Best Things to Do in Jakarta – Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital, is a melting pot of cultures. A mix of diverse traditions, from Javanese and Malay to Arabic, Indian and Dutch, swirls together in this megalopolis. The result is a vibrant, vibrant city with an exciting taste.
You will find that Jakarta has the best coffee shops in the world, and the most socializing in the city is done in trendy cafes – not in lounges. You’ll find yourself craving for the fried rice found in countless Jakarta hawker stalls – and developing friendships with the chefs. And you’ll end up in the city’s luxurious multi-purpose shopping mall for retail therapy, along with entertainment, events and the arts.
Tourist attractions in Jakarta will also show the deeper side of this cosmopolitan city. Explore traditional house models from more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. Feel the spirit of Indonesian independence at the Monas national monument. See the crumbling architecture of Jakarta’s colonial era at Kota Tua. Learn about ancient humans who lived in Indonesia at the National Museum.
For more ideas on planning your trip to Indonesia, check out our list of the best things to do in Jakarta.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety concerns. Best Things to Do in Jakarta :
1. Visit the National Museum
The National Museum (Museum Nasional) is one of the best places to visit in Jakarta. Located on the western edge of Merdeka Square, this archaeological and ethnological attraction boasts a rich collection of some 70,000 artifacts. It is considered to be one of the best museums in Southeast Asia.
You don’t even have to enter the National Museum to experience its richness. The courtyard of the building, which is more than 150 years old, features a peaceful fountain topped with a bronze elephant statue, given to Batavia by the Siamese king Chulalongkorn in 1871. The iconic work has inspired the main structure’s nickname the “Elephant Building”.
The museum is divided into two distinct wings, each of which has its own exhibits. This new wing features four floors of exhibitions about culture and human origins in Indonesia. Don’t miss the collection of priceless gold jewelery and artifacts from Central Java; amazing rare textile exhibitions from all over Indonesia; and the “Flores Man” model, ancient human remains found on the island of Flores in 2013.
A glass-walled bridge connects the new wing to the old wing, where you will find the National Museum’s famous collection of classical Hindu-Buddhist statues. One of the highlights is the carving of Adityawarman, the four-meter-tall king of Malayapura, standing on a skull ring.
The old wing also contains a collection of prehistoric ceramics from across Asia, ancient Indonesian ethnographic tools, relics of the Dutch East India Company, and treasures from royal houses across the archipelago.
Popular tip: There are free English-language tours of the museum throughout the week, organized by members of the Indonesian Heritage Society. Check the museum’s website for the current day and time.
Address: Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.12, Gambir, Gambir District, Central Jakarta City, Special Capital Region of Jakarta 10110
2. See Kites at the Kite Museum
Kite flying has been a tradition in this part of the world for more than 2,000 years, and there is no better place in Jakarta to learn about this heritage than at the Kite Museum, an attraction down a quiet alley in Pondok Labu.
A short film screening at the museum explains the origins of kite flying in Indonesia, as well as the many types of kites – just the right amount of information tourists need to appreciate the attractions’ collection of over 600 colorful kites.
Look up to see a large flying horse kite with wings stretching all the way in. The museum also displays the head of a fire-breathing dragon kite; sailing ship in flight; traditional kites made of bamboo and banana leaves; and a stunning horse-drawn carriage 3D kite, complete with spinning wheels.
If you’re feeling inspired after the tour, you can use the materials in the museum to make your own kite that makes a unique souvenir.
Best Things to Do in Jakarta :
3. Relax at Merdeka Square
Merdeka Square, a 75-hectare park surrounded by lush greenery in Central Jakarta, is the Indonesian capital’s answer to the squares around European cities. It is considered to be one of the largest public squares in the world.
Jakartans flock to the vast expanses on relaxing weekend days with their friends and family, making Merdeka Square the place to visit for daily life in this bustling urban area.
The hallmark of Merdeka Square is the National Monument. Also known as Monas, the 132-meter-tall tower topped with gold foil flames symbolizes Indonesia’s struggle for independence. This architectural marvel took 14 years to build and was opened by Suharto, Indonesia’s second president, in 1975.
The base of the monument houses the National History Museum, a small attraction with dioramas depicting the history of the Indonesian independence movement. Tourists can also take the elevator to the top of Monas every hour – if they can get one of the limited tickets before it is sold out.
Merdeka Square offers the perfect atmosphere for relaxing on weekend afternoons. Watch a pick-up football match, have a picnic on one of the lawns, and visit the adorable spotted deer in the enclosed area near the southeast corner, and see if you don’t leave feeling rejuvenated.
4. Unlimited shopping at Mega Mall Jakarta
You are never more than a stone’s throw from Jakarta’s major shopping malls. The city has more than 170 shopping centers scattered throughout its neighborhood. Many of them feature impressive architecture with multiple floors of shops, theaters, restaurants, grocery stores, salons, galleries, and other things to do, making them the ideal place to pass the time while avoiding the capital’s stifling rush hour traffic.
Which mall is the most suitable to visit in Jakarta? The answer depends on what you are looking for. Plaza Indonesia in Central Jakarta is full of international luxury brands, such as Bulgari, Rolex, Kate Spade, and Ted Baker, as well as locally made batik textiles. Grand Indonesia Shopping Town, a mall with a view of the Selamat Datang Monument, features the largest cinema in Indonesia, a fountain show and a video game arcade.
In West Jakarta, shoppers can head to Taman Anggrek Mall (also known as MTA) in more than 500 shops, concerts in the central atrium, the largest indoor ice skating rink in the country, and the large LED screens that span the entire building.
Foodies should make sure to dine (or two) in the robust food hall inside Plaza Senayan in Central Jakarta.
5. Experience Contemporary Art at Museum MACAN
Indonesia made international headlines when it cut the ribbon at its first contemporary art institution, Museum MACAN, in November 2017. This acclaimed attraction has since built a reputation as one of the best places to visit in Jakarta.
This 7,100 square meter room showcases 800 important collections built over 25 years, mainly by art lover and entrepreneur Haryanto Adikoesoemo. Inside the cultural icon, tourists can see unique fiberglass creations from Yayoi Kusama, romantic paintings by beloved Indonesian artist Raden Saleh Sjarif Boestaman, Andy Warhol’s work depicting Marilyn Monroe, and mind-stirring images of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.
Check the museum website for a list of the latest exhibitions and events during your visit to Jakarta.
Best Things to Do in Jakarta :
6. Take a day trip to the Thousand Islands
Need a break from Jakarta’s concrete jungle? Take a day trip to the Thousand Islands, a cluster of 110 beautiful islands scattered across the Java Sea, just north of the city. Ferries and private shuttles take tourists to places of interest in this island chain from Marina Ancol every day.
You can reach one of the nearest Thousand Islands, Pulau Bidadari, in just 30 minutes from the ferry port. Destination highlights include rare trees, sandy beaches, and a 17th century fortress. You can also spend the night in a bungalow on the water.
The beautiful Tidung Island is another favorite spot for day trips. Tourists spend their time on the island cycling, snorkeling and taking photos along the legendary “Bridge of Love”, which connects the main island with a smaller piece of land.
You will feel a world away from the big city when you set foot on Sepa Island. Located about 90 minutes from Jakarta, this island is a paradise for adventure lovers. Choose from water sports, such as banana boat rides, snorkeling, jet skiing, and diving. If you miss the ferry back to town, you can sleep in the lodge or camp under the stars.
Great tip: A tour like Heaven Tour on Thousand Islands makes it easy to escape Jakarta for the day and return to the city in time for dinner of fried rice.
7. Learn the History of Jakarta in the Old City
The capital city of Indonesia does look shiny and modern, but still retains a legacy of its charming historical atmosphere in Kota, Kota Tua Jakarta. The area served as the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. This is one of the best places to visit on your first day in Jakarta to experience the stories of the city’s past this.
Fatahillah Park is the center of sightseeing in the City. Dutch colonial buildings surround the cobblestoned square, creating a majestic atmosphere in stark contrast to the glass and concrete skyscrapers found elsewhere in Jakarta.
The nearly 400-year-old whitewashed building on the southern edge of the square has been transformed from a city hall into the Jakarta History Museum. Inside, you’ll find more than 20,000 historical objects, including antique maps, ceramics and Betawi-style furniture, as well as prison cells that housed Indonesian independence fighters in the 19th century.
Another attraction worth exploring in the City is the Wayang Museum on the western edge of Fatahillah Park. It takes the traveler through the Javanese tradition of wooden puppetry. Cultural institutions sometimes hold free puppet shows.
For more arts and culture in the City, visit the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics (Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics), just across the square from the Puppet Museum. It features an extraordinary collection of ceramics and handicrafts from Indonesia, as well as pieces from Europe and other parts of Asia.
However, don’t spend all of your time indoors. With its attractive row of wood-covered buildings, the City side street is a treasure trove of photographic sites and a rich atmosphere. Explore the area on foot, or rent a bicycle from Fatahillah Square. When you’re ready to refuel, the famous Cafe Batavia is the best place to escape the heat and sip a classic mocktail punch.
Best Things to Do in Jakarta :
8. Explore Kemang, Jakarta’s Trendiest Neighborhood
Take one afternoon of your Jakarta itinerary to explore Kemang. Widely considered the trendiest neighborhood in Jakarta, a suburban area full of cafes, shops and sightseeing opportunities.
There are many things to do in Kemang. Sip a cup of strong coffee while hanging out with a fluffy cat at Cutie Cats Cafe. Explore the novel shelves in the quiet Aksara bookstore. Check out the latest clothing from up-and-coming Indonesian designers at Kemang’s ever-changing list of boutiques. Watch the Kinosaurus microcinema film. popular tourist places.
Get to know your creative side in a cooking class, printmaking workshop or painting lesson at Ganara Art Studio. It’s also a good idea to enjoy a weekend brunch at the lively Kemang restaurant – if you can get a table. Call ahead to make a reservation.
Interesting tip: It is difficult to reach Kemang by public transport. Flag a Blue Bird Taxi or take an ojek (informal ojek) to reach the area.