Tangerang is a bustling city of 1.5 million found some 20 kilometres west of Jakarta, which has effectively grown into a suburb of the capital city. As one of Indonesia's largest industrial centres, Tangerang is a place that attracts visitors mainly for commercial reasons. Those seeking a more relaxing holiday tend to travel a few hours beyond Tangerang further west to the beaches of Anyer or north to Tanjung Pasir. As a business centre, golf is one of the favourite pastimes here with several good golf courses to choose from. Newer residential developments that largely house families commuting to Jakarta for work feature modern shopping plazas and recreation centres. Tangerang has a sizeable ethnic Chinese population, many of which are descendents of those who emigrated from China during the 18th- and 19th-century Dutch colonial era to work as labourers. Boen Tek Bio Temple, built about 1750, remains one of the Chinese community's most important places of worship in Tangerang.
While many of Tangerang's rustic charms have been squeezed out by modern development, the city has retained some of its age-old sights of colourful open-air markets and streets alive with hawkers. Along the narrow lanes of Pasar Lama, the 'old market' of Chinatown, are dozens of stands loaded with fresh produce, snacks and cheap goods. The revered 18th-century Boen Tek Bio temple is here, too, which is especially lively and packed with devotees during Chinese New Year and other holy festivals. Set to be a new landmark for Tangerang's Chinese community, the Benteng Heritage Museum will feature a collection of antiques of Chinese origin on display in a beautifully restored 19th century building. The museum will be fully open on the auspicious date of 11 November 2011. The sparkling dome-roofed mosque, Masjid Raya Al-Azhom, is one of the most sacred and impressive religious sites for Tangerang's majority Islamic population.
Tangerang Restaurants & Dining
Tangerang may not be a dining destination extraordinaire but as a good-sized city it has a decent range of cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets. The most variety can be found in Tangerang's many shopping centres, most of which have a food court serving fresh and inexpensive local fare, plus trendy cafes and fast-food outlets including Pizza Hut and KFC. Lembur Kuring on Jalan Benda Raya is known for its Sundanese seafood specialties. Seafood is also a highlight at the Telaga restaurant at Metropolis Town Square serving octopus and freshly grilled fish with scenic views across a reservoir. A favourite for kids, Restoran Istana Nelayan in the Serpong Town Square area features seafood, steak and Sundanese cuisine in a garden setting, as well as pony rides and a small zoo. Good-value Japanese fare can be found at Hoka Hoka Bento in Lippo Supermall Karawaci, which serves teriyaki, katsu and udon dishes. Pisa Kafe at Menara Matahari on Jalan Boulevard Palem Raya No 7 puts on live music shows to enjoy with its Italian meals and ice cream treats. Salsa Food City near Summarecon Mal Serpong is a one-stop shop for a wide variety of dining spots including Sundanese, Chinese and western restaurants, with live music daily.
Tangerang nightlife lacks the excitement and variety of Jakarta or Bali, but there are some spots around the city to enjoy an evening out. Some Tangerang hotels have bars with cocktails and live music, while a number of cafes are open into the late hours for enjoying a beer or two after dinner. Those seeking a livelier nightlife scene make the trip 20 kilometres east to Jakarta, to delve into the capital's many pulsating discos, upscale lounges and bars.
With some of the largest malls in the country, Tangerang is clearly a city that loves to shop. In this fast-growing metropolis, shopping centres anchor nearly every new residential development, most offering much more than simply retail outlets and supermarkets. Massage treatment kiosks and spas, fitness centres, karaoke, children's play areas, swimming pools, bowling alleys and cinemas are among the facilities found at Tangerang shopping complexes. One of the newest is Tangerang City Mall (Tangcity), which features movie theatres, cafes with free wifi and many shops within its vast 3.5-hectare spread. Another giant shopping facility is the Lippo Supermall Karawaci, where an amusement park and bowling alley in addition to hundreds of shops may be found. Serpong Town Square has sportswear, electronics, many food outlets and a water park for the kids. Those seeking a more traditional market environment go to Summarecon Mal Serpong, which has outdoor food stalls and a farmer's market in addition to its good range of shops and cinemas in its air-conditioned interior.
Ocean Park, one of Southeast Asia's largest aquatic centres, is Tengarang's most popular attraction. Families flock here to cool down and splash around on the water slides and wave pool set in front of a Disneyland-style castle. More adventurous types try the flying fox (zip-line) cable, while there are also shallow pools for younger swimmers to enjoy in safety. Golf is one of the most popular activities among Tangerang's up-and-coming business executives, with many golf courses that also welcome visitors to enjoy a round or two in refreshingly green and peaceful surrounds. Some of the major golf clubs around Tangerang are Soewarna Golf Club, Modern Golf & Country Club, Damai Indah Golf and Gadang Raya Padang Golf & Klub. The Soewarna club is open to non-members only on weekends. At Pondok there is also a tennis court, while Gadang Raya Padang has a swimming pool and tennis court in addition to its 18 holes.
Tangerang, located only 20 kilometres west of Jakarta, is easily reached by road or rail from the capital city. Tangerang also has its own international airport, Soekarno Hatta, which is the fifth-busiest in Asia and in 2010 its passenger traffic level even surpassed that of Singapore's famed Changi airport. Soekarno Hatta airport receives several daily domestic flights from all of Indonesia's major cities including Denpasar in Bali, and regular direct international flights from several locations across Asia and beyond including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Manila, Dubai, Sydney and Perth.
By road, metered taxis may be hired in Jakarta for the two-hour trip, costing about US$10. Several buses make the journey from Jakarta daily, with the super-cheap though far from comfortable Mayasari Bakti line offering the trip for only 6500 rupiah (less than US$1). Executive air-conditioned buses depart from several locations around Jakarta and cost 11000 rupiah (US$1.25).
By train, express and luxury air-conditioned service to Tangerang may be taken from four stations in Jakarta: Gambir in Central Jakarta, Manggarai and Sudirman stations in South Jakarta, and the Tanah Abang train station on Jakarta's west side.