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Amazing Things To Do In Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta is the lively, bustling capital city of Indonesia, that’s home to over 11.4 million residents. As the largest city in Southeast Asia, Jakarta is a melting pot of Indonesian culture with a rich history dating back to the 4th century that includes Malay, Indian, Arab, Chinese and European influences.

Here are the most amazing things to do in Jakarta.

Visit the National Monument (Monumen Nasional)

National Monument, Jakarta, Indonesia
National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The National Monument, referred to as Monas, is an imposing 137 metre obelisk topped with a 14.5 meter bronze flame located in the centre of Merdeka Square in Central Jakarta. Monas commemorates the Indonesian fight for and realisation of independence.

You can take a lift up to the top to get a panoramic view of city, and on a clear day you’ll see the Java Sea in the north and mountains in the south. Within the pedestal of the structure is a museum that holds the original flag flown at the Proclamation of Independence on 17th August 1945. And surrounding Monas are green spaces where you can take a walk, relax and enjoy the central Jakartan atmosphere.

Hang out at Kota Tua, Jakarta’s Old Town

Row of colourful bikes with stylish hats for people to wear at Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bikes for hire at Kota Tua, Jakarta.

Kota Tua, which translates to “Old Town” in Bahasa, is a vibrant neighbourhood in North Jakarta that’s steeped in the history of Indonesia’s colonial past. Previously the commercial and political centre of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century, Kota Tua is now a popular tourist hotspot.

Fatahillah Square, also known as Taman Fatahillah, is the bustling centre of Kota Tua where you can enjoy street food, performances and a lively atmosphere. It’s surrounded by well-preserved Dutch architecture and is walking distance from various cafĂ©s, restaurants and museums.

An event taking place at Fatahillah Square (Taman Fatahillah) in Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia.
A performance at Fatahillah Square, Kota Tua.

Being the centre of the colonial Old Town, Fatahillah Square also has some interesting and quirky historical attractions. One is the the pavement slab outside the Jakarta History Museum (mentioned later). Legend has it that the stones are from the Netherlands. If you step on the slab, it means your heart is in the Netherlands and you’ll travel there one day.

Pavement slab from the Netherlands in Fatahillah Square, Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Step on this pavement if you want to travel to the Netherlands.

A short walk from this travel-inspired pavement is the Si Jagur cannon. Si Jagur was made by a Portuguese artillery engineer in Macao, China and was brought to Batavia (the capital of the Dutch East Indies) in the 17th century.

An immensely popular culinary hotspot in Kota Tua is Café Batavia. Originally built in 1805, the building was constructed as accommodation for high ranking officers of the Dutch East India Company. It was later converted into an art gallery, a trading office and then into the award-winning restaurant it is today. Café Batavia is a great place to step back in time, enjoy the elegant ambience and try Indonesian culinary delicacies, as well as exclusive products such as their nusantara coffees.

Café Batavia, Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia
The elegant decor is a highlight.
Café Batavia, Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia
A great place to take a break from the bustling atmosphere of Kota Tua.
Bathroom signs at Café Batavia, Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia
Quirky bathroom signs at Café Batavia.

Kota Tua is home to a wide variety of museums that provide insight into the history and culture of Indonesia. These include:

  • Jakarta History Museum: Also known at Fatahillah Museum, the building used to be the administrative HQ of the Dutch East India Company. It was converted into a museum in 1974 and displays artefacts that cover Jakarta’s prehistory, founding and independence. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore the dungeons located under the building where Indonesian freedom fighters were imprisoned in the 19th century.
  • Wayang Museum: Also known as the Puppet Museum, it houses a collection of traditional Indonesian shadow puppets as well as those from neighbouring countries, including China and Thailand. The museum also hosts regular workshops and puppet performances.
  • Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics: This museum houses antique and modern art from throughout Indonesia, including a large collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics. You can also enrol in a pottery workshop with expert instructors.
  • Bank Indonesia Museum: The BI Museum offers ‘edutainment’ (education and entertainment) to help people learn about Indonesia’s central bank along with the history of banking in the country. There’s a wide collection of artefacts that include currencies dating back to the 14th century, and seminars, pop-up exhibitions and activity days to help people learn about Bank Indonesia’s monetary policies, history and cultural heritage.
  • Bank Mandiri Museum: Previously the building of the Netherlands Trading Society, it was bought by Bank Exim in 1968 and following a merger, was renamed to Bank Mandiri. The museum showcases the history of banking in Indonesia during the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular focus on the development of Bank Mandiri. A highlight is the decor and ambience, giving visitors a feel of what it was like to be a customer during the colonial period.
  • Jakarta Maritime Museum: Also known as Museum Bahari Jakarta, the building historically served as the Dutch East India Company warehouse and later as a location for the Japanese Imperial Army to stockpile military supplies. Today the Maritime Museum displays artefacts showcasing Indonesia’s rich maritime history, including traditional Indonesian boats and ships, maps and navigational instruments.
Entrance to the Jakarta History Museum (Fatahillah Museum), Kota Tua, Jakarta.
Jakarta History Museum.

For aficionados of traditional railway stations, Jakarta Kota is worth a visit. Built in 1887, it’s the oldest station in Jakarta, boasting a unique barrel-vaulted roof interior along with a blend of Art Deco and Indonesian architectural styles.

Entrance to Jakarta Kota station in Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Jakarta Kota station.

Aside from the variety of tourist attractions on offer, Kota Tua is a great place to just hang out and experience the vibe. There are street vendors, musical performances, palm reading stalls and much more. It’s a beautiful part of Jakarta that has an energetic and traditional feel.

Visit Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown

Glodok (Chinatown), Jakarta, Indonesia
The bustling atmosphere of Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown.

Glodok is a special part of Jakarta that’s home to one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. It has served as a commercial centre for hundreds of years as Chinese traders began settling there in the 17th century. Today Glodok is a vibrant neighbourhood where you can immerse yourself in Chinese Indonesian history and culture, as well as visit traditional shops, markets and temples.

A shop entrance with Chinese New Year lanterns and other items in Glodok, Chinatown, Jakarta, Indonesia.
A shop in Glodok selling traditional Chinese items.

While walking through the bustling alleyways of Glodok, you’ll encounter shops selling traditional Chinese items from lanterns to decorative vases. Not only can a tourist appreciate the aesthetics and architecture of these traditional shops, but they’re also a great place to browse and get your hands on some unique souvenirs.

And while you’re exploring, perhaps you’ll work up a sweat given Jakarta’s year round hot and humid climate. If so, it’s worth stopping by some of the local cafĂ©s to try unique coffee blends such as Kopi Susu (local latte), Kopi Pantjoran (coffee originating from Jakarta’s Pantjoran district), Butter Coffee (unsalted butter blended with brewed coffee) and Kopi Tubruk (‘coarse coffee’ made with traditional Indonesian brewing methods). Djauw Coffee, a coffee shop found along Jalan Pancoran, prepares coffee via traditional filtering and heats drinks in a barrel of hot sand.

Many of the cafĂ©s in Glodok are kopitiams. This refers to the coffee shop culture in Southeast Asia where people gather not only to have coffee, but also to hang out, socialise and relax. In Glodok, you’ll likely find interesting ornaments adorned throughout a kopitiam’s establishment and there may also be a congklak gameboard, a traditional strategy game played with seeds.

Congklak gameboard in Djauw Coffee, Glodok (Chinatown), Jakarta, Indonesia.
Congklak, a popular traditional game played in Indonesia.

Bear in mind that depending on where you go, drinks can be served in a variety of ways, from a normal glass to a plastic bag with a straw!

If coffee isn’t for you, Glodok has several tea shops where you can savour a variety of flavours and choose from a wide selection of tea leaves. Pantjoran Tea House takes you back to the days of Batavia with its old fashioned decor and offers a highly popular tea ceremony. Pieces of Peace in Petak Enam food court is a great place to taste-test numerous teas, learn about their origins, and of course wind down with a cup of tea amidst the frenetic Glodok atmosphere.

The interior of tea shop Pieces of Peace at Glodok (Chinatown), Jakarta, Indonesia.
A wide selection of teas at Pieces of Peace, Glodok.
Tea ceremony at Pieces of Peace, Glodok (Chinatown), Jakarta, Indonesia.
Several tea shops in Glodok offer tea ceremonies and provide insights about their selections of available teas.

Glodok is also home to various places of worship, which tourists can visit to experience Chinatown’s authentic culture and history. Yayasan Wihara Dharma Jaya Toasebio, for example, is a colourful Buddhist monastery that was burned down during the 1740 Chinatown Tumult and rebuilt in 1751. Walking around the monastery’s compound is a pleasant experience as you take in traditional Chinese architecture, watch people offering prayers and bask in the serenity of a historic, spiritual establishment.

Inside Yayasan Wihara Dharma Jaya Toasebio, Glodok (Chinatown), Jakarta, Indonesia.
An altar inside Yayasan Wihara Dharma Jaya Toasebio.

As you explore Glodok, you’ll see Indonesia’s multicultural and multireligious society reflected in surrounding mosques, churches, temples and shrines.

While Glodok is the officially recognised Chinatown in Jakarta, a newer and more upscale Chinatown can be found in Pantai Indah Kapuk 2, a reclaimed island in North Jakarta. Pantjoran Chinatown PIK, as it’s known, features Chinese-inspired architecture with a burgeoning culinary scene. However unlike the gritty, historic and authentic vibe you’ll get at Glodok, Pantjoran Chinatown PIK is more spacious and modern. It’s a popular place for people to hang out, take a stroll and try various Chinese and Indonesian culinary delicacies.

Hanging Chinese lanterns in the evening at a food court at Pantjoran Chinatown PIK, Jakarta, Indonesia.
A food court at Pantjoran Chinatown PIK.
5-storey Pagoda lit up at nighttime at Pantjoran Chinatown PIK, Jakarta, Indonesia.
The 5-storey Pagoda at Pantjoran Chinatown PIK.

Take a trip to the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu)

A view into the sea from Pari Island, Thousand Islands, Jakarta, Indonesia.
The serene waters of Pari Island.

With a population of over 11 million people, Jakarta can get very hectic. Often people look to take trips out of the city, for example nearby to Bandung or farther afield to Bali. However if you’re looking for a beach getaway, Jakarta has a hidden gem at its doorstep. The Thousand Islands is an archipelago north of the Jakarta coast that consist of 108 islands (not one thousand!), 36 of which are open for recreation.

The islands differ in their offerings. Some provide luxury accommodation and hotels and others are open for short-term sightseeing, which tourists often stop by at during an island hopping trip. Given the proximity of the Thousand Islands to mainland Jakarta, people generally take either a weekend trip, overnight trip or even a day trip in which they leave early in the morning, explore one or several islands, and return in the evening.

Travel to the islands depends on the method of transport you choose and where the island is located. A speedboat is faster but more expensive. A cheaper alternative is to take a ferry, and this can be an ‘experience’. There may not always be enough seats, so passengers either sit on deck or attempt to find a comfortable place down in the cabin. Bear in mind that although a ferry is a cheaper transport option, it can be a bumpy ride and can can get quite humid below deck.

The Thousands Islands is a great place to visit if you’re in Jakarta and you want a beach fix. It’s ideal for those wanting to wind down from the intensity of the city, as well as those looking to enjoy water sport activities such as snorkelling, swimming and surfing.

Sunset at Bulat Island, Thousand Islands, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Sunset at Bulat Island, Thousand Islands.

Admire the beauty of Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral

A skyline view of Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and can accommodate 120,000 people. Not only is it a place of worship, but Istiqlal Mosque is also a symbol of Indonesia’s struggle for freedom, deriving its name from the Arabic word for independence. It has a magnificent rectangular prayer hall with a 45 metre dome supported by 12 round columns. It’s a great place to bask in the beauty of stunning architecture, take in exquisite calligraphy and relax in the open-air courtyard.

Inside the prayer hall at Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, Indonesia.
The tranquil interior of Istiqlal Mosque.
An interior view of the dome of Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Istiqlal Mosque is adorned with an imposing 45 metre dome.

Just across the road from Istiqlal Mosque is Jakarta Cathedral, a neo-gothic church that was built in 1901 after the previous cathedral on the same site collapsed in 1890. It’s an imposing structure with two 60 metre spires and a central one 45 metres high.

The location of the two buildings is by design. The site of Istiqlal Mosque was deliberately chosen to stand by Jakarta Cathedral to symbolise Indonesia’s commitment to religious co-existence and the nation’s philosophy of unity in diversity. It’s a unique tradition for church-goers to use the parking lot of the mosque during Easter and Christmas, and for mosque-goers to use the parking lot of the cathedral during Eid.

Jakarta Cathedral, Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta Cathedral has a neo-gothic look, constructed of red brick and applied plaster.

Within the surroundings of Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral are variety of street vendors, ideally situated to get refreshments, try street food and do some shopping.

Take part in Car Free Day

People participating in Car Free Day, Jakarta, Indonesia
Walking down Jl. Thamrin on Car Free Day.

Car Free Day is a popular event held every Sunday in Jakarta from 6am to 11am, when the main roads Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin are closed down for motorized vehicles. The purpose is to cut down on the city’s pollution and traffic, while encouraging residents to engage in exercise.

People tend to arrive as early as possible to avoid the late morning heat and humidity. Car Free Day is open to everyone from those wanting to take a leisurely stroll or a jog to more serious athletes training for marathons or triathlons. People can also be seen rollerblading and riding bicycles.

Jakartans often use Car Free Day as an opportunity to spending time with friends and family, so once the exercise is over, people look for a place to eat and hang out. Market traders are dotted throughout various locations from Senayan to Monas, providing a variety of street foods and adding to the festive-like atmosphere every Sunday.

Hang out in one of Jakarta’s malls

A view of Central Park mall from Tribeca Park, Jakarta, Indonesia.
A view of Central Park mall from Tribeca Park.

There are some claims that Jakarta is the city with highest number of malls in the world. While this isn’t a definitive statement, one can see how Jakarta has attained this perception. There are a lot of malls, and these cater to a variety of needs and interests. They’re seen as convenient, one-stop locations to hang out, do some shopping and run some errands. They include restaurants, cafĂ©s, food courts, cinema halls, co-working spaces, gyms, karaoke booths, arcade halls and shops of every kind. It also helps that they’re air-conditioned.

Perhaps the best known malls in Jakarta are Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia, both located in Central Jakarta and a 5 minute walk apart. Both are high end outlets, with Plaza Indonesia catering more towards luxury shopping and Grand Indonesia having a greater variety of food and entertainment options, including Funworld, the Dancing Fountain Show and a large food court on the top floor. A 5 minute drive north of these malls is Sarinah, the oldest mall in Jakarta built in 1962 that underwent a renovation in 2022, and is named after one of President Sukarno’s childhood caregivers. Sarinah mall sells a wide collection of Indonesian heritage products, often hosts art exhibitions and has an outdoor patio area where live music performances take place.

Central Park Mall is perhaps the most popular mall in West Jakarta. A standout aspect about it is that it has Tribeca Park within its grounds, a green space with ponds and marine life. There are various food and drink outlets with ample seating in the park. In the evenings, there are often yoga classes, musical performance and other events in the central courtyard. Central Park Mall is connected to Neo Soho Mall via a skybridge, a popular place to take photos, or through a basement route that houses numerous restaurants.

In North Jakarta, the most popular mall is likely to be Mall of Indonesia (MOI). MOI is huge with over 200 outlets spread across fashion, dining and entertainment. If you’re unfamiliar with the layout, it’s easy to get lost. And if size is what you’re after, just down the road is Summarecon Mall Kelapa Gading. Much like Tribeca Park in Central Park Mall, Mall Kelapa Gading has an outdoor section called La Piazza where there are various cafĂ©s and restaurants, and live musical performances.

South Jakarta has a large selection of very popular malls. These include Senayan City and Plaza Senayan, the latter of which is more upscale and luxury-shopping focused. A 10 minute drive from these malls is Pacific Place, another upscale mall. Then if we move further east, we come to Kuningan, a major business and commercial hub in Jakarta. Both Lotte Mall and Kuningan City Mall are popular hangouts. However, if you’re looking for an outdoor experience, One Satrio is a short walk away. It’s a pet-friendly green space with cafĂ©s and restaurants, a jogging track and playground for kids. And if that’s not enough, Kota Kasablanka, known as Kokas, is another huge mall that’s a 5 minute drive away. Kokas has a “Little Tokyo” dining hall that’s popular for fans of Japanese cuisine.

One Satrio, Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia.
The decorative lights of One Satrio, Kuningan.

If you’re looking for a more authentic Japanese experience, Blok M has an area officially nicknamed “Little Tokyo”. Located a 15 minute drive south of the Senayan malls, Blok M’s “Little Tokyo” isn’t a mall, but rather an area that has a high concentration of Japanese entertainment venues, restaurants and supermarkets that sell imported products. Fluorescent lights and Japanese signage create a Tokyo vibe with an Indonesian twist.

And finally, Pondok Indah Mall (PIM) is likely the most popular mall that’s located in deeper South Jakarta. PIM is one of the largest mall complexes in the city that consists of 3 buildings, PIM1, PIM2 and PIM3. While malls in Jakarta are a great place to shop and dine, they’re also nice places to hang out, particularly if you need some respite from the hot weather outside. Each has its own vibe and character, so it’s certainly worth checking out a mall or two during your trip.

Get some work done in the National Library of the Republic of Indonesia

If you need to catch up on some work, do some studying or just want to hang out in a quiet, relaxing place, the National Library of the Republic of Indonesia is a great place to visit. Located in Central Jakarta opposite Monas, the National Library has 27 floors and is the tallest library building in the world. There’s a small museum that one passes through to reach the library and the main lobby also has a variety of displays and exhibitions. For those wanting to use the library without getting a membership card, only a select number of floors are accessible. These can be confirmed at the help desk. Bear in mind that during busy periods, the lifts can get quite crowded. Visiting the top floor gives you a nice view of the city, and there’s also a comfortable outside area with chairs and tables, where you can work with a nice breeze. You may even meet some friendly cats.

Another popular library worth visiting is Jakarta Public Library (Perpustakaan Jakarta) in Cikini. It has a more modern aesthetic than the National Library and a calm ambience, which provides a welcome respite from the music and conversations one is typically surrounded with in Jakarta’s coffee shops.

Explore the National Museum of Indonesia

Although Jakarta boasts a variety of museums, a high concentration of which are in Kota Tua, the National Museum of Indonesia is Jakarta’s most famous museum. It houses 190,000 historical artefacts that provide visitors with insights into Indonesia’s history and cultural heritage from prehistory up to the present day.

Outside, there’s a bronze elephant statue that was donated by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 1871. As such, the National Museum was previously known as Gedung Gajah (The House of Elephant) and is often referred to as the Elephant Museum today.

Another monument in the outside area is a swirling vortex. If you look closely, you can see various people within the vortex reaching out, perhaps towards a specific goal. At the centre of the piece are two people who have clasped each other’s hands, the interpretation of which is clarified on a stone slab: Ku Yakin Sampai Di Sana, which means “I believe we’ll get there.” Despite the problems Indonesia might face, keep striving and we’ll get there in the end.

Hang out at Jalan Sabang

Jalan Sabang or Jalan Street, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Jalan Sabang, Jakarta.

Officially known as Jalan H. Agus Salim, Jalan Sabang is a popular hangout in Central Jakarta for street food enthusiasts. It comes to life at night with a buzzing crowd and a vibrant culinary scene. Along with various warungs, which are small and usually family-run street vendors and eateries, there are popular restaurants and kopitiams such as The Atjeh Connection, Kopi Oey, Romansa and Kopi Ko Acung.

The interior of Kopi Ko Acung, Sabang Street, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Kopi Ko Acung, Jalan Sabang.

Try delicious Indonesian cuisine

Mie goreng, Indonesian food.
Mie goreng, a popular Indonesian stir-fried noodle dish.

For many people visiting Jakarta, Indonesian food is a highlight. Indonesia’s cuisine encompasses a variety of influences, both geographical and historical, with different regions in the vast archipelago having their own specialities. Jakarta’s warungs, malls, markets and restaurants are great places to savour the delicious flavours of Indonesian cuisine.

Nasi Campur Bali.
Nasi Campur Bali.

Aside from popular dishes such as Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Sate (skewered and grilled meats) and Gado-Gado (salad with peanut sauce), it’s worth trying traditional Indonesian snacks such as:

Nasi Bakar: A literal translation of Nasi Bakar is “burned rice”. It consists of rice with meat or vegetable fillings that are cooked in banana leaves.

Nasi Bakar, Indonesian food.
Nasi Bakar.

Lemper: Sticky rice with savoury fillings, wrapped in banana leaves.

Serabi: A chewy and fluffy rice flour snack with sugar or palm sugar.

Pisang Goreng: Literally translated to “fried banana”. Bananas are deep fried and then enjoyed with various sauces and syrups.

Pisang Goreng, fried banana, Indonesian snack.
Pisang goreng.

Batagor: Fried fish dumplings served in peanut sauce.

Jambu: A mildly sweet tropical fruit.

Try some delicious ice cream at Ragusa Es Italia

Interior of Ragusa Es Italia with many people, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Ragusa Es Italia, a famous ice cream parlour in Central Jakarta.

As we’re on the topic of food, Ragusa Es Italia is one of the oldest ice cream parlours in Jakarta. Founded in 1932 by two Italian brothers, Luigi and Vincenzo Ragusa, it has a vintage vibe with original dĂ©cor, old photos and ceiling fans. Ragusa doesn’t have a particularly extensive menu, but there are some legendary favourites such as Spaghetti Ice Cream, which is vanilla ice cream shaped into spaghetti sprinkled with nuts, dried fruit and chocolate sauce, and Cassata Siciliana, which is vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and nougat ice cream with chiffon cake inside.

Try Jamu, a traditional Indonesian herbal medicine

Containers of various flavours of Jamu, a traditional Indonesian medicine.
Jamu is prepared using herbs and spices.

Jamu is a traditional Indonesian medicine made from natural ingredients such as roots, herbs, spices, fruits, and honey. Its use as herbal medicine and treatment has been practiced in Indonesia since the 8th century and Jamu wellness culture is recognised as part of the country’s intangible cultural heritage.

Jamu is often consumed as a beverage, which aims to improve one’s immune system, maintain health and prevent ailments. In Jakarta, you can find it in street-side warungs and shops dedicated specifically to Jamu, such as Suwe Ora Jamu in Sarinah and Acaraki – The Art of Jamu in Kota Tua and Grand Indonesia.

A barista working on preparing a Jamu drink at Acaraki - The Art of Jamu, Kota Tua, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Acaraki – The Art of Jamu in Kota Tua.

Go on a Pay-As-You-Wish Walking Tour

Going on a pay-as-you-wish walking tour is a great way to explore Jakarta and to learn more about the city. Jakarta Good Guide has been organising walking tours for many years with professional guides and offers routes such Chinatown, Old Town, City Centre, Menteng, Pasar Baru, Cikini and Sunda Kelapa. If you don’t speak Bahasa, make sure you book an English tour. And as the pay-as-you-wish description indicates, once the tour is over, you can decide how much you’d like to contribute for the tour.

Tour guides are knowledgeable and provide interesting insights into Jakarta’s history and culture. For example, during the City Centre walking tour, we stop by the Taman Padang Istana, where protests often take place, and learn about the cultural and ethnic diversity of Indonesia. Ragam, pictured below, means ‘variety’ in Bahasa. Jakarta Good Guide’s tours last for 2-3 hours. If you’re looking for something longer, for example, a half day or full-day experience, it’s worth booking a paid tour.

Watch a free film at Goethe-Institut or Institut Français Indonesia

Europe on Screen ticket at Goethe-Institut Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia.
A Europe on Screen ticket for ‘The 100 Year Old Man’ at Goethe-Institut, Jakarta.

Goethe-Institut and Institut Français Indonesia are cultural centres in Jakarta that often host free film screenings. Both are located in Central Jakarta and are a 15 minute walk apart. The cinema halls are spacious, comfortable and air-conditioned. Also Europe on Screen is an annual cultural festival that highlights the best of European cinema to the Indonesian public, free of charge.

Cinema hall at Institut Français Indonesia (IFI), Jakarta, Indonesia.
Waiting for a film to start at Institut Français Indonesia (IFI), Jakarta.

Take a short trip outside Jakarta

Nicole’s River Park, Bogor Regency.

If you have time during your trip, it’s worth exploring some sites and cities outside of the capital. Bogor, for example, is a city with a cooler climate located 60km south of Jakarta. People often visit for weekend trips and to enjoy attractions such as the Bogor Botanical Gardens, the oldest botanical gardens in Southeast Asia.

Mount Gede Pangrango National Park, located between Bogor Regency and Cianjur Regency is home to the volcanoes Mount Gede and Mount Pangrango, which are both great locations to do some hiking and trekking. If you want a more laid-back experience, Sentul has various hiking trails where you can take in the beautiful Javan scenery and hot springs. And closer to Jakarta are the Universitas Indonesia campus grounds where you can enjoy leisurely walks.

An open air restaurant overlooking a large pond with fish and fountains in Universitas Indonesia campus.
An open air Sundanese restaurant in the Universitas Indonesia campus grounds.

Another popular weekend spot is Bandung, which is a 2 hour train journey from Jakarta. It’s known for its tea and coffee plantations, historical architecture and vibrant culinary scene.

Sign in a train station showing how many kilometres away Bandung and Jakarta are.
It takes 2 hours by train to travel from Jakarta to Bandung.

Explore Jakarta

Traffic in Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia
Rush hour in Kuningan.

Jakarta is an amazing city to visit. Whether you go for a short trip or a long stay, there’s always something new to experience in the vast metropolis. While there are specific tourist attractions and areas that attract large crowds, it’s also worth taking a Grab or Gojek to simply explore the city. Prices are affordable and you can take in Jakarta’s unique sights and sounds on the back of a motorcycle.

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