If you are tired of the plush surroundings of Plaza Senayan or Taman Anggrek, and are looking for a “unique” shopping experience, Taman Puring might be worth a try.
Located near Mayestik on the Southern parts of Jakarta, probably the only way to get there is by a local taxi. See Map location
This is a small bustling market place similar to the craft markets in Bangkok. Don’t expect to find polished shop fronts with air conditioning and pleasant sales assistants. This is not a place for the faint hearted. Do however expect to find interesting factory excess items at amazingly low prices.
Shops are squeezed tightly together and merchants use every inch of space to display their goods. There is even stuff hanging from the ceilings! Clothing, leather products and footwear would be the main attractions here although if you are into home improvement, you would be able to pick up the odd power drill and chain saw.
Stories carry both authentic items which have been rejected by the many factory’s based in Jakarta as well as poor quality knock offs. It will be up to your keen retail senses to pick out the gems from the roughs. I was lucky enough to find a pair of genuine GEOX loafers (at least they seemed genuine) which were normally retailing for EUR $150. I finally managed to get them for a steal at US$20.
Unlike street markets in China, you won’t have the opportunity of doing any serious bargaining with all the accompanying drama, store keepers usually give you a flat out “no” if you give a ridiculous starting price. Nevertheless the same rule applies that unless you are happy paying for the product, walk away.
Foreigners will stick out like a sore thumb at this market, more so if you are carrying a bulky SLR camera like I was. This is a strictly local hangout where Indonesians do their shopping. The best finds are genuine products which have been rejected by the factories because of some minor defect that is usually noticeable anyway. Lots of rummaging is required but it will be worth the while if you find a great bargain. If you see something that you like and it fits, consider yourself lucky because what you see is what you get. If you are really lucky, you might even find the swanky boutique price tag still attached.
Just a word of caution though, take precautions to have short breathers outside the crammed allies as smoking is common and there isn’t much ventilation. You’ll also be gasping for breath at the great buys that you can find if you look hard enough.