Introduction to Jakarta

A melting pot of Indonesian culture and history, Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital along with being the country’s economic and political centre. The largest city in Indonesia and the most populated region in Southeast Asia, so many people call Jakarta home that it’s the 13th most populated city in the world.

Established in the 4th century on the island of Java, the city was an important trading port for the Hindu Kingdom of Sunda from the 7th to the early 13th century. Jakarta (dubbed Jayakarta at the time) was then part of a power struggle between the English East India Company and Dutch East India Company with ships from Holland arriving here in 1596 and the English setting up a trading post in Banten from 1602 until 1682. In 1619, the Dutch defeated the Brits and renamed the city, Batavia.

During World War II, the city’s name was changed again from Batavia to Jakarta after Indonesian nationals reclaimed the city from the Dutch with the help of Japanese allies in 1942. Jakarta has continued as the capital of Indonesia since the country's independence was declared in 1945.

A bustling city, while coated in thick smog and heavy traffic, Jakarta is alive with nightlife, shopping and dining opportunities. Step back in time in the old part of the city in Kota and wander the streets of bygone Batavia. Enjoy an authentic cup of Javanese coffee then explore vintage markets and savour incredible street food. The perfect way to end any day in Jakarta is with an exceptionally cheap beer – Bintang is cold, cheap and refreshing. Mix with the locals – Jakartans are known for being some of the most hospitable and friendliest people on earth. Just be careful when negotiating with local bus drivers – you might get a rude awakening as they are known to be a lot less than friendly at times.

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