How Indonesia is gearing up for the 2018 Asian Games

A 2018 Asian Games parade participant wearing beautiful traditional Indonesian clothes in Jakarta. Source: Shutterstock.

NEXT MONTH, 16,000 athletes and officials to take over two Indonesian cities – Jakarta and Palembang.

The 2018 Asian Games, otherwise known as the 18th Asian Games or Jakarta Palembang 2018, is scheduled to be held from Aug 18, 2018, to Sept 2, 2018, in Jakarta and Palembang.

This is the first time the Asian Games are being co-hosted in two cities.

The pan-Asian multi-sport event will have 40 categories, including eSports (gaming) – 14 of them will be contested in Palembang while the rest will be in Jakarta.

Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.

The official 2018 Asian Games countdown clock at Bundaran Hotel Indonesia. Source: Shutterstock.

The total cost for the 2018 Asian Games is estimated at US$3.2 billion, with US$2.4 billion being spent on infrastructure development surrounding the games.


As part of the preparation, the upgrading of the Palembang light rail transit (LRT), one of the key modes of transportation that will be used during the games, was accelerated.

The 25-kilometer extension of the Palembang LRT will allow for ease of travel between Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport and Jakabaring stadium complex.

The construction of a station and railway tracks for Jakarta’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. Source: Shutterstock.

Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport also recently expanded its arrival and departure terminals to accommodate the increase of passenger traffic.

Underpasses, flyovers, and bridges have been built in the city, and city bus operator TransJakarta will add 416 buses to serve the officials during the games.

Athletes’ village

Indonesia’s Public Works and Public Housing Ministry built a brand new athletes’ village at Kemayoran, a subdistrict of Central Jakarta.

The village sits in a land area of 100,000 square meters and hosts 7,424 apartments in 10 towers. It can accommodate a total of 22,272 athletes.

“After the Asian Games, the government will convert the buildings into low-cost rental apartments, aiming to accommodate people evicted from riverbanks and slum areas as well as civil servants and others with limited income,” The Jakarta Post reported.

Meanwhile, the athletes’ village inside the Jakabaring Sport City in Palembang will house 3,000 athletes and officials.


Initially built in 1960 for the 1962 Asian Games, the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in Jakarta underwent a major renovation for the 2018 Asian Games.

Its capacity has been reduced from 88,000 spectators to 76,217, and a facial recognition system has also been installed in anticipation of terror threats.

The Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex in Jakarta. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The original Jakarta International Velodrome at Rawamangun was also demolished to make way for a new velodrome that will be used for cycling, badminton, futsal, basketball, and wrestling during the games. The construction cost US$40 million.

Jakabaring Sport City complex at Palembang, which had its seating capacity decreased to 27,000, will be used to the other sports events. A 40-lane bowling alley and eight additional tennis courts were added to the integrated sports facility.

Air quality

Following a spell of unhealthy air in Jakarta and forest fire hotspots near Palembang, the Indonesian government is now ramping up efforts to clear it up before the games.

“Strategies being considered include wider curbs on private cars depending on whether their license-plate numbers are odd or even, creating special lanes for the sports event, and building gardens,” Channel News Asia wrote.

The towering skyscrapers at Jakarta’s Central Business District. Source: Shutterstock.

Authorities are looking into the possibility of cloud seeding to combat the hotspots as well.

Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification that changes the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by shooting flares of salt into suitable clouds.

Crime crackdown

As part of a two-month campaign against thieves, thugs, and other street criminals to boost security for the 2018 Asian Games, Indonesia police have gone on a crime crackdown.

Indonesia recently suffered a series of suicide bombings in Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city. The incident killed 26 people, including 13 attackers.

The scene following an attack at the entrance of a police station in Surabaya on May 16, 2018, taken by Antara Foto. Source: Reuters.

To date, the police have killed 11 suspected petty criminals and shot dozens more in the campaign to free Jakarta street crime before next month.

Jakarta Police Spokesman Prabowo Argo Yuwono revealed nearly 2,000 people had been arrested since the operation began July 2, 2018. He said 52 were shot for resisting arrest and 11 of them died.

Assuming that the games will go off without a hitch, it will help boost Indonesia’s tourism industry and produce economic benefits.

According to Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, the 2018 Asian Games aim to welcome 250,000 supporters from ASEAN and other Asian countries. It is with the hope that visitors will feel inclined to visit other islands of the Indonesian archipelago.

The 2018 Asian Games will take place from Aug 18, 2018, to Sept 2, 2018, in Jakarta and Palembang.