Jakarta is administratively divided into the following named districts:
Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat) - An aptly named district and the site of Jakarta's symbol, the National Monument. The old part of Jakarta (Batavia), The Presidential palace, office buildings, hotels, Mangga Dua shopping centre, Bundaran HI (Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle) and the elite Menteng residential area are all found in Central Jakarta.
West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat) - Jakarta's Chinatown, this district includes museums, trading centres, nightlife entertainment centres, shopping centres and malls. This is also the site of Jakarta's old town.
South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan) - Where you can find upscale shopping centres, malls, restaurants, hotels, nightlife the entertainment centre, Blok M, Senayan sports complex, and affluent residential areas.
East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur) - Location of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Utan Kayu art community, Cibubur camping ground, industrial parks and Halim Perdanakusuma airport.
North Jakarta (Jakarta Utara) - Beautiful Thousand Islands, Ancol Bayfront City, and Kelapa Gading shopping centres.
Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, tends to be difficult due to poor signage and chaotic street names. Sometimes, the same name is used for different streets in different parts of the city, and it's often difficult to find the correct street/address without the postal code/region. A sign with a street name facing you indicates the name of the street you are about to enter, not that of the cross street.
Alleys off a main road are often simply numbered, in a sequence that may not be logical, so a street address like "Jl. Mangga Besar VIII/21" means house number 21 on alley number 8 (VIII) off or near the main road of Jl. Mangga Besar.
If you don't want to waste time, ask for the descriptions/name of nearby buildings, billboards, colour of the building/fence and the postal code of the address. If you still cannot find the address, start asking people in the street, especially ojek (motorcyle taxi drivers).
Jakarta's nickname among expats is the Big Durian, and like its fruit namesake it's a shock at first sight (and smell): a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 10 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl. The contrast between the obscene wealth of Indonesia's elite and the appalling poverty of the urban poor is incredible, with tinted-window BMWs turning left at the supermall with its Gucci shop, into muddy lanes full of begging street urchins and corrugated iron shacks. The city's traffic is in perpetual gridlock, and its polluted air is matched only by the smells of burning garbage and open sewers, and safety is a concern especially at night. There are few sights to speak of and most visitors transit through Jakarta as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind that rules and regulations are very rarely enforced in all aspects of life in Jakarta. This is not to abet you to break the rules, but simply to explain why many of its citizens act so haphazardly, particularly on the road.
All that said, while initially a bit overwhelming, if you can withstand the pollution and can afford to indulge in her charms, you can discover what is also one of Asia's most exciting, most lively cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from cosmopolitan shopping at the many luxurious shopping centres to one of the hippest nightlife scenes in Southeast Asia.