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13 Top Things to Do in Jakarta, Indonesia

Selamat Datang Monument

, the sprawling capital of Indonesia, is a vibrant blend of old and new, where skyscrapers tower over ancient temples and street markets buzz alongside modern malls, it stood out as a city of contrasts and diversity. Its blend of historical depth, cultural richness, and modern vibrancy offers a unique tapestry of experiences. Below, I share my curated list of 13 must-visit attractions and things to do in Jakarta, complete with personal anecdotes and practical tips to enhance your journey through Indonesia's dynamic capital.


Experiencing Car Free Day in Jakarta was like seeing the city through a new lens. The streets, usually bustling with vehicles, turn into expansive walkways where the local community comes alive with activities. The air felt surprisingly fresher, and the sounds of laughter and music replaced the usual honk of traffic. It's a unique opportunity to engage with local culture, taste street food delicacies from numerous vendors, and even catch impromptu performances.

Car Free Day

Tips for a better experience: Start early to enjoy the cooler morning air, and don't hesitate to join in on any group activities. Whether it's a dance class or a group exercise, it's a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local vibe. Wear comfortable shoes because you'll be walking a lot, and bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.

Food trip but make it healthy... yes? 🙂

  • Why Visit: Experience Jakarta's community spirit and enjoy outdoor activities in a vehicle-free environment.
  • Operating Hours: Every Sunday, 6 AM to 11 AM.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • How to Get There: The best way to get there is by public transport or taxi to avoid parking issues. Aim for Jalan Sudirman or Jalan Thamrin, where the event primarily takes place.


Jakarta Old City, is a treasure trove of history nestled amidst the sprawling metropolis. Walking through its cobbled lanes, I was transported back to the colonial era, with each building telling a story of its own. The area is a photographer's dream, blending historic architecture with the vibrant hustle of local life. To explore the old city in a chic mode, renting one of the colorful bicycles, which comes with a straw hat, providing both a fun way to explore and a bit of relief from the sun. Cafes and museums around the square offer a glimpse into Jakarta's past and present.

Jakarta Old Town

A visit to the Jakarta Old City isn't just about sightseeing; it's about feeling the pulse of the city's historical heart. I recommend visiting the Museum Fatahillah for a deeper understanding of Jakarta's history. It was Sunday when we visited, hence the area was transformed with street performers making it the perfect time to enjoy live music.

Mother and Daughter cycling at the old town.

  • Why Visit: Dive into the heart of Jakarta's colonial history and vibrant cultural scene.
  • Operating Hours: The area is open 24/7, but museums and shops have their own operating hours, typically from 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: Free to roam the area; museums and attractions have separate fees.
  • How to Get There: Take the TransJakarta bus to Kota Tua or a taxi directly to the main square, known as Taman Fatahillah.


Visiting the Fine Arts and Ceramic Museum was an eye-opening experience that deepened my appreciation for Indonesia's artistic heritage. Housed in a beautifully preserved Dutch colonial building, the museum's collections span centuries of Indonesian creativity. From ancient traditional crafts to contemporary art, each piece tells a part of Indonesia's cultural story. I was particularly captivated by the ceramics section, which showcases pottery from different Indonesian islands, each with its unique style and symbolism. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, which means there's always something new to discover.

Pottery workshop

For art enthusiasts and curious travelers alike, this museum offers a serene escape from Jakarta's bustling streets. The surrounding gardens are perfect for a leisurely stroll, and the café inside the museum serves delightful local snacks and coffee. My tip: Allocate enough time to explore the museum at a leisurely pace, and don't miss the opportunity to experience pottery and make your own masterpiece. ;)

  • Why Visit: Immerse yourself in Indonesia's rich art history and vibrant contemporary art scene.
  • Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8 AM to 4 PM. Closed on Mondays.
  • Entrance Fee: Approximately IDR 5,000 (less than $1 USD).
  • How to Get There: The museum is located near Kota Tua. You can easily reach it by taking a TransJakarta bus to Kota or by taxi.


The National Museum, often referred to as the Elephant Building because of the majestic bronze elephant statue out front, gifted by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand, is a repository of the nation’s soul. With an extensive collection that traverses the breadth of the Indonesian archipelago, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s diverse cultures, languages, and history. I found myself lost in time, marveling at intricate textiles, ancient sculptures, and the gold treasures of Indonesian kingdoms. The museum does a commendable job of narrating Indonesia's story from prehistoric times to the present day.

Visiting this museum is a must for anyone looking to grasp the essence of Indonesia. It’s not just about observing artifacts; it’s about connecting with the stories and traditions that shaped this vast country. Also had the opportunity to went up on the top floor and enjoy the 360-degree breathtaking view of Jakarta.

  • Why Visit: Gain a deep understanding of Indonesia’s cultural and historical richness.
  • Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Closed on Mondays.
  • Entrance Fee: IDR 10,000 for local visitors, IDR 15,000 for foreign visitors (approximately $1 USD).
  • How to Get There: The museum is located in central Jakarta, near Gambir train station. It's easily accessible by TransJakarta buses or taxi.


The Sky Deck at Bandaran HI Station offered one of the most memorable views of Jakarta for me. Positioned atop an MRT station, it's a testament to how modern infrastructure and urban beauty can coexist. The panoramic views of the city skyline at sunset were breathtaking, with the bustling streets below and skyscrapers piercing the sky. It's a perfect spot for photographers or anyone looking to capture the essence of Jakarta from above. The deck is relatively new, making it a less crowded spot for those in the know.

I recommend timing your visit to coincide with sunset for the most dramatic views. The Sky Deck also provides an interesting perspective on Jakarta's rapid development and urban sprawl. It's an ideal place for reflection or simply to enjoy a moment of peace above the city's hustle. There are cafes and restaurants nearby, allowing you to enjoy a meal or a drink with a view.

  • Why Visit: Experience unmatched views of Jakarta's skyline and enjoy a unique urban escape.
  • Operating Hours: Daily, 10 AM to 10 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • How to Get There: Directly accessible from Bandaran HI MRT Station, making it easily reachable by Jakarta's MRT system.


The Selamat Datang Monument is more than just a landmark; it's a symbol of Indonesian hospitality and openness to the world. Located at the bustling heart of Jakarta in the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout, this monument has witnessed the evolution of Jakarta from a colonial city to a modern metropolis. Seeing it up close, I was struck by its significance and the kinetic energy of the city that surrounds it. The monument features a pair of bronze statues, symbolizing a welcoming gesture to all visitors of Jakarta.

Visiting the monument gives a sense of being at the center of the action in Jakarta. It's a great starting point for exploring nearby attractions, including luxury shopping centers, art galleries, and culinary hotspots. For a better experience, visit in the evening when the monument is beautifully illuminated, and the cooler air makes for a pleasant walk. It's a reminder of the city's warm hospitality and dynamic spirit.

  • Why Visit: Immerse yourself in the heart of Jakarta's bustling city life and experience a historical landmark.
  • Operating Hours: Open 24/7.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • How to Get There: Easily accessible on foot from nearby shopping centers and hotels, or by public transportation stopping at Bundaran HI.


Riding the MRT in Jakarta is not just about convenience; it’s a peek into the future of the city's urban transport. ASEAN Station, with its sleek design and efficient service, stands out as a symbol of progress. My experience using the MRT to navigate through Jakarta was not only efficient but also pleasantly comfortable, avoiding the notorious traffic jams. The station itself is clean, with clear signage and helpful staff, making it easy for first-timers and tourists to use. It connects you to major points of interest across Jakarta, making it an essential experience for any visitor.

ASEAN Station

The MRT system is a game-changer for Jakarta and using it provides insights into the daily lives of the people of Jakarta. For travelers, it's a practical way to beat the traffic while being eco-friendly. I suggest purchasing a day pass for convenience and exploring the city at your own pace. ASEAN Station is particularly noteworthy for its location, serving as a gateway to explore the surrounding embassies, shopping districts, and dining areas.

  • Why Visit: Experience Jakarta’s modern public transit system and enjoy easy access to various city attractions.
  • Operating Hours: 5 AM to midnight.
  • Entrance Fee: Variable, depending on distance. Day passes are available.
  • How to Get There: ASEAN Station is accessible via the Jakarta MRT. Look for signs indicating the MRT network throughout the city.


Phinisi Bridge

The Phinisi Bridge is not just a bridge but a landmark that showcases Indonesia's rich maritime history. Crossing this bridge felt like a journey through time, with views of the modern skyline juxtaposed against the traditional Phinisi sailing ships that inspired its design. The bridge connects the area of Sunda Kelapa, known for its ancient harbor, with the more modern parts of the city, symbolizing Jakarta's growth from its maritime roots to its current status as a bustling metropolis. It's a popular spot for both locals and tourists, offering unique photo opportunities, especially at sunrise or sunset.

  • Why Visit: Connect with Jakarta's maritime heritage and enjoy stunning views of the harbor and city.
  • Operating Hours: Open 24/7.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • How to Get There: Located near the old Sunda Kelapa Harbor, it’s best accessed by taxi or a short walk from nearby attractions in the Kota Tua area.


Visiting Istiqlal Mosque was an awe-inspiring experience, emphasizing the spiritual heart of Jakarta. As the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, its grandeur and architectural beauty are breathtaking. Walking through its expansive courtyards and entering the prayer hall, I was enveloped in an atmosphere of peace and serenity. The mosque's design, with its minimalist aesthetic and open spaces, invites reflection and a sense of unity among visitors. It's a powerful symbol of Indonesia's religious tolerance, standing opposite the Jakarta Cathedral in a harmonious display of the country’s pluralism.

The mosque and cathedral from the National Monument 

Istiqlal Mosque is not just a place of worship but a cultural landmark, open to all who wish to learn about Islam or simply admire its beauty. My tip: dress modestly out of respect, and try to visit outside prayer times to fully appreciate its tranquil ambiance. It's a profound experience that highlights the diversity and openness of Jakarta's society.

  • Why Visit: Experience the spiritual and architectural magnificence of Southeast Asia’s largest mosque.
  • Operating Hours: Open daily, 4 AM to 12 AM. Tour hours may vary.
  • Entrance Fee: Free, donations welcome.
  • How to Get There: Easily accessible by car, taxi, or public transport. It's located near the Monas (National Monument) and is well-signposted.


The Friendship Tunnel was an unexpected delight, tucked away beneath the bustling streets of Jakarta. This pedestrian underpass is transformed into a vibrant gallery, adorned with murals that celebrate international friendship and cultural exchange. Each artwork, painted by artists from Jakarta and its sister cities around the world, tells a story of connection and collaboration. Walking through the tunnel, I was captivated by the creativity and messages of unity, making it a unique cultural experience amidst the urban landscape.

The tunnel not only offers a respite from the traffic above but also serves as a reminder of the power of art to bring people together regardless of the religion. It was a breath of fresh air knowing that people who has different religious beliefs are friends.

  • Why Visit: Discover a hidden gem showcasing vibrant murals that celebrate global friendship.
  • Operating Hours: Open 24/7.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • How to Get There: Located between the Monas area and the commercial district, it can be accessed on foot or by any city transport option that stops near the National Monument.


The Jakarta Cathedral, with its stunning Gothic Revival architecture, stands as a beacon of historical and religious significance in the heart of the city. Visiting this cathedral offered me a serene and spiritually uplifting experience amidst Jakarta's bustling urban life. The intricate design, towering spires, and beautiful stained glass windows narrate stories of faith and history. Inside, the peaceful ambiance and the soft light filtering through the windows create a solemn and reflective space, inviting visitors from all walks of life to pause and reflect.

The cathedral is not just a place of worship but a symbol of the country's cultural diversity and tolerance, with its close proximity to Istiqlal Mosque showcasing Indonesia's commitment to religious harmony. I recommend taking a guided tour to fully appreciate the history and architectural details of the cathedral. It's also worth visiting during a service to experience the vibrant local Christian community in worship.

  • Why Visit: Experience the architectural beauty and peaceful sanctuary of Jakarta's main cathedral.
  • Operating Hours: Open daily, 6 AM to 9 PM. Guided tours have specific timings.
  • Entrance Fee: Free, though donations are appreciated.
  • How to Get There: The cathedral is located across from Istiqlal Mosque, easily accessible by public transport, taxi, or a short walk from Monas (National Monument).


Thamrin City is a shopping paradise that offers an authentic Jakarta shopping experience, blending traditional Indonesian crafts with modern retail. It's a bustling mall where I found myself immersed in the vibrant culture of Indonesia through its textiles, batik, handicrafts, and more. The variety of batik patterns from different regions of Indonesia was particularly fascinating, offering insights into the country's rich cultural diversity. It's an ideal place to pick up souvenirs, gifts, or even try your hand at batik-making in one of the workshops offered.

The mall is also a great place to sample local cuisine, with food courts and street food stalls serving up delicious Indonesian dishes. Shopping here is not just about the purchases but about experiencing the local lifestyle and interacting with the artisans and sellers. My tip: don’t hesitate to bargain for the best deals, especially in the batik and handicraft sections. It's part of the fun and a way to engage more closely with the local culture.

  • Why Visit: Dive into Jakarta's shopping scene with a rich selection of traditional crafts and modern retail.
  • Operating Hours: Daily, 9 AM to 10 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: Free.
  • How to Get There: Located in the heart of Jakarta, Thamrin City is easily accessible by MRT, stopping at Bundaran HI station, or by taxi.


Acaraki, a cozy café dedicated to reviving the traditional Indonesian art of jamu (herbal medicine), offers a unique cultural experience. Tasting the variety of jamu, each with its own health benefits and complex flavors, was a highlight of my visit to Jakarta. The café's modern twist on these traditional beverages, served in a stylish setting, made the experience all the more enjoyable. The staff were knowledgeable and eager to share the history and benefits of each drink, making it not only a tasting experience but an educational one as well.

Jamu Making and Tasting

This is a must-visit for those looking to explore the wellness aspect of Indonesian culture or simply seeking a refreshing break from the city's hustle. The atmosphere is tranquil, and the experience offers a deeper understanding and appreciation for Indonesia’s traditional herbal knowledge. My suggestion is to try the jamu kunyit asam, a turmeric and tamarind blend known for its antioxidant properties, for a refreshing and healthful treat.

  • Why Visit: Experience the traditional Indonesian herbal medicine culture with a modern twist.
  • Operating Hours: Daily, 10 AM to 9 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: Price per drink varies.
  • How to Get There: Acaraki has several locations in Jakarta; the most accessible one is in the Kemang area, easily reached by taxi or public transportation.

Jakarta is a city that never ceases to amaze, with its blend of tradition and modernity, spirituality and commerce, offering something for every traveler. Whether you're exploring the historic sites, indulging in the shopping and culinary delights, or discovering the city's artistic side, Jakarta promises an unforgettable journey.

See also: A 4-day itinerary from Jakarta to Bandung, Jakarta

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