Jakarta in a day
Tourist itineraries in Indonesia tend to consist of dozens of stops, to enable visitors to see a large number of attractions. The downside of this is that such visits are necessarily very short. If you’re in this situation, and you only have one day to visit Jakarta, take note of this article. You may be feeling a bit lost because your visit to the city takes place just after your arrival in the country or just before your return flight… but we can soon sort that out. The itinerary below includes the essential attractions, those that will enable you to say that you’ve been to Jakarta. Having said that, none of these highlights is compulsory, and if you happen to be touring one of the neighbourhoods, or if you prefer to enjoy a cocktail at one of the attractive deluxe rooftop bars instead of visiting a museum, we won’t judge you. What matters is that you adapt this itinerary to your own tastes and needs.
Get ready to enjoy the chaos, the traffic, the noise and the effervescence of a city with a population of over 10 million, rising to thirty million across the whole metropolitan area. Nevertheless, you will still stumble across corners where you can relax, and walk among colonial-era buildings that take you on a journey back in time.
Itinerary day 1
Skye Bar and Restaurant
The best time to visit the Skye Bar is at sunset, when the city is beginning to light up and the neon signs are switching on. This bar-restaurant is on the 56th floor of the BCA Tower, and affords 360-degree views. You can have a drink here, or stay for dinner at one of the trendy rooftop bars.
Browsing in a shopping centre
After your visits to the various monuments and the beach, we recommend you visit one of the retail centres to do a spot of shopping and perhaps buy a souvenir. The shopping centres close at around 11.00 p.m., so you will have over two hours. In the centre of Jakarta, you will find classic malls such as the Grand Indonesian Mall and The Park Plaza.
It may come as a surprise to see this magnificent cathedral in a predominantly Muslim country, but you need to remember that it was built early in the nineteenth century, when there was still religious diversity on the island. The cathedral is open to members of the public who want to visit the museum, hear Mass, or admire its beautiful towers or the works of art inside.
This is said to be South East Asia’s largest mosque, and it is certainly impressive, both on the inside and the outside. Its outstanding feature is its great cupola, which measures 45 metres in diameter, and the twelve columns you will see inside. Did you know that it was built to commemorate the country’s independence?
National Monument (Monas)
Next on your tour of Jakarta is a visit to the National Monument, a 132-metre-tall obelisk that stands in Merdeka square, and symbolises Indonesia’s struggle for independence. You can go up to the top and enjoy a panoramic view. Close by is the National Museum of Indonesia, another very interesting visit.
Lunch at Café Batavia
This restaurant is inside a nineteenth-century building in Kota Tua, and has the same colonial air. The building faces Taman Fatahillah square, and is a bastion of history, sophistication and calm. The walls are covered in photographs of famous figures who have passed through here. Seize the opportunity to enjoy Indonesian cuisine before continuing with your sightseeing.
The best way to understand any destination is to dive into its past, and that is why we recommend you visit Kota Tua, the original historic centre of Jakarta. There you’ll have the opportunity to see the layout of Old Batavia, the Dutch colonial walled city, where many of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century buildings can still be seen.