Jakarta is a city that often gets overlooked by a lot of tourists who are almost always headed to Bali every time they visit Indonesia. While Bali is another world altogether, Jakarta has its own charms and delightful corners that are still worth your time. This large, bustling metropolis has more than a handful of interesting things to offer travelers. Take a look:
- Visit the Old Town
Jakarta’s beautiful infrastructures and large skyscrapers are a wonder on its own, but for a glimpse of the past, head to the Old Town. This charming area a few minutes from the city’s business district is a time warp that features historic buildings, cobblestone paths, and a charming town square where everyone gathers on the weekends to relax. Bike rentals are aplenty, and you can also go to museums dotting the area as well.
Check out Café Batavia, which is a very old café dating back to the Dutch colonial era in Jakarta. It is an institution in itself, and is a visual delight as it is decorated in antiques, artwork, and serves traditional Indonesian dishes as well as European and Continental fare.
- Go “antiquing” in Jalan Surabaya Flea Market
If you’re looking for one of a kind souvenirs to bring back home, a good place to purchase them would be at Jalan Surabaya Flea Market. This flea market is a long street which houses rows of stores that sell European antiques such as home décor, furniture, vintage lamps and electronics, old vinyl records, vintage ceramics, and so on. The Indochine influences are very evident as there are handicrafts that combine both European and Asian aesthetics. If you’re looking for traditional Indonesian souvenirs and décor such as shadow puppets, batik, and such, you can also find those here as well. Since this is quite a destination for tourists, prices can be a bit inflated, so try to haggle if you can.
- Sample Indonesian cuisine
Indonesian cuisine isn’t too popular but it surely has a lot to offer in terms of flavor profile and use of ingredients. Indonesian food is very rich and hearty, but is definitely far healthier than a lot of world cuisines out there. You can get authentic Indonesian food for cheap on the streets as well.
- Head to Taman Mini Indonesia
For a condensed overview of Indonesia as a country and as a culture, Taman Mini Indonesia is a great place to spend half of your day in, as it’s a mini representation of Indonesia as a whole. With parks, replicas of iconic destinations, lush gardens, art galleries, mini park trains, and much more, it’s an enjoyable and educational time well-spent away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
- Go mall-hopping
If there’s one thing that will leave you in awe, it’s Jakarta’s shopping centers. Their malls are definitely quite upscale and houses world renowned names in fashion. Housed in tall buildings as opposed to low-rise structures, their malls are glitzy and glamorous, and unexpectedly so. It is best to come here for shopping during the Great Jakarta Sale, which happens from June to July.