Things to see and do
The locals are very friendly and hospitable, so you can expect a warm welcome in the Indonesian capital. Jakarta is full of cultural and historical things to do, in addition areas of natural beauty and shopping opportunities. Dutch colonial buildings stand beside Indonesian ones, to reflect the harmonious blend of history and modernism. Here are some of the best things to do in this fabulous destination:
The National Museum of Indonesia is the best of its kind in the country and is an indispensable place to visit. The vast collection begins at the open courtyard of the building, constructed in 1862, you can see a superb 4.5 metre large stone statue of a Bhairawa king from the Rambahan in Sumatra, who is portrayed stepping on the skulls of human beings. The ethnology area is excellent, with Dayak marionettes and wooden sculptures from Nias with beards (a sign of astuteness) plus some decorative textiles.
The Museum Bank Indonesia is in an impressively restored neoclassical building, and has been the bank's headquarters since the early 20th century. With exhibitions and audiovisuals about the spice trade, the economic meltdown of 1997 (and ensuing riots) in addition to a gallery devoted to money with notes from every corner of the world, this museum is well worth a visit.
The locals adore shopping. In fact, they love to visit their shopping centres so much that they are open 24/7. With about 130 shopping malls scattered all over Jakarta, you won't be short of opportunities to pick up a bargain, luxury goods, or gifts for loved ones back home.
But it's not just shopping centres the locals love, dating back to the 1820's, Pasar Baru is one of the city's oldest and most beloved markets.The pedestrian-only shopping area is crammed with traders hawking a variety of quirky wares from vintage cameras, fabrics, and trinkets. The varied mix of Javanese, Chinese and Indians makes it is the perfect place for food lovers to go and sample all sorts of incredible Indonesian street dishes.
Who doesn't enjoy a trip to the zoo? See animals native to Indonesia in the 350-acre Ragunan Zoological Park in the Pasar Minggu region of Jakarta. Alternatively, adults and children of all ages are sure to have fun at Dunia Fantasi, Jakarta's theme amusement park located at Ancol in the North. Dufan, as the park is commonly known, features over 40 rides to thrill and excite visitors. It's the local version of Disney's "It's a Small World". This is a popular day trip so it's best to book in advance. If you're a little warm and looking to cool off but don't want to miss out on the fun, why not visit one of the many water parks? Located in Lippo Cikarang, Pantai Indah Kapuk, and Pondok Indah Mall III - water parks are a sure-fire hit for family fun.