Welcome to Jakarta!
Jakarta, formerly known as Batavia or Djakarta, is the largest city of Indonesia and one of the most populated cities on the Planet with its 10 million inhabitants! Yeah, it is crowded! The city has long been a major trade and financial center of the country and also has become an important industrial hub and a center for education. And there are no doubts that there’s a lot to do in this vast area. Here you can see our TOP 5 Must-See in Jakarta that can help you to get to know this place!
1. Merdeka Square and area – Monas Tower, Jakarta Cathedral and Istiqlal Mosque
Monas Tower is located in Merdeka Square, which is famous for this monument in the middle of it. Monas Tower is a symbol of Indonesia’s independence that was declared in 1945, and Merdeka Square itself means “freedom” in Indonesian. The square is guarded by police patrols as often there are demonstrations happening, during which it is not recommended to visit this place. But otherwise, it is possible to get to the top of the Monas Tower by elevator, though be ready for some queues! The entrance fee is 5.000 IDR to get close to the tower on the ground level (yeah, it is surrounded by the fence, so if you actually want to touch the tower, you need to pay). And if you wish to go up, you need to pay 15.000 IDR, but it is not the only fee you have to cover as you can receive the ticket only after buying a special card along with it. The card costs 20.000 IDR and later can be used as a bus ticket card or a card to enter the Zoo.
Near the Merdeka Square is also Jakarta Catholic Cathedral, which is also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the city.
And then comes the Istiqlal Mosque that is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and third largest in the World. The name of the mosque means “Independent” in honor for the country`s independence. The area of the mosque is 10 ha and the building itself can welcome 61 thousand worshippers, 200 thousand worshippers in all its surrounding area. Five levels of the mosque symbolize Muslim five daily prayers. In the second floor, a huge gong is located, it is characteristic only to Indonesian Muslims. It is possible to enter the mosque till 6 PM and proper clothing is provided just there on the spot.
2. Fatahillah Square and area – Jakarta History Museum, Magic Art 3D Museum, Pedestrian Street and Pintu Besar Artist Street
The Kota, Old City or Old Batavia, as it is being called, is located in the Fatahillah Square and around. It is the historical center of the city. Here you will find evidence of Dutch rule as Indonesia was the Dutch colony.
You can get to know Indonesian history better by visiting Jakarta History Museum just there, the entrance fee is only 5.000 IDR.
On the opposite side of the History Museum, you will find Magic Art 3D Museum that has been opened recently. If you are there for amazing pics and beautiful art – take a look! The museum is divided into zones, some of which are “painting zone”, “mirror maze”, “animal zone”, “ocean zone” and others. The entrance fee in the museum is 40.000 IDR during the weekdays and 60.000 IDR on weekends and holidays.
Continue the path down the Pedestrian Street, which is full of cafes, restaurants, street performers, tattoo masters, and other artists. This is the most vibrant place to enjoy the city.
But if you walk even further, you will get on the Pintu Besar road on the right side of which you will find artists. So many local artists, painters, and jewelry sellers! This is the best street to stop and just take your time. Those artworks displayed are amazing and it`s unbelievable that so many locals have this kind of talent!
3. West Liberation Monument and park
And then there is another wonderful place and site – the West Liberation Monument and the park that surrounds it. The park itself was formerly known as the Waterloo Plein, a parade ground of the colonial administration. But now it is a park where locals come to enjoy evening walks or catch amazing pictures of the moon looking down the monument.
On top of the West Liberation Monument that is a 36-meter high pedestal, stands a bronze, bare-chested man breaking free from his shackles, facing towards the sky. The face holds screaming expression, symbolizing rebellion and independence. By the monument, two lines of flags are located and the two special moments would be the flag raising at sunrise that is around 6 to 7 AM and flag lowering at the sunset around 6 PM every day.
4. Chinese Market and religious buildings
Jakarta Chinatown, also called as Glodok is an Indonesian Chinese area that will bring you to another reality! If in the indoor shops it is not that interesting, but that hustle in the streets is just amazing! Chinese souvenirs, traditional food in family-run restaurants, electronics, accessories and so much more! This is the best place to get to know Indonesian Chinese culture! Though remember that motorbikes and cars do not stop here, so be careful – traffic here is something crazy!
And there are wonderful Chinese temples to explore in the area. The most famous of which is Jin De Yuan – Buddhist temple built in the 18th century. It is one of the most important temples for Jakarta’s Buddhist community. Visit also Altar Pak Kung Temple, Vihara Dharma Temple and Church of Maria de Fatima if you are already here!
5. Sunda Kelapa Port and Pelelangan Fish Market
There is a port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta that is the largest in Indonesia, handling exports and Indonesia’s import trade. But the one that can actually be explored is much closer in the city and is called the Sunda Kelapa Port. This port was the main one during the Dutch times and now is freely walkable after the ticket purchasing which is 3.000 IDR. This port is the main reason Jakarta grew so prosperous, but now it is used for “slow-shipping”. If the goods have to be delivered fast, Indonesians choose the Tanjung Port, but if there is no rush, Sunda Kelapa Port is better as it is also cheaper one. Mainly gas, bricks, and other construction materials are shipped from here to other islands of Indonesia, no further. It is possible to walk along the coast, see the goods being loaded in the ships. Locals will ask you to join for a boat ride or let you get on their ship for some small fee. This is a truly amazing place to explore. But be ready for some clouds of dust!
And the other great seaside site is Pelelangan Fish Market. It is located on the West of the port and offers an interesting experience. This area is a combination of local market and fish market, which is best to be visited during the morning when freshly caught fish are just put in the bowls. Here you can walk around not that huge area and see what creatures live in surrounding waters of Indonesia. Here are sea animals that not always are visible in other places or restaurants, even sharks! Locals are super-friendly and always inviting the visitor to hold in hands their biggest catch totally for free, so some great pics can be taken!
Jakarta is a huge and interesting city. Here you can find exclusive restaurants and skyscrapers in the business area and Dutch footprints in the Old Town. Enjoy the nature views on the shore of the sea, take a ferry to islands and walk in the city’s parks. Even if locals will tell you that Jakarta is not the place for tourists, you will definitely find many interesting things to do here every day of your stay! Enjoy!