Thu, 18 Jun 2009

Tour Guide: Jakarta

INDONESIA - Last week we took a closer look at Kuala Lumpur, United's first destination this summer. Next stop: Jakarta...

Bounded to the north by the Java Sea and the south by the low Bogor Hills, Indonesia's overwhelming capital, Jakarta, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.

From a mere 900,000 inhabitants in 1945, the current population is over ten million and continues to grow at a rate of 200,000 every year. It's the largest city in south-east Asia and 12th biggest in the world. 

Jakarta has changed immeasurably since the Portuguese arrived in 1522. Wide highways have replaced dusty bullock tracks, and skyscrapers soar where thatched huts once stood. 

But beautiful examples of the old colonial architecture have been preserved, and in quiet residential neighbourhoods you can still see neat Dutch bungalows with red-tiled roofs. 

Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is the venue for United's friendly against Indonesia All Star on 20 July.

Named after the country's first president, the stadium was built in 1962 in time for the Asian Games. Its original capacity of 100,800 was reduced to 88,000 for the 2007 Asian Cup.

United are visiting Indonesia for the first time in 30 years and the tour will be a novel experience for Ben Foster, who is aiming to recover from a thumb injury to take his place on the trip. 

"It’ll be my first trip to Asia and I’m really looking forward to it," the 26-year-old goalkeeper said. 

"The lads who have been before have told me what a great experience it is and how amazing the fans are." 

[This article is also available at Manchester United Official Website.]

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