Central Jakarta is home to an impressive collection of imposing Stalinist-style socialist-era monuments such as the towering column in Merdeka Freedom Square, also called Soekarno`s last erection.

The largest square on earth offers excellent sightseeing: a 132 m high Monas National Monument, the presidential palace, government building, Istiqal Mosque (the largest Mosque in Southeast Asia), Jakarta Gothic CathedralNational Museum of Indonesia, National Gallery of Indonesia and Jakarta Planetarium.

The area is also home to Jakarta’s major landmark Bundaran HI or the Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle, which is where some of the most exclusive malls are located.

Jakarta`s downtown by night, Merdeka Square


Watch Jakarta from the observation deck of the 132 m high Monas National Monument, the tower view of Jakarta city spectacular!

Monas National Monument, Merdeka Square


The quaint old district of Kota was known as Batavia during the Dutch colonial era, and the area presents many well-preserved historic buildings.

It is defined by 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 Maritime Museum.

Kota Batavia, Jakarta`s old town


Have dinner in the ‘Grand Salon’ of Café Batavia – one of the colonial landmarks of Jakarta (established in 1830), facing the Taman Fatahillah Square.

The ‘Grand Salon’ of Café Batavia, Jakarta


Glodok, or the 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 bustling atmosphere, busy streets and, dazzling markets, beautiful temples but also some of the biggest shopping malls in South-East Asia (Mall Taman Anggrek”, also called the ‘Orchid Garden Mall’ and Mangga Dua).

The network of lanes between the Pancoran Street and Gunung Street is packed with ojeks, scooters and bicycles, and it is easy to get lost in that vast labyrinth of lanes that all look the same.

Glodok is as much opulent shopping malls as traditional street vendors and markets


Try Durian! Do not let yourself fooled by the smell of the notoriously stinky fruit and have a taste. Remember that even though the extremely pungent scent of Durian might make you fed up at first, but after a single bite you will realise that it actually tastes yum J

Durian is the world`s stinkiest fruit; it smells so strong that it is forbidden on public transport


No visit to Jakarta is complete without taking 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.

There are an old watchtower Uitkijk and picturesque 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.

Sunda Kelapa – the most important port in the time of the Dutch East Indies


Go to see the Bahari 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.

Bahari Museum


Everyone who visited Bangkok will know the famous Khao San Road, and if you have been to Bali you would probably know Kuta too, and Jalan Jaksa is their Japanese version.

This popular backpacker street has a great number of budget hotels and restaurants for travellers, bookshops, pubs, internet cafes and travel agencies.

It is conveniently located and close to most of the attractions, the old town and the harbour and mainly to the Gondangdia railway station.

Jalan Jaksa is a popular backpacker`s area with budget guesthouses and hostels


If you visit Jalan Jaksa in August that is the time of the annual Jaksa Street Festival aimed to increase the popularity of street and simultaneously celebrate the culture of indigenous Jakarta residents, known as the Betawi people.

Jaksa Street Festival is annually held in Jalan Jaksa


South Jakarta is known for being the up-market place and Jakarta-elite’s residential district; opulent shopping malls, luxurious restaurants, grand hotels, bars and nightclubs and also the city business centre.

Kemang is a street filled with lanes of the most popular fine dining restaurant, cocktail bars, nightclubs, and deluxe shops.  

Senopati has great chill-out places, lounges, markets and a more relaxing ambience. Sports lovers can enjoy the Senayan Sports Complex and its Gelanggang Bung Karno Stadium – Indonesia’s largest stadium.

Senayan Sports Complex & Gelanggang Bung Karno Stadium


Jakarta has amazing rooftop bars, and you should totally enjoy a drink or two at one of following: SKYE BAR (56th floor, Menara BCA), CLOUD LOUNGE (49th floor, The Plaza Building), AWAN LOUNGE (9th floor, Kosenda Hotel) or SOUPANOVA ECO SKY (23rd floor, GKM Tower).

Henshin Japanese Bar & Restaurant, Jakarta


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 other purpose-built attractions.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta


If you are a fan of theme parks spend a day at the Ancol Bayfront Dream City – Southeast Asia’s largest integrated tourism area where you can find theme parks, aquariums, art markets, eco parks, marina, beach, shopping mall and other seaside attractions (Fantasy World, Sea World, Ocean Park, Fantastic Multimedia and Laser Shows).

Ancol Dreamland Jakarta is Southeast Asia’s largest integrated tourism area


The world`s second largest, zoo – Ragunan Zoo, is a great place to learn more about the Indonesian fauna and see over 270 species of native animals such as Komodo dragonorangutantapirSumatran tiger and elephant, various coloured birds and various reptiles. It also includes a children`s zoo and an artificial lake with boat rides.


If you are a big fan of wildlife and safaris, spend a couple of days in the Bogor`s Taman Safari Park (80 km from Jakarta). You can drive through the park, and it is possible to come within touching distance of most of the animals. Taman Safari 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!

Bogor`s Taman Safari Park is renowned for the best safari experience in Indonesia


Jakarta`s favourite weekend-away destination is definitely the nearby Thousand Islands. A jetty can reach this gorgeous off-shore archipelago in a short time from the Muara Karang Port, and they provide a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta.

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. The visitors will find here top holiday resorts, restaurants and multiple attractions, e.g. scuba diving and snorkelling, swimming and other water sports.

Pulau Seribu Marine National Park, Thousand Islands


Although Pulau Macan is not the cheapest one, it is the perfect island to stay on – a tiny paradise in the Java Sea.  NOTE The best snorkelling is at Pramuka Island and Tidung Island.

Semak Daun Island


An amazing eye-opener for every foreigner – the Jakarta Hidden Tour is a must-see (unless you are an advocate against slum tourism). The insightful and fascinating tour takes you through some of the poorest districts on earth, yet situated just a stone`s throw from the gleaming skyscrapers of the Jakarta city.

You will learn about the life in poverty and encounter a once-in-a-lifetime image of Kampung – Jakarta`s slums in the urban peripheries.

Kampung – the slums of Jakarta


‘Slum Tourism’ has been the subject of much controversy. Some people believe that this type of tourism should not be supported as it turns poverty into entertainment. Consider this before travelling, please.

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Eva Bodova

Sunday 22 July 2018

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