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Jakarta Travel Essentials

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"A melting pot of differences."

Jakarta Tourism

Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta is also the nation's cultural, economic and political centre. Amble leisurely through Kota Baru, or Jakarta's Old Town, where colonial Dutch architecture remains preserved as they stood during the times before Indonesia's independence. Take in the heady sights and smells of Glodok, Jakarta's historic Chinatown area, before heading towards central Jakarta to marvel at MONAS, Indonesia's National Monument to its freedom struggle. 

Fall in love with the Thousand Islands or Kepualan Seribu, one of Indonesia's most hyped beach getaways and lose yourselves in the pristine white sands of the archipelago. Jakarta offers much to any tourist and alongside the historic sights of the city lies the ultra-modern malls and its bustling nightlife scene. 

The sprawling nature of Jakarta, with its crowds, its maniacal traffic and the sheer speed of life in the city may overwhelm some tourists at first sight. But beneath this rather busy exterior, Jakarta is a city filled with interesting contrasts of the contemporary, traditional, extravagant and the humble. It is an eclectic mix of many Asian and South-East Asian cultures (the native Batavian culture in particular), Dutch and Islamic influences and channels them all into a beautiful set of contrasts.

With a wide range of activities and the best nightlife in all of South-East Asia, Jakarta is an experience for the culturally curious and the adventurous tourist.

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Currency in Jakarta

IDR is the official currency of Indonesia, and is exclusively used everywhere, therefore all currency must be compulsorily exchanged, for foreign currency is not valid in Indonesia. Credit cards can be used at modern establishments, but for most flea markets and hawker centres in Jakarta, cash is advisable. Any ATM around Jakarta can be used to withdraw cash with cards around the globe.

Shopping in Jakarta

Welcoming over 2.5 million visitors annually, Jakarta is a vibrant Asian metropolis famous for indigenous items like batiks, textiles, and jewellery. Over 150 world-class shopping malls offer high-end fashion, flea markets, and retail and wholesale shopping.

Here are some ways to make the most of shopping in Jakarta: -

  • Jakarta is famous for its antique markets. The best antique markets are found in Old Town and near Sunda Kelapa, with all kinds of antiques ranging from old records to memorabilia from the Dutch period.
  • Jakarta’s most-visited shopping destinations include Santa Modern Market, Thamrin City Trade Mall, Grand Indonesia, Mangga Dua Mall, and the high-end Tamman Anggrek, Indonesia’s largest mall.
  • Tanah Abang Market is Southeast Asia’s largest textile market, with thousands of shops offering traditional fabrics and souvenirs.
  • Allocated to crafts, antiques, woodwork, trinkets, beadwork, and even puppets, Pasar Seni, Jalan Surabaya Flea Market and Pasar Baru are Jakarta’s oldest shopping complexes.
  • Glodok is the Chinatown of Jakarta, where you can buy an array of items from Chinese medicines, trendy t-shirts to electronics, and sample noodles and dumplings.
  • Some other upscale places for shopping in Jakarta are Central Park Mall, Gandaria City, Summarecon Mall, Baywalk Mall and Plaza Senayan.

Nightlife in Jakarta

Jakarta offers chic and cosmopolitan nightlife owing to its swanky bars, nightclubs with electrifying DJs, sky-high lounges, night markets, nocturnal wildlife safaris and much more.

Here are the best ways to enjoy the nightlife in Jakarta -

  • Pulsating with music, happy crowds, and unparalleled cocktails, Jakarta's best nightclubs include Colosseum Club, Dragonfly, Blowfish, and Fable.
  • For panoramic skyline views, head to rooftop bars like BART - Bar At The Rooftop, Karumba, Three Horse Bar and Holywings Gatsu Club V. 
  • Enjoy fine dining at Cloud Lounge on the 49th floor, Embassy Lounge, Awan Lounge, Henshin and Skyloft.
  • Pick up traditional clothing, trinkets, souvenirs and tasty street food from Kota Tua and Pecah Kulit Night Markets. 
  • Take your kids on thrilling wildlife safaris in the dark at Safari Park Cisarua or Ragunan Zoo. 
  • Have a spiritual experience at Istiqlal Mosque, which remains open overnight. 

Pro Tips -

  • Almost all nightclubs and bars in Jakarta have dress codes. Men must wear semi-formals, while women are required to be in dresses and heels.
  • Always carry a valid ID card.

History of Jakarta

Jakarta used to be an important trading port (as evidenced by Sunda Kelapa) of the Hindu kingdom of the Pajajaran Dynasty. However, after the 17th Century, the Dutch established their colonial foothold in the Indonesian region, which created an entirely different culture which was a hybrid of traditional Indonesian and Dutch influences. Vestiges of this hybrid are still found in Jakartan architecture. Dutch colonial rule ended with the Japanese occupation in 1942, and the name Jakarta was restored. Still, it wasn't until 1950 that Jakarta officially became the capital of the new republic.

Read more about the history of Jakarta.

Language of Jakarta

The language most commonly spoken is Bahasa Indonesian. In tourist-friendly places, English is also generally spoken but one can expect more of the local language to be used.

Do's and Don'ts in Jakarta

  • Jakarta is relatively more conservative than other Indonesian areas in dressing, so it is advisable for tourists to dress modestly.
  • Tipping is a practice in Jakarta.

Religion of Jakarta

The Indonesian government identifies six main religions, including Islam and Hinduism, but Islam is the predominant religion of the region. Hinduism is also an important religion in Jakarta, with a few temples dotting the landscape.

Daily Budget for Jakarta

For the traveller on a shoestring budget, about IDR 300,000 is the daily budget, including food and travel expenses. Comfortable travel would require a budget of about IDR 500-000-1,800,000, and luxury travel would reach upwards of IDR 20,00,000.

Exchanging Money in Jakarta

In Jakarta the recommended places for exchanging currency would either be at the airport or at commercial banks (BMC in Seminyak).

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FAQs on Jakarta

What are the things to do in Jakarta?

The top things to do in Jakarta are National Monument of Indonesia (MONAS), Grand Indonesia Mall, Merdeka Square, Kota Tua, Kepulauan Seribu (Thousand Islands), Mesjid Istiqlal. You can see all the places to visit in Jakarta here

What are the places near Jakarta?

The top places near to Jakarta are Bandung which is 120 km from Jakarta, Bogor which is located 47 km from Jakarta, Depok which is located 25 km from Jakarta, Bali which is located 943 km from Jakarta, Surabaya which is located 665 km from Jakarta

What are the top hotels in Jakarta?

There are 3096 in Jakarta which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Jakarta are OYO 2251 D'sasya Syariah 2, Kota Kasablanka Apartment, Apartment Bassura City 2 Bedrooms, Cozy Apartment at Cosmo Residence, Cozy Studio at Tifolia Apartment, 3 BR With Sofa Bed At Maple Park Sunter Apartment By Travelio. You can see all the hotels in Jakarta here

How much does a package cost for Jakarta?

The packages for Jakarta start at INR 9688 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What is the local food in Jakarta?

The city of Jakarta has been influenced by history and modernisation, in terms of its cuisine, but still remains loyal to its Batavian roots. All these combine together to form a beautiful melange of spicy, sweet and sour food, which is exclusive to Jakarta. It offers tourists an exclusive view of the sheer variety of Indonesian culture. Food in Indonesia ranges from ubiquitous street hawkers at the corners of streets, to swanky restaurants. Some of the best food in Jakarta can be found in hawker centres- local food like Bakso (beef meatball), Satay Ayam (chicken marinated in a unique blend of spices), Indo Soto Mie (Indonesian noodle soup) and Gorengan (fried fruit/vegetables/bean paste/pineapple). Finally, in order to battle the oppressive heat in Jakarta, Es Podeng (shaved ice with condensed milk, coconut and a selection of fruits) is the best dessert found there. Other popular desserts there are Roti Bakar (grilled toast stuffed with chocolate or strawberry jam) and fruit pancakes. The most popular fruit in Jakarta is durian. A large, smelly fruit, it is popularly used in many Indonesian desserts, and is a must-try for the adventurous. Jakarta not only has Indonesian food, but many Chinese and Indian restaurants. Food in Jakarta,in conclusion, is an eclectic mixture for all.
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What is the best time to visit Jakarta?

The best time to visit Jakarta is from June to September when the weather is pleasant with a fair possibility of rainfall. Being a subtropical region, the weather in Jakarta is warm and humid throughout the year. There are two major seasons in Jakarta - Dry Season (May - September) and Wet Season (October to April). The dry months are the busiest time of the year to visit Jakarta with accommodation charges surging. October is the warmest month of the year, with an average high of 34-degrees Celcius because of constant rains and high humidity. July - August are the driest months, and the best months to travel to Jakarta.

The Wet Season does not attract a lot of people with January receiving the highest rainfall. It's advised not to visit during this time of the year as there are chances of intense thunderstorms and typhoons. However, accommodation is very cheap, and the city isn't crowded. The average temperature of all months is consistently around 25 - 28 degree Celcius. If you're visiting during the period of Ramadan (Early May - June) one must adhere to the rules of the state during the holy month.


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