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 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 opened. The grounds of Monas can sometimes feel extremely hot during the middle of the day due the massive amount of concrete underfoot and a lack of shade. What's worse is that you are forced to ... 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 .

Finance Ministry
Jalan Lapangan Banteng Timur, Jakarta

A couple of bright white colonial buildings sit at the eastern end of the field called Lapangan Banteng about a kilometre east of Gereja Katedral and Masjid Istiqlal. These buildings today house the Finance Ministry but were originally commissioned by the Governor-General in 1809 for purposes of the state and have been used for a variety of things over the centuries. While charming, these ... Read more about Finance Ministry .

Museum Wayang
Taman Fatahillah, Kota Tua, Jakarta

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 a two-dimensional style traditionally made from cow hide. Alongside these traditional puppets ... Read more about Museum Wayang .

Gereja Katedral and Masjid Istiqlal
Jalan Katedral, Jakarta

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 want to snag a few photos of this impressive church and immediately carry on across the road to Masjid ... Read more about Gereja Katedral and Masjid Istiqlal .

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

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 than a general audience. The feel of this museum is completely different to the others nearby and sometimes feels way too modern when considering its location in an old building in the heart of the ... Read more about Fine Art and Ceramic Museum .

Gedung Kesenian
Jalan Gedung Kesenian 1, Jakarta

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 still retains that old world charm and it is possible to peek your head inside on most days. Check the website ... Read more about Gedung Kesenian .

Museum Bahari
Jalan Pasar Ikan Utara, North Jakarta

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 means that some of the structures are deteriorating despite pumps working overtime to clear the water and an ongoing maintenance programme ... Read more about Museum Bahari .

Kota Tua

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 until you reach the centre of the district. In the centre of Kota is a large square called Taman Fatahillah which is ringed by a number of fine ... Read more about Kota Tua .

Jakarta History Museum
Taman Fatahillah, Kota Tua, Jakarta

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 find groups of teenagers hanging out in here taking photos of each other, so don't be surprised when they want to have their photo taken with ... Read more about Jakarta History Museum .

Sunda Kelapa
North Jakarta

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 course of its history, the port has been conquered and reconquered numerous times by those wishing to control the lucrative spice trade. Today visitors can see none of the former glory of the colonial era. At ... Read more about Sunda Kelapa .

Gereja Sion
Jalan Pangeran Jayakarta, 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 inside the church to see old fittings such as the low hanging copper chandeliers and perhaps even the pipe organ which was last used ... 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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