A Guide to Exploring Exciting Jakarta
Indonesia is a multi-faceted and diverse island nation. With over ten countries as close geographical neighbours, this archipelago – the largest in the world – is home to over 18,000 islands and more than 240 million people. Its capital, Jakarta, is the tenth largest city in the world and has been labelled Indonesia’s own NYC. A rich multicultural heritage, frenetic cityscapes, and a startling mix of the modern and the traditional makes Jakarta an exciting modern town to visit.
A City of Many Surprises
First time visitors may find Jakarta’s size and pace overwhelming. Beyond Jakarta’s busy veneer and glass and concrete towers are hidden gems to be discovered. Central Jakarta, for example, is home to must-see places such as the National Monument, old Batavia (old Jakarta), and the attractive Menteng residential area. As in other parts of world or the region, such as Malaysia, hotels in the city can range in quality, but fortunately, Jakarta has a strong luxury hotel presence for discerning travellers.
South Jakarta is the heart of the city’s central business district, which is also known as the Golden Triangle as it’s bordered by three of Jakarta’s busiest thoroughfares. South Jakarta is home to skyscrapers, banks, luxury apartments and hotels as well as restaurants and upscale cafes and bars.
North Jakarta is where you can find the Ancol Bayfront City and the Kelapa Gading area, which is great for shopping and food.
To the East is the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, a famous mini Indonesia park. Built on an area of around 250 acres, this park is a miniaturised version of Indonesia from a cultural perspective. Each of its 26 provinces (as they stood in 1975) has a dedicated building or monument. Tamana Mini is not to be missed especially if you’re keen on understanding the diversity of Indonesian culture. You’ll also find art communities, camping grounds and industrial parks in East Jakarta.
In West Jakarta you’ll find an abundance of museums, shopping centres and malls. This area is also home to Chinatown and Old Jakarta, which is dotted with historical buildings and museums.
Old Batavia (Kota)
Old Jakarta is a wonderful place for visitors to wander around for a morning or afternoon. This area, being the centre of old Batavia, was once the centre of commerce for the region. With its colonial buildings and distinctive architecture, nowhere else in Jakarta is Indonesia’s Dutch colonial era more apparent than in Kota. The Maritime Museum, Fatahillah Square, Jakarta History Museum and the Wayang Museum are must-sees, as is the Sunda Kelapa port and the Jakarta Kota station.
Night Life and Dining
Jakarta has a vibrant mixture of local and international restaurants, bars and clubs. Bintang, Jalan Jaksa, Ancol, Kemang, and Kenanag are good areas to find a range of eateries and night hotspots. For live music, Jakarta is not short of venues either, with plenty of performances by jazz, rock, soul, and traditional music bands.
Once you’ve explored the city, there are many options for getting further out afield on a day trip.
- Thousand Islands. The Thousand Islands lie north of Jakarta and can be reached from Ancol Marina in North Jakarta, via a boat trip of 1 – 3 hours, depending on which island you visit. Swimming, diving, or snorkelling are popular for visitors.
- Bandung. Only two hours drive from Jakarta, Bandung is the third largest city in Indonesia. Located at an altitude of 768 m and surrounded by the Parahyangan mountains, Bandung has good food, shopping, and excellent scenery and climate, which have made it a popular destination for locals.
- Puncak Pass & Gunung Gede, Pangrango National Park. Only a 50 km drive from Jakarta, Gunung Gede and Pangrango mountain peaks are great for trekking and scenery. If you’re not keen on climbing, you may choose to opt for horseriding or a visit to the local tea plantations.
- Borobodur. For overnight visits from Jakarta, fly into Yogyakarta or Semarang to visit Borobodur, a stunning ancient Buddhist stupa and temple complex built in the 9th century.
Like Doha hotels or hotels anywhere around the world, Indonesia has some world-class five-star accommodation options that can provide travellers with a wonderful business or travel experience for their Indonesian trip.