What to see in Indonesia

Jakarta

Tourist attractions Jakarta

Home to over 10 million people, Jakarta is one of the worlds' great metropolises. The capital of Indonesia and one of the most populous cities on earth, this sprawling city brings together all of the diverse cultures of Indonesia, making it a fascinating place to travel. 

Jakarta is a city of contrasts and you’ll find the many faces of Indonesia here, from modern skyscrapers and innovative start-ups to humble neighbourhoods and the colonial facades of the Old Town. 

Jakarta is located in the northwest of the island of Java and is a brilliant starting point for adventures into Indonesia’s captivating landscapes or paradise islands. As the most developed city in the country, Jakarta has its fair share of traffic, pollution and rush-hour chaos, but beneath the surface, it is a key travel destination for experiencing the cultures, cuisines and history of Indonesia as a whole. 

Indonesians from across the archipelago have moved into the capital over the centuries and brought with them various elements of their cultures and traditions. Therefore a trip to Jakarta offers an unforgettable overview of the cultures of the 17,000 islands that make up the country as a whole, contained within one mega-metropolis.

The oldest continuously inhabited city in Indonesia, you’ll find the best museums, restaurants, shops and markets in the country if you travel to Jakarta. With a tropical monsoon climate, the best time to visit Jakarta is between June and September, during the dry season. 

Things to see in Jakarta

You could spend many days in Jakarta and only ever scratch the surface of the city. There are unlimited things to do in Jakarta, from sightseeing to shopping, cultural activities and indulging in the melting pot foodie scene. When it comes to the highlights, one of the best things to see in Jakarta is the National Museum, the pride of the city. Providing an in-depth insight into the history and culture of Indonesia, the exhibitions in this huge museum chart the evolution of the country from prehistoric times to the modern-day. More than 100,000 objects including archaeological finds, statues and ancient relics are housed within the museum, which first opened in 1868 and is constantly being added to and expanded. 

If you travel to Jakarta, one of the most interesting things to see is the Old Town, known locally as Kota Tua. Kota Tua is home to the remnants of the historic Dutch settlement of Old Bavaria, from the colonial era. Here you’ll find charming 17th-century Dutch architecture dating back to the heyday of the spice trade. Fatahilla Plaza is at the heart of the old town, bordered by a number of historic buildings and museums. The nearby neighbourhood of Glodok is another great place to visit in Jakarta. Known as ‘Chinatown’ here you can discover the Chinese influence on the city.

One of the most unmissable things to see in Jakarta is the Istiqlal Mosque, a mammoth building and the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. Built to commemorate Indonesian independence, the mosque opened in 1978, on the edge of Merdeka Square. With a capacity of 200,000 people, it’s a must-see to understand the religious heritage of Indonesia.

Finally, a tour of Jakarta is incomplete without visiting the National Monument, at the centre of Merdeka Square. The National Monument is a 132-metre obelisk crowned by a statue of a golden flame. A symbol of Indonesian independence, a small museum is housed within the pedestal of the monument. 

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