Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a thriving metropolis and a cultural crossroads. This metropolis is a melting pot of cultures, with influences ranging from Javanese and Malay to Arab, Hindu, and Dutch. The outcome is a vibrant metropolis with its own distinct character.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Jakarta
You’ll find that Jakarta has the best coffee scene anywhere, and that the city’s hipster cafés are where locals and visitors alike choose to mingle. You’ll make friends with the cooks at the innumerable street food shops in Jakarta, many of which serve delicious fried rice.
And you’ll wind yourself at the city’s flashy, multi-use shopping malls for retail therapy, events, and art. The cultural sights of Jakarta will reveal another aspect of this modern metropolis. Visit Taman Mini Indonesia Indah to see replicas of traditional dwellings from each of Indonesia’s 17,000+ islands.
Visit the national monument of Monas in Indonesia to get a feel for the country’s fight for freedom. Visit the Old Town to see the colonial buildings of Jakarta that are slowly falling apart.
Visit the National Museum of Indonesia to gain knowledge about the country’s prehistoric inhabitants. Check out our recommended activities in Jakarta for extra inspiration while organising your trip to Indonesia.
1. Museum Nasional Indonesia
The National Museum (Museum Nasional) is a must-see when in Jakarta. Around 70,000 artefacts are housed in this museum, which is located on the western border of Merdeka Square and caters to those with an interest in archaeology and ethnology. It is widely regarded as one of the finest museums in South and East Asia.
The Museo Nasional’s various treasures can be enjoyed even before you step foot inside. The serene fountain in the courtyard of the over 150-year-old building is topped by a bronze elephant statue gifted to Batavia by the Siamese king Chulalongkorn in 1871. The main building got its unusual moniker from the famous sculpture.
The museum is split into two sections, each with its unique collection of displays. There are displays about Indonesian history and culture on all four levels of the new wing. The exhibit of exquisite rare textiles from all across Indonesia, the replica of the “Flores Man,” an early human whose bones were discovered on the island of Flores in 2013, and the collection of priceless gold jewellery and antiques from Central Java are not to be missed.
The new wing of Museo Nasional is connected to the old wing, which houses the museum’s world-famous collection of classical Hindu and Buddhist statues via a glass-walled bridge. The ruler of Malayapura, Adityawarman, is carved to stand atop a ring of skulls and is four metres tall.
Ancient Indonesian ethnographic instruments, remnants from the Dutch East India Company, and riches from royal houses across the archipelago can all be found in the museum’s old wing. The Indonesian Heritage Society offers free English-language museum tours every day of the week.
2. Museum Layang-layang
The Museum Layang-Layang in Pondok Labu, Jakarta, is the best venue to learn about the history of kite-flying, which dates back more than two millennia in this region. More than 600 brightly coloured kites are on display, and visitors may learn about the history of kite flying in Indonesia and the different types of kites through a short film shown in the museum.
A huge kite emblazoned with a horse’s image is soaring above the foyer. Kites fashioned from bamboo and banana leaves, as well as a fire-breathing dragon kite’s head and a 3D kite resembling a horse-drawn carriage with spinning wheels, may all be shown at the museum.
If you’re in the creative mood following your tour, you can make your own kite with supplies from the museum.
3. Merdeka Square
Central Jakarta’s Merdeka Square is a 75-hectare park with a similar feel to the plazas found in European capitals. It’s up there among the biggest town squares around. Merdeka Square is where the people of Jakarta congregate to enjoy a taste of normalcy amidst the hustle and bustle of the city on the weekends.
The National Monument is the focal point of Merdeka Plaza. The 132-meter-tall tower, also known as Monas, stands as a symbol of Indonesia’s fight for independence. The second president of Indonesia, Suharto, opened the architectural masterpiece in 1975 after it had been under construction for 14 years.
The National History Museum, a modest attraction featuring dioramas depicting the history of the Indonesian independence movement, can be found near the monument’s base. There is a lift that takes visitors to the peak of Monas every hour, but tickets are in high demand and often sell out in advance.
The vibe around Merdeka Square is ideal for unwinding on a Sunday. Feel refreshed after a day at the park watching pick-up soccer games, picnicking on one of the green lawns, and visiting the cute spotted deer in an enclosed area towards the southeast corner.
4. Museum MACAN (Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara)
The opening of Museum MACAN, Indonesia’s first museum dedicated to contemporary art, made news throughout the world in November 2017. After receiving widespread recognition, this landmark quickly rose to prominence as one of Jakarta’s must-see destinations.
The collection of 800 works was amassed by art lover and businessman Haryanto Adikoesoemo over the course of 25 years, and is on display across 7,100 square metres.
Yayoi Kusama’s wacky fibreglass inventions, Romantic paintings by renowned Indonesian artist Raden Saleh Sjarif Boestaman, and a one-of-a-kind watercolour map of Bali by Mexican painter Miguel Covarrubias may all be found inside the cultural landmark.
While planning your trip to Jakarta, be sure to check the museum’s website for the most up-to-date listing of exhibitions and events.
5. Istiqlal Mosque
If you’re travelling to the country with the greatest Muslim population, you should definitely check out Istiqlal Mosque and other Islamic landmarks. This religious landmark in Jakarta, Indonesia, is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and one of the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity of 120,000 worshippers.
The massive nine-hectare dome complex at Monas features five stories and is largely crafted from marble from East Java. Outside of prayer times, visitors should feel free to visit the mosque in modest clothes.
If you don’t have time to visit the interior, you may still hear the daily call to prayer broadcast from the building’s towering minaret. Postal Code: 10710, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Kecamatan Sawah Besar, Jl. Taman Wijaya Kusuma, Ps.
6. Ancol beach
In search of relief from the oppressive Jakarta climate? The popular beach resort of Ancol may be found to the north of the city. There is a marina, a sandy beach, and several swimming pools where you may relax on a rented lounge chair and cool down from the sun.
There is also a beautiful boardwalk and promenade, both of which are perfect for taking in the sunset. Ancol Dreamland, in addition to the beach, is a major tourist draw in this region.
An enormous oceanarium, a water park with a labyrinth of twisting slides, a world-class golf course, botanical gardens, a zoo, and a theme park with more than 40 attractions make up the waterfront attraction’s wide range of family-friendly activities. Ancol is a must-see for every family visiting Jakarta, and it’s especially recommended for those with young children.
Istiqlal Mosque casts a long shadow over St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, another of the city’s most notable religious buildings. The origins of the neo-gothic church, better known as the Jakarta Cathedral, may be traced back to the middle of the nineteenth century.
Its location beside the massive mosque represents the Indonesian ideal of religious tolerance. The cathedral, like many European cathedrals, looks to be made of stone from a distance. Yet, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that it’s not actually built of stone but rather massive bricks covered in plaster.
Within, you’ll see a statue of Mary cradling Jesus Christ after his crucifixion in addition to three antique altars and enough seating for 8,000 attendees. The Museo Katedral is a modest museum right next to the church that details the spread of Catholicism throughout Indonesia.
The first documented baptism in Indonesia took place there in 1808. Postal Code: 10710, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Kecamatan Sawah Besar, Jl. Katedral No.7B, Ps.
8. Setu Babakan
Visit Setu Babakan, an educational centre dedicated to preserving and celebrating Indigenous Betawi culture, to find out more about the people who first inhabited the Jakarta area. Visit the two-story Betawi Museum first, then head outside to observe Betawi dwellings and an amphitheatre hosting traditional arts performances.
Zone E of the attraction is where you may buy traditional Betawi food, such as fried bean sprouts and glutinous rice omelettes, to satisfy your hunger. You’ll come away from this immersive encounter with a newfound respect for this civilization.
Tourists can see a wedding, traditional rites, and special rituals at Setu Babakan’s annual Betawi Cultural Festival, held in the month of July. The address is as follows: Jl. RM. Kahfi II, RT.13/RW.8, Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta.
9. Trendiest Neighborhood
Spend an afternoon in Kemang if you’re in Jakarta. The suburban expat region is widely regarded as the hippest part of Jakarta, and for good reason: it’s packed with cool places to eat, shop, and visit. Kemang is a city full of exciting opportunities.
While your dog is having fun at the local dog park, you can relax with a strong cup of coffee from Say Something Coffee. Relax in the calm atmosphere of Aksara Bookstore. Kemang’s ever-evolving roster of boutiques is the best place to see the latest clothing from upcoming Indonesian designers.
Visit the Kinosaurus microcinema and take in a flick. Visit Kemang Gallery 58 and get in touch with your artistic side. Weekend brunch in Kemang’s crowded eateries is also highly recommended, if you can get a reservation. Make your reservations by phone.
10. Jakarta’s History in the Old Town
Although Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, is a gleaming metropolis, its Old Town, Kota, has a lovely mediaeval ambience. In the 17th century, this location was home to the Dutch East India Company. It’s a great site to get a feel for Jakarta’s history on your first day there.
Kota’s tourist information desk is located in Taman Fatahillah. Stately Dutch colonial buildings surround the plaza, providing a striking contrast to the glass and concrete skyscrapers that dominate the rest of Jakarta.
Originally constructed as a town hall close to 400 years ago, the whitewashed edifice on the square’s southern side is now home to the Jakarta History Museum. Prison cells that once imprisoned Indonesian liberation fighters from the 19th century are among the more than 20,000 historical artefacts on display here.
On the western end of Taman Fatahillah, you’ll find Museum Wayang, another must-see in Kota. Visitors can learn about the history of wooden puppetry in Java. The museum provides free puppet shows on occasion.
Across the plaza from Museum Wayang is the Museo Seni Rupa Dan Keramik (Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics), where you may take in even more of Kota’s rich artistic heritage. It features an impressive assortment of European and Asian ceramics and handicrafts alongside those from Indonesia.
Try not to spend all your time inside. The alleys of Kota are lined with fascinating wooden-shuttered buildings, making them a photographer’s paradise. Fatahillah Plaza is a great place to rent bicycles or start your explorations on foot. Café Batavia, where you may cool off with a classic punch mocktail, is the place to go when you need to refuel.