It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Southeast Asia, and was the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies when it was known as Batavia. As the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is the melting point of cultures of all ethnic groups of the country.
Colonial architecture is apparent in houses and villas, churches, civic buildings and offices, mostly concentrated in the Jakarta Old Town and Central Jakarta. The most famous landmark, which became the symbol of the city, is the 132-metre-tall (433-foot) obelisk of the National Monument (Monumen Nasional or Monas, map) in the centre of Merdeka Square.
Jalan Jaksa (map) and surrounding areas are popular among backpackers for cheaper accommodation. PIK is a relatively new suburb for hangout, while Kemang (map) is a popular suburb for expats.
*Bogor (map) – One of the primary destinations to escape from Jakarta, with well-kept natural habitats, world class botany garden, resorts, and multiple golf courses. The city is most famous for its presidential palace and the extensive botanical gardens (Bogor Botanical Garden), which is one of the oldest in the world.
Some of the most well known shopping complexes are at the heart of the city. Grand Indonesia (map) and Plaza Indonesia (map) are massive upper-class malls next to each other on Jakarta’s busy Hotel Indonesia Roundabout. Jalan Prof.Dr.Satrio (map) is Jakarta’s answer to the famed Orchard Road in Singapore, Ginza in Tokyo and Fifth Avenue in New York.
If you are looking for antique products such as local handicrafts, Indonesian traditional batik or wayang golek (Sundanese puppets), you can go to Jalan Surabaya (map) in Central Jakarta. If you are looking for rare maps, prints or paintings, you can go to Kemang Raya, where there are many galleries including Bartele gallery and Hadi Prana.
Pasaraya Grande shopping mall at Blok M (map), has one dedicated floor for Indonesian antiques and handicrafts. Pasar Seni (map) at Ancol is the centre of paintings and sculpture, including portrait pictures you can have done on the spot.
Food >> Many traditional foods from far-flung regions in Indonesia can be found in Jakarta. For example, traditional *Padang restaurants and low-budget Warteg (Warung Tegal) food-stalls are ubiquitous in the capital.
Jalan Sabang (map), Jalan Sidoarjo (map), Jalan Kendal (map) at Menteng area, *Kota Tua, *Blok S, Blok M, *Jalan Tebet (map) are all popular destinations for street-food lovers.
Chinese street-food is plentiful at Jalan Pangeran, Manga Besar (map) and Petak Sembilan (map) in the old Jakarta area, while the Little Tokyo area of Blok M has many Japanese style restaurants and bars. Thamrin 10 (map) is a food and creative park located at Menteng, where varieties of food stall are available.
November to March is the peak of the rainy season, and floods and traffic chaos on many of the streets usually occur. The rain is almost always absent from June through August.
Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, is easier said than done. Conveniently, most navigation apps such as Google Maps or Waze are useful for finding addresses and places throughout Jakarta due to regular updates from users.