Things to do in Jakarta

Let’s face it, for many, Southeast Asia is a shopper’s paradise and you’ll be pleased to know Jakarta doesn’t disappoint. If shopping is top of your agenda, here’s a basic breakdown of shopping regions in Indonesia’s consumer capital.

South Jakarta is for big malls and factory outlets. Tech geeks, get your fix at Ratu Plaza and, if you’re after a mani pedi after a hard day’s shopping, head to fX lifestyle centre. Hipsters should head straight for the indie scene in East Jakarta for independent clothing stores then stop off at a coffee shop in the Tebet area. West Jakarta is for savvy shoppers on a budget with department stores offering fashion at modest prices. Lastly, in the north it’s a mix of bargains, electronics, souvenirs and local crafts at Ancol Arts Market – but be wary of fakes and knock-offs here. If you don’t mind a faux, Mangga Dua is the place to go for good quality, counterfeit designer goods.

You’d hardly expect to find untouched tropical islands just off the coast of one of the world’s most polluted cities, but that’s the magic of Jakarta – and the Thousand Islands. Actually, it’s more like just over a 100, but among them there are some white-sand beauties. It’s possible to get a public boat from Ancol to one of the major Thousand Islands offering backpacker-budget accommodation. Spending time in an island village also means you’ll be able to meet the locals and experience the real laidback Jakartan lifestyle.

There’s plenty of culture to be explored within the city too with ample galleries and museums - the best ones are located in and around Kota in the old part of town. Check out Fatahillah Museum for history, the Jakarta Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum, and even the old Bank of Indonesia museum will take you by surprise. Wayang is the Indonesian word to describe traditional puppetry – and they’ve got a museum for that too. For our top places to go in Jakarta, read on.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah           

For a snapshot of the myriad cultures and historic differences of the Indonesian archipelago within a huge open-air centre in Jakarta, a stop at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is a must.

Old Batavia (Kota)

Shaped by a variety of colonial influences, find out about Old Batavia and step back in time at the old town quarter of Kota in Jakarta.

Istiqlal Mosque

It’s hard to miss the Istiqlal Mosque – it’s a standout feature within Jakarta’s physical cityscape and the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

Jalan Surabaya

For antiquing and teak treasures, vintage vultures won’t want to miss the cavernous markets on Jalan Surabaya with gems from Indonesia and colonial days.

Ancol Dreamland Park

Dubbed Indonesia’s answer to Disneyland, Ancol Dreamland Park is more an entertainment quarter with theme parks, global nightclub franchises, food and much more on offer.