Photo: Hansel & Gretel.

Things to see and do

Jakarta: A photo essay

Jakarta. The steaming capital of the fourth most populous nation on earth and home to anywhere between 10 and 19 million people. It has a reputation among travellers as being one of the worst places to visit in Indonesia and a place with absolutely nothing for visitors — meaning they want to escape elsewhere quickly. We agree with some of these sentiments, but some interesting subjects do lie ... Read more about Jakarta: A photo essay .

I’m in Jakarta, where do I go next?

Many people arrive in Jakarta without a clear plan of where they will go in Java. In many ways, this is a mistake because this first impression of Java can be a very poor one and can encourage travellers to move as quickly as possible across the island. But with a bit of research, you can plan an orderly escape from Jakarta and really enjoy all that Java has to ... Read more about I’m in Jakarta, where do I go next? .

Monumen Nasional (Monas)
Central Jakarta—best place to enter is from behind Gambir train station

The National Monument, known locally as Monumen Nasional, is an obelisk-like spire that protrudes out of the concrete centre of Merdeka Square in central Jakarta to a height of 132 metres. The monument was built to provide Indonesians with a symbol of their struggle for independence from Dutch colonial rule. Construction started in 1961 and took a staggering 14 years to be officially ... Read more about Monumen Nasional (Monas) .

National Museum
Jalan Merdeka Barat No. 12, Jakarta

Jakarta’s National Museum is a fascinating place to learn about Indonesia and if the nation’s capital is your first port of call in the archipelago, you should consider it a must ... Read more about National Museum .

Museum Wayang
Taman Fatahillah, Kota Tua, Jakarta

If you’re into art, this is a great place to see one of Indonesia’s premiere forms of it. Wayang is a type of puppet which has played an important role in Indonesia’s history with the artform primarily being used to pass stories from generation to generation. Displayed in Museum Wayang are two styles of wayang – golek, a three-dimensional style usually made from wood and kulit, and ... Read more about Museum Wayang .

Gereja Katedral and Masjid Istiqlal
Jalan Katedral, Jakarta

This pair of unlikely places of worship sit across the road from one another in grand style on Jalan Katedral. Completed in 1901, Gereja Katedral is a spectacular Catholic cathedral which is open to the public for prayer and meditation throughout the day. Inside, the vast interior opens up to towering ceilings of draw dropping beauty and row upon row of basic wooden pews. Most people will ... Read more about Gereja Katedral and Masjid Istiqlal .

Fine Art and Ceramic Museum
Taman Fatahillah, Kota Tua, Jakarta

Jakarta’s Fine Art and Ceramic Museum is an odd place which mixes Western-style fine art with pieces of antique ceramic and houses them in an old colonial building constructed in the late 1800s. The building itself is a fine example of Dutch colonial architecture and is worth more than just a cursory glance, but the contents of the museum are likely only going to appeal to art buffs rather ... Read more about Fine Art and Ceramic Museum .

Gedung Kesenian
Jalan Gedung Kesenian 1, Jakarta

Gedung Kesenian is a majestic performing arts theatre that hosts performers from right across the world. Of most interest to foreign visitors will be the occasional Indonesian cultural performance such as gamelan from Solo or puppetry from Yogyakarta. Performances aside, the building is a fantastic example of old Dutch colonial architecture. Built in 1821, the interior of the theatre ... Read more about Gedung Kesenian .

Museum Bahari
Jalan Pasar Ikan Utara, North Jakarta

This fascinating Maritime Museum, a short 10-minute walk north of Taman Fatahillah, is probably the highlight of all museums in Kota Tua. It’s a simple museum housed in three old buildings built in the 1600s originally to hold spices, coffee and textiles; they still retain much of their original structure such as the massive wooden beams. However, regular flooding of this area of town ... Read more about Museum Bahari .

Kota Tua

Kota Tua, or simply Kota, is a dirty, grimy and frankly ugly part of town which still houses a range of old buildings from the Dutch colonial era. Old City, as the Indonesian translation goes, is the location of the original Batavia which was developed during the 1600s. The main attraction in these parts is the architecture and a few old museums, but sadly none of this is really impressive ... Read more about Kota Tua .

Jakarta History Museum
Taman Fatahillah, Kota Tua, Jakarta

Located in a building constructed in 1707 and which once served as the Batavia city hall, the Jakarta History Museum which is also known as Fatahillah Museum has a few items of some interest inside. Most of the items are in the form of old furniture and some of it is truly stunning, such as old cabinets and mantelpieces, and it’s definitely worth a look through. You’ll more than likely ... Read more about Jakarta History Museum .

Sunda Kelapa
North Jakarta

Sunda Kelapa is the old port of Jakarta which served Java for centuries during colonial times until it was replaced by the industrial Tanjung Priok several kilometres further along the coast in the late 1800s. Sunda Kelapa is the original name given to the port by the Sunda kingdom, which primarily used this port for the shipping of spices to major trading partners across the region. Over the ... Read more about Sunda Kelapa .

Gereja Sion
Jalan Pangeran Jayakarta, Jakarta

Gereja Sion is an old church a short walk from Taman Fatahillah which was built in 1695 and is today the oldest church in Jakarta. It was established by the Dutch as a place to preach to predominantly Catholic slaves of former Portuguese colonies who were brought from other parts of Asia upon the downfall of the Portuguese empire. Those interested in old buildings will get joy from peering ... Read more about Gereja Sion .

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Jakarta? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

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