Jakarta’s nickname is the Big Durian. Like the fruit, it’s a shock at first sight and smell, it’s a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 10 million people packed into an urban spread. The contrast between the obvious wealth of Indonesia’s elite and the atrocious deficiency of the urban poor is another shock. If one is inside a tinted-window Mercedes turning left at the supermall with its Gucci shop, then definitely on the other side of the coin, there is one buggy heading into muddy lanes full of beggars and uneven iron shacks. It is traffic and humidity – but so what? This country has thrived and survived years with rich culture, religion and ethnicity one cannot see in other places. This place is also one of Asia’s most exciting, most lively cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from cosmopolitan shopping at the many luxurious shopping centers to one of the hippest nightlife scenes in Southeast Asia.