Jakarta Cityscape
Jakarta cityscape (Photo credit: Fuzz)

Jakarta Travel Guide

QUICK FACTS

  • The capital of Indonesia, with a population of about 11 million.
  • Previously known as Sunda Kalepa, it was renamed Jakarta by the Japanese.
  • It was the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies in the 1800s.
  • Nickname: The Big Durian

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
  • Spoken languages: Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). Betawi Malay and English are also widely spoken.
  • Best time to visit: from July to October – the dry season, with temperate, tropical weather.
  • Arriving via airport: Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK) has 3 terminals connected by a free shuttle service. DAMRI buses run to every major point in the city from 4 AM to 7 PM, while Silverbird and Blue Bird taxis can be booked at the counters past customs.

WHERE TO STAY

The Golden Triangle refers to the Central Business District, or Segitiga Emas, and is made up of the financial and commercial districts, including an assortment of accommodation for every pocket. For wide boulevards, leafy parks and elegant accommodation, head to Menteng – the so-called Beverly Hills of Jakarta. Entertainment and dining are something Thamrir does well, with round-the-clock cafes, film screenings and shopping venues.

GETTING AROUND

  • Transjakarta Busway operates 12 routes with single tickets priced at Rp2,000 before 7am and Rp3,500 onwards till 10pm. 
  • Microlet are small minivans that run on set routes in small areas of the city with fares of Rp1,500.
  • Bajaj are tricycles outfitted with a passenger cabin in the back, a cheap alternative great for short distances.
  • Blue Bird taxis can be booked on 021 7917 1234; the meter starts at Rp6,000 for the first kilometer and Rp3,000 for each subsequent km.

JAKARTA NIGHTLIFE

  • Drinking age is 18, no official last call.
  • Jalan Jaksa is popular among backpackers and budget travellers  with cheap drinks and a casual dress code.
  • PI (Plaza Indonesia) in Central Jakarta has an annex of fashionable bars and clubs.
  • Senayan combines sports bars with thumping nightclubs, popular with young professionals.

UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT

  • Museum Nasional has the largest collection on South East Asian artefacts and Hindu Javanese artwork.
  • Fatahillah Square in Kotas was the heart of the city during the Dutch rule, and the centre of the spice trade market.
  • Monas was built to commemorate Indonesia’s independence. The tower has a dedicated museum complete with dioramas recounting the history of the country.
  • Istiqlal Mosque is the largest in Indonesia, a sacred place of worship that also serves as a conference centre.
  • Museum Bank is a modern and informative exhibit on the history of the country’s first bank all through the Dutch settlement and the Asian Financial Crisis.         
  • Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is a concert hall built during the Dutch colonial period, still used for concerts and major events by both local and foreign artists.

INTERESTING WALKS

  • Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is a cultural and educational park in Eastern Jakarta. Tour the 30 provinces that make up the country, and discover their rich and diverse cultures.
  • Sunda Kelapa is the former port used to transport goods all over Indonesia, with the gritty boardwalk playing an interesting echo of history.
  • Jalan Surabaya is synonymous to the flea market stalls that specialise in ceramics, pottery and antiques.

LOCAL WISDOM

  • South East Asia is known to impose the harshest drug laws in the world, and Indonesia is no exception. Avoid partaking in any drug use, as the crime is punishable by the maximum of death sentence.
  • Where to find good cheap eats: Glodok is Jakarta’s Chinatown and the perfect destination for cheap, quick food, while the street vendors in Menteng serve up delicious, traditional fare. The neighbourhood of Tebet takes away from the city for excellent Balinese dishes. Note: Local food is generally spicier than food in the West.
  • Dangerous areas: Kota should be avoided at night due to the high incident rate of robberies.

RECOMMENDED JAKARTA GUIDE BOOKS

Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days


SEE ALSO:
Jakarta Travel Guide was last modified: September 26th, 2016 by Nick
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