According to my dear friend Wikipedia, Pasar Tanah Abang has been around since 1735 (super ancient). It is the largest textile and garment wholesale center in Indonesia + Southeast Asia with over 13,000 kiosks and ten thousands of shoppers per day. It is even bigger than ITC Mangga Dua Mall, which I already think is mega HUGEEE.
At Tanah Abang, you can find just about everything and anything — batik, woven cloth, kebaya, children’s clothing, menswear, womenswear, Muslim wear, jeans, bags, shoes, accessories, household and bedding items.
As it is a wholesale center, the goods sold in Tanah Abang are more varied and cheaper than that of ITC Mangga Dua or Thamrin City Mall (its competitors).
Tanah Abang consists of several ‘Bloks‘, with Blok A and Blok B being the biggest, newest, and most comfy to shop in (fully air-conditioned). They remind me somewhat of a modern organized market.
My personal opinion is that shopping at Blok A and B is more than sufficient. My driver actually dropped us off at Blok F’s carpark and we had to walk through a maze within Blok F to get to Blok A. I didn’t like Blok F at all; it was dark, dingy, and very smokey (cough cough).
For those who are thinking of dropping by Tanah Abang, you may find this shopping directory helpful. (Reference: Going shopping at Tanah Abang market? – The Jakarta Post).
B1 floor: Various bedding items including sheets, pillows and bed covers, as well as fabrics for kebaya (traditional Javanese blouse), jeans, batik and woven cloth.
SLG & LG floors: These floors are the place for hijab, mukena (female prayer dresses), gamis (Islamic robes), blouses, Muslim wear, kebaya and kaftans. Besides these items, children’s wear can also be found on the LG floor, from school attire to children’s swimwear and sportswear.
G and 1st floors: Menswear including T-shirts, shirts, pants, sportswear and jackets.
2nd and 3rd floors: More variations of womenswear can be found here, including office attire, accessories, bags and wallets.
3A and 7th floors: Various kind of clothes, from original labels to imitations, new to secondhand, are sold on these floors.
5th and 6th floors: A mix of clothes are sold on these floors, from women’s and men’s to children’s and family wear. Clothes for youngsters can be found on the 6th floor.
8th floor: The eighth floor has a food court with fast food and traditional Indonesian cuisine options available.
If possible, reach Tanah Abang as early as you can on a weekday. The crowd starts to build up towards the afternoon and the place is especially crowded on weekends/public holidays (crowded might be an understatement).
My loot from Tanah Abang: 1 pair of nice fitting jeans, a shirt for Agent D and 2 necklaces which I absolutely adore!
P.S. Bring enough cash $$$.
P.P.S. Must bargain/haggle!
P.P.P.S. Protect yourself from pickpockets. Spread out your money in different places!
Happpppy shopping. x