Here’s a list of 10 best attractions in Jakarta that will help you explore the main highlights and must-see places to visit in this sprawling metropolis. Beneath skyscrapers and hectic traffic, Jakarta’s urban outskirts reveal a wealth of historical places that have withstood the tests of time, now shedding their own light on the beginnings of Indonesia’s capital. We’ve included select museums out of Jakarta’s many, together with places where timeworn cultures thrive.
Jakarta also offers a selection of modern recreations, from animal attractions, amusement parks to a grand theme park that lets you experience in a single trip the arts and culture of islands from the entire Indonesian archipelago. Enjoy these best attractions in the Indonesian capital – there’s something for everyone.
Taman Mini Indonesia Park
This unique theme park is a great way to spend a day in Jakarta, where you and family can learn about the cultural diversity of the Indonesian archipelago. Multiple pavilions represent the unique architecture, traditional costumes and performing arts of the different islands. Its centrepiece manmade lake depicts the archipelago in miniature scale, which you can view from above on a cable car ride. Also onsite are museums, a flower garden, a bird park, a water park, library, theatre shows and an IMAX cinema.
Ancol Dreamland (Taman Impian Jaya Ancol)
One day is not enough at Taman Impian Jaya Ancol (or ‘Ancol Dreamland’), which is Jakarta’s main amusement park located on the northern waterfront. The park is part of a grand complex of the same name which covers 552 hectares and comprises a golf course and a resort. There are numerous thrill rides to try at Dufan Fantasy World, some splashing fun at Atlantis water park and two main beaches that serve as concert venues, and other recreational sites for water sports.
Indonesia National Gallery
Art lovers will love spending some time at The National Gallery, a museum and art centre in Central Jakarta that is full of well over a thousand pieces by national and foreign artists. Permanent exhibits include sculptures and paintings by famous Indonesian artists, names like Raden Saleh and Bali’s Nyoman Lempad, while temporary exhibits are regularly held in its three expansive art halls. Also onsite are a library and a special lab for restoration of significant artworks.
Jakarta Chinatown (Glodok)
Jakarta’s Chinatown is both an historical and culturally significant site, often referred to as Glodok. Chinatown is located adjacent Kota Tua, Jakarta’s old town, sharing the nostalgic ambiance of the whole area, with far eastern architecture dominating the streetscapes. You can find numerous 17th century-old temples forming part of the townscape, among the dominant rows of family-run shops and restaurants.
Jakarta Old Town (Kota Tua)
Jakarta Old Town is often referred to as Kota Tua Jakarta or Old Batavia, which is rich in history as the former downtown area of the capital and headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. Throughout town you can admire buildings with architectural features of a bygone era, and most of Jakarta’s museums can be found here. Restoration efforts of deteriorating structures are underway, pushing the old town to be included in UNESCO’s world heritage list.
Ragunan Zoo (Kebun Binatang Ragunan)
Ragunan Zoo goes by either Taman Margasatwa Ragunan or Kebun Binatang Ragunan, Jakarta’s main zoo that is located in the sub district of Pasar Minggu in South Jakarta. The zoo was established over a century ago during the Dutch colonial period, and now is home to 3,000 animals, from Indonesia and around the world. The cool forested setting of the area makes for pleasant walks around the large animal enclosures, where you can see indigenous animals such as komodo dragons, orang-utans, tapirs, Sumatran tigers, and a collection of tropical birds.
Puppet Museum (Museum Wayang)
Museum Wayang, the Puppet Museum of Indonesia, takes up residence in a former church built by the Dutch East India Company, and now features a vast collection of puppetry, masks and paraphernalia related to performing arts from Indonesia and around the globe. Dedicated compilations comprise leather shadow puppets and wooden Javanese golek figures, and you can also find showcases of traditional dolls from the Asian and European continents. Puppetry workshops are regularly held at the museum.
Sunda Kelapa and Maritime Museum
A unique historical attraction in North Jakarta, the Sunda Kelapa old sea port offers an open-air experience with majestic traditional schooner ships called pinisi parked in a row. Within walking distance is Indonesia’s main Maritime Museum, referred to locally as Museum Bahari, a great spot to learn about Indonesia’s maritime history and the tumultuous past of the world’s largest archipelago. Inside are exhibits of seafaring vessels from every island in Indonesia, together with naval maps and oceanographic information.
National Museum (Museum Nasional)
The National Museum of Indonesia is hard to miss in Central Jakarta with the large elephant statue on its façade. The museum is over two centuries old, established in 1778 by the Dutch VOC, and now houses prehistoric and historical items from all over Indonesia and Asia. Its grand collections of ancient Hindu-Buddhist era stone sculptures are the largest in the region, and its impressive ethnographic collection covers the different cultures from all over Indonesia.
Setu Babakan Batavian Cultural Village
For a truly immersive experience and away from the city’s hubbubs, escape to Setu Babakan, a village located on the outskirts in South Jakarta, where Batavian cultural heritage is well preserved. The village is named after a manmade lake fed by the Ciliwung River that is used for fish farming by the locals. Nearby are some plantations producing tropical fruits too. The overall atmosphere is calm and laidback and you can witness regular traditional art and music performances and even taste some local dishes at the main cultural village.