Jakarta is an absolutely buzzing city, a sprawling urban metropolis of nine million people. But despite its huge size it’s not a difficult city to visit. Find hotels here then make your plan to explore the sights, smells, history and culture of Indonesia’s dynamic capital city.
Places to visit
Built to commemorate the country’s struggle for independence the huge and stunning Istiqlal Mosque is the largest in the whole South East Asia region. You can easily take a tour around the intricate monument with any of the English-speaking guides that wait near the entrance. Expect to offer a tip of around Rp. 30,000-50,000 for the pleasure. Get ready to be amazed at the size and detailing of this huge engineering project.
Where to shop
The people of Jakarta love to shop! And if you were impressed with the scale of the national mosque then you’ll note the Grand Indonesia shopping centre is similarly vast. It’s packed with big names and local vendors and the design of the food court is simply gorgeous. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to traditional prices then the Mangga Dua centre offers cheaper options with replicas of the latest styles. Check out Block M for shoes, clothes and bags.
Where to stay
There’s so much to do that you probably won’t spend too much time in your hotel. Think about choosing somewhere in a really good location like the Grand Whiz Kelapa Gading. Having the apartment style suite to stay in is great for making you feel at home far away from home and when the heat of the city gets too much you’ll appreciate the luxury of a swimming pool!
What to eat
This one’s easy, you have to try sate Padang! This is a timeless Indonesian classic that’s been enjoyed for generations and you’ll find version of it across the country. Often made with beef, you can also find it made with chicken or lamb. The meat is first diced and skewered, then boiled with an aromatic spice mix including galangal and turmeric. Finally the skewers are grilled before serving while the stock in the pan is turned into the dish’s all important dipping gravy – delicious!
Soak up the culture
The National Museum of Indonesia (musium nasional) has stood in its current location for over two centuries. It’s known locally as the Elephant Building (gedung gajah) because of the small elephant statue mounted on the front. With displays dedicated to archaeology, history, ethnology and geography it’s a fascinating insight into the country Indonesia was and the ideas on which the future is being built.
Whether you are in Jakarta for a day or a week you can find something to fill every moment in this vivacious and modern city. Take a tip from a real caffeine addict and make sure you wake up your morning with flavour-packed local coffee. Nobody does it better!