Ask locals about The Best Markets of Jakarta and it’s likely they will list off the same destinations: Pasar Mayestik & Pasar Tanah Abang for fabrics, Pasar Modern for fresh produce and Pasar Asemka for art & craft supplies. Another market that is well known is Mangga Dua – but as Liz and I recently discovered, Mangga Dua is in fact a district and not the name of an actual market. We realised this as we drove to North Jakarta just a couple of weeks ago.
As we approached our destination, my driver Pak Asep asked us which pasar in Mangga Dua we wanted to visit. I replied, ‘Pasar Mangga Dua’, to which he responded, ‘Tapi ada banyak pasar di daerah Mangga Dua’ (there are lots of markets in Mangga Dua area). It suddenly dawned on us that Mangga Dua wasn’t the name of one single destination. Hence, a quick decision had to be made as to which market we would visit. We settled on Mangga Dua Square, based on my driver’s recommendations (ie, it is clean, quiet during mid-week trading and has a good selection of most things that all the markets in Mangga Dua offer). Decision made! So *Ayo Ke Mangga Dua Square we went!
Examples of Products for Sale at Mangga Dua Square
Sports Uniforms, Trophies and Embroidery Services
Uniforms and Hi-Vis Wear
Electronics and Photography Equipment
Fabrics and Tailoring
Traditional Chinese Clothing and Accessories
Christian Faith Merchandise
Kids Clothing and Costumes
Gaharu – Aromatherapy
Perhaps our most unexpected and curious find at Mangga Dua Square was ‘Gaharu’. We had noticed numerous streets in Jakarta with this name but did not understand its meaning until we chatted to Pak Sunardi at his showroom, ‘Central Gaharu’, on Upper Ground level of Mangga Dua Square.
Pak Sunardi explained that Gaharu (commonly known as Agarwood) is formed when the heartwood of the Aquaria tree becomes infected with a special type of mould. As the infection develops, the tree produces a dark resin in response to this attack. The greater the infection, the more resin that is produced. This resin called ‘gaharu’, is aromatic and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance. Chips of this wood are used for incense and also for perfume.
Advice when shopping at Mangga Dua Square
– The best time to go shopping in Mangga Dua is in the morning and during the weekdays, as the crowds are not too overwhelming.
– Bring only your basics eg: wallet and phone in a secure, zip up bag.
– The local malls of Mangga Dua offer little or no AC so dress accordingly whilst still keeping modesty in mind.
– Practical shoes such as closed-toe shoes are also a good idea for comfort.
– Ideally bring cash as not all shops have card facility.
– In most instances it is acceptable to bargain with the vendor.
What’s in a name? The name, ‘Mangga Dua’ means two mangoes.
Mangga Dua Square
Jl. Gunung Sahari Raya No.1, RT.11/RW.6
West Pademangan, North Jakarta City
Open 7 days: 10am – 9pm
Stay tuned for future posts as we visit more pasars in the Mangga Dua district including:
ITC Mangga Dua (known for its women’s fashion and accessories), Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua and WTC Mangga Dua.
Keen to explore some of our other recommended pasars in Jakarta? Here are a few for you to check out:
Pasar Mayestik – Batik and Fabric specialists
Pasar Modern – Fresh Produce in Bintaro
Pasar Tanah Abang – South East Asia’s largest Fabric Market
Pasar Bunga Rawa Belong – Indonesia’s largest Wholesale Flower Market
*Ayo Ke Mangga Dua Square – Let’s go to Mangga Dua Square
* Pasar – market
Words: Jo Stevens Photography: a Journey Bespoke