Discover Jakarta with the curated online city guide JKTGo

Traddional wear in Jakarta

Traddional wears in Jakarta

I’ve been to Jakarat several times and got stuck in the traffic jams for uncountable hours but I still want to come there and get stuck more and more in the future to discover it’s world. For me, Jakarta is always a mystery city, I’d say it’s a “sleeping beauty”. People all know the capital of Indonesia but most don’t know the city name comes from the word Jayakarta, and Old Javanese word meaning “victorious deed” or “complete victory”.  Jakarta is sometimes called The Big Durian, an Indonesian equivalent of the Big Apple for New York.  And if you want to explore Jakarta from a local view then let’s browse the city with Ian Wongso, CEO and co-founder of JKTGo.

Ian, Angel Chyntia & Lydia Sju - the co-founders of JKTGo

Ian, Angel Chyntia & Lydia Sju – the co-founders of JKTGo

Does your background relate to Travel & Tourism industry?

Hi Minh! No, I have a background in media world – I was a writer at High End Magazine, and Indonesian based magazine – and Indonesia Tatler – also, I was a project coordinator at a branding agency, A.S Louken. However, I do have a personal interest for the travel industry since I was a kid.  : )

When and why did you start JKTGO? Why not IndoGo?

The idea of JKTGO came up sometimes on May – I’m just discussing some opportunity that me and my current partners, Angel Chyntia & Lydia Sju can create – and we just hit it when we are talking about how awfully hard to find a place in the city. Yes, despite we have many other blogs and media, considering the facts that people are still having a hard time, means that there’s still an empty questions that needs to be answered. Why not Indogo? Well, we wanted to tackle our very own city first to understand the market – plus, it’s always best to introduce a new brand to the market in a slow, yet steady manner.

I see that JKTGO has got People Choices Award at Echelon Indonesia – e27, why did you startup get it?

jkt trak

Yes we did – and we can’t be more thankful. Why do we got it? Oh geez that’s a toughie – well perhaps you should ask them? Hahaha

Who are target users of your site? Travellers travelling to Jakarta or Indonesians and why? The main language is English?

Indonesian Batik and Ikat tradditional fabrics

Indonesian Batik and Ikat tradditional fabrics in an international fashion show

The main target user of the site is Jakarta society and visitors (both local and internationals) – which are in the middle upper section. However most of our visitors (93%) of them are from Jakarta – where we think that these are the users that has a problem in the first place.

And the reason why we put up with English is that we have been noticing that a lot of media has been taking a shift in presenting the information in English – and we also did a preliminary survey where people revealed that English language suits them best when reading.

I’ve learned that the site is covering several fields: restaurants, information, hotel booking, and events… This is way too much. So what is the main thing and how about the role of each section to others?

Food & Drink is the main part of JKTGo

Food & Drink is the main part of JKTGo

Well, to start – food and drinks, activities (what you can do) and events in Jakarta – are the basic information that always has a heart among the user. People really engage with these information – as Jakarta has a lot to offer, yet people can’t seemed to find it yet. To add up hotel booking is to also slowly complete our vision, which is to become a trusted guide for the city. You can also noticed that we cover some City Talks – and Street Food – which serves a daily dose to what’ has happened on the city – and street food, has a very big market among the Jakarta society. But, considering their high mobility, we can place them like any other spot on our food & drinks section.

Which one is harder: recruiting end-users or recruiting partners?

I would have to say both has an equal challenge.

End users in Indonesia don’t like to be persuaded, they have to be presented with something (but not excessively) and if they like it – they go for it.

For partners, is also challenging – but with good end results that we propose, and the amount of credibility that we put in, we have to say, life has been great so far : )

How about the marketing channels that work? the ratio of traffic, ROI matter… and the most efficient source?

I would answer this along with number 8

The role of mobile and social? Your Instagram channel perhaps the strongest social channel with 21,600 followers and hundreds of likes for each photo? Why not FB or Pinterest?

jktgo instagram

Social media has played a major part in our brand – and we can’t be more thankful than that. Instagram has captured the heart of Jakarta – and it’s very addictive, it’s basically what people see when they got up, before to bed – and even during dull times. During our research, FB still plays a role among the society – but not as strong as Instagram. I would have to say it’s a habit that Indonesian people have – that they are very visual.

How can customers can book and pay via your website? Or just affiliate links for them to buy from other sites. Any special online buying behaviors you’ve seen?

No answer.

From the above things, what is the main revenue source now or in the future?

No answer.

There are many online travel guide, restaurant reviews, restaurant booking site in Indonesia: Urbanesia, Qraved, IndoTable, InfoJajan, or the regional/global guys: Zomato, OpenRice…so how can JKTGo differentiate from these sites and increase brand awareness?

How can JKTGo differentiate itself from similar sites

How can JKTGo differentiate itself from similar sites?


The main difference of JKTGO is on how the information is presented  – every place that  basically comes into the website has been proved by our team – and every recommendation (on the what you might like places) has also been hand picked, and selected by our team (which knows Jakarta like the back of their hand) – simply put, we are a curated online city guide. And we’d like to place ourselves as a Jakarta City Guide instead of directory – as it’s with our vision to guide, and help to navigate people, not to just show them what are the places that you can see.

It seems that your business it doesn’t break even yet?! so how can you grow your venture and any plan about funding?
No answer.

Your 2014’s goals?

Our main goal is to deepen our market more within Jakarta – as we have a very big goal which is to make JKTGO a platform where all Jakartans society – both visiting and staying, used for their city life, and most importantly, accessible for all.

 Facts and Figures about Jakarta

Minangkabau girls

Minangkabau girls

  • Jakarta is the largest city of Indonesia with more than 28 million people living in greater Jakarta.
  • It also has several name in the past: Sunda Kelapa (397-1527), Jayakarta (1527-1619), Batavia (1619-1942), and Djakarta (1942-1972).
  • Jakarta got Independence in 1945 from Dutch East India Company.
  • The city of Jakarta offers you a perfect mixture of western architecture and traditional Indonesian culture.
  • Jakarta is a well connected destination served by the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport.
  • There are 13 rivers that flow through Jakarta, including the Ciliwung Riverdividing the city in two, western and eastern.
  • There are six areas or municipalities that make up Jakarta, the largest being East Jakarta with 2.7 million people, followed by West Jakarta, South Jakarta, North Jakarta, Thousand Islands, and Central Jakarta.  The Thousand Islands is made up of 105 small islands in the Java Sea, popular for diving and other water activities.

From WorldPopulationReview

“Jakarta isn’t just the most populous city in Indonesia; it’s also the most populous in Southeast Asia and the 13th most populated city on earth. The official metropolitan area, known as Jabodetabek, is the second largest in the world, and the metropolis’s suburbs extend even further. The entire area has a population well past 28 million, which makes it one of the largest conurbations on earth. It’s also one of the fastest-growing cities on earth (population), growing faster than Beijing and Bangkok, with a population density in the city proper of 15,342 people per square kilometer (39,740/square mile).”

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Minh Bui is a seasoned eCommerce veteran from both Southeast Asian startups and corporates in online commerce and offline retail chain as well. He's also an avid Asia explorer and love to enjoy local foods and learn cultural differences in Asia.

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