Travelling to a new place is always exciting, but if we are to be truthful, there is also a little bit of nervous fluttering. What if we miss something? Especially when it comes to a place like Jakarta, Jakarta is an incredibly tough city to get to know. Spread over 662 square kilometers and consisting of over 30 million people (in the greater Jakarta area only) exploring this megacity can be a daunting task. But do not worry, because for all the first timers to Jakarta, we have a list of the must see and must do attractions of the city.
Taman Impian Jaya Ancol
A break from the rough and tough, Ancol Dreamland could be the answer to your unasked questions. Fantasy World, Atlantis Water Adventure, SeaWorld, beaches, Art Market, golf range, bowling, Ocean Eco Park, gondola, Hailai club, art academy, paintball and wakeboarding are a few of the attractions that the Ancol Dreamland has to offer; and the best part is that it is open for 24 hours of the day.
The Museum Nasional is a two century old icon in Jakarta is a must visit. Located at Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat in the center of Jakarta city, the National Museum is an archeological, historical, ethnological, and geographical museum. Did we mention that the museum is well known as the Elephant Building (gedung gajah) because of the elephant statue there?
Monumen Nasional (Monas)
In Jakarta’s city centre of Merdeka Square, stands the Monumen Nasional (Monas) tower. It stands to symbolize the fight for Indonesia and looks especially enchanting at night.
Opened to the public back in 1978, the Istiqlal Mosque or the Masjid Istiqlal is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. This national mosque of Indonesia was built to commemorate Indonesian independence. Even its name ‘Istiqlal’ stands for ‘independence’ in Arabic.
This is a Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is also the seat of Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jakarta. Built in a neo-gothic style, the Jakarta Cathedral is located in Central Jakarta, right in front of the Istiqlal Mosque.
Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Theater)
The Gedung Kesenian brings in outstanding fine art acts from around the world, and also showcases the most brilliant performers from across Indonesia. Built in the 1800’s, during the Dutch colonial period, Gedung Kesenian Jakarta is a concert hall situated close to the Istiqlal Mosque and the Jakarta Cathedral. The various arts program lined up, ranging from theater shows to musical performances, are always worth the watch.
A new hot spot in Jakarta, Pasar Santa used to be a traditional indoor market. Today, filled with dozens of trendy eateries, vinyl record stores, vintage clothing shops and cool coffee lounges, it’s probably the only place in town where you can find things like a vegan sandwich shop, a Mexican cantina and a funky hot dog stand.
One of the more famous attractions of Jakarta, Kota Tua still stands as a relic of Jakarta’s colonial past. This part of the town boasts of beautiful building, many of which still remain slightly rundown from the riots of 1998. But given the history, it just makes Kota Tua more fascinating.
Pasar Baru is the oldest market in Jakarta, dating back to the 1820s. It is a pedestrian-only shopping area which is filled with vendors hawking fabrics, vintage cameras and fresh flowers. As it is also home to a diverse mix of Javanese, Indian and Chinese, it becomes the perfect place to sample all sorts of amazing street foods that Indonesia has to offer.
Glodok (Jakarta’s Chinatown)
A maze-like market, made up of narrow alleyways lined with food carts, temples and hawker stalls, selling everything from incense to electronics to traditional snacks, Glodok is a place bustling with activity. A colorful and layered experience, here you can find how history and modernity have fused and mutated. This marketplace is truly unlike any other Chinatown you might encounter.
These are 10 of the top must see places in Jakarta, and we feel like we have barely skimmed the top of the list.