Jakarta – being the capital and largest city to a country with the largest economy in Southeast Asia that creates employment opportunity to millions of people – continues to flourish as a tourism hotspot, especially in anticipation of the completion of its new airport, scheduled to be ready by 2017, and the mass rapid transit systems, slated for completion by mid-2018.
The following are the places that travellers can choose to explore when being in this sprawling megacity:
1. Kota Tua Jakarta (Jakarta Old Town)
Jakarta Old Town is a popular meeting point. It is a historic place developed during the Dutch period, whereby most of its buildings are among the oldest in Jakarta. Travellers may ride colourful bicycles with matching floppy hats around the square and taste the street food called Kerak Telur (fried egg with rice) and Es Selengang Mayang (iced fruits mixed with syrup and milk). Travellers can also find awesome street performances and buskers along the area.
2. Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum)
Travellers should also take time to visit the museums located around Kota Tua such as Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum) to understand how integral puppeteering has been to Indonesian storytelling; Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Jakarta History Museum), housed in a former town hall with almost 90 percent of its original structure still intact; and Fine Art & Ceramic Museum, formerly an Indonesian military dormitory but now become the venue to display traditional Indonesian handicrafts.
Most of the museums open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closed on Mondays) and the entrance fee is IDR5,000 per adult. Travellers can catch the puppet show performed on Sundays.
GPS: 6.134769, 106.813796
3. Museum Bahari (Maritime Museum)
This museum is located at Sunda Kelapa harbour, showcasing Indonesia’s maritime history and the significance of the sea to the nation’s economy. The museum exhibits actual historical boat, replicas and dioramas relating to the maritime. The legends of maritime history such as the Flying Dutchman, The Voyage of Cheng Ho and more are also displayed at the museum.
Open daily from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm (closed on Mondays)
GPS: 6.127328, 106.809655
4. Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (Ancol Dreamland)
Taman Impian Jaya Ancol or well known as Ancol Dreamland is the largest theme park in Indonesia covering 552 hectares that includes Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy World), Ocean Dream Samudra, Atlantis Water Adventure, Ocean Ecopark, Seaworld, Alive Museum, among others. One day is not enough to cover this park in its entirety.
Should you be interested to cover the whole park, there is a free transportation service from the park to nearby hotels such as Putri Duyung Cottage, Raddin Hotel and Mercure Hotel.
Opens daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Kindly refer to www.ancol.com for pricing ticket.
GPS: 6.124925, 106.838221
5. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park)
It is a 150-hectare Indonesian cultural park. The word ‘miniature’ is a misnomer – this park actually exhibits the various cultures, nature and heritage from the sprawling country’s 34 provinces. To cover the park, you can either travel by your own car, rent a bike or ride a cable car to have bird’s-eye view of the huge man-made lake with islands in the middle that represents the Indonesia archipelago. The pavilions of the real-size traditional houses is a must visit. Each pavilion carries its own unique identity and cultural history, including souvenirs that travellers can purchase.
Opens daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and entrance fee of IDR9,000, extra charges for those who wish to rent a bicycle or ride a cable car.
GPS: 6.302432, 106.895501
6. Textile Museum
This museum is the place where travellers can learn about batik creation and its interesting history – batik is indeed the pride of Indonesia. Interesting courses and training are also here for the public to obtain hands-on experience in producing the elegant Indonesian batik.
7. Thamrin City Shopping Centre
Thamrin City Shopping Centre is the place for travellers to have purchase colourful batik attire and fabrics for own use or to be given away as souvenirs.
Opens daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (closed on Mondays)
GPS: 6.187981, 106.810162
Where to eat?
8. Bunga Rampai – Travellers can savour authentic Indonesian gastronomic fare in a beautifully decorated colonial house. The restaurant’s chicken and beef sate manis (sweet satay) are truly delightful, which come together with the lunch set menu.
Opens daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
GPS: 6.198323, 106.844343
9. Penang Bistro
It is indeed an interesting experience to taste Malaysian food prepared and served in a different country. This restaurant serves roti canai with beef curry, including Malaysia’s favourite beverage teh tarik.
Opens daily from 10.30 am to 10.00 pm
GPS: 6.181084, 106.832670
10. Café Batavia
Travellers will be wowed by this dining establishment serving marvellous western food such as the mouth-watering and fresh classic Caesar salad amidst 19th century colonial-inspired ambience set in a 200-year-old building. Travellers should use or at least take a peek at its interesting toilet embellished with nostalgic posters and images. There is also live band performance on late evenings.
Opens weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight and until 1:00 a.m. during weekends
GPS: 6.134443, 106.813289
11. Bandar Djakarta Seaside Seafood Restaurant
Macet (which refers to traffic congestion) is not only happening on the streets but also in this restaurant, which serves fresh live seafood where travellers can select and have it cooked instantly! The restaurant’s avocado smoothie is also a must try.
Opens daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
GPS: 6.122045, 106.851167
12. Marina Batavia
A tremendous view of seashore filled with huge Quicksilver boats, this restaurant serves Indonesian Chinese and Western fare. Ikan Saus Bangkok (deep fried fish with sweet and sour sauce) is recommended due to its delicious combination of Indonesian, Chinese and Thai flavours.
Opens daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
GPS: 6.120120, 106.813303
13. The Cloud Lounge & Dining
Located at the Plaza Tower mall, this restaurant is popular among locals for its rooftop lounge, especially among the Gen-Y due to its vibrant night scene and spectacular view of Central Jakarta from the 49th floor. Travellers are recommended to try the restaurant’s grilled salmon with zucchini, avocado and saffron sauce.
Opens daily from 4:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
GPS: 6.192937, 106.822733
14. Shanghai Blue 1920
Astonished by its unique traditional interior décor, this restaurant serves tasty Chinese and Indonesian food infused with Dutch signature. Among the must-try dishes are Kuo Tie Tiga Macam (vegetables, shrimp and chicken with deep fried filling) and Daging Masak Ngo Hiang, to be enjoyed with a variety of sambal (spicy condiment) like bajak and trasi.
Opens daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
GPS: 6.183259, 106.825277