Jakarta, one of the world’s largest and most happening cities, is both the capital and largest city in Indonesia. It is surrounded by somewhat of a conurbation on the north coast of West Java.

This boom city has many impressive attractions stretching back to its colonial days and is split into districts, with central Jakarta having the bulk of interest. Attractions here include the massive 140-meter National Monument in Merdeka Square, which features solid gold flames atop it, the Adam Malik Museum and the National Museum.

Jalan Thamrin has the best shopping in town and also top hotels. Cheaper hotels can be had to the east of town, while to the west is good entertainment in the Chinatown area. Jalan Jaksa has the funkiest bars and clubs.

Don’t miss Kota (Old Batavia), a colonial area of Jakarta that contains a wealth of old buildings, including the Dutch Town Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts in the Dutch Palace of Justice, and many 18th century houses.

Farther afield in Jakarta and surrounds, Taman Mini Park, to the west of Jakarta, has some impressive attractions including an orchid garden, a bird park, and museums and galleries. You need to head to the west coast of West Java for the best beaches, however, to the likes of Anyer, Carita, Tanjung Lesung, and Karang Bolong.

The beautiful Ujung Kulon National Park is farther afield, occupying the southwest tip of West Java, and encompasses the Krakatau islands and delectable landscape of lowland rainforest.

The port of Sunda Kelapa is closer to Jakarta and awash with colorful schooners. There are loads of spectacular islands in the nearby Java Sea, and the Thousand Islands region is idyllic.

Heading south of the city is the village of Bogor, an important Dutch hill station. It has essentially been swallowed up by Jakarta’s insatiable expansion and has the world-class Bogor Botanical Gardens as its main attraction.

Also of interest are Ayer Island, belonging to the Thousand Islands group to the north of Jakarta and boating fantastic beaches and scuba diving options, and Ancol Bay City, lying on Jakarta Harbor and facilitated with many hotels and activities, beaches and theme parks.

If you want to get away from the bustle of Jakarta head for Banten Lama (old Banten Town), located a few hours west of the capital. Old Banten has lots of historical buildings worth looking at and is the gateway to Pulau Dua Bird Sanctuary.

Although the best time to visit Jakarta and surrounds is from April to October, visitors who arrive in June can witness Ulang Tahun Jakarta (Jakarta’s Anniversary), a fun festival that commemorates the founding of Jakarta in the 1500s.

Getting There & Away

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is 35kms east of central Jakarta in Tangerang and is the main gateway to Jakarta and surrounds. It is served by a variety of international airlines from all over the world. Trains, buses and other local transport make travel around Jakarta and surrounds straightforward and there are good roads heading out to the western beaches.

Onward Travel