We highlight what’s best in terms of heritage, shopping, nightlife and dining in Jakarta
Although it hasn't been featured prominently for tourists compared to other cities such as Bangkok and Singapore, Jakarta nevertheless has a charm of its own. More renowned as a business destination rather than a touristy one, Indonesia’s capital however is slowly evolving to offer more for tourists and visitors, which will inevitably put the city on the tourism map fairly soon.
Located several kilometres away from central Jakarta, Old Batavia or Kota Tua Jakarta offers visitors a unique perspective of life in the old city. Easily explored by foot or by bicycle, which visitors can rent from the numerous vendors located at the square, Old Batavia houses many historical attractions as well as monuments. Places of interest in the area include the Puppet and Ceramic Museum, the century-old Central Train Station as well as Café Batavia, an old-school dining establishment that has been a regular watering hole, restaurant and meeting place for visitors as well as locals for a number of years.
Located adjacent to the Keraton is the Plaza Indonesia, which houses a number of luxury as well as branded stores, retail outlets and F&B establishments. A short stroll away is the Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall— a very popular and sizeable mall that will prove to be a haven for shopaholics. Grand Indonesia also houses Alun Alun Indonesia, a local arts and handicrafts retail store that stocks a wide variety of locally-made apparel and fashion items, art pieces, decorative items, costume jewellery and souvenirs, for visitors looking to purchase a memento or two.
Jakarta is a hotspot for night owls, owing to the many clubs, lounges and bars that have mushroomed all over the city. If you’re looking for a relaxing night out head over to Potato Head Garage at (Graha BIP, Jl. Gatot Subroto 23 Jakarta). A branch of the popular establishment in Bali, the outlet is renowned for its chilled-out vibe, eclectic music selection as well as a wide variety of inventive and tasty cocktails. Whisky and cigar lovers will appreciate Nip & Dram (The Landmark Centre II, Jl. Jend. Sudirman No. 1, Ground Floor, Jakarta) a classy cigar and whisky bar complete with its own live band that stocks and offers, without a doubt a number of premium whiskies and cigars.
Jakarta offers a number of eateries of both high-end as well as street-food varieties. No trip to the city would be complete without savouring some of the local delights such as Tempeh, Ayam Penyet, Dendeng Sapi Manis as well as local dishes like Bakso and Nasi Padang. However if you’re on the lookout for a memorable traditional meal, head over to Tugu Kunstkring Paleis (Jl. Teuku Umar No. 1 (Menteng), Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta). Housed in a grand historical building, the Tugu Kunstkring Paleis is part Art Gallery, Restaurant and Tea Room, which offers guests a truly authentic Indonesian dining experience complemented with dishes bursting with great flavours, served straight to your table with a festive parade.