Indonesia is famed for its stunning natural beauty, wildlife, and relaxing beaches. That’s mainly what we like to explore on our adventure tour. However, if you arrive a little early, its buzzing capital is definitely worth spending some time in. Here’s our pre-trip guide to Jakarta.
The National Museum is must-visit for both its design and its contents. It’s housed within an extravagant building originally constructed by the Dutch in 1862. The contents of the museum date back millennia, including striking statues of ancient rulers and fascinating relics from the nation’s past.
It may be hard to convince travel-addicts that a museum is where they should spend their day in a city, but this place really is excellent.
Istiqlal Mosque is the largest in Southeast Asia and an impressive piece of architecture to visit in the city. The building was completed in 1978 so the its design shows an interesting blend of Islamic tradition and Jakarta’s modern make-up.
The mosque’s large dome, towering minarets and patterned windows means there’s plenty to marvel at from the exterior, but you can also take a trip inside. Entry is free, just make sure you sign in and dress appropriately (men must cover their legs, women must cover both legs and arms). If you want to learn a bit more about the building when you’re on the inside then guides are available!
If you want the tastiest, most authentic, best value, dishes then go for the street food. This doesn’t always mean going to a cart/stand, you’ll find shelters serving food around the city known as ‘warung’ which lie somewhere between café and street food.
You’ll find vendors dotted all over the city but if you’re looking for markets then Pecenongan Night Market and Eat and Eat Food Court are two areas well worth heading to. You can also have a read of our street food guide if you want to know the must-try dishes in Jakarta.
If you’re in the city centre and looking for somewhere to relax then Taman Suropati is a very good shout. This park is full of greenery – it’s likely to be busy but it’s worth it for what it offers. It’s home to various monuments and also acts as a preservation zone for some of the colonial architecture left by the Dutch.
As the iconic landmark of Jakarta, this is an essential stop if you want to spend a bit of time in the city. President Sukarno commissioned its construction in 1961 as a monument to mark Indonesia’s independence from Dutch rule.
The towering column is made of marble and is topped with a ‘gold flame’ reaching upwards. The monument reaches a height of 115 metres and it’s well worth taking a trip to the viewing deck at the top to enjoy some impressive views of the city.
As such a widely spread city, it’s easiest to pick one specific area to head for a night out rather than travelling around the city. Jalan Jaksa is a great hangout spot, where the bars cater to backpackers and the city’s young population. If you’re looking for a drink and something to eat then check out Beer Garden Menteng.
If you want to make sure you get a full party experience then you’re best heading central and exploring the SCBD. Bars and clubs there can be a little expensive but it’s the city’s main party area and you can be sure it’ll be busy. Top clubs in the area include Fable Nightclub and Hide & Seek.