Jakarta is a sprawling city of surprises. The facade is made of shabby slums, glass towers and concrete slabs, but underneath that is a sizzling soul. From the richly aromatic alleys of Chinatown to the winding streets of the Old City, the Indonesian capital is overflowing with a vibrant, cosmopolitan and enchanting energy.
There is so much to do in the city that it is best to focus on just one district at a time. Central Jakarta, for instance, is home to the head of government, many cultural attractions and monuments. Start your visit at the superb National Museum, one of the country’s best. Founded in 1862, the enormous collection features cultural objects representing the many ethnic groups around the country. Exhibits include model houses, musical instruments, tools, artwork, costumes and more. The display of Chinese ceramics is particularly interesting, and the bronze elephant that guards the museum is a national icon.
The city center is also home to the National Monument. Erected in 1975 to commemorate Indonesia’s independence, the towering obelisk is topped with flames made of 35 kilos of solid gold. Freedom Square surrounds the monument, and the view from the observation platform is unbeatable.
The National History Museum is located in the basement of the monument. Visitors can gain a greater understanding of the country’s history, especially of the independence movement, from the many dioramas.
More outstanding museums await visitors in Western Jakarta. The Jakarta History Museum tells the capital’s story from prehistory through today, the Puppet Museum has a whimsical collection of puppets from around the world and the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics features a stunning collection of Indonesian pottery and paintings.
Eastern Jakarta is home to an entertaining and beautiful amusement park that features galleries, an orchid garden, an exotic bird park and a large playground. Many museums are located within the park, including those dedicated to stamps, transportation, sports, insects, science, the military and telecommunications.
From Northern Jakarta, visitors can explore a group of 110 small islands, known to the locals as the “Thousand Islands.” Many of the islands offer beautiful beaches, coral reefs, excellent diving sites, nature conservation areas, campgrounds, seafood restaurants, historic ruins and boat tours.
The main draws in Southern Jakarta are the galleries and monuments. Art lovers will enjoy the collections at the Ruang Rupa Gallery and the Candrika Gallery while history buffs will be impressed by the Youth Spirit, Space Man, Gajah Mada and Djoko Sutono monuments.
The area also has some outstanding but lesser-known museums, like the Harry Darsono Museum. The collection features the designer’s fashions, furniture, batiks and antiques. The Sasmita Loka Museums is also worth visiting. There, visitors can explore the former house of General Ahmad Yani who was murdered in 1965 during an attempted communist coup.
Other sights worth exploring in the capital include the open-air markets of Surabaya Street, the old port area of Sunda Kelapa, the Ragunan Zoo, the Istiqlal Mosque, the Cathedral Church and Gedung Proklamasi, where the nation’s first president declared Indonesia’s independence.
Jakarta Geographical Location
Jakarta is located on the northwest end of the island Java, the world’s most populated island.
Jakarta is the largest city in Indonesia with a population of 9,600,000.
Bahasa Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. English is common in Jakarta and there are many local dialects found throughout the country.
Jakarta Predominant Religion
- 86% Muslim
- 6% Protestant
- 3% Roman Catholic
- 2% Hindu
- 3% Other
The Indonesian government guarantees freedom of religion but only recognizes six: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
The Rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia.
It is hot and humid throughout most of the year in Jakarta with little fluctuation in temperature. The rainy season takes up the majority of the year running from November to June.
Jakarta Main Attractions
- Chinatown (Glodok)
- National Museum
- Fatahillah Square (Taman Fatahillah)
Other Attraction in Jakarta
- Bersih Sehat Mayestik
- Taman Impian Jaya Ancol
- National Monument (MONAS)
- Indonesia in Miniature Park