Things to do in Jakarta: Unmissable sites for a long weekend

Looking for cool things to do in Jakarta without having to navigate the frenetic buzz of the city? Read on, we have you covered! 


Some deem the sprawling Indonesian capital to be captivating, while others describe its frenetic pace of life as chaotic. Yet, something all visitors can agree on is that this city, located on the northwest coast of Java, is a not to be missed destination in Indonesia for a city break. It is a common stopover destination for travelers jet-setting to the beaches of Bali yet there are so many exciting things to do in Jakarta that it is worth exploring. It won’t take you long to get swept up in the addictive buzz of the city’s daily hustle and bustle. But if the city seems overwhelming, our handy weekend guide will ensure you see all the top sites. 

Jakarta tourist spots that are not to be missed off your weekend itinerary

Since it has been established that Jakarta is a must-visit if you happen to be in Indonesia, it is now essential to pinpoint exactly where to go. With so many things to do in Jakarta, the ideal way to enjoy the city is to break it up into zones. Our favorite place to begin your adventure is in the historic neighborhood of Kota Tua. This is a Jakarta must-see and an ideal location for exploring the city’s colonial Dutch heritage. When venturing into the city center you won’t be able to ignore the towering National Monument, one of the city’s most iconic features. And once night falls, hide away in one of the city’s most glamorous dining spots.

Discover the city’s historic past with a trio to the Kota Tua neighborhood 

Day 1: Get to grips with the city and uncover what to do in Jakarta

Once you are fresh off the plane, dive right into the sights, smells, and sounds that Jakarta has to offer. There is no better way to get to grips with this city than immersing yourself in its daily life. Spend this day checking off all the major things to do in Jakarta as this will give you an ideal reference when it comes to navigating the sprawling city. Whether you are looking for places to visit in Jakarta with family, or are keen to enjoy a romantic getaway, there is something for everyone in the Indonesian capital.

Kota Tua, an interesting place in Jakarta to begin your day

When trying to understand modern-day Jakarta, it is handy if we understand a little about its past. The best way to do this is to visit the historic neighborhood of Kota Tua. Here many of the original 16th and 17th-century Dutch colonial buildings can still be seen as you walk around Old Batavia, the old walled city. 

Brush up on key historical facts at the Jakarta Museum which was once the City Hall

Brush up on key historical facts at the Jakarta Museum which was once the City Hall. And, then if you are interested in art and design, head around the corner to the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum. There are plenty more museums to visit in this neighborhood and once you have had your fix of history, grab a bite at the Batavia Café, a traditional colonial style café located in the main square with views of the old city hall. Be sure to pay attention to the photos on the walls. These show the faces of all the famous people who have eaten in this oasis of calm and sophistication.

The National Monument is a must see with visiting Jakarta

Jakarta landmarks not to be missed: The National Monument

Now that you have a grasp of the early history of Jakarta, it is time to venture into the modern city center and visit one of its most iconic landmarks. Jakarta sightseeing is not complete without a trip to the National Monument. But let’s be honest, the 132-meter-tall monument is hard to miss. This structure was built in 1961 in the heart of Merdeka square to represent the Indonesian struggle for independence. It is possible to climb to the top of the obelisk to be able to take in panoramic views of the city - one of the top things to do in Jakarta! 

Shopping areas in Jakarta worth visiting

If you have overdosed on culture and tradition, it is time to hit the shops. Shopping is one of the local favorite things to do in Jakarta and there is no shortage of interesting shops to explore. The Park Plaza Mall and the Grand Indonesian Mall are two of the most visited among locals so take their lead and discover the latest trends in Indonesia. The malls shut at 11 pm so this is one of the fun activities in Jakarta that you can do at almost any time of the day. If vintage markets are more your scene, the Jalan Surabaya street market is an ideal way to pass the time. Here you can pick up vintage clothes, souvenirs, vinyl records, and many more interesting keepsakes.

Don’t pass up the chance to dine at the Furusatu Izakaya restaurant located in The Orient Jakarta, a Royal Hideaway Hotel

Best places to visit in Jakarta for dinner? Head to the Furusatu Izakaya Restaurant

If you are looking for a special way to end a memorable day, we have just what you are looking for. The Orient Jakarta, a Royal Hideaway Hotel is one of the most luxurious Jakarta places to visit for foodies offering two illustrious restaurants to choose from. Furusatu Izakaya, a Japanese restaurant and Caspar restaurant, and lounge.
Yet, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy these top dining facilities. 

For a truly authentic dining experience that will delight your taste buds, indulge in Asian cuisine at Furusatu Izakaya

For a truly authentic dining experience that will delight your taste buds, indulge in Asian cuisine at Furusatu Izakaya. The luxury sushi bar will make your mouth water while the sake bar will keep your appetite fired up so that you can keep on savoring the extensive menu. 

The Orient Jakarta, a Royal Hideaway Hotel is one of the city’s top hotels

Day 2: Live like a local and continue exploring the best things to do in Jakarta

Now that you have survived your first day in this bustling metropolis you will now begin to feel at one with the chaotic pace of life. As you may have gathered, Jakarta is a city that is on the go, all the time. There are so many things to do in Jakarta that squeezing them into one weekend doesn’t do the city justice. Yet since your first day was spent visiting the major landmarks, it is time to explore more local spots to allow you to really get a feel for the Indonesian capital. Here are our picks for the best fun things to do in Jakarta.

Looking for unique things to do in Jakarta? Visit a Cathedral

It is worth remembering that Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country so it will come as a surprise to discover the Jakarta Cathedral when out exploring the city. Yet this magnificent building was built in the 19th century when religious diversity was still very present on the island of Java. Step inside the peaceful, calming interiors and take time to admire the ornate artworks on display. If you have time and are keen to experience something different, stay to hear a mass. But, if not, a trip to this landmark is a relaxing way to start your morning before you continue on to enjoy the rest of the stuff to do in Jakarta.

Continue your day and enjoy the many things to do in Ancol, such as a trip to the beach…

Jakarta is a city full of surprises and one of them is Ancol Bay, the city’s very own beach. While the stretch of sand may be narrow, it is one of the ideal places to visit in Jakarta with family thanks to the array of water sports on offer and the proximity to some of the city’s best theme parks. If romance is in the air, a stroll along the beach at sunset is one of the ultimate romantic things to do in Jakarta.

Discover the 26 provinces of Indonesia with a visit to the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah park

Don’t leave without visiting one of the top things to do in Jakarta: The Dharma Bhakti Temple

If you are keen to explore a rich highlight of all the things to do in Jakarta, the Dharma Bhakti Temple is definitely one for the list. It is the oldest Chinese temple in Jakarta, dating back to 1650. This prestigious building can be found in the Chinatown neighborhood of Jakarta, known as Glodok. The temple was the center of Chinese culture and tradition when it was built during the Dutch colonial period and to this day it remains a key place of worship for modern-day Chinese residents. Many people flock to this temple on the first and the 15th day of the new moon to offer prayers to the deities. This is also a central location for the Chinese New Year celebrations in the city.

End the day with a stroll around Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, one of the famous Jakarta, Indonesia tourist attractions

A stroll through the extensive grounds of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is one of the things to do in Jakarta that is recommended to all travelers. Not only is the park exceptionally beautiful, but it also gives a glimpse of what the rest of the archipelago has to offer.  This is achieved by representing each one of the 26 provinces in exhibits split across various pavilions. The focus is placed on the physical culture of each province with clothes, traditions, and dances working together to tell the colorful story of this island nation. The park is also home to a cinema and a cable car which is a great way to see the city from above.