South East Asia is known for its colourful and varied markets, where you can buy just about anything that you desire. And in Jakarta, a city that boasts more than 173 shopping malls, many of which are opulent shopping meccas, it would be easy to settle for all that endless glossy marble and air conditioned comfort, never setting foot in the more traditional markets (pasars).
In an attempt to discover some of the pasars throughout Jakarta, a journey bespoke will endeavour to visit a different pasar each month and report back to you, our curious and adventurous reader. So to kick things off, herewith is our first pasar, Pasar Mayestik.
Located in Jakarta Selatan (South Jakarta), Pasar Mayestik is one of Jakarta’s best known markets. When we first arrived in Jakarta, I racked the brains of both my local and expat friends, for information on the best pasars in Jakarta. The general consensus was a visit to Pasar Mayestik is a must. First and foremost, this market is known for all things crafty including a huge range of fabric and haberdashery.
The market is set over multiple levels, accessed by a combination of stairs and escalators. The lowest level features a vast array of fresh produce, presented with great care. It is here that you will find all your fresh fruit and veggie needs as well as poultry, beef, lamb and goat.
The next level features a mixture of food and non-food stalls including bags full of dried noodle, pulses & seeds and nuts as well as an amazing assortment of snack foods, all sold by weight. Sacks full of different rice varieties are also available and make for a beautiful sensory display.
Interspersed are stalls selling kitchen and laundry items as well as stalls selling gift wrap, boxes, ribbon etc. This level is also great for all your party needs including plasticware, decorations, party bags etc.
The remaining floors are a crafty person’s paradise with fabric galore! Stunning batik tulis (batik design drawn by hand) as well as some clothing and accessory shops can be found here.
The true magic of Pasar Mayestik can can be found on the top floor. It is here that you will find highly skilled tailors and seamstresses working their trade behind some of the oldest sewing machines I have ever seen. Curiously, we observed predominantly men working the machines. The finer needlework was being completed by women. Together, they were creating the most stunning bespoke garments, featuring intricate detailing.
It is also here that you can take your fabric, along with either a picture of a garment that you would like copied, or a pattern (or even your own garment that you would like copied) and the tailors can make it to fit you perfectly.
Surrounding the pasar are a myriad of other small businesses including an abundance of haberdashery shops as well as eating establishments. It could take you a day to simply check out these shops without setting foot into the actual pasar.
Verdict: Pasar Mayestik must be at the top of your list, especially if you are looking for anything crafty or to do with fabric. It is well-organised, clean and modern – a delight to visit!
Jl Tebah 3, 1
Jakarta Selatan 12120
Telephone: (021) 7252999
Official Facebook :Pasar Mayestic
Words: Jo Photography: a journey bespoke