luxury vs ritual

March 30, 2010

My trip to Jakarta this month was supposed to be for a couple of days only, but I extended it till the weekend because I wanted to soak up Jakarta a bit more. I am so inspired by their culture; the kind people, the lifestyle, the food, the language, the fashion and of course the shopping mall on every corner.

But most of all, I’m so inspired by the culture of the women there. OMG seriously, they really really really take care of their appearance. Anywhere they go, even to go buy milk down the road, they are impeccably dressed and not a single hair out of place.

I would never go to Jakarta for my honeymoon. Not because I don’t like the place, but because there are just too many pretty girls walking around, toting Birkin bags in the mall. Seriously, they all look like celebs with make up and hair perfectly set and perfume that can fill up the whole room.

Of course I wouldn’t go to that extreme to be wearing a gallon of make up to go to the mamak stall, but I admire the way they really groom themselves. I always write in my blog how women should love themselves more and make effort to look, feel and smell good. So far, I think Indonesian women are the epitome of that.

And besides good genes and all those jamu they consume, I discovered their little secret.


Rich or poor, they frequent the spa on a regular basis; creambath, massage, body scrub, waxing, all sorts of heavenly body treatments. If in Malaysia, we see spa as luxury only if we have the time, Indonesian women see spa as a ritual. Like taking a shower in the morning. Which woman on earth wouldn’t agree to this culture?!!

They wake up really early in the morning just to do their hair before going off to work. That bit doesn’t sound so fun. I’d rather wear a wig than sacrifice sleep.

Because I had time on my hands, I agreed to be taken to a spa (without much persuasion, really) called Taman Sari. Taman Sari is under the umbrella of Mustika Ratu, so they have been established for many many years. This is one of the more high end spas and my god, it was so worth it. Because in Indonesia, massages are cheap. My one and a half hour massage was Rp. 190,000…how much is that in RM? Where’s my calculator… RM70. But remember, this was a high end spa.







The Javanese massage was sooo nice that I had to stop myself from dozing off because I didn’t want to waste any second being unconscious.


OK men, look away please. This is for the ladies.

The lady just slipped my towel off and asked, “Do you want a “chest” massage?”

What on earth…GOD NO!

I wanted to laugh, but I thought that would be mean. But perhaps she should’ve asked me before robbing me off my towel.

Afterwards, I had a hair wash. Their hairwash chair has massage options, OK!! It was awesomeeeee. I haven’t seen any in Malaysia so far. If you know any salon with massage chairs, do share please.





Fresh out of massage. So content.


With the very nice lady who did my hair

Taman Sari is a spa with customers from all over the world, including Miss Universe Venezuela 2009. Hey if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for all of us!



I’m back home in KL now, but am missing Jakarta. I’m starting to think I have ancestors from there because I have this fond affinity for the city!