If you are thinking of traveling to Jakarta, Indonesia, you are in the right place. Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia, located in the northwest of the island of Java. Jakarta is the economic, cultural and political center of the country and the most populous city not only in Indonesia but in Southeast Asia as a whole. Jakarta’s nickname among expats is Big Durian.
Although the city is known for heavy traffic and high levels of pollution, it is filled with an exciting nightlife and vibrant shopping areas. Also, the diversity of Indonesian culture will make you love Jakarta.
In Jakarta, once you have passed the taxi drivers at the airport, when you truly meet the locals, people will greet you in a friendly, welcoming and helpful manner.
It is recognized as the industrial center and government center as it is the most developed city in Indonesia. But all the people of the city are trying very hard to do justice to these titles. Highways are full during rush hour, as major public transport systems cannot alleviate traffic. Housing for the population also poses a problem.
All of this is a little scary at first, but you can discover a lot as you spend time in one of Asia’s most exciting and vibrant global cities. Jakarta has a lot to offer, from green parks to historic centres, cosmopolitan shopping centers and some of the liveliest nightlife in Southeast Asia.
Where is Jakarta?
Let us share with you some of the things you need to know when traveling to Jakarta. Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. It is established on an area of 661.52 km² in the northwest of Java Island and has a population of 8.490.000. Jakarta is the economic, cultural and political center of the country. It is the most populous city in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, as well as the twelfth largest city in the world. It was established where the Cilivung River empties into the sea.
When To Go To Jakarta?
The best dates to go to Jakarta are between May and September. In this period, the air temperature varies between 24 and 32 degrees, while the number of rainy days is less than in other periods. Due to the tropical climate, Jakarta receives heavy rainfall during the rest of the year. We advise you to be mindful of your travel dates, as precipitation causes severe flooding due to undeveloped infrastructure.
Despite the average temperature of 24 degrees in the period from December to February, 15 of the 30 days are rainy and it is definitely not suitable for tourism.
Places To Visit In Jakarta
Jakarta is one of the most beautiful cities in Asia. Of course, its cultural heritage has been enriched with the invasions, administrations and transformations it has undergone in different periods. Along with monuments, architectural structures, museums and parks, Jakarta is a paradise for tourists who really want to explore itself. With its unique climate, vegetation and natural beauties, you will not be able to get enough of walking around this city and taking pictures without getting bored during your trip.
Without seeing the symbol of independence Monas and Merdeka Presidential Palace, without buying souvenirs from Merdeka Palace and Gelanggang Bung Karno Stadium, without taking a photo in front of Selamat Datang and Istiklal Mosque, Ancol Dream Park, Indonesia Miniature Park, Jakarta National Museum and Jakarta Wayang Puppet Museum.
The National Monument, or Monas, abbreviated by its local name, is a 132 meter tall tower in the center of Central Jakarta’s Merdeka Square, symbolizing the war for Indonesia. The national monument of the Republic of Indonesia was built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian independence.
After the Indonesian government returned to Jakarta from Yogyakarta in 1950 following the Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence, President Sukarno began considering the construction of a national monument comparable to the Eiffel Tower in the square in front of the Presidential Palace. Construction then began in 1961 under President Soekarno’s supervision. Monas was opened to the public in 1975 in its imposing form, adorned with gold-clad flames.
Merdeka Presidential Palace
Merdeka Palace is known in Indonesian as Istana Merdeka, Istana Gambir and in colonial times as Paleis te Koningsplein. It is one of six presidential palaces in Indonesia. It is located on the north side of Merdeka Square in central Jakarta, Indonesia, and is used as the official residence of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. In 1949, Merdeka Palace was renamed “(ke) merdeka (an)”, meaning “freedom” or “independence”. renamed.
Merdeka Palace is part of the Jakarta Presidential Palace Complex. This is the headquarters of Indonesian governing authorities. The history of Merdeka Palace began with the mansion of the merchant Jacob Andries van Braam, built in Rijswijk (today called Harmonie) in 1804. Today, Merdeka Palace hosts state events such as the Independence Day ceremony, foreign ministers of foreign affairs, cabinet meetings, state banquets, and the acceptance of credentials of foreign ambassadors.
Gelanggang Bung Karno Stadium
Bung Karno Main Stadium, seen at the 2007 Asian Cup, is Indonesia’s multi-purpose stadium. With a capacity of approximately 120,000 people, the stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the world, the construction of which was completed with the completion of the first phase in mid-1958 and the third quarter of 1962.
In 1962, with a grand opening held in Jakarta on August 24, it was put into service within the framework of the Asian Games. Financed by a private loan from the Soviet Union, the gym was a great service to Asia. Gelanggang Bung Karno Stadium, as the largest football stadium in Jakarta, hosts important competitions today.
When the stadium was built, a budget expenditure of approximately 12.5 million US dollars was made. If you come across a football match while visiting the city, we recommend you to experience the excitement of sports in the special atmosphere of this giant stadium.
The Selamat Datang Monument, also known as the HI Roundabout Monument and signifying welcome, was completed by sculptor Edhi Sunarso in 1962 and has an important place in the city’s history.
In the 1960s, President Sukarno ordered several buildings and city beautification projects to prepare for the 4th Asian Games. Salamat Datang was also among the various statues commissioned as a welcome monument.
The design of the statue was done by the then deputy Governor of Jakarta, Henk Ngantung. It was made by Indonesian sculptor Edhi Sunarso. The sculpture consists of two bronze statues of a man and a woman waving gracefully. The woman holds a bouquet of flowers in her left hand. In total, the monument is about thirty meters from the ground.
Masjid Istiqlal, or Istiqlal Mosque, is the national mosque of the Republic of Indonesia, located in the center of Jakarta. The construction of the mosque was initiated by the President of Indonesia.
The main building of this mosque consists of five floors and a ground floor. The mosque has a modern architectural style as it is decorated with walls decorated with geometric ornaments in stainless steel and a marble floor. The main building of the mosque is supported by 12 large columns and carries a large dome of 45 meters. Spreading over a wide area, the mosque has the capacity to host over two thousand people at the same time.
In addition to being used by Muslims for worship, it was also used as an office for social activities and general activities of Muslim communities. The mosque is also one of the famous tourist attractions of Jakarta. The majority of its visitors are domestic tourists and Muslim foreign tourists. However, the visit is limited after getting information about the Istiklal Mosque and a guide accompanies the visitors during the tour.
On special days such as Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Mirac, religious activities in the mosque are broadcast live on national television.
Ancol Dream Park
Ancol Dream Park is one of the most sought after resorts on the coast of Indonesia. Ancol Dream Park, with its international championships golf course, playground, hotel and other recreational facilities, opened in 1966 and is now the most popular tourist destination in South East Asia. There are large entertainment areas called Ocean Dream Samudra, Atlantis Water Adventures and Fantastic World.
The site of Ancol Dream Park was previously a swamp and a source of malaria epidemics. In the early 1960s, President Sukarno proposed ideas to rehabilitate and transform this space. Finally, among the ideas, it was decided to build a giant entertainment and cultural center here, and the construction of the giant theme park, in which hotels, entertainment centers and many more parts were brought together.
After the design was completed, this wonderful park, which attracts thousands of tourists annually for adventure and entertainment lovers, was put into service.
Indonesia Miniature Park
Indonesia Miniature Park is one of the culture-oriented recreation areas located in East Jakarta, Indonesia. The park spans nearly 250 acres and has become an epitome of Indonesian culture, with collections of Indonesian architecture, clothing, dances, and customs flawlessly depicting nearly all aspects of Indonesian daily life.
Apart from that, there is a lake with an island miniature in the middle, cable cars, museums, Keong Emas Imax cinema, Theater Homeland theater and a theater with other recreational facilities. With these features, the miniature park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. So much so that, on December 31, 2014, the World Peace Committee chose it as the International Civilization Park and World Peace Theme Park.
Jakarta National Museum
The Indonesian National Museum is a museum of archeology, history, ethnology and geography located on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta just west of Merdeka Square. It is known by the name Gedung Gajah, which means Elephant Bina. Its extensive collections cover the entire Indonesian territory and almost all of its history. The museum has made efforts to preserve Indonesian heritage for two centuries.
One of its founders, JCM Radermacher, donated a very valuable building and a collection of cultural objects and books. Due to the growing collections, General Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles built a new building on Jalan Majapahit at the beginning of the 19th century and named it the Literary Society. In 1862, the Dutch East India government decided to build a new museum that would not only serve as an office but would also house, preserve and display the collections.
The museum, which is prepared with Greek architecture, has become one of the places frequented by tourists by incorporating a wide variety of valuable works from prehistory to the present day.
Jakarta Wayang Puppet Museum
The Wayang Museum is a museum dedicated to puppeteer Javan Wayang. The museum is located in Kota Tua.
The museum building occupies the site of a church built in 1640 under the name of the Old Dutch Church. In 1912, a Neo-Renaissance style building originally functioned as a warehouse for Geo Wehry & Co., when an earthquake destroyed the church in 1808. In 1938 the building was renovated in line with Dutch colonial architecture.
Later, the building was acquired by the Batavia Art and Science Society, an institution dealing with Indonesian culture and science. The institution later transferred this building to the Old Batavia Foundation and on 22 December 1939 it was turned into a museum under the name of the Old Batavia Museum. After Indonesian independence in 1957, the building was handed over to the Indonesian Cultural Institute and on 17 September 1962 to the Ministry of Education and Culture.
On June 23, 1968, the Jakarta government converted the building into the Wayang Puppet Museum, inaugurated in 1975. The museum, where you will be full of puppets and wander around with curiosity, is also a place designed for education and research on shadow puppets.
The Thousand Islands, officially known as Kepulauan Seribu, is a chain of islands located north of the coast of Jakarta. It consists of a string of 110 islands extending north of Banten Province for 45 km.
Of these islands, only 13 are fully developed. 11 islands consist of holiday homes and two islands consist of historical parks. 23 of them are privately owned and not open to the public. The rest of the islands function either as uninhabited islands or as a fishing village.
The islands of the Thousand Islands are an administrative regime belonging to the city of Jakarta. They do not have their own local laws. Looking at the geographical features of the Thousand Islands, Jakarta is the only capital city in the world with more than 100 islands.
Transportation In Jakarta
When you travel to Jakarta, you should also know how to get there. When you arrive in the city, the most economical alternative is the DAMRI shuttle buses, which are frequently used as they connect to many Jakarta destinations. Between buses, there is a waiting time of 15 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on the route and time. Buses are reliable, comfortable and air-conditioned. You can buy tickets from the ticket machines after you leave the airport.
If you arrive on an international flight at Terminal 2, turn left after exiting the building until you see the DAMRI ticket booths and bus stops. In Terminal 3, the bus stop is located just behind the taxi stands.
The car option is not recommended due to the congested traffic of the city. However, you can safely use a taxi for the points you want to go.
Commuter trains in Jakarta connect the city center with other areas from Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Bojonggede, Bogor and Serpong. Usually worth a try if you want to cross to other points in Jakarta, especially from west to east or vice versa. But be prepared for cramped journeys.
Public buses are also a cheap, safe and practical option. Buses are generally comfortable. Since bus services have been used in the city for a long time, when compared in terms of arrival lines, they stop at many stops in more detail than other options.
If you want to walk in the center of Jakarta, you may have difficulty especially due to the absence of pavements. Except in a few areas, the sidewalks are packed with vendors, crossing the streets can be dangerous as drivers ignore pedestrians. Many busy streets do not have pedestrian crossings, so it is advised to be careful and use them if you are close to overpasses and underpasses.
Your trip to Jakarta continues, if you can’t decide what to eat, then it’s time to talk about what to eat in Jakarta. You can find a wide variety of foods to suit your taste in hundreds of food complexes located all over the city of Jakarta. If you want to taste something other than local cuisine, you can taste international cuisine such as Chinese and Japanese cuisine in restaurants.
If you want to taste the local Jakarta delicacies, sop iga sapi is beef rib soup. Contains sautéed betawi, beef tendon, gut, fig and coconut milk. Kerak telor omelet cooked with wet rice and served with shredded coconut and dried shrimp.
Contains Ketoprak, rice roll, tofu, bean sprouts, shrimp crackers with peanut sauce. Gado-gado is like ketoprak, but all veggie. Nasi ulam is served with rice cooked in coconut heat, fried minced beef, sweet fried tempeh, molasses, cucumber and sambal. Asinan Betawi is a dish served with various vegetable sauces (sometimes enriched with pickles. You can safely eat your meals in shopping malls and restaurants. However, we recommend that you do not choose street food because hygiene problems may cause health problems.
Shopping In Jakarta
Wouldn’t you like to beautify your Jakarta trip with shopping? More than 2.5 million foreign tourists and more than 30 million domestic tourists visit Jakarta every year. Jakarta is a paradise for purchasing world-class clothing, both original and cultural products.
If you’re going to Jakarta, consider buying an extra bag because the city has plenty of shopping opportunities. If you need extra suitcases, you can buy sturdy suitcases on Surabaya Street. Here, vendors also sell antiques for the enthusiasts.
The Jakarta State Government organizes the annual Jakarta Big Sale Festival from mid-June to mid-July every year. Discounts are made on selected products in many markets, shopping malls and stores. Some stores also offer nightly discounts, usually on weekends. When you visit Indonesia, where most of the shopping centers are open every day, we recommend that you buy local fabrics, ornaments and masks, as well as other local products as souvenirs.
Nightlife in Jakarta
When you go to Jakarta, you can find yourself in a colorful nightlife or spend your evening with different cultural activities. If you prefer clubs, it is useful to know that almost all nightclubs in Jakarta are expensive. When you move to a table or box close to the dance floor, your first drink may cost IDR 100,000-200,000. If you want to go to the clubs on the weekends, you need to make a reservation in advance.
The security guards in Jakarta take their job very seriously. If you don’t dress appropriately, you will be rejected no matter what. For example, women should always wear high heels. Men should be careful not to wear t-shirts or ripped jeans.
Unfortunately, the quality of the music is not the focus in Jakarta. The music played is usually a simple mix of world hits. However, you can find the opportunity to listen to famous DJs in special programs on weekends.
Jenja is Jakarta’s newest and most famous nightclub. Well-designed but not overly posh, it is the first nightclub in the city to specialize in non-commercial techno music. Note that Jenja is a 30-minute drive from the city center in South Jakarta. If you need a cheap hotel nearby, you can check out Midtown Residence.
Immigrant is still one of the best party venues in Jakarta, although not as good as it was before the renovation. It has a small dance floor. Prices are slightly above Dragonfly, but a drink is included in the entrance fee.
Dragonfly has the most beautiful interior design of any nightclub in Jakarta or even Indonesia. The entrance fee is quite expensive and this also applies to your inside orders. We recommend you to choose Wednesday night to have fun in the place. You also need to dress well and have your ID with you to comply with strict door rules.
Learning about the culture of Indonesia’s indigenous tribe can also make your night different. You can have fun by accompanying the Lenong theater performance or the Gambang Kromong orchestra. A different performance can be watched at your hotel every 22 June, on the anniversary of the founding of the city.
In any of the capital’s shopping centers, you can watch blockbuster movies on plush seats in movie theaters. You can also attend local film and documentary festivals of Indonesians. Some of these screenings may be subtitled in big movie theaters. Apart from these options, if you wish, you can complete your night in the calm atmosphere of Asia by wandering through the streets of the places that are open at night.
However, we recommend that you do not carry much money with you just in case, keep your ID and passport in a safe place, and not be alone in secluded places. When you travel to Jakarta, do not leave without tasting the nightlife!
1. Chinese New Year Celebration, January 28
At this time of year, shopping malls are decorated with lanterns, red and gold. You can celebrate the new year, which is one of the most important days of the Chinese calendar, by watching the lion dance, and you can mingle with the people and get to know their culture better.
2. Cap Go Meh Celebrations, February
Today is considered the new year by Indonesians and celebrated cheerfully. It coincides with the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. During the festivities most celebrated in Glodok, a parade for barongsai is also held.
3. Java Jazz Festival, March 3-5
Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival (JJF) is one of the biggest jazz festivals in Indonesia and Asia, hosting different musicians every year. Dozens of shows by local and international artists can be watched over three days at the event, which is held at the beginning of every March.
4. Inacraft, April
The largest Indonesian crafts exhibition in Indonesia is set up in April. This is where hundreds of local producers from all over Indonesia meet talented artists. Clothes, souvenirs, furniture, household items etc. Prices are often reasonable, as competition is high among exhibitors selling products such as
5. Jakarta Fair, June-July
It is an annual fair held in Jakarta in June and July. There are exhibitions, trade promotions, shopping, musical performances, variety shows, fun rides, and a food festival. The fair is held in the Pekan Raya Jakarta district in Kemayoran to mark the anniversary of Jakarta. You can also come across traditional vendors around the place.
6. Indonesian Independence Day Celebrations, 17 August
On August 17, Indonesia celebrates its independence from the Netherlands. On this occasion, Indonesians traditionally perform traditional games and a series of events during the celebration.
7. Mandiri Jakarta Marathon, October
The Mandiri Jakarta Marathon is the largest running event in Indonesia. The Jakarta Marathon is generally divided into five categories.
8. Jakarta Fashion Week, October
One of the biggest fashion events of the year in Jakarta takes place in October. This is where Indonesia’s leading designers showcase their designs. Many are made from different types of traditional fabrics of the country and are inspired by its rich heritage.
Jakarta Public Holidays
- New Year (January 1-2)
- Chinese New Year (January 28)
- Hindu Day of Silence (28 March)
- Christian Holiday (April 14)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Buddhism Holiday (May 11)
- Hz. Ascension of Jesus (May 25)
- National Principles Day (June 1)
- Indonesia Independence Day (August 17)
- Islamic New Year (21 September)
- Christmas (25-26 December)
Useful Information For Jakarta
- Emergency assistance: 118
- Fire: 113
- Police: 110