring your sense of adventure, as these homestays are not for everyone.
Now, there is no direct access by car to the homestay. One must walk about 200-300 meters on narrow lanes and an equally narrow walking bridge to reach the Homestay. I suggest you call-in ahead for the housekeeper to pick you up from the main road. For novice travellers the first approach to the homestay can be a bit intimidating, especially if you arrive in the evening. Once you are over your first impression, the neighborhood starts to grow on you. You want to know more about everyone who lives around here. I am sure their life stories would make for good reading. As I walked to my homestay every day, I would find a number of fishermen trying their luck - not a hobby but a necessity. People started to recognize and greet me.
The neighborhood sits on the side of a filthy river. That seems to function as the Mother of all trashcans. The government seems to be least concerned.
The neighborhood is generally safe. As a homestay, you cannot wrong with this place. You will have a super clean comfortable place, a very helpful host, a neighborhood and atmosphere that is never boring and above all, life of real Jakarta up close.
One of my favorite activities was to capture life on pixels as I walked around the neighborhood with kids in tow shouting Mister Mister Mister Photo Photo Photo.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This homestay is not a hotel but it's like a dorm so most of the tenants come from other cities or other counties who work in Jakarta. Our location is in the middle of Jakarta urban village, it's on an alley, so you must walk around 50 meter from the street. Here you can see and learn the real Indonesian lifestyle. ... more less