Hi there. I want to help you make the most of your time in Jakarta and so I decided to create this short guide on the best things to do in Jakarta. The guide covers interesting places to visit, restaurants serving delicious food and bars with incredible views. I think you’re going to like it. Let’s get started.
1: Pulau Macan: The Thousand Islands
Many people forget that the thousand Islands are part of Jakarta. Yet these islands make the perfect quick weekend getaway if you’re visiting the city and are one of the best things to do in Jakarta. My favorite island in the chain is the luxury resort of Pulau Macan. You can find out more about the resort and how to book a stay on this page.
Where is it: 2 hour ride by speedboat from Jakarta.
The Highlight: That tropical island ‘castaway’ feeling.
2:Kota Tua: Heart of Old Jakarta
Kota Tua is the historical heart of Jakarta. Tourism is focused on the central square where you can find The Jakarta History Museum and The Fine Art and Ceramics Museum. There are some tourist streets leading off the square and also a canal that you can walk along. You should also check out Cafe Batavia, a vintage cafe overlooking the main square. Unfortunately much of Kota Tua is falling apart and the area is in need of major redevelopment and investment. Worth a visit though!
Where is it: Central Jakarta.
The Highlight: Second floor Café Batavia
3: Skye Bar: Enjoy Jakarta’s Skyline
If you really want to ‘see Jakarta’ then I suggest you add the Skye Bar to your to do list. The bar is on the 56th floor of the BCA Tower and offers panoramic views in all directions from the heart of the city. The food and drinks are expensive and there is a dress code, so be prepared. It’s worth it for the views. This is one of the highlights when you’re looking for things to do in Jakarta. Here’s the official website of the bar.
Where is it: Thamrin, next to Bundaran HI.
The Highlight: View around sunset.
4:Lara Djonggrang: Classic Javan Dining
Lara Djonggrang is probably my favorite restaurant in Jakarta. It’s a complete package. You can order tasty traditional Indonesian dishes from the menu. The food is well presented and delicious. Plus the setting is relaxing and picturesque. Check it out while you are in the city. I think you will love it. You can find more information about the restaurant at the official website for Tugu Hotels.
Where is it: Menteng.
The Highlight: It’s a restaurant, the food of course 😉
5: Cloud Lounge: Bar with a View
Cloud Lounge is one of the best drink spots in Jakarta. The bar covers the 46th and 49th floors of the Plaza Office Tower. Food is good and the lounge has fun music nights. If you want a nice evening at a busy bar with beautiful views then you should add this to your ‘to do’ list. For a few more ideas of the best bars in Jakarta check and other places to visit you should check out this article.
Where is it: Thamrin, overlooking Bundaran HI.
The Highlight: The evenings when things get busy.
6: Jalan Surabaya: Jakarta’s Flea Market
Jalan Surabaya is a popular tourism street in Jakarta. The small shops that line the street sell antique furnishings, fake antique furnishings and general bric-a-brac. There are some nice cafes and restaurants on the opposite side of the street. Jalan Surabaya has been going up market in recent years. I saw a dentist surgery last time I was here. It’s an interesting place for a quick stroll and one of the nice things to do in Jakarta.
Where is it: Menteng.
The Highlight: Giyanti Coffee (they have strange opening hours).
Alternative Ideas for Things to do in Jakarta
7: Monas – The National Monument
Monas is Indonesia’s National Monument. The monument is in the center of Independence Square opposite the Presidential Palace. The monument was opened in 1975. There’s a small exhibition as you enter, but the highlight is the view from the top of the monument. Right through the 80’s Monas was the tallest structure in Jakarta, though this is no longer the case.
Where is it: Gambir.
The Highlight: The view from the top of the tower.
8: Taman Mini Indonesia: The Country Made Smaller
TMI was the pet project of the wife of Soeharto, the second President of Indonesia. Translated as Beautiful Mini Indonesia, the park was created as a way of celebrating the diversity of Indonesia (in miniature). The complex is located on the outskirts of town and is a bit hard to get to. If you’re only passing through the city it’s worth a visit.
Where is it: Ceger.
The Highlight: Nice exhibitions on Indonesia.
9: Plaza Indonesia: Visit the Malls
There’s not a lot of public space in Jakarta, but there are plenty of malls. Two of the best are Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia. The malls are right next to Bundaran HI and are two of the most luxurious in the city. If you’ve never seen a mega-mall before it’s well worth a visit. You can catch a movie, eat at one of the international restaurants and do some window-shopping (or actual shopping).
Where is it: Menteng.
The Highlight: The shopping (it’s a mall).
10: Istiqlal Mosque and the Catholic Cathedral
Fun fact; Istiqlal means ‘Independence’ in Arabic. It is the largest mosque in South East Asia. The capacity is something like 200,000 people or about the size of a large town. You can take guided tours of the mosque, which takes about 40 minutes. It’s officially free, but donations are appreciated (I’d recommend around Rp 50,000 for the group). Make sure to wear conservative clothes. The Catholic Cathedral is just across the road and you can pop in quickly if it interests you.
Where is it: Pasar Baru.
The Highlight: The colonnaded arches and the main prayer room.
11: Persija Jakarta: Watch The Beautiful Game
Football is probably the most popular sport in Indonesia. You’ll find small five aside pitches in almost every neighborhood of Jakarta. However if you really want to see how passionate Indonesians are about football you should attend a football match. One of the best teams to watch in Jakarta are Persija Jakarta who play in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
Where is it: Kenayoran.
The Highlight: Watching the beautiful game.
12. Suropati Park: Enjoy the Parks
There aren’t many green spaces in Jakarta, but there are a few left. The best parks are around Menteng. There are three main parks around this part of the town. One of the most popular is Suropati Park, which is close to the main road that cuts through Menteng. Tall trees offer plenty of shade and there are lots of benches where you can sit down. On the weekend you’ll find groups of people sitting around and people playing musical instruments. Another park that’s worth checking out is Lembang Park, which has a large pond in the center. A lot of people go fishing in the pond, but I’ve never seen anyone catch anything.
Where is it: Menteng.
The Highlight: Enjoying the outdoors.
13: Join Car Free Day
Every Sunday morning from 6 am to 12 am the main Sudirman and Thamrin roads are closed to traffic. The streets get filled with groups of people walking and cycling. If you have the chance it’s well worth joining in. There’s a really fun and communal atmosphere. Keep in mind that this makes moving around the city a real pain.
Where is it: Sudirman and Thamrin
The Highlight: The chance to see Jakarta without the traffic.
14: Ancol: Jakarta’s Waterfront
Jakarta’s waterfront is generally pretty grim. The exception is Ancol, which has a marina, beaches and lots of luxury housing. Ancol is a bit out of the way from most parts of Jakarta and unless you are staying quite close I wouldn’t really recommend visiting. If you are in the neighborhood though it’s nice. There are lots of bars and restaurants along the waterfront and the view of the ocean is beautiful (just don’t swim).
Where is it: Ancol.
The Highlight: The bars and restaurants by the waterfront.
15: Dufan: A Kids Adventure
If you have kids and you’re looking for something to do you could add Dufan to your list of things to do in Jakarta. The water park/ amusement park is in Ancol by the waterfront. While not as good or new as Waterbom in Bali, your kids will still enjoy Dufan. Try to avoid visiting on the weekend as the park gets super busy. You can find the website to Dufan here.
Where is it: Ancol.
The Highlight: Smile on your child’s face.
Have you visited Jakarta before? What was your favorite thing to do in Jakarta?