Top 10 Things to Do in Jakarta

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  • 7/30/2019 Top 10 Things to Do in Jakarta


    Top 10 things for independent budget travellers to do in Jakarta

    Heres a list of 10 of the best things to do in Jakarta if youre travelling on a budget. These activities areall outside the Cikini area, and all easily day-tripable. For suggestions on what to do in the area aroundSix Degrees in Cikini, click here.

    Note that the following list is in no particular order, and number 1 is not necessarily the best (its not).

    Why not see or do them all, and tell us which ones are your favourite?

    Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

    Promoted as Indonesias different cultures all in one place, Taman Mini (or TMII) is a sprawling300-acre park originally thought-up by the wife of ex-dictator Suharto. Some people say that if you goto TMII then theres no need to travelaround the rest of the archipelago. Theyd be wrong, of course,

    but Taman Mini is still worth the trip partly because its genuinely interesting in places, and partlybecause its just such a curiosity. There are displays of cultural artifacts and art from each ofIndonesias many ethnic groups, housed within an example of the traditional building style of thatregion. Some of the buildings are rather impressive. Theres also a large aviary, a stuffed animalmuseum, a swimming pool and lots of restaurants. The nicest thing about the park is the open space a rare commodity in Jakarta. Strolling around the grounds is a pleasant enough way to spend anafternoon. Or theres a rickety monorail if strolling is not your thing.

    Old Batavia (Kota) and Sunda Kelapa Port

    The place to go for a taste of Jakartas rich history, Kota the old town is centred around FatahillahSquare. Essentially a collection of fine old Dutch colonial-era building in various states of repair, thereare several good museums here as well as the unmissable Caf Batavia.

    A short hop from Kota brings you to Sunda Kelapa, where dozens of old wooden sailing schooners can

    still be seen loading and offloading goods from around the country. Well worth the trip, especially ifyoure into boats or photography. Or both.


    There are several good museums dotted around the city, and the big travel websites havecomprehensive lists (heres one). The best museums are predominantly located in and around Kota the old town. Theres Fatahillah Museum (history), Jakarta Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum, and evena couple of the old banks museums (actually quite interesting, honestly). Youll also find the Wayang(traditional Puppetry) Museum in this part of town.

    Away from Kota (and walking distance from Six Degrees) The National Museum, which youll findopposite the National Monument Monas, can easily consume a full day. Its cheap to get in, and iscrammed full of historical artifacts and Indonesiana. The building itself is fascinating and, like most ofthe other museums in Jakarta, it will almost certainly be rather quiet when you visit. Although iftheres a school trip you may inadvertently become the star exhibit. Enjoy!

    Istiqlal Mosque

    Its very big. Thats perhaps the most interesting thing about Mesjid Istiqlal. Infact, its the biggestmosque in South-East Asia. Build in the 50s, and designed by a Christian architect, its worth a look.Only a steady trickle of foreign tourists visit the mosque, but theyre made to feel welcome, and usually

    enjoy the excursion. Its started becoming more popular since Barrack Obama visited back in2010.Click here for a more in-depth wikipedia look at the building, its many intended purposes, and itshistory.
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    Senayan Malls & shopping

    The Senayan area, located on and behind one of Jakartas biggest and most famous streets, JalanSudirman, comprises several malls. Apologies, but its too mind-numbingly boring for the author (ashopaphobic) to list them all here, but rest assured that youll find what youre looking for in this areaof the city. There are up-scale and mid-range malls, and Senayan FX features a big slide to take youfrom the top to the bottom. Useful for those who need to get out quickly (both shopaphobics andshoplifters, perhaps). Arcadia Senayan is a small building in the middle of the area which features

    some good, fancy restaurants, as well as Red Square, one of Jakartas trendiest bars. One of manygood places in the area to spend lots of money, hang out with the beautiful people, dance on tables, andhear top-quality Western dance music.

    Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (Ancol Dreamland Park usually just called Ancol)

    Ancol, pronounced an-chol This is where thousands of Jakartans go to be entertained. The hugecomplex on the North coast of the city includes an excellent water park, a Sea World, hotels, a beach,and lots and lots of restaurants and food stalls. DuFan Fantasy World is a theme park, with arickety roller-coaster and lots of smaller rides. Its packed at the weekends, and queuing an hour in themidday sun for a mediocre 32-second roller-coaster might not be everyones idea of a great weekend. Itstill has its charms, though.

    Ancol is also host to big concerts and events, and international nightclubs such as Ministry of Sound,Gatecrasher and Renaissance sometimes put on parties here.

    The Ancol website is here its entirely in Indonesian (which perhaps tells you something about theirtarget market), but there are enough photos and icons to help you navigate around and see whatshappening.

    Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu)

    Just off the coast, right next to one of theworlds biggest, muckiest cities, youd hardly expect to find

    pristine tropical islands. Well, there are some. We havent counted to check that theres really 1000 ofthem (we think its more like 120), but there are certainly some gems. The water is clear andsnorkelling is fine, and theres small white-beached islands all over the place. Many rich Jakartansescape here for the weekend and, as a result, some of the islands have been bought up by luxuryresorts, and prices are way beyond those that your average independent traveller can afford. Howeverit is possible to get a public boat from Ancol to one of the several islands which offer mid-rangeaccommodation. Many of the islands also have villages, so youll be able to meet the locals and get ataste of their unique culture and laid-back lifestyle. Theres some good information about the islandson this wiki page and many of the islands and resorts have their own websites. Go midweek to avoidthe hordes.

    Taman Safari and Ragunan Zoo

    Taman Safari is Indonesias Safari Park and is located near Bogor. Ragunan Zoo is Indonesias biggestand best Zoo, and is located in South Jakarta. The writer has grouped them both here as he has been toneither of them hed rather find animals in the wild. However most people love the safari Park (ifgetting your windscreen wipers ripped off by a baboon is your thing), and the zoo is apparently on apar with Western zoos in terms of animal welfare and enclosure standards. The zoo includes one of the

    worlds largest primate centres- 23 acres by all accounts. The zoo does parade its orang-utans aroundon the back of a horse-cart every day, which is part of the reason Ive never been. Both places claim to

    be working on conservation projects, but both places are also extremely popular and make huge sumsof money. For a more positive look at these places, tryhere (Taman Safari) and here (Ragunan Zoo)


    Bogor is a large town around one hour from the centre of Jakarta. Jakarta has almost enveloped Bogornow, with not much in the way of green space in between. The most popular and distinct thing aboutBogor is its elevation. Its much higher up than Jakarta, which results in a mild, comfortable climate
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    (20-25 degrees Indonesians generally think this is cold). As a result, its another popular place towhich Jakartans escape at weekends.

    It also rains a lot, and is sometimes dubbed the rainy city. The city has a rich history as once-capital ofthe Sundanese Kingdom, the legacy of which is relatively easy to find. Today, the city is incrediblydensely populated, but still a popular tourist destination.

    The most popular attraction is the Botanical Gardens. Established in 1817, it is a lovely place to spendhalf a day. It includes all kinds of Flora and, if youre lucky, youll see the worlds largest flower, thestinking Rafflesia, in bloom.

    Wikipedia has an excellent page about Bogors history and attractions here it is.

    South Jakarta Kuningan to Kemang

    South Jakarta is a huge area, which covers many different suburbs and sub-districts. Its generallyconsidered to be where Indonesias wealthy reside, although theres plenty of evidence to the contrary.

    Kuningan and Jalan Sudirman make up Jakartas main CBD, and this is where youll find the gleamingskyscrapers, clean streets, western malls and restaurants, and a huge variety of entertainment. The side

    of Jakarta the government wants you to see.

    Kemang, a little further south, is a rich residential area, and a night-life hotspot. There are numerousgood pubs, cafs and restaurants around. Theres also high-end food, art and furniture shops that wecant afford. As a honey-pot for wealthy young Jakartans, the traffic to and from this area in theevening can sometimes be horrific. But, if youre craving a slice of the high-life in Jakarta, the rewardsmake the journey worthwhile. Heres the Kemang Buzz website, which details all the attractions andlists upcoming events.