As the capital city of Indonesia, the sprawling megapolitan city of Jakarta is not only the seat of the national government and center of business activities but also a melting pot of cultures from many parts of the archipelago. Home to millions of people, the city is where the glittering lights of modern skyscrapers fuse perfectly with traditional Indonesian elegance and the legacies of the country’s national history, while, standing proudly at its center is the National Monument.
A city that never sleeps, with round-the-clock entertainment and superb recreational facilities, there is definitely something for everyone here in the capital city. From international music concerts, pulsating nightlife, fascinating recreational and theme parks, wide range of shopping opportunities, culinary presentations from all over the archipelago and the world, as well as its distinctly unique traditional art and culture, Jakarta is truly a capital of diverse splendors.
Here are some of the main highlights of the capital city of Jakarta:
1. Fun Packed Recreational and Theme Parks
Jakarta offers the ultimate experience for perfect family leisure and togetherness in some of its fun packed amazing recreational and theme parks. For a comprehensive glimpse of Indonesia with all its fascinating attractions, visit Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, or the Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park, located in East Jakarta. If it’s non-stop fun actions you seek, head to The Ancol Dreamland which is the largest and most popular recreation park on the beach completed with all sorts of rides, and amusement parks, and a gamut of facilities. A unique indoor theme park especially built for Kids with edutainment in mind is Kidzania, located on the 6th. Floor of the Pacific Place Mall, at the Senayan CBD. There are only three such parks in the whole world, and one is in Jakarta.
2. Jakarta’s Shopping Extravaganza
The wide variety of things that you can buy in Jakarta is mind boggling from the best of local handicrafts to haute couture labels. Jakarta has literally hundreds of malls to browse through. If you are looking for international top designer boutiques, head to Jalan Thamrin-Sudirman, where there are the Grand Indonesia, Plaza Indonesia, and the FX Sudirman. Further South are Senayan Plaza and Senayan City and in the Kebayoran area are malls catering to the upmarket clientele, such as Gandaria City, Dharmawangsa Square,Pasaraya Grande, Pondok Indah Mall and Kemang. Then there is Pacific Place at Kuningan, another favorite haunt.
3. Exquisite Fine Dining in the Metropolitan Capital
Here in Jakarta, the best Indonesian cuisine and international fine dining restaurants are found in unique surroundings as they are located in elegant and well-appointed colonial buildings that enhance that special nostalgic atmosphere of fine, graceful dining like in those grand colonial days long gone. The Oasis Restaurant on Jalan Raden Saleh in Central Jakarta, the Kunstkring Paleis and the Bistro Boulevard on Jalan Teuku Umar, Bunga Rampai on Jalan Tjik Ditiro and the Jittlada Thai restaurant on Jalan Sultan Agung, are among some of the restaurants where you can experience the exquisite dining experience.
4. The Scrumptious Street Food Scene
The culinary splendor of the capital city does not stop at fine dining restaurants and luxurious cafes, but all the way to street sides where you can definitely find some of the most delicious treats of Jakarta. Situated just behind Istana Merdeka or the Presidential Palace, Pecenongan is an area that is known for its Street Food Scene which is dominated by delicious Chinese food variety. Looking for Sea Food? Then Muara Karang is your answer. Here, various freshly caught fish, prawns, crabs, squid, and more are served in various ways according to your preference. The busy Jalan Sabang transforms itself into a vibrant street food scene in the evening. Here poplar Indonesian meals such as Fried Rice, Satay, Fried Duck, Gado-gado (Betawi’s Salad), and more will definitely leave your mouth craving for more.
5. Jakarta’s Authentic Culture Experience
If you wish to experience the authentic culture of the indigenous Betawi ethnic group of Jakarta, you can pay a visit to Setu Babakan in Srengseng Sawah in the subdistrict of Jagakarsa in South Jakarta. As one of the last remaining, and most intact Betawi village communities in Jakarta, Setu Babakan has been stipulated as a Betawi Cultural Heritage village to showcase the life of the original Betawi people. Here visitors can see the original architecture and layout of the houses or stroll through this rustic village that has retained the Betawi atmosphere, watch cultural performances by the lakeside, enjoy special Betawi food and snacks, or go fishing or boating on the lake.
6. Legacies of the Colonial Era
The splendor of the capital city also lies in the many legacies of the colonial era from the 16th century onwards which still stand majestically today, especially at the Old Batavia complex in North Jakarta. Center of the Old Batavia is the former municipal building or Stadhuis, which is now a Museum depicting Jakarta’s long history, called Museum Fatahillah, while the square fronting it is called the Fatahillah Square. Around the square are the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum, once the Court of Justice, now housing splendid paintings of the romantic maestro Raden Saleh, and expressionist Affandi. There is also a collection of ceramics from many parts of Asia. There is the Wayang Museum, the Bank Indonesia and Bank Mandiri Museums, that house artefacts related to the banking world.