Known as the bustling capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is a melting pot of cultures. It is a city full contrasts – historic old town, towering skyscrapers, different houses of worship, world-class cuisine and friendly people. All of this makes Jakarta an ideal holiday destination. Our suggested itinerary is designed to show you the best the city has to offer and what are the things you can accomplish in 3 days. Read on for suggestions on how to make the most of your time in Jakarta.
Things to know before traveling to Jakarta, Indonesia:
Language – Bahasa Indonesia is the national and official language of Indonesia. English is taught in schools and is widely used in Indonesian cities like Jakarta, so do not worry about not knowing local phrases or words. It is, however, recommended to learn some Javanese if you are heading towards rural areas. Like other countries in the world, speaking at least some Indonesian phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.
Currency exchange – The Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) is the official currency of Indonesia. Exchanging money is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Asia. You can exchange currency at the airport, hotels, malls, local banks, and money changers throughout Jakarta. ATMs are plentiful, all accepting international credit cards and debit cards, so it’s easy to withdraw your money in Rupiah. Credits cards are commonly accepted in most mid-range to high-end restaurants and hotels.
Getting around – Traffic jams in Jakarta can be a turn off to visitors, but fret not because there are plenty of transportation options offered in the capital. Ojek (motorcycle taxi) is the fastest way to get around the city. These are private owned motorcycles so make sure to negotiate the fare in advance. Another option is Bajaj (auto-rickshaw), which is like Thailand’s tuk-tuk. Like Ojek, you also have to negotiate the fare in advance. Don’t forget to ask a local or your hotel receptionist how it costs so you won’t get overcharged.
Where to stay – Jakarta has heaps of accommodation to suit every pocket, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. To help you decide on the best place to stay, it is recommended to do a bit of prior research so you won’t land in the wrong part of this busy city. Menteng (and the center of Jakarta), for example, is for visitors who want to stay in the center of the action. It is also a fantastic base for sightseeing. Kemang, on the other hand, is for people looking for a vibrant nightlife scene.
Raffles (Ciputra World 1 Jln. Prof.Dr Satrio 3-5)
The Hermitage (Jl. Cilacap 1)
Mandarin Oriental (Jln. M.H. Thamrin 81 | P.O Box 3392)
Oakwood Premier Cozmo (Jl. Dr. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung Blok E4.2 No. 1 | Mega Kuningan)
The Ritz-Carlton, Pacific Place (Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav. 52-53 | Sudirman Central Business District)
Day by Day Itinerary: 3 Day Itinerary in Jakarta, Indonesia
Day 1: Jakarta
On day 1, get up early and prepare for a day full of interesting experiences. There is no better way to get to know Jakarta than visiting the Old Town (also known as Old Batavia), a perfect example of Dutch colonial city during the Dutch Golden Age (17th to 18th Century). Some of the attractions you can visit here are Jakarta History Museum, Wayang Museum, Fine Art and Ceramic Museum, Maritime Museum, Museum Bank Indonesia and Taman Fatahillah (Fatahillah Square). In the afternoon, do not miss to visit Masjid Istiqlal, the largest mosque in Indonesia, and Jakarta Cathedral (Gereja Katedral), a Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1901.These two religious places are built near each other and known to share parking spaces during big events. The relationship between these two houses of worship will surely surprise visitors. End your first day at Jakarta Chinatown (also known as Glodok) and enjoy a delicious dinner at Jalan Mangga Besar.
Day 2: Pulau Macan Tiger Islands Village & Eco Resort
Discover the beauty and diversity of the underwater world or just get away from it all at Pulau Macan Tiger Islands Village & Eco Resort. Set on its own island with postcard perfect beaches, Pulau Macan provides great swimming, snorkeling and beach experience plus greater privacy. The island has all the necessary facilities like comfort room, bar, eating and dining facilities which will surely give you a fantastic beach holiday. There are plenty of water activities in the island but you are free to do nothing. You can just lie in a hammock and read a good book. You can do a day excursion or an overnight stay in the eco-resort, so you have to consider which option suits your preference and budget. It’s a long way to come for just a day tour, so we suggest an overnight stay instead. Getting to the Thousand Islands from Marina Ancol Jakarta takes about one and a half hour. Ferries normally leave Ancol at around 7 to 8:00 AM, so expect to arrive in the island at 10:00 AM.
Day 3: Jakarta
Start early and wait for the sun to rise at Pulau Macan Beach. Then enjoy your authentic Indonesian breakfast back to the eco-resort. Take the ferry in the morning so you could do a little sightseeing in Jakarta in the afternoon. You may also do some souvenir shopping at Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall (not to be mistaken with Grand Indonesia Shopping Town) or the Flea Market at Jalan Surabaya.
This is the end of our 3-day suggested itinerary. Remember, this is just a guide for planning and is in no way, shape or form the only way to travel the city. There are several alternative routes of travel within the country and it will depend on your intended length of stay. Enjoy Jakarta!
Have you been to Jakarta or anywhere else in Indonesia? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.
Featured image: Traffic rushes in Jakarta business district along the city main avenue Jalan Thamrin at sunset in Indonesia capital city. The Transjakarta bus system enjoys its own traffic lane to avoid congestion (AsiaTravel / Shutterstock.com)