The Maddest Shop In The World.

I came across this shop in Pasar Mayestik Jakarta some months ago and have since visited it many times. The smiling, friendly staff all know me well and they greet me like a long lost friend everytime I return. Without doubt, this is my most favourite shop in Jakarta. As far as I’m concerned, you can keep your grand shopping malls, I’m bored stiff by them but this shop, the Mad Shop. is a work of art, an inspiration, a veritable wonderland of the strangest and most eclectic mix of goods sold anywhere. You can buy pretty much everything here from rat poison to Y-fronts, and everything comes with a good smattering of dust and fly shit for good measure.



















Where else would you find a Madonna in a cage above a row of dusty, ancient coffee pots? Where else in the world would you find a mannequin with a furry monkey crawling up its leg? In every nook and every cranny of this crazy emporium there is something extraordinary to behold. I absolutely love it, the entire shop is a work of art and should win the Turner Prize.

Take the Santa with the dirty face. He’s such a jolly little fellow and despite the fact that he is a bit grubby and half his beard is missing, he captured my imagination and my heart. It was a bit worrying when I picked him up and his head fell off but I soon had it stuck back on and all was well. I don’t suppose it is the first time that it’s happened, nor will be the last.

I took this last photograph yesterday. With thoughts of Christmas now in my head I was intent on getting some more pictures of festive decorations. It was only as I was taking this photograph of the reindeer motifs in the window, that I noticed the reflection of the mosque opposite in the glass. A timely reminder to myself that it may be Christmas for a minority of us living here, but for most it will be business as usual.


22 thoughts on “The Maddest Shop In The World.

    1. You would totally adore this shop then! I could spend hours and hours in there – there’s always something to amuse and delight! except the fleas that bit my feet last time and the lack of A/C which meant that it was absolutely swelteringly hot but I’ll be back soon……it’s a gem of a place πŸ™‚


    1. Some of the decorations around and about in Jakarta are hysterical but I love them all and the best is hearing the Christmas songs like ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ and ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’…..I have a feeling that hell will freeze over before there’s any likelihood of that happening!


  1. That place should be called a general strore where you can find eveything fom soup to nuts. I can bet that you really do have a good time in there with so much to look at. The last picture was the capper with the mosque reflected in the glass. The reflectionn to the story to a whole new leverl.


    1. I agree Yvonne. It really is the most wonderful shop. I haven’t a clue to what it’s really called, I just call it The Mad Shop because that’s what it is. The clothes have to be seen to be believed – some of them must have been made around 50 odd years ago – they are so dirty and bleached from the sun but charming nonetheless. They’ve got things like surgical kidney dishes and bed pans right next to pressure cookers, that’s the sort of place that it is!


  2. Lottie, I love that last photo. I ask our study students to take photos that represent the culture of the place they are studying. This photo is a perfect example of this exercise as it depicts the blending of culture between west and east in Jakarta. I’ll be showing this one to students in the future.


  3. wahaha…I was born and raised in indonesia but i haven’t been to Mayestik since long long time ago and surprisingly you know much better than I do. it’s interesting how you notice the details at the mad shop. for those who come to that kind of store everyday (or week), it’s considered selling low quality goods and such a mess instead of fun. i’m glad you have a different way of seeing the mess and portray it in humorous way. i agree though, the madonna in the cage is totally odd and funny.

    just wondering, have you been to “pasar burung” (bird shop)? it’s not a shop, but more like kaki lima with metal rooftops not only selling birds, but also cats, dongs, rabbits, chickens and their food. in the end of the street it sells fruits as well (for humans). i think that’s another mad shop you need to see. it’s gonna be fun for you too i guess πŸ™‚


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