The Top 10 Things to Do in Jakarta

Rides at Dufan in Ancol Dreamland, Jakarta
Rides at Dufan in Ancol Dreamland, Jakarta | © g2acy / Flickr
Edira Putri

Indonesia’s metropolis is notorious for its busy and diverse scene, which is ideal for business, leisure, and everything in between. Whatever your thing is — food, architecture, history, fashion, or art — this city always offers many things to do to keep you amused. This guide will help you discover the top experiences you should have in Jakarta and its many charming destinations.

Explore the Old Town

For self-proclaimed history buffs, Jakarta’s Old Town is an interesting spot to explore. Once one of the most prominent neighborhoods during the colonial era, Kota Tua (Old Town) is filled with historical landmarks. Some of the old government buildings and trade centers have been kept alive here, though they’ve mostly been repurposed as museums or become heritage sites. Don’t miss the Jakarta History Museum, Rumah Akar, and Sunda Kelapa port.

Colonial building in Jakarta, Indonesia

Visit the houses of worship

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate Jakarta’s houses of worship. The main ones, such as Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta Cathedral, and Immanuel Church, are also historical and architectural landmarks. The three are located within the same vicinity. Hindu and Buddhist temples can also be found scattered throughout the city, but most of them are located in Chinatown.

The Neo-Gothic cathedral of Jakarta

Island-hop across Thousand Islands

That’s right, one of the best things to do in Jakarta involves exotic beaches and a clear blue ocean. The Thousand Islands off the coast of North Jakarta has dozens of small islets worth discovering. Bidadari Island and its surrounding islets are the closest ones you can visit on a day trip. However, if you have more time to spare, head to Pramuka, Pari, or Tidung Island. Many of these islands are fully developed for ecotourism and include conservations centers, underwater adventures, and more.

Tidung Island, Thousand Islands, Jakarta, Indonesia

Explore Mini Indonesia

It may take you a lifetime of holidays to explore the sprawling archipelago of Indonesia. Fortunately, Taman Mini Indonesia Park highlights everything you need to know about the nation’s diverse culture, from its traditional houses to its attire and customs. You can also explore different science and nature museums, watch documentaries in an iconic cinema, and take a ride on a cable car that goes across the compound.

Traditional house in Taman Mini Indonesia Park

Have fun at Ancol Dreamland

True to its name, this vast complex is built upon everyone’s fantasies. It has an amusement park with fun rides, a beautiful beach, an ocean park with an underwater theater, and more. Whether you want to feel an adrenaline rush or doze off near an ocean breeze, Ancol Dreamland offers the best of both worlds. Conclude your day with a seafood feast in Bandar Djakarta.

Sunset at Ancol Beach

Feast on Indonesian cuisine

As a melting pot of different Indonesian cultures, people in Jakarta have the privilege of enjoying various types of cuisine, brought by those who come from across the archipelago. If you want an authentic locals’ experience, head to the bustling street food scene along Sabang Street or Bendungan Hilir. For fine dining, doll up and go to Lara Djonggrang or Bunga Rampai in Menteng.

Explore Jakarta’s Chinatown

If you want to experience a slice of China in this metropolis, head to the Glodok area. It’s like a totally different realm here, with Chinese-style buildings, temples, and cuisine. This location is also one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and it’s home to many legendary establishments, from traditional coffee shops to barber shops.

Temples in Jakarta’s Chinatown

Go to the malls

Going to the malls may not sound like much, but Jakarta has shopping malls like Bali has temples. They’re everywhere, and many of them are worth crawling through the traffic for. Grand Indonesia and Pacific Place are among the most popular in the Sudirman-Thamrin business district. Some shopping malls also offer splendid experiences. Mall Taman Anggrek has a popular ice rink, while Neo SOHO hosts Jakarta Aquarium.

Get to know the nation’s National Monument, Museum, and Gallery

These landmarks sum up the country’s long and intricate history quite nicely. The National Monument is 115 meters (377 feet) high at the heart of the city. It houses an independence museum at its base and a viewing deck at its tip, where you can enjoy the city’s skyline from all directions. Just across from the monument sits the National Museum, showcasing ancient relics found across the country from different eras, dating back to prehistoric times. Still in the vicinity, the National Gallery is home to 1,700 items and has a wide and comprehensive collection from the nation’s most prominent classical and contemporary artists.

National Museum of Indonesia

Enjoy the nightlife

Jakarta’s nightlife scene is only as lively as its dynamic population. It’s not hard to find great bars in any given neighborhood, especially the business districts and lifestyle sectors like Sudirman, Thamrin, or Kemang. From laid-back dive bars to full-on nightclubs, the city’s got it all. If you fancy watching a sunset over the majestic skyline, head to the city’s hip rooftop bars, such as Skye Bar or La Vue.

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