Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia; the epitome of a bustling Asian metropolis. The most populous city has the worst traffic but a great contributor to Indonesian tourism.
Transportation to City
Soekarno-Hatta Airport Rail Link
Avoid the traffic and take the Airport train to the city instead! Take the train (departs every 30 minutes for Rp 70,000 per way) from Soekarno-Hatta Airport Train Station to BNI City Airport Train Station (Sudirman Baru) in just 40 minutes. Tickets can be purchase at the station using the automated ticket machines. Do note that the machines only accept debit or credit card. For some reasons, my visa/master credit card wasn’t accepted by the machine and I have to use my debit card to purchase the ticket.
Take the Grab Car or Taxi?
Taxi are plentiful and the most reliable taxis are run by Bluebird. I would also recommend using Grab since the ride can be remarkably cheap.
Where to stay in Jakarta
The best area to stay is near Bunderan HI or known as Hotel Indonesia roundabout. You can find plenty of hotels near the two best malls in Jakarta; Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia.
Here’s how you can spend 3 days in Jakarta.
Standing 132m tall is the National Monument or known as Monas located at the center of Merdeka Square. Built in 1961, the monument is a symbol of Indonesians’ struggle against the Dutch’s colonisation. For a small fee, visitors can go up the observation deck to get an aerial view. Although I do not recommend this as the observation deck is narrow and often crowded especially during weekends. Monas is best to be appreciated from far especially the 14.5 ton bronze Flame of Independence; the bronze flame was covered gold foil. The best time to visit Monas is in the early morning or late afternoon when the heat is bearable.
Open daily except on Monday from 8am to 10pm.
Jl. Silang Monas, Jakarta 10110, Indonesia
At the corner of famous Merdeka Square, Masjid Istiqlal or Istiqlal Mosque stands out with its 45m diameter dome, 4 tall minarets. Ironically, the Mosque was designed by Frederich Silaban, a Christian architect from North Sumatra. His design was selected in a mosque design competition held in 1955.
The mosque is open to the public and just a walking distance from Monas. There are seven entrances mirroring the Seven Heavens in Islamic cosmology.
This largest mosque in Southeast Asia by capacity stands opposite the country’s cathedral, a clear expression of tolerance.
Please dress modestly when you visit religious site.
Jl Taman Wijaya Kusuma Central Jakarta, Jakarta 10710
Museum MACAN is the first in Indonesia to have a collection of modern and contemporary Indonesian and international art. Located within AKR Tower, the museum hold special exhibition and programs to allure visitors across all ages. Visit www.museummacan.org to find out more.
The best way to get to the Museum is by Grab Car or Taxi.
AKR Tower Level M, Jalan Panjang No. 5 Kebon Jeruk, Jakarta Barat 11530
Kota Tua Jakarta
It’s hard to imagine that Jakarta only had a population of about 150,000 people in 1900s and was once confined to small town area that was known as Batavia. Kota Tua Jakarta (Jakarta Old Town) is a remainder of Old Batavia that was established as the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies. Home to historic buildings, you will find the best-preserved Dutch colonial architecture that have now been transformed into museums, cafes and art galleries.
Fatahillah Square or known as Taman Fatahillah is the centerpiece of Kota Tua. The cobbled square comes alive with throngs of visitors during the weekends with plenty of activities. Colorful vintage bicycles called Sepeda Ontel are available for rent to tour around the Kota Tua.
Jakarta History Museum
Constructed in 1710, the former City Hall building of Batavia currently housed the Jakarta History Museum. You can find exhibitions about Jakarta from the colonisation period until the independence. Please be warned that the exhibits presented here are quite crudely. Apart from history, there are plenty of antique furnitures such as the impressive Schepenkast bookcase made in 1748. There is also an underground dungeon, where Indonesian heroes Pangeran Diponegoro and Untung Suropati were said to have been imprisoned there.
Café Batavia has become an iconic culinary spot in Kota Tua. In 1884, the building was used as a trading office for E. Dunlop & Co. Today the building has been transformed to a café that serves a plethora of dishes, including bitterballen (a Dutch meat-based snack), pasta, classic eggs Benedict and many more.
There are many museums surrounded Kota Tua such as the Indonesian Maritime Museum, Bank Mandiri and Bank Indonesia musuem, the Wayang or Puppet Museum, and the Museum of Sculpture and Ceramic Arts.
Cafes and Restaurants at Kota Tua
You can find plenty of dining places at Kota Tua.
Stop by for a decent food at Historia.
Jln. Pintu Besar Utara no. 11, Kota Tua District, Jakarta 11230
Kota Intan Bridge Jakarta
Diamond City Bridge or known as Kota Intan Bridge is the oldest drawbridge in Indonesia that was built in 1628 by the Dutch East India Company. Located at the northern end of Kali Besar is the last remaining Dutch drawbridge. The bridge is about 15-minute walk from Kota Tua. Getting there by foot can be challenging since there is no proper walkway. The bridge is currently closed for visitors and can only be admired from far.
Recommended only if have plenty of time at Jakarta
Jl Kali Besar
You can stroll the grand boulevard of Jl Thamrin when it’s closed to vehicles on Sunday mornings and marvel at all that’s been built.
Jakarta Car Free Day
The capital’s main thoroughfares, Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin; are closed to traffic from 6am to 11am for Car-Free Day.
Joggers and cyclists to children on skate scooters, buskers, and even street hawkers throng and take over the 5km stretch of road.
Shopping at Jakarta
Apart from Pasar Tanah Abang, one of the biggest textile markets in South East Asia, Thamrin City is a great place to bargain for batik fabric & Muslim clothing at the comfort of air conditioning.
Jl. Thamrin Boulevard, Jakarta 10340
If you are looking for international luxury brands, Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia is the best place to be.
Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta 10350