If you’re heading to Indonesia, there’s a good chance you’ll fly into the bustling airport terminal of Jakarta. For many this is all they get to see of Jakarta as most people head to places such as Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. But this frenetic Asian city has a lot to offer. So why not consider making a stopover in Jakarta part of your adventure.
Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, known for its incredibly good-natured and optimistic local crowd. Most people visiting Jakarta are there because they have a connecting flight. Indeed, many tourists treat Jakarta as an entry and exit point into Indonesia; passing on the treats the city has to offer. But if you can spare 48 hours to explore this quirky city, you’ll find that it may be crowded, loud and busy; but it definitely is not boring!
Here are some great suggestions on things to do whilst in Jakarta:
GO SHOPPING IN MENTENG
Similar to Kuala Lumpur, shopping in Jakarta is a huge pastime with several prestigious malls and street markets alike. If you head down to the district of Menteng, you’ll find a famous flea market which has a range of goods from arts, crafts, textiles and food. Just bring comfortable shoes as the market is over half a kilometre long. If you’re looking for a more fancy mall experience you might want to check out this guide for more insight.
TAKE A DAY TRIP TO THE THOUSAND ISLANDS
The Thousand Islands are considered a part of greater Jakarta. Meaning, if you’re looking for some beach time in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – you don’t have to venture too far from Jakarta to find natural beauty, peace and serenity.
Just a few hours outside the city centre you’ll find beautiful beaches, covers and inlets that are a million miles away from the chaos and congestion of Jakarta. The best way to explore the islands is to take a boat tour that allows you to island hop. Don’t forget to visit ninjashark.com.au in order to pick up an innovative face mask snorkel for the crystal clear waters.
CHECK OUT MONAS TOWER
This tower is the most famous monument in Jakarta. It symbolises the independence of Indonesia, declared in 1945, after years of Dutch colonial rule. The tower is located in Merdeka Square, which translated, means “freedom”. Head to the observation deck at the top of the tower on a clear day to get tremendous views across the whole city.
VISIT TAMAN MINI INDONESIA INDAH
Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands and is split into 26 provinces. Therefore it’s unlikely you’ll even scratch the surface of this immense country on a trip here. But for an overview of the highlights head to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or Beautiful Mini Indonesia.
This park is arranged according to province where you’ll find models of traditional homes and learn about the local traditions, costumes and diverse ways of life across the country. This is a great place to come with children and offers an interesting way to get your bearings and understand the geography of this vast country.
VISIT THE ZOO
Ragunan Zoo is a place you’ll find over 3,600 species spread out over 185 hectares of land. You can find Komodo Dragons and Orangutang’s from Indonesia, along with a variety of species from other parts of the world. The zoo is also home to an array of indigenous flowers and plants. The zoo is closed every Monday and the top tip is to wear plenty of insect repellent when visiting.
HIT THE BEACH
The beach within Jakarta is called Ancol Beach, which consists of a strip of golden sand that is technically free to walk on – but requires payment to enjoy facilities such as sun loungers. There are also a number of swimming pools along the shore as well as other attractions including SeaWorld and a waterpark.
HEAD TO A THEME PARK
Dunia Fantasi is Jakarta’s version of Disneyland. And fans of Disneyland may find many parts of it surprisingly familiar. Whilst it doesn’t really compare to the likes of Universal Orlando, it is still well worth a visit.
ATLANTIS WATER ADVENTURE
Atlantis Water Adventure is a vast water park complex that is perfect for cooling off on a hot day. The park has eight areas and you’ll find a large wave pool in addition to a variety of fun slides and pools for various age groups. This is a great for family activities and offers a more fun and relaxing side to Jakarta. All away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
This textile museum is one of the less visited museums in Jakarta, however, it is well worth the trip if you are interested in fashion or textiles as you’ll get the chance to learn more about traditional Indonesian weaving and fabric painting techniques.
The museum has just over 2,000 pieces on show, including some famous Indonesian batik items. There are also a range of antique looms on display as well as a very pretty garden which hosts plants used to make dyes for the fabrics. One thing to check out are the taster classes where you can learn how to make Batik art work.
TAKE A WALK AROUND GLODOK
Found in Taman Sari is the area of Glodok which is essentially Jakarta’s Chinatown.
It is the largest Chinatown in the country and one of the biggest in the world; having started out in the Dutch Colonial Period. Today, it’s a range of temples, markets and shops where you can stroll around and admire the traditional Chinese architecture. It also has a famous electronics centre which is one of the largest in Jakarta. The other thing to look out for are the traditional medicine shops which have a range of weird and wonderful remedies.
In summary, Jakarta has much more to offer than just a connecting flight. Venture out into the city for a few days and you’ll be surprised by how much there is to see and do.