Jakarta, The Megapolitan City in Asia

Jakarta has been called a study in contrasts: traditional and modern; rich and poor; spiritual and wordly stand side by side in this bustling metropolis. Among the 12 million people who call Jakarta home, one finds representatives of the many diverse ethnic and cultural groups which shape Indonesia, a reminder of the nation’s motto: ’‘Unity and Diversity’.

You may have to search high and low in this multi-cultural collage to find one of the proud ethnic Jakartans, called ‘Orang Betawi’. Their language, Betawi Malay, spoken by older people born and bred in Jakarta, and modern Jakarta Malay, a slang form spoken by the younger generation and migrants.

Jakarta is the port of entry for many tourists and business people. It is home to a dynamic contrast between Western-style skyscrapers, modern urban lifestyles and traditional Indonesian culture. Its rapid growth into a metropolitan city reflects the economic, political, social and industrial development of the nation.

Jakarta (Source : metrotvnews.com)

In recent years, Jakarta has expanded its facilities for visitor with luxury hotel, fine restaurants, exciting nightlife and modern shopping centers. It contains many tourist attractions such as Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful “Indonesia in Miniature” Park), restored colonial period buildings, island resort in the Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands), and an extensive beach recreation complex called Ancol.

The nation’s capital, Jakarta has a remarkable history as a trading center strated as a small harbour town called Sunda Kelapa, but its actual founding dates back to the year 1527, when it was named Jayakarta by Fatahillah of the neighbouring Sultanate of Banten.

Montage of Jakarta
Montage of Jakarta (Source : liuping.win)

The name Jayakarta Means City of Great Victory. During the 17th century it served as the capital of Dutch east indies with the name Batavia. Reminders of this period can still be seen today in the architecture of some of the northern parts of the city.

When Indonesian independence was finally secured it was renamed Jakarta, and served today as the centre of government, business and industry, spreading over an area of more than 650 sq.km (410 sq miles).

Jakarta’s architecture reflects the history of outside influences which came and left their mark on this vital seaport city. The Taman Fatahillah Restoration Project, begun in the early 1970’s, has restored one of the oldest section of Jakarta, known as Old Batavia or Kota, to one of the most picturesque areas of the entire city.

Fatahillah Museum
Fatahillah Museum (Source : merdeka.com)

An old Portuguese Church and warehouse have been reincarnated as living museum. The old Supreme Court building is now the National Museum of fine Arts and houses part of superb Chinese porcelain collection of former Vice-President Adam Malik.

The old Town Hall has become the Jakarta Museum, displaying such rare items as old Indonesia in historical documents and Dutch period furniture. Even the city’s tower clock was returned to England to be repaired under its life time guarantee, a lifetime which has now stretched over hunderd of years!

As Indonesia’s main gateway, Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta International Airport is the central transportation hub of Indonesia. It serves a growing number of international airlines and is the nexus point for domestic flight across the vast expanse of the archipelago. Local transport of all form within the city is readily available.

The National Monument (Monas)

Monas (Source : jakarta.go.id)

The National Monument is one of the many monuments built during the Soekarno era of fierce nationalism. The 137 – metre tall table marble obelisk is topped with aflame coated with 35 kgs of gold, and represents the people’s determination to achieve freedom.

It tower over Merdeka (Freedom) Square, and serve as Jakarta’s most prominent landmark. The monument is open to the public and houses a historical museum and meditation hall. An elevator carries visitors to the top, offering a bird’s eye view across the city to the sea.

Indonesian National Museum

National Museum
National Museum (Source : jakartabytrain.com)

Located on the west side of Merdeka square, The National Museum is probably the best museum in Indonesia, if not in Southeast Asia.

Established in 1778 by U.M.C Rademacher under the auspices of Batavia Association of Arts and Sciences, it offer historical, prehistorical, archaeological and ethnograpic aspect of Indonesia through its extensive collection of artifacts and relics which date as far back to the Han, Tan and Ming Dynaties.

The Museum has one of the finest numismatic collections in the world. The religious art section is filled with statuary and sculpture salvaged from sites of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic edifices. Its collection of cultural instruments, household utensils, arts and crafts provide an introduction to the life of the various ethnic groups which populate Indonesia.

This Museum is popularly known as Gedung Gajah or ‘Elephant Building’ because of the stone elephant offered by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 1871, placed on the front lawn of the building.

Satria Mandala Museum

Satria Mandala Museum
Satria Mandala Museum (Source : tni.mil.id)

The Museum of Armed Forces displays exhibits on the development of the Indonesian Armed Forces, its role struggle for the nation’s independence, and other military relics. Open daily except Mondays.

Perintis Kemerdekaan Building and The Soekarno-Hatta Monument

The Soekarno-Hatta Monument
The Soekarno-Hatta Monument (Source : wikipedia.org)

Both are located at Jalan Proklamasi 56, on the site of the former residence of the late President Soekarno where the nation’s Independence was proclaimed. By the Perintis Kemerdekaan Building stands The Soekarno-Hatta Monument, in commemoration of the nation’s first Presiden and Vice President, who together proclaimed Independence on behalf of the Indonesia people. Open daily from 8.00 a.m.

Sunda Kelapa

Sunda Kelapa Harbor
Sunda Kelapa Harbor (Source : tribunnews.com)

Sunda Kelapa, also known as Pasar Ikan (Fish Market), is located in the far north of the city at the mouth of the Ciliwung river. This is where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early 16th century. The fish catch of the day was auctioned in the early morning at the old fish market.

The street leading to it was lined with shops selling all sort of shells, dehydrated turtles, lobsters and everything else seafarer might need. Dutch domination of Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia began from this area, and the remnants of Kasteel Batavia, an old fort and trading post of Dutch East Indies Company, can still be seen.

Sunda Kelapa is at present a fisherman’s wharf and an inter-island port. Tall masted Bugis Schooners from South Sulawesi anchoring there offer one of the finest sights Jakarta has to offer. They belong to one of the last fleets of sail boats in the world and still ply the seas between the islands as they did century ago, carrying merchandise.

Indonesia in Miniature Park

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Source : tamanmini.com)

The idea behind Taman Mini is to give the visitor a glimpse of diversity of the Indonesian archipelago in a single location. This extensive park represents Indonesia’s 27 provinces and their traditional characteristics, reflected most strikingly in the exact regional architecture of the province.

It has its own orchid garden in which hundreds of Indonesian orchids varieties are grown. There are also a bird park with a walkin aviary, a fauna museum and recreational grounds with a swimming pool and restaurants. Of special interest at Taman Mini is the Museum Indonesia. A richly decorated building in Balinese architecture, it houses contemporary arts crafts and traditional customes from different region of the country. Open from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily.

‘Teater Imax Keong Emas’(Golden Snail Theatre). Located in Taman Mini is the Imax theatre which presents “Beautiful Indonesia” on a gigantic screen using the latest Imax System. Not to be missed if you’re visiting Taman Mini! Open from 11.00 a.m to 17.00 p.m.

Komodo Museum

Komodo Museum
Komodo Museum (Source : wikimedia.org)

Built in the form of the Varanus Komodoensis (the only pre-historic giant lizard found exclusively on Indonesia’s Komodo Island), it exhibits dioramas depicting the amazing variety of fauna indigenous to Indonesia. Located at Taman Mini and open daily from 8.00 a.m to 15.00 p.m.

The Stamps Museum

The Stamps Museum
The Stamps Museum (Source : metrotvnews.com)

The Stamps Museum at Taman Mini has an attractive collection of stamps once issued in the country over the years. The museum is ideal for the philatelist. Open daily except Monday, from 8.00 a.m to 15.00 p.m.

Ragunan Zoo

Ragunan Zoo
Ragunan Zoo (Source : tripadvisor.com)

Jakarta’s zoo is situated in the suburban of Ragunan in the southern part of the city. Indigenous animal such as the Komodo dragon, Tapir, Java Tiger, Wild Ox and brightly coloured birds are given ample room in a lush tropical setting. For a taste of Indonesian families on an outing visit on a Sunday or holiday when the zoo is most crowded. Open daily from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Some of world’s most beautiful and exotic orchids come from Indonesia. Jakarta has several extensive commercial orchids gardens which are located at Slipi, Taman Mini and the Ragunan Zoo.


Condet (Source : detik.com)

This village in southern Jakarta is protected are where the old rural life style of Jakarta is preserved. Condet is also famed for its fruit orchards.

Lubang Buaya Heroes Monument

Lubang Buaya Monument
Lubang Buaya Monument (Source : rappler.com)

Situated in the southeast of the city about 20 km from downtown, it is a memorial park dedicated to the six army generals and one army officer who were slain on October 1, 1965, in an abortive communist inspired coup d’etat.

The centerpiece is the Pancasila Monument with statues of the seven heroes, standing near the oldwell in which their bodies were thrown after having been tortured and executed by communist militia squads.

Bird Market (Pasar Burung)

Bird market - Pramuka
Bird market – Pramuka (Source : kompas.com)

Tropical bird lovers won’t want to miss Pasar Burung at Jalan Pramuka with its amazing array of colorful, tropical birds, including the unique “perkutut” song bird, the pride of the Javanese people. Open daily from 9.00 a.m.

Taman Ismail Marzuki Art Centre

Taman Ismail Marzuki
Taman Ismail Marzuki (Source : putrisoekarno.com)

The focal point of cultural activities in Jakarta is Taman Ismail Marzuki, or TIM for short. It is said to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and consist of exhibition halls, theaters, an academy of arts, archives building and planetarium.

There are performances almost every night with everything from traditional and modern dance, local and foreign films festivals, poetry readings and theatre, to music of every styles imaginable.

TIM serves not only as the center of contemporary Indonesian art, but has become in recent years a central showcase for international performing arts in Indonesia. A monthly programme of events is tourist offices and are listed in the Jakarta Post.

Pulau Seribu (The Thousand Islands)

The Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands (Source : jakarta.go.id)

This group of island scattered across the Java Sea to the north of Jakarta offers a haven away from the bustle of city life.

Golden beaches fringed with coconut palms line the sea; surrounding waters are a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers. The multi-colored coral reefs are home to a phenomenal variety of tropical fish.

The islands can be reached from Tanjung Priok or Pasar Ikan (Sunda Kelapa) by ferry or by chartered boat. Among the islands developed for tourism, with bungalows, restaurants, diving and sailing facilities are: Pulau Bidadari, Pulau Ayer, Pulau Putri, Pulau Laki and Pulau Pramuka. Pulau Tanjung near Pulau Putri has an airstrip.

Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum
Maritime Museum (Source : pnri.go.id)

Two of the original ware houses from the first trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company in Java now house the Maritime Museum. Exhibits include large models of boats from various islands. The old habourmaster’s tower stands nearby. Open from 8.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. On Fridays closed at 11.00 a.m. and on Saturday at 1.00 p.m. It closes on Monday.

Jaya Ancol Dreamland

Jaya Ancol Dreamland
Jaya Ancol Dreamland (Source : ancol.com)

This is Jakarta’s largest and most popular recreation park. Its extensive range of attractions includes sea and fresh-water aquariums, swimming pools, an artificial lagoon for fishing and boating, a bowling alley, as well as an assortment of nightclubs restaurants, and massage parlors.

The Ancol Complex includes a Marina, Dunia Fantasi (Fantasi Land), a golf course, hotels and a drive-in theatre. The ‘Pasar Seni’ or art market has a varied collection of Indonesian handicraft, paintings and souvenirs on sale. An open-air theatre features live performances by local artists.

The Marina Jaya Ancol

The Marina Jaya Ancol
The Marina Jaya Ancol (Source : pulauseribujakarta.com)

This is a special port for yachts, motor and sail boats to Pulau Seribu. This is also the Places for marine recreation: jet skis canoes, sail boats, wind surfers and fishing gear are all for hire here. Stalls along the beach drinks and snacks while tents are available for sunbathers and sealovers.

Fantasy Land

Fantasy Land
Fantasy Land (Source : indonesia-tourism.com)

The latest addition to Jakarta’s growing recreation facilities is the Fantasy Land, a 9.5 hectare (23.75 acres) entertainment located inside the Ancol Dreamland. It is the Indonesian version of Disneyland, and is great for kids.

The park also offers a number of restaurants and souvenirs shops. It is open on Monday to Friday from 2.00 to 9.00 pm, on Saturdays from 2.00 to 10.00 pm, and on Sunday and holidays from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm.

The Wayang Museum

The Wayang Museum
The Wayang Museum (Source : lonelyplanet.com)

This museum on the western side of Taman Fatahillah in “The Old Town” areas has the finest displays of wayang puppets in Indonesia including puppets from all parts of Indonesia and other part of Southeast Asia as well.

The wooden and leather puppets displayed here represent the finest craftsmanship in this particular form of traditional theatre. The museum also shows shortened performances of the wayang kulit leather puppets every Sunday morning.

Jakarta Museum

Jakarta Museum
Jakarta Museum (Source : tripadvisor.com)

Completed in 1627, the building initialy served as the Dutch East Indies Company’s Town Hall. Additions and renovations including a stone gate, offices and renovations were added between 1705 and 1715. The well-known Indonesian hero, Diponegoro, was said to have been imprisoned in its dungeon before his exile to South Sulawesi.

The building was being used as military barracks and offices when the Jakarta City Administration decided in the early 1970’s and antiquities including furniture and porcelain used by the Dutch rulers of Batavia, as well as a 16th century Portuguese cannon which stands just across the cobblestone square.

The Jakarta Convention Center (JCC)

Jakarta Convention Center
Jakarta Convention Center (Source : jcc.co.id)

This Convention Center can accommodate three conferences, and three public simultaneously. The main hall has a seating capacity of 3,300, and is equipped with a giant video-wall, and a hi-tech lighting and sound system.

It has a VIP lounge, a speaker’s waiting room, 3 board rooms, 3 meeting rooms, 10 translation booths, and an administration office. The Exhibition Hall measures 6,120 square metres with a 14-foot ceiling and 350 square metres lobby.

The ballroom can seat 3,000 or can be divided into 3 separate areas for 1000 persons each. There are 7 multi-function meeting rooms which can seat 220 people each. The main lobby can utilized as precocktail area or for a coffee break for 3,500 persons. The car park can accommodate 10,000 cars.

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