Most Jakartans have a love and hate relationship with the ITC, an acronym for ‘International Trade Center’, is the biggest network of malls in Indonesia, each of which hosts hundreds of stores and stalls selling affordable products, ‘KW’ super (fake) branded fashion items, to pirated DVDs.
Nearly all area in Jabodetabek has its own ITC, from the legendary ITC Mangga Dua which has attracted bulk shoppers and resellers from neighboring countries, ITC Fatmawati in South Jakarta, to the gigantic electronic superstore ITC Roxy Mas in West Jakarta.
After you get past the traffic leading to all the malls, the annoying ‘boleh silakan’, and the narrow aisles, shopping in Jakarta’s ITC or trade centers is an adventure in itself and a way to great deals and cheap finds. Here is our tips for a shopping spree in Jakarta’s ITC:
1. Know your ITC
First, you need to know, which one you will go to; ITC Fatmawati is not too big but has a little bit of everything, with DVDs, clothes, handphones, accessories, some computer store, and some good reliable camera stores. ITC Mangga Dua is the oldest and one of the largest ITC with almost anything you can think of from fake bags, home décor, batik, souvenirs to wedding gowns. ITC Kuningan (Ambassador) is the most popular among expat due to its strategic location in Kuningan CBD, its reasonable size, better mix and selection of products (slightly more expensive than Mangga Dua), and with a hypermart in its ground floor. For computers, the Mal Ambassador connected to the ITC also has a lot of stores selling laptops at a competitive price. Although not really an ITC, Thamrin City is also a must due to its massive collection of batik stalls that offer batiks from all price range.
2. Compare the prices
Once you ask for an item’s price, you will wonder if they are giving you a ‘bule’ price or not. Whatever is the case, always compare the prices with one or two stores selling similar item, something not too hard to do since most of the stores in an area sell identical items.
3. Always haggle
Some of the cheaper items usually have more of a fixed prices (dvds, ITCs are the place where everyone’s haggling skills are put to the test; always ask for lower price, as much as 50% of their asking price.