Jakarta travel guide

Jakarta Tourism | Jakarta Guide

You're Going to Love Jakarta

Jakarta is an upbeat city that moves at a fast pace, whether that means the traffic on the streets or the redevelopment projects that continue to pop up all over town.

This city of over 10 million sprawls over the island of Java where the Ciliwung River flows into Jakarta Bay, and eventually the Java Sea. Founded in the fourth century, the city served as a key trading port in the ancient Kingdom of Sunda, then became a city crucial to the Dutch East Indies under colonial rule, and in the modern era has grown into the financial, cultural, and political capital of Indonesia.

Jakarta's foods and dining options draw upon traditions from Indonesia's 17,000 islands. You'll see architectural styles from China, the Netherlands, and the Arab world, along with local Malay and Javanese influences and gleaming postmodern skyscrapers. Past and present combine in the fascinating modern city of Jakarta.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Jakarta

1. World-Class Shopping Malls

Jakarta's offerings when it comes to shopping malls are equal in caliber with the best of Singapore or other Asian centers. Taman Anggrek Mall is the city's largest, covering just under 89,000 acres in West Jakarta, with over 500 stores on seven levels. More than 70 shopping centers participate each year in the Jakarta Great Sale during June and July, held to commemorate the anniversary of Jakarta's founding.

2. Scintillating Nightlife

Jakarta's is home to some of the best nightclubs and bars in the region. From chic rooftop bars to trendy nightclubs and cocktail bars, there is a diverse, lively nightlife scene to explore.

3. Captivating Culture

Jakarta's diverse group of cultures has created a multifaceted culture that you can experience via traditional performances, film festivals, the Java Jazz Festival, and many other world-class arts and entertainment events hosted by the city throughout the year. The Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or "Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park" in East Jakarta includes pavilions that illustrate life in all of Indonesia's 26 provinces.

4. Fantastic Food

Betawi cuisine - or the local cuisine of Jakarta - incorporates many outside influences, including Chinese, Arabic, Indian, and various European, particularly Portuguese, cuisines. It's spicy and fragrant, with popular dishes like soto Betawi, a spicy beef stew, or gado-gado, basically fresh salad in a peanut sauce. You'll find everything from cheap street food favorites to fine dining rooms offering fusion cuisine.

5. Intriguing Museums

Most of the city's museums can be found in Jakarta's Old Town and Merdeka Square in Central Jakarta, including the National Museum of Indonesia - called Gedung Gajah (the Elephant Building) because of the elephant statue in the forecourt - with its extensive archaeological and historical collections.

What to do in Jakarta

1. Monas: Monas

The Indonesian archipelago has gone through a whirlwind of modern political change, and in 1945 the islands were finally declared a sovereign nation with Jakarta as its capital. This iconic monument commemorates that history, with sweeping views of the city from the top and an informative museum at the base. More historical art and artifacts can be found at institutions surrounding the vast square - stop into the National Museum and Merdeka Palace, full of fascinating treasures.

2. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: A Taste of Everything

Thousands of islands comprise this vast and varied country, so it's nearly impossible to visit it all - but this entertainment park brings the far reaches of the nation to you! The most important sights from throughout Indonesia are recreated here in miniature, covering the multitude of cultures and styles in epic detail. Amidst these fascinating structures visitors can also enjoy gardens, museums, theaters, and more - there is even a Komodo Dragon Reptile Park.

3. Masjid Istiqlal: Mosque of the Nation

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country, so it's no surprise that the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia is at the heart of this staggering metropolis. Its minaret takes over the skyline with elegance and assertion, welcoming visitors from far and wide to appreciate the impressive space. Up to 200,000 people at a time come together in prayer here. Seven entrances lead to the immense prayer hall, where twelve dwarfing pillars hold up the mystical dome.

4. Kota Tua: Colonial Days

Jakarta's colonial center was once named Batavia by the Dutch, and the area is still filled with traces of Dutch influence. Rapidly developing, keep your eyes open on a walk through this neighborhood - from architecture to canals; there are some distinctly European moments. Now a great contrast reigns, with contemporary skyscrapers rising amidst old forts, hotels, and houses. Fatahillah Square has been the center of it all for centuries, host to a plethora of great museums.

5. Grand Indonesia: More than a Mall

Shopping is a popular pastime in Indonesia, and there is a whole world built around the culture. Grand Indonesia is the jewel of Jakarta's malls, boasting endless outlets and flagship stores alongside world class dining experiences. With eight floors on which to roam free, visitors can satisfy every wish and desire with all sorts of entertainment along the way - there is even an arcade and a fountain show!

1. Monas: Monas

The Indonesian archipelago has gone through a whirlwind of modern political change, and in 1945 the islands were finally declared a sovereign nation with Jakarta as its capital. This iconic monument commemorates that history, with sweeping views of the city from the top and an informative museum at the base. More historical art and artifacts can be found at institutions surrounding the vast square - stop into the National Museum and Merdeka Palace, full of fascinating treasures.

2. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah: A Taste of Everything

Thousands of islands comprise this vast and varied country, so it's nearly impossible to visit it all - but this entertainment park brings the far reaches of the nation to you! The most important sights from throughout Indonesia are recreated here in miniature, covering the multitude of cultures and styles in epic detail. Amidst these fascinating structures visitors can also enjoy gardens, museums, theaters, and more - there is even a Komodo Dragon Reptile Park.

3. Masjid Istiqlal: Mosque of the Nation

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country, so it's no surprise that the biggest mosque in Southeast Asia is at the heart of this staggering metropolis. Its minaret takes over the skyline with elegance and assertion, welcoming visitors from far and wide to appreciate the impressive space. Up to 200,000 people at a time come together in prayer here. Seven entrances lead to the immense prayer hall, where twelve dwarfing pillars hold up the mystical dome.

4. Kota Tua: Colonial Days

Jakarta's colonial center was once named Batavia by the Dutch, and the area is still filled with traces of Dutch influence. Rapidly developing, keep your eyes open on a walk through this neighborhood - from architecture to canals; there are some distinctly European moments. Now a great contrast reigns, with contemporary skyscrapers rising amidst old forts, hotels, and houses. Fatahillah Square has been the center of it all for centuries, host to a plethora of great museums.

5. Grand Indonesia: More than a Mall

Shopping is a popular pastime in Indonesia, and there is a whole world built around the culture. Grand Indonesia is the jewel of Jakarta's malls, boasting endless outlets and flagship stores alongside world class dining experiences. With eight floors on which to roam free, visitors can satisfy every wish and desire with all sorts of entertainment along the way - there is even an arcade and a fountain show!

Where to Eat in Jakarta

The Tugu Kunstkring Paleis was once a fine arts center, and you can still view fine art exhibitions as you dine on Indonesian favorites that start at Rp60,000. Jalan Kampung Lima is a small street in the Jalan Jaksa area near the Mandiri Bank where you can sample classic Javanese street food from a number of stalls. Favorites like piseng goreng (fried banana) and spicy fried chicken start at Rp20,000. For fine dining, Indonesian style, with a menu that changes according to the supply of local ingredients, you can try Nusa, where multi-course menus start at Rp350,000.

When to visit Jakarta

Jakarta in June
Estimated hotel price
€48
1 night at 3-star hotel
Jakarta in June
Estimated hotel price
€48
1 night at 3-star hotel

In tropical Jakarta, the drier months of June through September, when daily temperatures range between about 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, are the most popular times for tourists to visit. The remainder of the year is considered the rainy season, with the most rainfall in January and February.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Jakarta

Plane

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) is about 18 miles from the city center, handling most international flights to Jakarta. The best option to get to town is by one of the many taxis available. A regular taxi fare to the city should cost about Rp120,000. Damri bus service connects to the city's commuter train network and starts at Rp25,000. Some domestic flights and discount airlines operate out of Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (HLP), which is about 11.5 miles from Jakarta.

Train

Long distance train service passes through Jakarta via KRL and Jabodetabek. There are connections to Surabaya, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Bali with a combination of train, bus, and ferry service.

Car

Driving to Jakarta means navigating a network of toll roads made up of an inner and outer ring road. Five toll roads radiate out from the city in all directions to the east, west, and south to Ciawi, to Serpong, and to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

Bus

Jakarta connects to other centers in the region via bus, including Bandung and Yogyakarta. Companies include XTrans and Primajasa, with the main bus terminal located in South Jakarta.

Airlines serving Jakarta

United Airlines
Good (2,858 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,393 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,189 reviews)
KLM
Good (355 reviews)
Air France
Good (404 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,063 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,339 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,442 reviews)
SWISS
Good (458 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,225 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (975 reviews)
Iberia
Good (927 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (317 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (337 reviews)
Finnair
Good (703 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,301 reviews)
Ethiopian Air
Good (147 reviews)
Aeromexico
Good (814 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (52 reviews)
Egypt Air
Good (127 reviews)
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Where to stay in Jakarta

Central Jakarta – this is where you'll find landmarks like the Jakarta Cathedral, and some of the city's best museums, including the Taman Prasasti Museum, and the Textile Museum. There are also large parks, such as leafy Taman Suropati, where you can join a free yoga or aerobics class, and Menteng Park with its greenhouses and manicured plant beds.

Popular Neighborhoods in Jakarta

West Jakarta – this district includes Chinatown and historic landmarks like the Toko Merah, built in 1730. This is also where you'll find the Old Town, the original downtown area under Dutch colonial rule.

South Jakarta – this largely upscale neighborhood is where you'll find some of the city's best shopping malls, including Pondok Indah Mall and family-friendy Gandaria City. The main bus terminal and railway station are also located in this district.

Most popular hotel in Jakarta by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Jakarta

Most booked hotels in Jakarta

Isserkelly House
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
€54+
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How to Get Around Jakarta

Public Transportation

Public transit is limited in Jakarta. The TransJakarta bus rapid transit system caters to commuters, as does the electric commuter rail system, but be forewarned that both usually run at over capacity during weekday rush hours. Rapid bus service fares are Rp3,500.

Taxi

Taxis are a good option for travel inside the city, with multiple companies on offer, including Blue Bird (basic service) and Silver Bird (premium service), with cheap fares at both levels. A basic cab from South Jakarta to North Jakarta will cost about Rp60,000.

Car

Visitors are allowed to drive in Indonesia with an International Driver's License. Traffic is chronically congested in Jakarta and the connecting highways. A car rental starts at about Rp915,000 and Avis has outlets in the city. Parking spaces can be very scarce in some neighborhoods, where you will be competing with locals for spots that go for up to Rp10,000 per hour.

The Cost of Living in Jakarta

Shopping Streets

Grand Indonesia Shopping Town is located in Central Jakarta. It's got a good selection of high end brands, along with Blitzmegaplex, Indonesia's largest movie theater, and a video game arcade. Also in Central Jakarta, Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua, formerly a traditional Java market, is now a large shopping mall where you can bargain for a huge range of goods from clothing and jewelry to homewares.

Groceries and Other

Most of the major shopping malls include a Hero supermarket. So-called hypermarkets are superstores where you can purchase just about anything, and there are several to choose from including Carrefour and Hypermart. A quart of milk costs about Rp18,000 and a dozen eggs costs about Rp23,000. The Pasar Minggu Sunday market in South Jakarta is famous for its delicious array of fruits.

Cheap meal
€2.50
A pair of jeans
€52.42
Single public transport ticket
€0.25
Cappuccino
€2.38