Friday, 2 September 2011

Things to do in Jakarta

Here is a list of things to do in Jakarta from my perspective. I can't guarantee that you can access all these places all the time or that it might not be wise to do so but the list might help give you some idea of things to do in this great big place of a city.


  1. Visit Monas and its park. You can take an elevator to the top (if you can cope with queuing), take a train ride thing around the park, fly a kite, sit and watch people watching you. If you go first time at dawn you can join in with those trying to keep fit.
  2. Kota Tua, lovely old part of the city which can be explored on foot or on bike and at your leisure. There are museums, cafes to visit. The side streets are fun and easy to get lost in which adds to the fun. So many museums here. All worth a look
  3. Glodok or 'Chinatown', malls and narrow streets and thousands of people selling thousands of things, old buildings great food and tea worth exploring for an afternoon.
  4. Sunda Kelapa. The old harbour just past Kota Tua, lots of old wooden boats and great to watch people load boats and enjoy the feeling of being in a traditional port. If you are brave enough you can take a small boat and get rowed around the harbour.
  5. Old Batavia walls and warehouses. The old dutch castle walls are still in evidence around this old part of the city as are 17th century warehousing. It is all next to the Old Fish market again near Kota Tua
  6. The national museum, a great place to visit and learn something of the history of the city country and its heritage. Lots of things to look at and photograph.
  7. Batavia Marina, again at Sunda Kelapa. Its chilled out and nearly always empty, good food and beer and nice to sit in the afternoons and evening, no mosquitoes, well not many but a fair few flies.
  8. Back streets Setia Budi. Turn left heading down Sudirman and enter a different world. Surrounded by office blocks the back streets will confuse you make you disorientated but worth it to see some real life.
  9. Menteng. Get past Thamrin and Sarinah and head into Menteng. Lots of open roads and big houses and interesting statues. Quiet and quite orderly.
  10. Pasar Baru. Near Gambir and Monas. Huge market and surrounding area.
  11. Istiqlal Mosque. Huge Mosque which can fit hundreds of thousands of people. Visitors of any faith welcome and free guide with no real pressure to pay. Stunning
  12. The Jakarta Cathedral. Opposite Istiqlal Mosque is Jakarta Cathedral. Cant take photos inside, unlike the mosque and the place is locked when not in use but it is still a lovely building
  13. Hotel Borobudur, close to Gambir and the Mosque. Big old hotel but contains a huge scale model of the buddhist temple in central Java. Food is good too
  14. Gambir Railway Station. Take a train into Station Kota and see the sights by train. The station is Lime Green.  Near the station is a lovely old chapel which sadly you cant get into
  15. The Palaces and government buildings at Thamrin, Sarinah. See the presidents palace and huge well built buildings. Worth a look. Don't stay too long or you will get moved on.
  16. Ancol (all). Huge site full of amusements. From Dufan Amusement Park to Swimming with Dolphins, this place has it all. 15,000 per person to get in and then pay for each attraction after.
  17. Transjakarta. The busway system goes all round the city. To see Jakarta why not travel every route for almost nothing. 
  18. Jalan Sudirman. Long road full of statues and fountains. Goes straight through the main business area, often know as the golden triangle.
  19. Blok M mall and Pasar Raya. This is the daylight visit for normal folk. 4th floor Pasar Raya full of tat from all over Indonesia. Huge price tags which are instantly discounted if you go with an Indonesian and send them in first.
  20. Blok M Market. Underground. Hot, crowded unsafe but hugely popular. 
  21. Manga Dua / Ambassador Mall. 2 Malls worthy of a mention as they are full to the brim with independant traders selling everything cheap. Clothing and accessories, carpets, gold, watches you  name it you probably could find in either of these 2 places.
  22. Tanjung Priok Port. You can drive right into the port see the ships unload and appreciate the scale of commerce there. Don't go at night unless you know what you are doing. 
  23. Ragunan Zoo. In the south and can be reached with Transjakarta. Worth a visit. Choose a quiet day so there wont be any more than 30,000 people there. Komodo's, Tigers, Apes and many other amazing animals from Indonesia and the world to stare at.
  24. Taman Mini. Vast tourist park dedicated to all things Indonesian.
  25. Jakarta Skyline. On a less polluted day the skyline is amazing. Seen from different places whilst travelling around, you could easily forget where you were and could think you were in the west.
  26. Go to Pantai Indah Kapuk in the north west of the city not only for a water park but also to visit the managrove er forest. Monkeys, birds and other things to spot and help conserve this amazing natural beauty.
  27. Planetarium. Head to Jalan Cikini Raya and visit the cities planetarium.
  28. Military Museum. Just before Polda Semanggi if you are coming from Tebet is a museum dedicated to all things military in Indonesia.
  29. Tanah Abang. Its huge, its full of buses and people but it is also a huge commercial area for textiles and gold. Probably best to go with some who knows where to go and watch your belongings
  30. Ice Skating Taman Anggrek. Yep a mall with a skating rink.
  31. Senayan Stadium. Huge stadium surrounded by arenas and venues to visit. Check posting times for events and matches. 
  32. Indo Chine FX mall. Top floor and has superb views of the city, as does roof top at Semanggi.
  33. Get to the top of a very tall building. Bluff, con or bribe your way into a very tall building to see Jakarta from up high
  34. Landing at Jakarta Airport. On a clear night, flying into the city is quite nice as the ships, shoreline and city are lit up. During the day see what you can identify such as Monas, the radio masts at Kebon Jeruk, Central Park or on the other side see the thousand islands and huge crab, squid farms.
  35. Cengkareng. Yep seriously. There are some amazing statues there of big breasted women holding durians and if you take the toll way from the airport to Puri Indah check out the buildings and frontages of the new buildings. Impressive if not slightly surreal.
  36. Davinci Building Jl Sudirman. Stands out as impressive and even better inside.
  37. Jl Surabaya. Full of antique stores and pictures and stuff. Wander down and see how much you can bargain/get ripped off by
  38. Golden Mosque in Depok. Don't know anything about this but told it is amazing and its in Depok a way from Central Jakarta but worth seeing
  39. Food Stalls. They are everywhere and anywhere. If unsure go with the masses to the popular ones. Cant go wrong with deep fried anything. Spicy and no name meat. Great
  40. Satay Sarinah. Eat Satay on the streets in Sarinah amongst the hustle and bustle of the street and smoke and pollution. Goat satay lovely.
  41. Book buying. Hard to do  as limited. Jalan Jaksa (near Monas and Thamrin) is good for books and late night drinking and there is a fairly decent bookstore in Pasar Festival Kuningan
  42. Kemang. Trendy, Affluent, bars a plenty full of expats and the rich vogue. Irish Bars, English Food, Curries and 24 hour eateries. 
  43. Kuningan. Big open roads. Expensive hotels and apartments. Embassies. Nice place. Near Ambassador mall.
  44. Sunsets and Sunrises. Often missed but the pollution and haze make them special to watch. Even better if the pollution goes and the moutains can be seen.
  45. Trip in a Bajai. Take a trip in a little noisy, cramped orange 3 wheeled machine. Fix a price and off you go. Film the journey. Quite an adventure
  46. Unseen Jakarta. Take a trip into the poverty sticken areas of the city with a guide. Heartbreaking and depressing to see but the warmth of the people will help you through it. A real eye opener.
  47. Traditional Markets. They are everywhere. Dark, Cramped, Hot and Humid but full of the most wonderous sights sounds and smells and a place to bargain then visit a market. The night meat and produce market at Cengkareng Plaza. Tomang Pasar Baru at Tanjung Duren or any street market once it gets dark. Bargains galore. But mind your things at all times.
  48. Shopping malls. They are everywhere. If I had to choose the following to visit then it would be these: Central Park, Taman Anggrek, Grand Indonesia, Semanggi, PIM, Galapa Gading. Shop, eat, watch a movie, go to the gym. Alas they are all the same in that respect.
  49. Traffic. Wake up early in the middle of the week and try to move about the city between 7 and 9. Appreciate traffic. Even better if it is raining.
  50. Take a bus (not transjakarta) but Kopaja or Metro Mini somewhere (not really recommended but only do it if you are hardcore determined to have a different experience).
Jakarta has lots to do but there is not enough support or information about these things. They also take time to do and visit and also can be hard work. The heat, traffic and sheer amount of obstacles can be barriers but there is a lot in this city to do and see. 

These are 50 things off the top of my head.

Here are some links









If you are in the city. FX mall near Ratu Plaza has maps of Jakarta for free on the ground floor. 





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