20 Things To Do In Jakarta

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Since the nation’s independence in 1945, Indonesia’s capital Jakarta has become the second-largest metropolitan area, housing over 10 million residents. With historic temples, UNESCO Heritage Sites, luxurious malls and vibrant nightlife, Jakarta blends tradition and modernity. The pulsating city on the northwest coast of Java never sleeps. 

Despite spending six years in southeast Jakarta, I barely scratched the surface of what the city offers, given its immense diversity and endless array of activities and sights. Home to the famous instant noodle brand- ‘Indomie’, which is loved internationally, Indonesian cuisine is rich in flavour, cooked with deep, aromatic spices.

Their national dish, the ‘nasi goreng’ or fried rice, is one of the many foods that keep me going back for more. From gastronomic delights to enlightening museum and art exhibitions, you’ll discover a spectrum of experiences. Here are the best things to do in Jakarta. 

Jakarta, Indonesia

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20 Things To Do In Jakarta

1- Get A View Of The National Monument (Monas)

Monumen Nasional In Jakarta
Vistiting the Monumen Nasional (national monument of Indonesia) is one of the top things to do in Jakarta.

Monas, short for “Monumen Nasional,” is an iconic landmark in Jakarta symbolising Indonesia’s struggle for freedom.

This towering monument stands in the centre of the vast Medan Merdeka Square, which is about 198 acres (80 ha). 

Given its impressive height of 132 m (433 ft), it stands out spectacularly and the monument’s peak holds the flame of independence.

The bronze monument is covered in gold foils and weighs about 50 kilograms (110 lbs).

From the pedestal of the Monas, take a lift up to the observation deck at the base of the golden flame to enjoy a panoramic view of Jakarta.

The National Monument is at RT.5/RW.2, Gambir, Central Jakarta City, Jakarta 10110.

Recommended tour: Jakarta City Tour – explore highlights and local activities.

2- Take Photographs At Fatahillah Square

Tourist Sitting On Cannon In Old Batavia
One of the things to do in Jakarta is to visit the ancient cannon at Kota Tua or Old City.

Fatahillah Square, formally named Batavia City Square during the Dutch colonial era is in Kota Tua (Old Town) of Central Jakarta, five miles (8 km) north of the Monas.

This is the place to go to see Dutch colonial buildings that were built during the 17th century and a legacy of the Dutch occupation. 

In 2014, Kota Tua was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are museums and art galleries around the square where you can absorb yourself in Jakarta’s colonial history.

It is also a perfect place for people-watching and sightseeing while drinking coffee at a cafe. 

Fatahillah Square in Old Town is at Taman Fatahillah, Jl. Lada Dalam No.7, RT7/RW., Pinangsia, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11110.

Recommended tour: Look at Jakarta Local Experience Private City Tour

3- Learn About The City At Jakarta History Museum

Learn about Indonesia’s prehistoric eras and Jakarta’s Dutch colonial times at the Jakarta History Museum.

The museum, also known as Batavia Museum, is in front of Fatahillah Square in Kota Tua.

Opened in 1974, this museum is popular because of its colonial charm and historical prominence.

It’s one of the most photographed buildings in Jakarta and houses over 250 pieces of furniture belonging from the 17th to 19th century.

The Jakarta History Museum is at Taman Fatahillah No.1, Pinangsia, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11110. 

Recommended tour: Private Full-day Jakarta Wonderful Tour with lunch 

4- Take A Historical Tour at Sunda Kelapa Harbour

Jakarta Tourist With Camera Having Harbor Tour
Exploring Sunda Kelapa is one of the fun things to do in Jakarta.

This 500-year-old harbour is famous for travel photographers and Instagrammers for its
photogenic views of traditional boats lined up.

The best time to visit is in the morning when you can observe fishermen and traders going about their work at the dock and the fish market nearby.

With perfect weather, you might be able to capture the picturesque view as the morning sun reflects off the sea and shines and illuminates the colourful boats.

Sunda Kelapa Harbour is at Ancol, Kec. Pademangan, Jkt Utara, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 14430.

Recommended tours:

5- Explore Glodok Chinatown

Compared to Indonesia’s neighbouring country Singapore and Malaysia, Jakarta’s Chinatown is less touristy and offers a more local experience for travellers.

This vibrant market operates with various vendors.

From meat and vegetables, Chinese ornaments, traditional Chinese medicine to local street food, you will have a full experience of the local trading scene.

With Chinese lanterns decorated along the buzzing streets, Chinatown makes a vibrant portrait for photographs.

An adventurous foodie will also get to snack their way through Chinatown, exploring local dishes from push carts and small vendors.

Glodok Chinatown is at Jl. Pancoran, RT.2/RW.1, Glodok, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11120.

Recommended tour: Half-day Trial of Old China Town (includes a free snack and souvenir). 

6- Marvel At The Biggest Mosque In Southeast Asia

Admiring the Istiqlal Mosque is one of the interesting things to do in Jakarta Indonesia.

With the capability of housing 120,000 worshippers, The Istiqlal Mosque, or ‘Masjid Istiqlal’, is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

It was constructed to honour Indonesian independence and named after the Arabic word ‘istiqlal’, which means independence.

The mosque is in Central Jakarta, 0.2 miles (400 m) away from the Monas, in a convenient location in the heart of Jakarta.

Many politicians and celebrities, such as Barack Obama and Prince Charles, have visited this mosque.

The Istiqlal Mosque is at Jl. Taman Wijaya Kusuma, Ps. Baru, Kecamatan Sawah Besar, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10710, Indonesia.

7- Admire Jakarta’s Neo-Gothic Catholic Cathedral

Opposite the Istiqlal Mosque stands The Jakarta Cathedral, which was built in 1901 by the Dutch.

It’s worth entering this magnificent cathedral to soak up the ethereal feel inside. 

The cathedral’s design resembles a cross, stretching 60 m (197 ft) in length and 10 m (32 ft) in width, with an additional 5 m(16 ft) on each side aisle.

There is also a prominent feature which is a large round stained glass representing Mother Mary.

The cathedral is open to the public and visitors are welcome to attend mass. 

The cathedral is at Jl. Katedral No.7B, Ps. Baru, Kecamatan Sawah Besar, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10710.

8- Shop At Grand Indonesia Mall

Escape Jakarta’s heat by shopping in one of the biggest and most popular malls in Jakarta approximately 1.8 miles (3 km) south of Monas.

Grand Indonesia mall is a one-stop shopping experience, ranging from high-end fashion labels, famous retails outlets, to a miniature indoor theme park and amusement arcade.

It has over 200 stores and more than 100 bars to satisfy an urban traveller.

From going to a shopping spree to having a relaxing spa day in Grand Indonesia, it’s the place to pamper yourself.

Grand Indonesia Mall is at Jl. Tlk. Betung I No.45A, Kb. Melati, Kecamatan Tanah Abang, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10230, Indonesia.

Recommended tour: Jakarta City Tour: Shopping and Food Culinary Tour

9- Spend A Day at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah translates to Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park.

Often called Taman Mini, this extensive park in East Jakarta showcases 26 replicas of traditional leaders’ homes from across Indonesia, from Aceh to Papua.

Each pavilion highlights the history, arts, and traditions of its respective province.

You can spend a full day here as Taman Mini covers large areas for family recreation.

There are a number of flora and fauna parks, museums, performing theatres, an Imax theatre and various accommodation facilities.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is at Jalan Raya Jl. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Ceger, DKI, Kota Jakarta Timur, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 13820.

Recommended tour:

10- Explore Menteng Flea Market

If you’re a fan of crafts, antiques, and collectibles, Menteng Flea Market on Jalan Surabaya is a must-visit destination.

Stretching 0.3 miles (450 m) with over 100 shops, it offers an intriguing selection of treasures.

You can find everything from old china and traditional keris daggers to vinyl records and luggage.

Not to mention other items such as Javanese puppets, batik, vintage accessories, old coins, and more – it’s a collector’s treasure trove. 

Menteng Flea Market is at Jl. Surabaya No.12, RT.15/RW.5, Menteng, Kec. Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310.

11- Experience The Underwater World At Jakarta Aquarium

Jakarta Aquarium is one of the newest, top attractions in Jakarta.

The largest indoor aquarium in Indonesia showcases the beauty and diversity of the Indonesian waters.

It’s in a handy location within Neo Soho Mall and houses 600 species of marine life.

Jakarta Aquarium also has daily theatre shows, live animal feeding sessions, a restaurant where you can feed penguins and a 5D exploration ride.

Jakarta Aquarium is at Jl. Letjen S. Parman No.106, Tj. Duren Sel., Kec. Grogol petamburan, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11470.

12- Visit Museum Wayang

Hand-painted Javanese puppets.
Watching a theatre performance with puppets is one of the fun things to do in Jakarta.

In Jakarta’s historic Kota Tua overlooking Fatahillah Square, the Wayang Museum occupies a storied structure from the early 1900s.

This museum is unique for its traditional flat wooden puppets called ‘wayang’, which displays puppets portraying characters from across Indonesia, China, Vietnam, India, Cambodia and Europe.

While some puppets may look innocent and cute, some may be quite eerie-looking and mysterious.

These handcrafted puppets are a reflection of Indonesia’s deep-rooted traditions and culture.

If you visit during the weekends, you may be able to catch grand performances and see interesting themes.

The location of Museum Wayang is Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No.27 Pinangsia, RT.3/RW.6, Kota Tua, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11110.

Recommended tour: Tourist Program (Taste of Indonesia)

13- Have Fun At Dunia Fantasi Theme Park

Dunia Fantasi (World of Fantasy), short for Dufan, is a popular theme park north of
Jakarta, 5 miles (8 km) away from Central Jakarta.

Established in 1985, this theme park is the biggest and oldest functioning theme park.

Dufan theme park is a fun attraction to spend an entire day, with fun rides, shows, a variety of restaurants and food stalls and even a picturesque garden to picnic in.

A tip is to go on a weekday to avoid the long queues for the rides.

Dunia Fantasi Theme Park is at Jl. Lodan Timur No.7, Ancol, Kec. Pademangan, Jkt Utara, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 14430, Indonesia.

Recommended tour: Jakarta Bogor Botanical Garden and Waterfall

14- See The Animals At Ragunan Zoo

Komodo Dragon Face
Seeing Komodo Dragons at the zoo is one of the things to do with kids in Jakarta.

If you’re into wildlife and nature, Ragunan Zoo is the place to be.

The zoo is spread across 363 acres (147 ha) and is home to over 3,000 animals from more than 200 species.

Many of these animals, found locally in Indonesia and other parts of the world, are endangered or threatened species.

The Orangutans, Sumatran tigers, Siamang Gibbons and Komodo dragons are among local endangered species you can see at this zoo. 

Learn about wildlife and Indonesia’s flora and fauna, stroll around the zoo or picnic in the large and lush open spaces covered by more than 50,000 trees.

Ragunan Zoo is at Jl. Harsono RM No.1, Ragunan, Ps. Minggu, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12550.

15- Relax At Ancol Beach

Ancol Beach is one of the best places if you need a quick getaway from the bustling city.

It is the only beach in Jakarta that doesn’t require a boat ride, and it is only 6.3 miles (10 km) away from Monas.

You can choose to picnic, take a stroll, engage in water sport activities, or simply enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

Ancol beach is at Pintu Gerbang Ancol, Jl. Lodan Timur No. 7, RW. 10, Ancol, Pademangan, Kota Jkt Utara, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 14430.

16- Get Cultured At Museum MACAN

Museum MACAN is a contemporary art museum that displays around 800 contemporary artworks from Indonesia and around the world, including an art exhibition by famous Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama.

With a floor plan of 660 square metres (7,100 sq ft), this place offers a day’s itinerary filled with creative inspiration and admiration.

Museum MACAN is at AKR Tower Level M, Jl. Panjang No.5, Kb. Jeruk, Kec. Kb. Jeruk, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11530.

17- Take A Stroll At Taman Suropati

Selamat Datang Monument Placed In A Famous Square
Wandering around the Selamat Datang Monument is one of the top things to do in Jakarta to get your bearings.

Suropati Park, or locally known as ‘Taman Suropati’, is a lovely park surrounded by towering, mature trees that cleanse the central city’s air.

Among the greenery is also a series of statues representing each of the original Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members symbolising friendship, peace and harmony.

Taman Suropati is a frequent hangout place for locals to exercise, and for young musicians to gather during the weekends to jam.

It is the perfect and tranquil place for travellers to immerse in the local experience.

Taman Suropati is at Jl. Taman Suropati No.5, RT.5/RW.5, Menteng, Kec. Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310.

Recommended tour: Jakarta Little Amsterdam Tour

18- Drop By The Dharma Bhakti Temple

In Jakarta’s Chinatown, Glodok, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to China when visiting this sacred place.

As one of the oldest temples in the district, it burned down during the Colonial era, left with just tables and an altar.

Rebuilt in 1755, this temple is loved by thousands of worshippers and is a popular place to visit for insights into Jakarta’s Chinese culture.

The Dharma Bhakti Temple is at Petak Sembilan, Jl. Kemenangan III No.19, RT.3/RW.2, Glodok, Kec. Taman Sari, Kota Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 11120.

19- Visit A Cultural Village At Setu Babakan

Setu Babakan is a cultural centre that showcases the indigenous culture of the Betawi people.

With vibrant performances and tasty traditional dishes, it is a top destination to tick off your to-visit list. 

Jon a workshop, such as cooking, crafts, traditional dance classes or martial arts.

Spread over 714 acres (289 ha) of land, this village is at the southern end of Jakarta and is about an hour’s drive from Central Jakarta.

Setu Babakan Cultural Village is at South Jakarta, Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta City, Jakarta 12630.

Recommended tour: Volcano and Stony Bubble Full-Day Tour From Jakarta with lunch

20- Go On A Bar Crawl 

Two Iced Cocktail Glasses In Rooftop Bar For Nightlife
Sipping drinks in a rooftop bar is one of the cool things to do in Jakarta.

Make your way from Central Jakarta to South Jakarta with my five recommended bars.

Start your evening early with some food and drinks by the Koi pond and charming garden, aptly named as Melly’s Garden.

Once you’re done, head over to catch the sunset at BART (Bar At The Rooftop) in Artotel, Thamrin where you will be able to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.

Then, make your way to an elegant Japanese-inspired bar named Koda.

This speakeasy bar is on the second floor of the Sudirman 7.8 building.

3.7 miles (6 km) away south of the city is The Cocktail Club that was listed as 2023’s Best Bar in Indonesia.

This vibrant bar is known for its local ingredients and unique flavour combinations in its drinks menu.

Lastly, end your night with some craft beer or whisky at the Black Pond Tarven in Senayan Golf Course, which is surrounded by lush greenery and cleaner air.

Recommended tour: Jakarta Night Tour: Enjoyable Night time in Jakarta 

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Amelia Tay is an experienced small animal veterinarian and an aspiring copywriter. She has prior writing experience copyediting for Southeast Asia's largest online employment company, copywriting for entrepreneurial online business companies, and article writing for an online animal encyclopaedia. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she fluently speaks English, Bahasa Malaysia, and Mandarin Chinese. She earned a veterinary degree from Bogor Agricultural University, located southeast of Jakarta, Indonesia, where she acquired proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia as her fourth language. Amelia is an avid traveller who loves exploring different cultures and is a big foodie. Having visited 11 countries, some of her favourite travel destinations include Thailand and France.