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When it comes to Southeast Asian cities, Jakarta is a middle sibling of sorts. The Indonesian capital is often compared to Manila or Bangkok, and it’s true in some ways: The people are just as friendly and the local food just as delicious. With Jakarta accommodation, you can dig deeper and discover the city’s own unique and vibrant identity.
For an island destination, there are surprisingly few beaches in the city. If you’re seeking sandy stretches, head to Ancol Marina in North Jakarta and take a boat to Pulau Seribu, or Thousand Islands. Just off the coast, this chain has the country’s best beaches, plus fin-tastic snorkelling and scuba diving. You’ll finally be able to find Nemo or Flounder or whoever your favourite cartoon fish is. Just be sure to keep an eye out for Bruce.
You can also get in on some watery fun from the main island, with jet ski and boat rentals near the marina. North Jakarta hotels range from upscale resorts to delightful boutiques, and will have you front and centre to all the aquatic adventures.
Accommodation in Central Jakarta offers a more cultural experience. Attractions like the 200-year-old National Museum, the neon blue National Monument and the futuristic National Gallery (are you seeing a pattern in these names?) are just steps away.
Pro Tip: Start your day in Merdeka Square, where you’ll find shops serving nasi uduk (steamed rice with coconut milk) and other breakfast treats, which go “oolong” nicely with local teas. Many people know the island of Java for its coffee, but Indonesia is also one of the world’s main tea producers! You’d be a fool to not indulge in a cup or two.
Flights to Jakarta land at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), just outside the city limits. There are numerous bus services with stops all over the city and beyond, but the fastest and easiest route is private transport. Many hotels in Jakarta will organise transport, whether it’s an airport shuttle pickup or a pre-arranged taxi trip.
If you do need to hail your own cab, just walk outside to the official taxi ranks, where you can get a ride to central Jakarta for the price of two lattes. This advice holds when you’re ready to get out and see the sights, too—you could spend your holiday trying to figure out Jakarta's bus systems, but with cheap rates, it’s much easier to pony up for a taxi.
Are your Jakarta holidays slated for the end of July? If so, check out the Jakarta International Kite Festival and enjoy one of the oldest pastimes in history. Hundreds of people from around the country join in this colourful demonstration of massive, flying dragons, caterpillars and pretty much anything else you can imagine. If you’ve ever wondered what a kite traffic jam looks like, here you go.
If you happen to find yourself in the capital in mid-August, you’ll be able to take part in the Independence Day festivities. Held every year on August 17th, the flag raising ceremony at the presidential palace officially kicks off the party, and a party it is. Parades featuring local marching bands, traditional dancers and intricate floats are held throughout the day. But be sure to watch the locals play panjat pinang. It’s a game where a well-greased palm trunk is erected upright and people are challenged to climb to the top in order to retrieve an assortment of prizes.
Sure, you can doze in one of our places to stay in Jakarta, but you’ve got to get out and see what this great city has to offer. Head over to the Ragunan Zoo and check out over 270 species of animal, most of which are endangered. Wander through the Schmutzer Primate Centre, where gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans will keep you entertained for hours. And just wait until you get a look at some of the Komodo dragons—they’re the size of Cadillac El Dorados. Whoever said dinosaurs were extinct had a few too many Bintangs!
When you’re done playing zookeeper, reserve a spot on a private Bogor Botanical Garden and Puncak Tour. Conveniently located in the city centre, the botanical gardens are a great place to gallivant under the sun. With over 13,000 different trees and plants located within the grounds, you’re bound to discover something you like. If you can’t, well, we don’t know what to tell you.
Sometimes, one day in Jakarta is all you need to see some of the better attractions in the city. Make your way to Merdeka Square and take a look at the national monument known as Monas. It’s a 137m monument with an observation deck at the top. Take in the sweeping views of the city and then head into the basement, where dioramas will introduce you to Indonesian history.
Now that you’re up to date on everything Indo, it’s time to shop. Head to Pasar Mayestic for a great day of souvenir hunting. Your friends back home will be stoked when you return bearing gifts like a traditional West Sumatra wind instrument, green gemstones from Dharmasraya, and collared shirts made of pure silk. Just be careful—the local vendors are expert hagglers. We recommend practicing at a used car lot back home before messing with these guys.
You can’t leave on an empty stomach, so before you head to the airport, make a pit stop at Café Batavia. This local landmark set in a 200-year-old building serves up some of the best food in Jakarta. Don’t believe us? A plate full of chicken satay smothered in peanut sauce, nasi goreng-sate with egg or the standard fried noodles should change your mind.
Your holiday self is telling you to get out from behind that computer screen and experience the world! But first, book one of Wotif’s great deals on accommodation in Jakarta—then get ready for the sights and sounds of one of Southeast Asia’s biggest metropolises.
Hotels in Jakarta start at AU$30 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.