1.SUNDA KELAPA (THE HISTORIC HARBOUR)
Take your family to the old port of (Sunda Kelapa) and have a stroll through the incredible line-up of brightly painted Makassar schooners (pinisi) and the kora-kora war boats in the historic port district of Sunda Kelapa – the most important one in the Dutch Empire.
Pop into the old watchtower Uitkijk and Bahari Museum with a brilliant collection of traditional Javanese, Dutch and modern vessels.
The nearby fish market Pasar Ikan and the Kali Besar Canal with a 200-year-old wooden bridge Jembatan Pasar Ayam are not to be missed and also remember to visit the Chinese-style Toko Merah Red Shop that is the former Dutch Government House.
Go to see the Bahari Maritime Museum at the mouth of Ciliwung River, situated at the harbour in the restored Dutch warehouses dating back to the first trading post of the Dutch East Indies. It also has an exciting traditional fish markets well-worth of seeing.
2.KOTA BATAVIA (THE OLD TOWN)
The quaint old district of Kota was known as Batavia during the Dutch colonial era, and the area presents many well-preserved historic buildings.
Kota Batavia is typical of street vendors, markets, hawkers, craft and art shops, souvenirs and many fascinating museums, including the Fatahillah Museum, Jakarta History Museum, Wayang Museum (Puppet Museum running daily shows), the Museum of Fine Ceramic and Art as well as the Bahari Museum.
You can all have dinner in the ‘Grand Salon’ of Café Batavia – one of the colonial landmarks of Jakarta (established in 1830), facing the Taman Fatahillah Square. Remember to watch the Puppet Show at the Puppet Museum!
3.A COLOURFUL BICYCLE RIDE THROUGH GLODOK
Glodok – Jakarta`s Chinatown, is part of the Old Town Kota Batavia and it is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Naturally, it features a bustling atmosphere, busy streets, dazzling markets, beautiful temples but also some of the biggest shopping malls in South-East Asia. If travelling with older children, you should definitely take a bicycle ride through the networks of Glodok`s busy streets. The famously colourful bikes can be hired at the Fatahillah Square.
After the exhausting ride, pop in the ‘Mall Taman Anggrek’, also called the ‘Orchid Garden Mall’. There are lovely eateries and Jakarta`s only indoor ice rink for those who still feel like being active!
4.KEMANG CAT CABIN CAFE
This Taiwan-inspired family attraction is extremely popular with the local families, and if you like to have a taste of how the locals spend their free time in Jakarta, this is a perfect place to go. The café greets its visitors with great food and beautiful, cuddly cats and kittens to observe and to play with. There are various breeds to appreciate, and patting, stroking, cuddling is more than welcome.
NOTE there is no ‘bring your own cat’ option!
5.TAMAN MINI INDONESIA INDAH (THE MINIATURE PARK OF INDONESIA)
The culture-based Taman Mini Indonesia Indah offers an exciting tour of 30 provinces of Indonesia with samplings of the country’s more than 250 cultures. 27 traditional houses are built around a lake, demonstrating 27 various Indonesian provinces.
The complex also has a Science Museum, Museum Indonesia and the Asmat Museum, IMAX theatre and many more purpose-built attractions for families with children.
6.ANCOL BAYFRONT DREAMLAND CITY
South Asia`s largest integrated tourism complex is also Jakarta`s favourite place where to spend free time, especially when it comes to family. If you are a fan of theme parks and don`t mind crowds spend a day at the Ancol Bayfront Dreamland City.
Enjoy the countless attractions, among which theme parks, roller coasters, Ferris Wheel, laser shows, aquariums, art markets, eco parks, marina, beaches, bowling and golf. There are plenty of hotels, resorts and restaurants as well as shopping malls.
The highlights are Fantasy World, Atlantis Water Adventure, Sea World Ancol, Ocean Dream Samudra Park, Ocean Eco-Park, Fantastic Multimedia, Pasar Seni Art Market, Carnival and Festival Beaches – it truly is not easy to choose!
7.PONDOK INDAH WATER PARK
For a bit of refreshment, the water park in Pondok Indah Mall is a great place where to spend a few hours after some shopping. The complex provides safe and clean swimming even for smaller children. The good thing is also that, unlike the Ancol Dreamland, this water park usually gets fewer crowds hence it is more enjoyable.
The park offers an Olympic size pool, Lazy River, tubing, water slides, wave stimulator and interactive playgrounds for children of all ages.
NOTE Ladies will feel more comfortable wearing full swimwear instead of bikini – Java is still a Muslim world.
8.KIDZTANIA PACIFIC PLACE MALL
For brilliant educational activities, take your young ones to the Pacific Place Mall. This is where the interactive Kidzania can be found. Resembling a mini city, this little complex is purposely built to prepare children for the work life, once they grow up.
Child-sized replicas of cars, skyscrapers, corporation buildings and shops are supposed to stimulate children`s imagination, and there are more than 80 different professions they can choose from to pretend to be a real lawyer, surgeon, pilot, firefighter, teacher or even a model. Wearing the relevant uniform and getting all the relevant equipment make the little ones act relevantly while performing. Everything is very realistic just very small – an incredible big-little –people- world.
9.SENTUL CITY JUNGLE LAND ADVENTURE
Situated outside the city, Sentul attracts with fresh air and hilly surrounds. More than 30 purpose-built attractions are scattered across the ‘Jungle Land’; there is ‘Mysteria’, ‘Tropicalia’, various thrilling rides, Hydro Lift, bumper cars, Ferris Wheel and other adventures.
Visitors can enjoy a large number of cafes, shops and restaurants, and good facilities.
Indonesia’s oldest zoo, and the second largest zoo on earth – the Ragunan Zoo is a great place to learn more about the Indonesian fauna and see over 270 species of native animals such as Komodo dragon, orangutan, tapir, Sumatran tiger and elephant, various coloured birds and various reptiles. It also includes a children`s zoo and an artificial lake with boat rides.
TOP 5 WEEKEND-AWAY DESTINATIONS AROUND JAKARTA
1.BOGOR (1 hour from Jakarta)
Although the Ragunan Zoo is world`s 3d oldest zoo and the 2nd largest in our planet, as the most impressive is considered the Taman Safari in Bogor (80 km from Jakarta) where visitors are encouraged to drive through the park, and it is possible to come within touching distance of most of the animals.
Six wildlife shows are offered, including a Wild West Show, Dolphin Show, and Elephant Show. The amusement park section of Taman Safari also contains small rides and specialised exhibits that focus on Humboldt penguins, nocturnal animals from Indonesia and India, wallabies and kangaroos, and crocodiles.
The park also features a small petting zoo built to resemble the Taj Mahal. For a small fee, guests can take photographs with baby lions, tigers, orangutans, and leopards.
Taman Safari in Bogor provides bungalows and camping sites that are available for guests who wish to stay in the park overnight as there is so much to do – an ideal option for families!
2.PUNCAK (2 hours from Jakarta)
Escape the tropical heat and relish the cool climate in Puncak – a one of the most popular holiday destination for the Jakarta residents. This stunning mountain pass is a green oasis in this eerie volcanic area, and it is an ideal place for exploring the local nature, hiking and trekking.
The reserve is defined by lush forests, tropical waterfalls, mountains, volcanic lakes, tea plantations and boundless purpose-built attractions (Sunshine Bay Water Park, Cibodas Botanic Gardens and Zoo).
Especially, Agro-tourism and eco-tourism boost here, and there are many gorgeous hotels and eco-friendly resorts built within the tea plantations or rainforest.
Visit the Puncak Tea Plantation established by the Dutch in the colonial era and its tea factory at Gunung Mad where you can learn more about the drying and packaging procedure of the world-famous Twinings and Pickwick Tea. You can take a tour or hike through the plantation and see how the tea is picked and perhaps buy some tea-leaves as a souvenir.
3.BANDUNG (3-4 hours from Jakarta)
Bandung region offers outstanding natural attractions, including volcanoes, crater lakes, hot springs, jungle waterfalls, tea plantations and lush tropical forests, but also a well-developed tourist infrastructure and fairly good roads, it is easy to move around independently. This is an ideal weekend-away spot for families, within a 4-hour`s drive from Jakarta.
Lembang, for instance, is a good place for walks and hiking. Pay a visit to Mount Tangkuban Perahu volcano and its crater Kawah Ratu (Queen`s Crater), Kawah Domas crater, Sari Ater hot springs with lovely restaurants where you can try traditional Sundanese cuisine, Juanda Forest Park (excellent hiking opportunities), Dago Tea House Walk (2 hrs walk, waterfalls, hot springs). Bandung Treetop Adventure will surely be the kids` favourite, though.
4.SUKABUMI (3-4 hours from Jakarta)
Sukabumi is characteristic of exceptionally scenic panoramas. The region boasts rice fields, mountains, volcanoes, lakes, rivers and lush greenery. It is a good location for camping, trekking, boating and river rafting.
Besides, the region is situated close to the southern coastline of Java, which also features fantastic surf conditions.
Citarik River Rafting is well-recommended for all families with older children. Package tours can be booked from Jakarta or in Sukabumi if self-driving. Check out the Riam Jeram tour operator.
5.THOUSAND ISLANDS (2 hours from Jakarta)
Jakarta`s favourite beach-weekend-away destination is the nearby Thousand Islands (Kepulaun Seribu). The gorgeous off-shore archipelago can be reached by a jetty in just a couple of hours-time from the Muara Karang Port, and they provide a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Pulau Seribu Marine National Park offers abundant coral reef ecosystem with exotic fish and sea turtles and beautiful mangrove forest with radiant birds and reptiles. Families will find here gorgeous holiday resorts, restaurants and multiple attractions such as scuba diving and snorkelling, swimming and a wide range of water sports.
Although Pulau Macan is not the cheapest one it is the perfect island to stay on – it is the top paradise in the Java Sea. NOTE The best snorkelling is at Pramuka Island and Tidung Island.
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