It’s never too early (or too late) to start thinking about your next travel destination. Despite having a travel wish list which includes countries like New Zealand, South Africa, and Greece, I also want to visit Southeast Asia. Not only is Southeast Asia tropic and budget-friendly, but the landscape is breathtaking! One of the countries that I’m looking forward to visiting is Indonesia. Comprised of 17,000 islands, Indonesia boasts pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, waterfalls, volcanoes and lush forests. Although Indonesia is known for Bali’s beaches and Ubud’s sacred temples, I’d also like to visit Jakarta Indonesia.
Indonesia by Scott Kuo
Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and it is a huge metropolis (about the size of Singapore). It is one of the largest cities in the world and its infamous for traffic jams.
Many refer to Jakarta as “the city of contrasts” because it’s both traditional and modern. There’s also a large gap between the rich and poor. Luxury skyscrapers are right next to shantytowns and slums.
Sunset on Jakarta by Mazuu
With over 300 ethnic groups who speak 200 languages, discover the multicultural heritage of Jakarta!
Cultural Things To See In Jakarta Indonesia
Jalan Surabaya Antique Market
Antique brass, silver, and copper on display. Photo by Danumurthi Mahendra
One of the places that caught my eye in planning a trip to Jakarta is the Jalan Surabaya, an exotic antique market in central Jakarta. I love handcrafted ornaments, ceramics, and antique wood sculptures, so I wouldn’t want to miss visiting this market and picking up a few souvenirs. I would also relish the opportunity to talk to the merchants. I can only imagine the photos and stories I would have to share!
Cultural Significance: Jalan Surabaya has been around for over 40 years. Antiquing is a craft passed down from generation to generation. Most merchants at the market today are second generation traders. Before the market, merchants carried their crafts on their shoulders and sold their goods on the street.
City Bus Tours
Although I prefer getting to know a city intimately by foot, I can’t resist wanting to go on Jakarta’s free city tour bus – that’s right it’s completely free. This tour would help me get acquainted with the landscape and would bring lots of context to the capital’s historic sites.
Betawi Cultural Village
The Betawi are the indigenous people of Jakarta. They come from different races and ethnic groups including Chinese, Dutch, Indian, Arabic and Portuguese.
Cultural Significance: The Betawi Cultural Village of Setu Babakan preserves the indigenous Betawi culture. In this small village, I would marvel at original Betawi architecture, watch cultural performances and try the flavorful Indonesian cuisine.
Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral
Istiqlal Mosque by Ronggur Habibun
Jakarta is home to the Jakarta Catholic Cathedral and Istiqlal Mosque (Independence Mosque). These two spiritual places are right across from each other and symbolize religious harmony and tolerance.
Cultural Significance: Did you know that Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world!
Istiqlal Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. It has five floors and a large prayer hall in the center of the dome. During my visit, I would book a free guided tour to learn more about Islam and its influence on local culture.
Places to Stay
Merlynn Park Hotel best rate: Merlynn Park Hotel is a centrally located 4-star hotel. With average rates of $46-$64 USD (based on a standard room), this is a good price for accommodations in Jakarta. Merlynn Park offers free breakfast, pool access and lots of other amenities that would make my stay relaxing.
Planning my trip to Indonesia made me realize that Jakarta Indonesia is more than just a gateway city. It deserves more than a day or two of exploration and I can’t wait to share my experience with you soon!
Resources: Other blog posts that I found helpful in planning my trip to Jakarta Indonesia.
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, writer, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.