Gelora Bung Karno (GBK), a Morning Oasis Amidst the Haze

Whether for health or lifestyle reasons, there are many benefits to going to Gelora Bung Karno (GKB or Bung Karno Sports Arena) for a morning run or jog. For one, the air quality is relatively better than on the main streets of Jakarta. Additionally, you can enjoy the good feeling of starting your day by sweating and getting your blood pumping. It might sound cliché, but Gelora Bung Karno is indeed an oasis in the heart of the capital.

A patch of greeneries in the heart of the capital.

The streets of Jakarta are bustling with traffic starting as early as 5 AM. Whether it’s Central, East, North, or West Jakarta, they’re all pretty much the same. However, if you work around South Jakarta or the southern part of Central Jakarta, Gelora Bung Karno is a delightful spot for your morning routine. It’s a place where you can let your feet roam free and hear less traffic and the roar of motorcycles and cars.

The most popular and easiest activity is running around the stadium on the designated jogging tracks. People run, walk, or jog counterclockwise around the stadium. There can be over 1,000 people there, but there’s definitely enough space for everyone. In some spots, you can find outdoor gyms, Zumba groups, CrossFit trainers, and more.

Running counter clockwise around the stadium

Amenities are available in the area as early as 5:30 AM. Those who forget to bring water can go to one of the convenience stores at the stadium. Of course, those who feel like eating after jogging can find some outdoor cafés offering various simple breakfasts. Restrooms? Yes, they are available too.

“I come here for a morning jog almost everyday,” said H, a jogger who asked to be anonymous. “I take a shower in my office shortly before 8 usually.”

As you walk out of the stadium area towards the parking lot or nearby offices to start your workday, you can easily see statues and monuments. History aficionados might recall the twists and turns in the journey of this stadium throughout modern Indonesian history. But that’s a subject for another post.

Statues and monuments to remind visitors of the great history of the stadium.

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