More Converge Around "Little Korea" In Jakarta

More Converge Around "Little Korea" In Jakarta - Koreans made to feel at home in their village in Karawaci

Bambang Nurbianto

In the day time, they are virtually deserted but when night falls, the shops and restaurants in Tangerang's Lippo Karawaci complex are almost full to capacity, and mostly with Koreans.

Located to the right of the road as it approaches Karawaci tollgate, the area is officially called the Karawaci Office Park, but local people call it kampung Korea, or the Korean village.

"I am waiting for my Japanese business partners. I invited them here after work," said a Korean businessman who identified himself only as Kim when The Jakarta Post met him in front of a Korean restaurant in the village recently.

Kim said he often invited his business partners to come to the Korean village, which he explained is a one-stop entertainment venue.

"We invite them here because we can offer not only dinner, but also other things," he added.

The Korean village serves all the needs of Koreans living nearby, ranging from restaurants to entertainment establishments -- providing various services such as karaoke lounges, spas, saunas and massages. The names of many of these establishments are written in Korean characters.

Kim said he visited the village once a week on average, mostly for dinner, but sometimes, he also visited karaoke lounges to sing Korean songs or enjoyed a spa bath in one of the sauna centers.

"Sometimes, I also visit here with my wife and two of my daughters for dinner or sing Korean songs on the weekend," said the 35-year old Korean businessman, whose office is in Serang regency, Banten province.

In addition to restaurants and entertainment centers, there are also drug stores, a self-service mini market and a kindergarten, as well as a library. The library's collection is mostly made up of Korean comic books.

According to some visitors and also security guards, restaurants do the best business, followed by the karaoke lounges.

There are two kinds of karaoke -- those serving individuals and those catering to the needs of families.

"Most of our visitors are Korean families. Therefore, our rooms are packed with parents and children on the weekend," said Dewi, an employee of a karaoke lounge in the village.

According to Dewi, fees for using the Karaoke room range from Rp 60,000 to Rp 80,000 per hour, depending on the size. Most Karaoke lounges open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Private karaoke rooms cost a little more at around Rp 200,000 per night, starting from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. On the weekend, the fee increases to Rp 250,000.

"Each room is designed for two clients, but it can accommodate six people," said another karaoke lounge employee.

Despite its Korean flavor, this Korean village has non-Korean tenants, including a Chinese restaurant and a Minang (West Sumatran) restaurant. Also, there are local bank branches.

Nevertheless, Koreans dominate this area, occupying around 80 percent of some 600 three-story shop-houses in the village.

Spokeswoman of PT Lippo Karawaci Marilyn Fransisca said her company did not design the Karawaci Office Park as a Korean village.

Nevertheless, the area attracted more Koreans than businesspeople of other nationalities, mostly due to the number of Korean firms operating around Karawaci, such as Serang, Cilegon and even Tangerang -- all in Banten.

Also, thousands of Koreans live in Lippo Karawaci -- both in houses and apartments. So, if you are interested in trying Korean food or karaoke, do as the Koreans do and head to the Korean village in Karawaci. source :
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