Jakarta is a city that is skipped by many travelers and backpackers. Believing it is too busy, nothing to see or simply to far away from the main attractions such as Borobodur and Mount Bromo! But we visited Jakarta, and we loved the city. Friendly people, great public transportation and there are definitely some things to do and see here! Wander around the different neighborhoods and visit the many many museums Jakarta is home to. Read down below more info on the largest city of Indonesia and how to spend 24 hours in Jakarta!
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Where is Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and the largest city of Indonesia. It is situated on the Eastern part of the island Java. On the further Eastern side of Java you will find the island of Sumatra and on the Western side you will find the famous island of Bali. Jakarta roughly has a population of 10 million people, which you will notice with all the hustle and bustle in the streets. Find a map below with the location of Jakarta. Planning on exploring the rest of Java? Don’t forget to check out our guide with 15 things you need to know before going to Java!
Accommodation in Jakarta
With Jakarta being the largest city in the country there is enough accommodation in Jakarta for every kind of traveler. Find our recommendations below!
For the budget and solo backpackers – We stayed at the Six Degrees hostel in central Jakarta and had a great experience! Very friendly staff, delicious free breakfast and a rooftop bar. The hostel is closely located to one of the train stations and has many restaurants in the area. Check Six Degrees hostel out here or find more hostels in Jakarta here on Hostelworld.com!
For any type of traveler – We highly recommend using AirBnB everywhere in this world. We have used AirBnB for booking studio’s and rooms in Malaysia, New Zealand and Indonesia and have never been disappointed. AirBnB has a large offer of accommodation, from budget to luxury, in any city or town, you will find something to your liking and often at a much lower price then a hotel with the same facilites.
How to spend 24 hours in Jakarta
Kota Tua and Ancol – Start your day by heading to the North of Jakarta. Explore the beach of Ancol and the neighborhood of Kota Tua, also known as the Jakarta Old Town or Oud Batavia (Dutch for old Batavia). The neighborhood is filled with Dutch-style structures dating back to the 17th Century when this part of town served as one of the headquarters of the VOC during the spice trading. Wander around the streets and Fatillah Square you will find a large amount of these buildings.
Train stop: Stasiun Jakarta Kota – followed by a 5 min walk
Glodok – Also known as Chinatown, known to be the biggest in Indonesia, is an administrative village you will find slightly below the area of Kota Tua. The area of Glodok is filled with temples, vendors and small streets. The area of Glodok has been known as Chinatown since roughly 1740 when the East Indian Company, aka VOC, assigned the area as a residential area for ethnic Chinese. Wander around the area to admire the beautiful streets and sights before heading to your next stop!
Train stop: Stasiun Jakarta Kota – followed by a 15 min walk
National Monument – The national monument is a 132m tall tower in the middle of Merdeka Square, located closer to Central Jakarta. You can spot the monument from quite a distance already. The monument is surrounded by a park and fences on all sides with multiple controlled entry points. The National Monument represents the fight for Indonesian independence.
Train stop: Stasiun Juanda – followed by a 15 min walk
National Museum – On the western side of the Merdeka Square you can find the National Museum. If you want to learn more about Indonesia’s heritage and history the National Museum is the place for you. You can find collections on the prehistory of Indonesia, a ceramics collection, a treasure room, a collection on the colonial era and much more.
Entry fee: 10,000 IDR in August 2018.
Train stop: Stasiun Juanda – followed by a 20 min walk.
Masjid Istiqlal – On the eastern side of Merdeka square you can find Masjid Istiqlal, or the Istiqlal mosque. The Istiqlal Mosque (which translates to independence mosque) is the largest mosque in Indonesia and the whole of Southeast Asia. The mosque has a capacity of 120,000 people. The mosque is open for tourists, but do know a dress code applies (no shorts, tank tops and short sleeve shirts, women are required to were a hijab) and you will be required to take your shoes off during the tour of the mosque.
Train stop: Stasiun Juanda – followed by a 5 min walk.
Jalan Surabaya – Jalan Surabaya, located further South as seen from Merdeka square is one of the most well known flea markets of Jakarta. 184 Shops filled with coins, porcelain, Javanese puppets wood carvings, batik, and loads of antiques. A perfect spot for any antique lovers or flea market hunters. Don’t forget to bargain for the prices to be sure you get the best deal!
Train stop: Stasiun Cikini – followed by a 5 min walk.
At night – Now that you have done a day of sightseeing don’t forget that Jakarta also has a vibrant nightlife. The large city has many rooftop bars worth visiting and many more bars on ground level. One of the most famous rooftop bars must be the SKYE Bar, located on the 56th it offers a stunning view over the city, also perfect to witness the sunset while enjoying a nice dinner and a drink!
Map with all sights
How to get around Jakarta
While all the sights might seem close to each other on the map, it is quite the walk, and in the warm weather of Jakarta it can get a bit sweaty and tiring. Luckily, there are multiple ways to easily get around the city. Jakarta has an extensive public transport system, including buses and commuter trains. As you can see I have mentioned the stations above and marked them on the map for your convenience. At any of these stations you can buy a top-up card for 10,000 IDR (less then 1$US in August 2018, refundable when you return the card) on which you can “upload” your trips. One commuter train ride will cost you 3000 IDR per trip, one way. This all can easily be done at the ticket booths in the commuter train stations. The card is called “Tiket Harian Berjaminan”.
If you find using public transport to much of a hassle you can also use Grab Taxi for budget taxi service. Grab is like the Uber of Southeast Asia, as long as you have internet connection you can order a Grab taxi, or Grab bike from wherever you are to your next destination, you simply pay cash on arrival, no creditcard needed! Download the Grab app here right now. You can use the app in multiple countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia!
While Jakarta is a great city to explore for a couple of days, it would be a shame not to explore the rest of this beautiful island as well. Lucky for all the budget travelers and backpackers, backpacking Java is extremely affordable. From Jakarta make your way to the cities of Bandung, or perhaps to Yogyakarta, one of Java’s most famous touristic destinations. The absolute easiest and comfortable way to explore the island of Java is by taking the train, not sure where to start, check out our full guide to train travel in Java here! I hope you all enjoyed reading this article. Have you been to Jakarta before? Anything that is missing on this list? Let me know in the comments down below! Oh, and don’t forget to pin this for later…