A sprawling city that blends the old and the new, Jakarta is sure to be at the centre of some of the most electric AFF Suzuki Cup action given the renowned passionate and colour that Indonesia brings to the regional showpiece.

The Gelora Bung Karno is one of the most iconic venues anywhere in Asian football and when it’s packed for national matches – as is expected to be the case for the upcoming finals – there’s few better dates on the global sporting calendar.

Add to that the vibrancy of the tournament’s largest host city and there’s a myriad of things to keep any traveling AFF Suzuki Cup supports well occupied during the six-week long festival of football.


City: Jakarta

Population: 10.6 million

Currency: Rupiah (1IDR = 0.000067 USD)

Stadium: Gelora Bung Karno

Local clubs: Persija Jakarta

The GBK as its commonly known will host Indonesia’s second group stage clash with Timor-Leste in what’s sure to be a keenly fought affair on November 13 before the Philippines are the visitors 12 days later to this famous venue that is sure to be packed to the rafters with a vocal and knowledgeable supporter base but there’s also plenty to sample in Jakarta outside of the football.


What to do: Monas Tower/National History Museum – Jakarta’s most famous momentum stands as a record of the struggle for independence stands on ‘Merdeka (Independence) Square' and is a place well worth a visit to understand the long and often complex history of the city and Indonesia more broadly.

What to eat: Soto Betawi – Home to thousands of sprawling islands with a rich and varied cuisine you can sample the full range of Indonesian fare in the nation’s capital but for an authentic Jakarta dish Soto Betawi comes highly recommended.

A coconut milk broth adds a rich flavour to the beef and potatoes that comprise the main element of the dish and which gives it a more creamy taste than some of the other variants of soto (soup) that can be found across the archipelago.

Useful phrases: As always throughout the region learning even just a couple of simple phrases is a surefire way to charm the locals and even just the standard greeting of apa kabar (how are you?) is a nice way to break the ice, with the response of I’m good (baik) hopefully coming your way in return.

Where to watch the other games: Cafes, restaurants, street side stalls and dedicated bars – there’s no shortage of places to watch football in one of the region’s most passionate hotspots when it comes to the global game. There are dozens of sports-specific venues in the city – many in the popular Kemang area – and they are sure to be a good bet for a lively atmosphere no matter which match is on at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Where to stay: In a city the size of Jakarta it’s no surprise to find that there is the whole gamut of accommodation options – from up-scale hotels to backpacker hostels, with something for all kinds of budgets.

Amongst the four main districts of the city the central area (Jakarta Pusat) tends to be the most popular for visitors as it’s within walking distance of many places of interest – whether they be things to do, see, eat or drink.

Stadium access: Located in the central area of the city, the Gelora Bung Karno is fairly easy to access if you’re staying in that fairly popular part of Jakarta but with the city a sprawling stretch of land, coming form further out means navigating the notoriously tricky matchday traffic and you want to allow plenty of time for delays along the way with upwards of 100,000 fans expected for the two home matches.