Jakarta is the capital of the largest (in terms of the population, which professes Islam) Muslim country, a picturesque city with exotic culture, stretched on the coast of the Java Sea. It is a large metropolis, where modern skyscrapers are next to the streets where the poorest people live, and outright poverty is next to expensive boutiques and restaurants. A city of extremes, a place where different peoples and cultures mix, it is famous for its brightest nightlife and bustling language diversity. Beautiful beaches, tropical plants, entertainment complexes, unique monuments — Jakarta offers something to see and do.
Municipalities of Jakarta
Officially, the city is a province with the status of the capital. It consists of five urban municipalities (kota) — Central (Jakarta Pusat), Eastern (Jakarta Timur), Western (Jakarta Barat), Northern (Jakarta Timur), and Southern (Jakarta Selatan). The city also includes the Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu Regency).
Each of them has something to see for travelers.
- Central Jakarta is the main tourist municipality where you can admire the beautiful architecture of the Dutch colonial buildings, visit museums, ancient mosques, and cathedrals, relax in the shadow of magnificent parks.
- North Jakarta is the location of the port and city beaches. Antique lovers will be impressed by a walk through the streets of Batavia's Old Town.
- West Jakarta is the municipality where the Chinatown and many attractions are located.
- South Jakarta is a part of the city that shopping enthusiasts do not miss. The rich residential area of the capital has concentrated large shopping centers and prestigious restaurants.
- The Thousand Island District is a real paradise for diving, windsurfing, and many other marine activities. It consists of 105 small islands with ferries and speedboats running between them.
Ancient temples and palaces, lush parks and beautiful beaches, fascinating museums and picturesque restaurants — you want to stop time to see all the sights in Jakarta. It is better to create your tourist route in advance, taking into account the most extraordinary places.
Indonesia, unlike other countries of the world, is home to the largest number of Muslims. In Jakarta, they make up about 86% of all believers. The rest are the representatives of other religions: Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus.
Sultan Demak defeated the Portuguese and occupied the city, calling it Jayakarta, which means a "city of victory".
During the reign of the Dutch East Indies, the city became its capital and changed its name to Batavia. At the end of the XIX century, Batavia was divided into the Upper and Lower parts, between which was the Chinese Quarter. The Europeans arriving here settled in the Upper City.
The city had not regained its former name until 1942, during the Japanese occupation. And already in 1945, after Indonesia's independence, Jakarta became its capital.
The population of the capital is growing rapidly, and, already in the late 1950s, Jakarta became a city with more than 1 million inhabitants.
The amazing interweaving of different cultures and traditions, unexplainable charm and atmosphere of the city attract many tourists from all over the world.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Jakarta
Come to Jakarta on August 19, Independence Day, to fully immerse yourself in the national flavor of Indonesia. Military parades, colorful celebrations, and fairs await guests.
Jazz lovers come to the city at the beginning of March, when the International Java Jazz Festival is held here, and where famous artists from all over the world come.
In March 2019, Jakarta launched the subway, which now makes it much easier to travel through the crowded city. Tourists better not use regular city buses. They have no air conditioning, are crowded with passengers, and are constantly stuck in traffic. Choose Transjakarta buses, which are air-conditioned and run in a specially designated lane. Transjakarta buses cost 2 to 3 times more than regular buses, but it is worth it. Try not to use private taxi services. It is better to order cars from official carriers such as BlueBird.
Try to follow local traditions and customs. You should only enter temples and mosques in closed clothing and take off your shoes at the entrance. You should only give money to the seller, food at the table, and generally, do anything with your right hand. The left hand is considered unclean, and its use will be offensive to locals.
Do not take tap water for drinking or cooking. Although locals claim that tap water can be consumed, it often causes digestive disorders among foreigners. Watch for the freshness of the food you buy and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
Doctors recommend vaccinating against yellow fever, hepatitis A and B before traveling to Jakarta. Vaccinations are not compulsory, but they are a good way to prevent diseases that are common in the region.
In Jakarta, the humidity is high, and you have to change your underwear and clothes frequently. Keep in mind that you will need at least 2-3 shifts per day.
What should a tourist do in Jakarta
From the first minutes of their stay in the city, travelers are immersed in a whirl of bright impressions and amazing discoveries. Yet, we will give you a hint on where you should go first to feel all the peculiarities of Jakarta's unique atmosphere.
- Walk around one of the largest squares in the world, Medan Merdeka (Liberty Square), which covers an area of one square kilometer. Admire the magnificent exotic plants, then relax on a stone bench in the coolness of the fountains. There is also the Independence Monument, the symbol of Indonesia, whose tower is 132 m high. Climb the tower's observation deck and enjoy a splendid view of the surrounding area.
- Spend the day in Mini "Indonesia Indah" Park. Learn about the lifestyle of all 27 Indonesian provinces. Picturesque expositions in each pavilion introduce guests to the traditional interior, national costumes, and artworks of the nations that make up the country. The park also has the Theater Tanah Airku, 15 museums, 7 temples, and 11 separate park zones.
- Marvel at the laconic beauty of the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia. Its construction began in 1962 and was completed only 17 years later. The temple became a symbol of the country's independence. It is an interesting fact that some Muslims consider the construction of the dome and minaret too Arabic. And the mosque was built by a Christian architect.
- Admire the graceful facade of Jakarta Cathedral. The modern building appeared in 1901, on the ruins of an old church. Since then, it has been rebuilt several times. The magnificent Neo-Gothic ensemble is crowned by three openwork spires. In the cathedral, during the divine services, one can hear the solemn sound of the organ.
- Get acquainted with one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Indonesia — Guo Xun Guan Temple, built in 1775. It stores the relics of Taoist and Buddhist saints. The original feature of the building is a pair of winding silver dragons on the roof. Try to get to the temple from 9.00 to 10.00 AM. At this time, the first sun rays begin to enter the courtyard, overcoming the resistance of incense smoke. Visitors claim that the spectacle is genuinely fabulous.
- Visit the legendary Taman Sari Water Castle. This delightful palace complex was built in 1765 and became a favorite holiday destination for sultans. According to the legend, after the construction was completed, Sultan Hamengkubuwono I ordered to kill all the architects who took part in the work so that they could not repeat the architectural masterpiece. Luxurious pavilions, transparent ponds, magnificent flower compositions take visitors to the mysterious Indonesia of that time.
- Devote a day to get acquainted with unique exhibits of the National Museum of Indonesia. More than 140 thousand artifacts of archeology, numismatics, ethnography, and other fields are collected here. Admire the main attraction of the museum — the 4-meter statue of Buddha.
- Feel the flavor of the oldest Chinatown in the region. Here you'll find small shops selling rice paper and other souvenirs and Chinese language schools. Try genuine Chinese tea, cooked according to all the rules of tea drinking.
- Relax on Jakarta's beautiful beaches. You can sunbathe and swim at the beaches of Ancol and Anyer Beach within city limits. If you like extreme sea entertainments, you should go to Jakarta's islands.
- Check out the city's markets, without which you can't imagine the Oriental city. Mountains of fruits and vegetables, fragrant spices, and seasonings, local sweets are all available at any Jakarta market. You can find exquisite souvenirs at the Jalan Surabaya antique market.
- Try the national dishes. The local cuisine is a mixture of the traditions of many Jakarta peoples. The main product here is rice, and Jakarta's diet is also full of seafood and spices. Enjoy the taste of lemang (fried bamboo circles, stuffed with rice and coconut milk), gulai (fish or chicken in a thick spicy sauce), gado gado (local salad), and others. For dessert, order baked goods with the addition of copra, palm sugar, or tapioca.