If you love culture, history, and folklore, this is one of the places you must visit in Jakarta. It has great collections of different traditional puppets from different areas and ethnicity in Indonesia as well as some from around the world. The display is pretty good, lots of written information in both Bahasa and English. The building is old and not well maintained, just like most old buildings in Jakarta. Some parts of the museum are cool, but most are hot. If you're a local and you're traveling solo, you might not spend more than 15 minutes inside this museum unless you're a huge fan of puppets or the classic epic Ramayana-Mahabharata stories. If you travel with a group, you might be able to enjoy going around this museum with the presence of a guide who will provide you with lots of information about each puppet and the characters. However, if you're not big on culture and folklore, all the puppets will start to look the same after a few minutes, and it could be a very boring trip.
A hint for foreign travelers: you may be greeted by a person who claims to be related to the person who built the museum, or a volunteer for foreign tourists who will take you for a tour around the museum (that person may tell you that your ambassador has helped restore the museum and that he/she promised to pay it back by guiding the tourists from that particular country). You may find his/her assistance quite helpful, since he/she has tons of information and stories about the items in the museum. After the tour, he/she will take you to the gift shop and ask you to buy a souvenir or two, and of course show you all the expensive ones. Good quality souvenirs, but most of the prices in this gift shop is more expensive than the ones you can buy at Sarinah in Jalan Thamrin. And before you leave, he/she will ask you to pay some money for the tour. We were asked a shocking US$ 50! We ended up paying our guide IDR 50,000. He wasn't happy at all, but we didn't expect this because he told us that he would guide us for free when we met him at the entrance.
Last but certainly not least, use the bathroom before you leave your hotel, or use one in a shopping mall before you visit any of the places in the Old Town or Fatahillah square. These places do not provide clean bathrooms.
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