Jakarta is filled with sightseeing and tourist attractions, shopping malls for days and hidden back streets for nightlife, food and fun. First up, get a 360-degree view of the city from 115 metres up at the National Monument. Built in 1975, a visit to the monument will also help you to understand Indonesia’s fight for nationhood as you walk through the Hall of Independence and discover Jakarta’s history and journey to independence. For more need-to-know info before you holiday in Jakarta, read on.
Australian passport holders may be granted a 30-day visa on arrival in Indonesia for a fee (this is not available to foreigners entering Indonesia through the land border between East Timor and Indonesian West Timor or to foreigners entering Indonesian West Papua). Some airlines flying from Australia to Jakarta may offer a visa processing service onboard the flight. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of Indonesia.
The Indonesian Rupiah is the currency of Indonesia. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Indonesian Rupiah changes constantly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase your cash when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit or debit card.
Jakarta is celebrated for its street food and unique regional offerings. If you’re after seafood, head to Kelapa Gading or Muara Karang/Pluit. For meatballs as large as tennis balls – those game enough can get a feed at Blok S in South Jakarta. A concentration of dining centres can be found in Glodok (Chinatown), Monas Square and Kota Tua (old town). If want to mix things up from the typical Indo fare, you’ll also find excellent Chinese and Japanese foods as well as plenty of Western fare to accommodate the international community. If you want to try strictly Jakartan versions of many dishes, look out for items labelled ‘betawi’ (Indonesian for ‘Batavian’). Don’t miss stopping in at Café Batavia - located in the historic old Dutch quarter of Kota, this famous restaurant overlooks Taman Fatahillah square. Teak floors and Art Deco furnishings make a handsome setting to sit back and soak up the colonial ambience over a cup of java. Distinctly Indonesian, Javanese coffee beans make a characteristically strong, black, and very sweet brew. Note: The tap water is not drinkable in Jakarta - always buy bottled water and make sure it is sealed.
While Jakarta has a mostly Islamic population, it still knows how to party! Nightlife here is regarded as the some of the best in Asia and drinking alcohol is kosher for those who wish to. Clubbing is the name of the game here and you’ll find many a dancefloor from the upscale X-Lounge to the dingiest discos. Stadium club is a Jakartan institution drawing the world's leading DJs. If live music is more your jam, unfortunately there’s slim pickings unless you’re up for some Indonesian pop. A popular expat nightlife district is Blok M in South Jakarta, but for a more off-the-beaten track experience, head a few blocks south to Jl. Melawai 6 where you’ll find Jakarta's Little Japan lined with Japanese restaurants, bars and karaoke joints. Jalan Jaksa is also popular among expats and backpackers. Here, you’ll find laidback watering holes with the cheapest beers in town - Papa's Cafe is a popular spot.