Jakarta is often dismissed by many travelers as a simple stopover city, somewhere convenient to fly in an out of, but also somewhere to get out of as quickly as possible. But if you take the time to explore Jakarta, you will be very pleasantly surprised.
Jakarta is an energetic, frenetic city that has something for everyone, whether you want to enjoy the awesome food, take in some of the history, relax in some of its awesome accommodation options or even enjoy the pounding nightlife, there really is something here for everyone.
Here are the top attractions and things to do that should make you stay in Jakarta for an extra few days at least.
I am a huge lover of museums at the best of times, but this impressive building houses some stunning collections, the ancient history section in the newer wing is amazing, and it has a truly impressive ethnology collection. If you are heading off to explore the rest of Indonesia after your stay in Jakarta, then this is an excellent way to get to know some of the rich history and culture of the country before you do. If you go on a Tuesday or Thursday there are even free English speaking tours.
The National Monument.
Although not hugely impressive in and of itself as a monument, it is a great landmark and is worth visiting here for at least an hour or two just to get a sense of the deep history that surrounds it, for this monument commemorates Indonesia’s independence and is a short distance from the national museum.
Take in the nightlife.
Jakarta lulls everyone into a false sense of security, so many people are shocked to learn that the city boasts some of the best nightlife in the region, with world class DJs and clubs that pulse all the way into the early hours, but for those looking for a more sedate and classy pace there are countless traditional teahouses and cocktail bars too. A particular highlight is the Skye bar with a rooftop lounge with unparalleled views over the city.
Jakarta boasts some of the best malls and markets in Indonesia, so if you are here at the end of your trip and looking to buy a few souvenirs or two then you have a whole raft of options open to you. There are many upmarket and glitzy malls such as Plaza Indonesia and FX mall (which even has a giant slide down its numerous floors) with a wide range of boutique stalls and local and international designer brands, and Pasaraya has all those batik and traditional woodcarving trinkets from all over the archipelago if you missed out buying one at the time. The flea market however is an absolute highlight and is worth going to just to wander round and explore. Be aware however that not all antiques are genuine, and you will need to bargain hard.
Taman Mini Indonesia.
This spectacular park makes for a great day out all on it’s own, and I highly encourage you to take your time and allocate a full day to stroll around and explore it. Set in a vast 100 acre park, this open museum is essentially a snapshot into every culture and monument in Indonesia, with miniature scale traditional houses and handicrafts of numerous tribes and provinces, a tiny Borobudur and much more. Couple this with a visit to the national Museum and you will be itching to explore the rest of Indonesia.
Take just a few days to explore Jakarta instead of rushing out straight from the airport, and you will discover there is far more to the city that meets the eye!
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