Jakarta is Indonesia's capital and largest city, with about 10 million inhabitants, and a total 30 million in Greater Jakarta on the Java island. Dubbed The Big Durian, an equivalent to New York's Big Apple, its concrete jungle, traffic frenzy, and hot polluted air may tempt you to skip the city as fast as possible, but what awaits inside will change your perspective! One of the most bustling and cosmopolitan cities in Asia, the J-Town has cheerful nightlife, vibrant shopping malls, a variety of foods, refreshing greenery, cultural diversity and a rich history, that caters to all levels of budget and how much fun you want to have.
Administratively, Jakarta is a province called the Jakarta Special Capital Region (Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta). It is administratively divided into 5 municipalities and 1 regency (the Thousand Islands in the Jakarta Bay):
|Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat) |
The heart of Jakarta's administration, government and finance, an aptly named district and the site of Jakarta's symbol, the soaring Monas (Monumen Nasional) and also the world's largest city square "Lapangan Merdeka". The city is a part of the old Jakarta (Batavia), recognizable by the president's palace and the National Museum of Indonesia, both built in the 19th century. Now filled with modern high rises for office buildings, hotels, and shopping centres, this is where most of Jakarta's attractions are, such as the malls, the Tanah Abang garment complex, the Istiqlal mosque, the Cathedral, and the Bung Karno Sports Stadium.
|West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat) |
This site is also part of the Old Batavia. It is home to the Glodok area (Jakarta's Chinatown) which is rich in street hawker food, Chinese restaurants, and temple complexes, and contains Jakarta's electronic promenade. West Jakarta is also a major destination for shopping, as it is home to a lane of upscale malls at S. Parman and cheap shopping lanes at Mangga Dua. This area is also home to Jakarta's biggest nightlife entertainment and red light district "Mangga Besar".
|South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan) |
Jakarta's middle/upper class residential area, and part of Jakarta's business centre. Here you can find upscale shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, bustling nightlife and entertainment, Blok M, Senayan sports complex, and affluent residential areas. The Kemang area is very popular among expats and locals for its nightlife and entertainment.
|East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur) |
The city's industrial quarter and the most populous city within Jakarta. The location of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (where you can see parts of Indonesia's multiethnic community in one big park), some golf courses, Cibubur camping ground, and Jakarta's second airport, Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.
|North Jakarta (Jakarta Utara) |
Jakarta's main harbour area and the real home of the old Batavia. A small area consisting of Dutch buildings and harbor, its streets are thronged with hawker food, crafted goods, street performers, artists and Jakartan youths hanging around. This is also the location of Ancol Bayfront City, Asia's largest integrated tourism area. The beautiful Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), accessible by boat from North Jakarta's dock, is an instant escape from the hectic city with its beautiful beaches, marine parks, and world-class resorts.
Satellite cities: The Jakarta megalopolis of 30 million inhabitants includes Jakarta and the following satellite cities:
- Bogor - One of the primary destinations to escape from Jakarta, with well-kept natural habitats, world class botany garden, resorts, and multiple golf courses
- Tangerang - The airport, many large commercial centres and clustered homes
- Bekasi - Mostly industrial parks
- Depok - Home to the University of Indonesia
A common abbreviation to describe the megalopolitan area is Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi).
Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, is easier said than done. Sometimes, the same name is used for different streets in different parts of the city, and it's often difficult to find the correct street or address without the postal code/region. A sign with a street name facing you indicates the name of the street you are about to enter, not that of the cross street. Alleys off a main road are often simply notated by Roman numerals, hence a street address like "Jl. Mangga Besar VIII/21" means house number 21 on alley number 8 (VIII) off the main road of Jl. Mangga Besar.
Fortunately, there is a logic to the name of the street. Outside of the corridors of high rise offices, you basically can find out on what branch of the street you're on by looking at the name of the streets without the Roman numerals. Most often the name of the area is the same as the name of the street, especially if it also bears the phrase Jalan Raya or avenues. Knowing this almost takes you there, but gated clusters of houses have their own main roads that do not follow the convention, even though they are branches of a specific street. In that case, knowing the name of the housing cluster would be the best option in addition to the above rules. Conveniently, most navigation apps such as Google Maps or Waze are useful for finding addresses and places throughout Jakarta due to regular updates from users.
If you don't want to waste time, ask for the description or name of nearby landmarks or buildings, billboards, color of the building or fence, or the postal code. If you still cannot find the address, start asking people on the street, especially ojek (motorcycle taxi drivers).
Jakarta's nickname among expats is the Big Durian, and like the fruit itself, it's a shock at first sight (and smell): a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 30 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl. The metropolitan area is a charm and melting pot for Indonesians, both as a business and a government centre, and the most developed city in the country. But all of this comes at a cost: the city has been struggling very hard to keep up with the urban growth. Major roads are packed up during rush hours and weekends (sometimes all day during rainy season due to motorcyclists sheltering under the fly-over or the tunnel when it's raining heavily, thus causing additional congestion), while the public transportation system has been unable to alleviate that much traffic. Housing the population has been a problem too and adding to that, the numerous people's mentality are yet to make the city a great place to live in, as dreamed of.
All that said, while initially a bit overwhelming, if you can withstand the pollution and can afford to indulge in Jakarta's charms, you can discover what is also one of Asia's most exciting, most lively global cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from green parks and historical centres, to cosmopolitan shopping, diverse gourmet choices, and some of the hippest nightlife in Southeast Asia!
To cite a couple of figures that further clarify the position of Jakarta relative to the rest of the world, the city's Human Development Index is categorised as High Human Development with a value of 0.694, whereas the category of Very High Human Development starts at 0.800 and would apply to the USA, Japan and most European countries. Jakarta's Human Development Index number is higher than or on par with Turkey and most Balkan countries.
The port of Sunda Kelapa dates to the 12th century, when it served the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran near present-day Bogor. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, who were given permission by the Hindu Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran to erect a godown (warehouse) in 1522. Control was still firmly in local hands, and in 1527 the city was conquered by Prince Fatahillah, a Muslim prince from Cirebon, who changed the name to Jayakarta.
By the early 17th century, however, the Dutch had pretty much taken over the port city, and the razing of a competing English fort in 1619 secured their hold on the island. Under the name Batavia, the new Dutch town became the capital of the Dutch East Indies and was known as the Queen of the East.
However, the Dutch made the mistake of attempting to replicate Holland by digging canals throughout the malarial swamps in the area, resulting in shockingly high death rates and earning the town the epithet White Man's Graveyard. In the early 1800s most canals were filled in, the town was shifted 4 km inland and the Pearl of the Orient flourished once again.
In 1740, Chinese slaves rebelled against the Dutch. The rebellion was put down harshly with the massacre of thousands of Chinese slaves. The survivors were exiled to Sri Lanka.
In 1795, the Netherlands were invaded and occupied by France, and on March 17, 1798, the Batavian Republic, a satellite state of France, took over the VOC's debts and assets. But on August 26, 1811, a British expedition led by Lord Minto defeated the French/Dutch troops in Jakarta, leading to a brief liberation and subsequent administration of Indonesia by the British (led by Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame) in 1811-1816. In 1815, after the Congress of Vienna, Indonesia was handed over from the British to the Dutch government.
The name Jakarta was adopted as a short form of Jayakarta when the city was conquered by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, the Indonesian war of independence followed, with the capital briefly shifted to Yogyakarta after the Dutch attacked. The war lasted until 1949, four years after Indonesian Independence, when the Dutch accepted the independence and handed back the town, which became Indonesia's capital again.
Since independence, Jakarta's population has skyrocketed, thanks to migrants coming to the city from across the Indonesian archipelago. The entire Jabodetabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi) metropolitan region is estimated to have a population of about 30 million.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Jakarta, like the rest of Indonesia, is under the tropical climate classification. It has two distinct seasons, rainy and dry. It is hot and usually humid with little fluctuation in temperature throughout the year. The average temperature is about 28°C (82°F), hot compared to other cities across Indonesia, especially because of the absence of trees in many areas.
November to March is the peak of the rainy season, and floods and traffic chaos on many of the streets usually occur. At its worst, floods can result in standstill on the prone spots and takes a few days to subside; canal-widening and cleanings have mitigated the effect substantially and for most major roads, a couple hours is all it takes for the standing water to be wiped out. Even in rainy seasons, the sun usually appears for hours each day. During the transition from rainy to dry season or vice versa (April-May & September-October), there is occasional rain. Sometimes it pours; other times it's not a washout. The good thing is that it cools down the air after a sweltering hot day. The rain is almost always absent from June through August.
- 1 "Enjoy Jakarta" Tourism Information Centre, Jakarta Theater Building, Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 9, ☏ .
- "Enjoy Jakarta" Tourism Information Service, Terminal 2D Arrival, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, ☏ .
- Main article: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport
Jakarta (JKT IATA) has two airports with scheduled flights. 1 Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK IATA) is 20 km northwest of the city in the neighboring city of Tangerang, and handles most commercial flights. This airport, along with transportation options to and from the airport, is covered in a separate article. An express train runs every half hour to Sudirman station right at downtown in one hour for Rp70,000 while a taxi will cost from Rp100,000 to Rp175,000 depending on the traffic. The state-owned DAMRI buses take you to various major transportation hubs (trains & other buses) routinely for less than Rp40,000, while the JAConnexion buses serves a number of hotels and shopping malls within the metro area for up to Rp50,000. Many hotels are generous enough to offer shuttles from the airport. There is a dedicated tollway that takes you to the city, which should take 45 to 90 minutes. Avoid taking conventional or online taxi in rush hour as it may charge you more than Rp300.000.
The smaller 2 Halim Perdanakusuma Airport (HLP IATA), much closer to the city (in East Jakarta), is served by a range of domestic scheduled flights, in addition to its use by the military, VIP flights, charter flights, helicopter leasing companies, and private jets. DAMRI also operates bus services to Rawamangun Bus Terminal for Rp20,000; to Pulogebang, Gambir Station, and Bekasi for Rp25,000; and to Depok, Bogor's Botany Square, and Soekarno Hatta Airport for Rp30,000. There are also taxi services operating here, but avoid taking them inside the airport area.
Alternatively, you can use Husein Sastranegara International Airport (BDO IATA), which serves the city of Bandung, 130 km from Jakarta, which features mostly propeller airplanes, and some international flights by jets. However, considering the more limited offering of flight destinations compared to Soekarno-Hatta, and the relatively lengthy and often congested trip between Jakarta and Bandung, this option is not commonly useful. There are coach services, although most of the time you have to transfer between coaches at the respective companies' pools at downtown Bandung before continuing to Jakarta. The trip from Jakarta to Bandung's airport by public transport requires at least 3 hours, often more.
Jakarta has several major train stations. 3 Gambir in Central Jakarta is the current main station for long-distance passenger service, especially Executive class trains from most major cities in Java, thus it has the most complete facilities. If you are using a business or economy class train, you will likely stop at either 4 Pasar Senen, two blocks away from Gambir, or 5 Kota in West Jakarta. All stations offer connections to local public transportation, including the Transjakarta system. While Jakarta's suburban commuter trains (KA Commuter Jabodetabek) do stop at most Jakarta stations, Gambir and Senen are not included. Get off at 6 Jatinegara station if you wish to connect with the commuter train.
When buying tickets for buses out of Jakarta, you're better off buying them at each bus company's booth. Do not buy from anywhere outside the booth as the prices are more expensive and the bus they will take you to is questionable. Jakarta has many bus terminals, but not all of them have inter-city services. Look for the sign AKAP (Antar Kota Antar Provinsi or Inter-city and Inter-Province).
Fortunately these terminals are easy to reach. City bus services, as well as airport shuttles, start and end at bus terminals, and busway services stop there too. Even though the listing says the destination the terminal mainly serves, some services may be available to other parts of Java.
- 7 Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal, Jalan Lingkar Luar Selatan, East Jakarta (Use busway line ). The busiest terminal for intercity buses. Kampung Rambutan offers multiple bus services daily, mainly to and from destinations across Banten, especially the Merak port, and the central & southern part of Java island, such as Cianjur, Bandung, Garut, Tasikmalaya, Cilacap, Purwokerto, Yogyakarta, Solo, and Malang, although buses to major cities across the north may exist. City & intercity buses depart from separate areas.
- 8 Pulo Gadung Bus Terminal, Jalan Bekasi Raya, East Jakarta (Use busway lines & ). Formerly the second busiest terminal, nowadays Pulo Gadung Terminal only serves buses to Merak, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok.
- 9 Pulo Gebang Bus Terminal, Jalan Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta (Use busway line ). The new and biggest bus terminal in Southeast Asia. Offers multiple bus services daily, mainly to and from destinations across the northern coast of Java, such as Cirebon, Tegal, Pekalongan, Semarang, and Surabaya, though some operators may also drive you to Bandung. Some buses even offer routes to Bali and Lombok together after pickup from Pulo Gadung Bus Terminal.
- 10 Lebak Bulus Bus Station (Use MRT North-South line or busway line ). Not a terminal but only a 100-m² bus stop, as a temporary replacement for the Lebak Bulus Terminal, which nowadays is an MRT station under construction. When the MRT station is completed, it will be integrated with the bus terminal. Service to destinations east of Jakarta, as far as East Java.
If you are arriving from Sumatra or taking DAMRI buses from the Soekarno-Hatta airport, you will most likely arrive at one of these two terminals:
- 11 Rawamangun Bus Terminal, Jalan Perserikatan No. 1 (Jalan Paus), East Jakarta (Use busway line , but does not stop right at the terminal. The nearest stop is at Pemuda Ramawangun or Velodrome.). Like Pulo Gadung Terminal, only serves buses to Merak, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok.
- 12 Kali Deres Bus Terminal, Jalan Daan Mogot KM 16, West Jakarta (Use busway line ). Its location in west Jakarta makes it an optimal stop for buses from Sumatra, although it doesn't have as many as Rawamangun.
Besides above if you are taking DAMRI buses from the Soekarno-Hatta airport, you can arrive at terminals:
- Tanjung Priok Bus Terminal and then can use TransJakarta Corridor 10 or 12
- Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal and then can use TransJakarta Corridor 7
- Lebak Bulus Bus Terminal and then can use TransJakarta Corridor 8
Minibus service (vans for about 8-10 passengers, in Indonesia indicated as "travel") has taken over the short-distance intercity coach services. Most minibus companies such as CitiTrans, and XTrans will take you to Jakarta from Bandung or to Soekarno-Hatta Airport. One-way fares from Bandung are typically Rp100,000 to the downtown area and Rp150,000 to Soekarno-Hatta Airport. The buses will most often not drop you at hotels or bus terminals, but at their own offices or drop-off locations instead. You still can bargain the driver to drop at your desired place with additional price.
The national ferry companies, ASDP Indonesia Ferry and Pelni, operate passenger services from a large number of destinations across the Indonesian archipelago. The main ferry terminal is 13 Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta. Smaller speedboats, particularly to and from the Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu), depart from Ancol and Muara Angke, also on Jakarta's north shore.
While travelling by car may not be a good idea, it remains perhaps the most convenient way to enter Jakarta. Congestion can extend well past rush hours and a hesitation at any ring road tollway in Jakarta can have a domino effect on other tolls. There are four tollways that terminate in Jakarta:
- Jakarta-Merak cuts through Tangerang and leads to the western edge of Java, the Merak port for connections to Sumatra Island.
- Jagorawi tollway goes south to Bogor and the Puncak holiday resorts.
- Jakarta-Cikampek goes east via Bekasi and Karawang and continues to Bandung or all the way towards Central Java.
- The short Jakarta-Serpong toll road connects Jakarta to South Tangerang.
An odd-even license plate scheme is in effect for the first three tollways inbound towards Jakarta on weekdays 06:00-10:00, but is enforced only at selected on-ramps. Under the system, only odd-numbered plates may enter the road on odd dates, and even-numbered plates on even dates. Only an electronic payment card is accepted.
How to speak prokem like a Betawi
The everyday speech of Jakartans (Betawi) is liberally laced with slang (prokem) expressions. Like any slang, words come in and out of fashion with bewildering rapidity, but some features can be distinguished:
A short glossary of common Jakartan expressions:
Getting around Jakarta is, more often than not, problematic. The city layout is Darwinistic and bewildering with horrendous traffic jams (macet "MAH-chet") slowing the city to a crawl during rush hour, and the ever-expanding public transportation is still inadequate enough to relieve the congestion. To make things worse, the traffic jams are worse during the rainy season despite no real flooding, mainly due to motorcyclists sheltering under the tunnel.
Various areas of the city have different levels of chaotic traffic. But while the better-organised traffic is mainly in the business districts (MH Thamrin, Jendral Sudirman, and H.R. Rasuna Said), they remain one of the most congested spots in Jakarta! It can even go beyond business hours because of the area's mixed-use as both office and commercial space, as well as the domino effect from other streets' stop-and-go traffic.
By KA Commuter Jabodetabek
The KA Commuter Jabodetabek (or KRL, colloquially known as the Commuter Line) commuter trains in Jakarta connect the city centre with the suburbs and satellite cities, namely Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Bogor, South Tangerang, and Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta. It's usually worth trying as it is much faster than most motor vehicles on the road, but the late arrival of the train (usually by 10 to 15 minutes) might be bothersome. Riding the train is generally safe and comfortable; while they are of course cramped during peak hours, they are still better than using the bus. Major stations are adjacent to a TransJakarta bus stop, though you have to walk a bit or use a feeder bus service to transfer between systems.
There are three types of Commuter Line tickets:
- 7-day trips (Tiket Harian Berjaminan, literally: Daily Ticket with Guarantee) must be purchased at a ticket counter by stating your destination. A Rp10,000 refundable deposit will be added to the calculated fare and may be used for unlimited trips within 7 consecutive days in which the ticket must be returned to have your deposit back.
- Multi-trip, refillable at the vending machine and directly usable to enter the electronic gate at the station. The train company issues a special Multi-trip card that can be purchased at a ticket counter for Rp50,000 (initial balance contains Rp30,000), but you must have at least Rp5,000 to use the train.
- Electronic money or bank-issued prepaid cards are a better alternative than the other two, as any credits are also usable for purchases at major retailers and convenience stores, the toll road, parking, and other public transportation (MRT and Transjakarta). Bank Mandiri's e-money or e-toll card, BCA's Flazz, BNI's tap-cash, BRI's BRIZZI, or Bank DKI's JakCard, are obtainable at the respective banks, minimarts such as Alfamart and Indomaret, and at Transjakarta stops. An initial purchase of the card costs Rp40,000, which is credited toward each fare. The card is non-refundable and it can be topped up at convenience stores and the ATMs of the respective banks.
The fare is determined by distance: Rp3,000 for the first 25 km and Rp 1,000 for every 10 km thereafter. This means that you have to tap in at your origin station and tap out at your destination; transfers are free as long as you do not tap out. You will be charged the longest route fare for not tapping out and Rp50,000 for losing your card or pay the remaining fare with the fare-adjustment vending machine if your credit isn't enough to pay the fare. It's better to make sure that you have at least Rp20,000 credit left in your multi-trip or prepaid card. It is safe to assume that you should pay a maximum of Rp5,000 if you are only wandering around Jakarta.
Commuter services run daily from 04:30 to 00:00, roughly every 15-30 minutes per route. It usually takes 20 minutes to get from one end of the city to another, and another 30 minutes to the suburban terminus. Weekend special services connect Depok and Bogor with the popular Ancol entertainment park at North Jakarta.
Commuter trains do not stop at Gambir and Pasar Senen stations, the starting stations for long-distance trains in Jakarta; transfer at Jatinegara train station in the east.
The Jakarta MRT (in Indonesian known as Moda Raya Terpadu) is Jakarta's newest service connecting Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta with Bundaran HI in Central Jakarta from 05:00 till midnight. It follows the main business street of MH Thamrin, continuing south along the mixed-use areas of South Jakarta before ending near the southern city limits in Lebak Bulus. It primarily links a number of business centres in the city, as well as being pedestrian-accessible to several malls. It's less convenient to access other parts of the city, and passes through few tourist attractions.
Unlike the more utilitarian and dated design of the city's other transportation services, the MRT uses modern, spacious stations designed for heavier use. North of Senayan, stations are underground and can be accessed through rather small descending passageways on the pedestrian path. Southern stations are elevated and can't be missed. Some, but not all, of the entrances have upwards escalators, but each station has at least one wheelchair-accessible elevator. Upon entry, head into the main hall, obtain a payment card and tap in to the platform area. Tap out again before exiting. Convenience stores and snacks are available before the tap-in gates, but eating and drinking is forbidden on the platforms or within the train. This rule is actively enforced, though with a few exceptions.
Trains are clean and on time and operate every 5 minutes during peak rush hour (07:00-09:00 and 17:00–19:00), and every 10 minutes for the rest of the day. Fares range from Rp3,000 to Rp14,000 based on the distance covered.
Fares can be paid with single-trip cards, purchasable from vending machines or at the ticket booth within each station, or through bank-issued prepaid cards. Single-trip cards have a Rp10,000 deposit that can be refunded at the end of the trip; the prepaid card option is more convenient, can be topped up at convenience stores and ATMs, and are also usable in some, but not all, of the other transportation modes. (See: Commuter Jabodetabek)
A Park-and-ride space is available 200 metres from Lebak Bulus Station and uses a daily flat rate of Rp1,000 for bicycles, Rp2,000 for motorcycles, and Rp5,000 for cars. This is more useful for commuters, and can easily fill up during the day.
The TransJakarta buses (in Indonesian known as busway) are modern, air-conditioned and generally comfortable. The mainline service runs Su-Th 05:00 to 23:00 and F Sa to 24:00, with few buses outside these hours. The buses have separate seating for women at the front, an attendant who stands by the door announcing stops and providing security, and CCTVs. There are priority seats for the elderly, disabled, and expectant mothers, but the wide gap between the platforms and buses can be a hindrance. There are 13 main lines in operation, in addition to a number of feeder routes that operate between them.
Unlike Jakarta's other buses, they run on fully dedicated lanes. Passengers must use dedicated stations usually found in the middle of large thoroughfares connected to both sides by overhead bridges. The system is remarkably user-friendly by Jakarta standards, with station announcements inside the purpose-built vehicles. Grab onto a handle as soon as you enter the bus, as they move away from the stop suddenly and quickly.
Park and Ride facilities are in Ragunan (South Jakarta), Kampung Rambutan (East Jakarta), Kalideres (West Jakarta), and Pulo Gebang (East Jakarta).
Tickets cost Rp2,000 from 05:00 to 07:00 and Rp3,500 all other times regardless of distance. You pay by using bank-issued prepaid cards (See: Commuter Jabodetabek). There are no single-use passes, however, you may be able to offer a helpful local a Rp5,000 note to tap you in using their card. Transfers between lines are free, but be careful not to exit the system until your journey is completed. The buses can get very crowded, especially during rush hours at around 07:00 and 17:00, when office workers are on the move.
Multiple smaller buses serve as a feeder between selected mainline stops and train stations or neighborhoods where the mainline does not run. Wait for them under the blue bus sign that says Bus Pengumpan Transjakarta (lit. Transjakarta feeder bus). If you transfer from the mainline stops, you do not need to pay for transfer; otherwise payments are accepted in both cash and prepaid card. They can also take you out to Jakarta's satellite cities. See the Jakarta 'By public bus' section. As there are no indicators of which routes serve these bus stops, it's a good idea to use the map apps or the Trafi app on your phone.
TransJakarta Cares is a complimentary bus service for disabled people to reach the nearest TransJakarta bus stop. They can be requested by calling 1500 102.
Passengers can keep track of bus arrival times at the screens in the mainline bus stops or with the Trafi app from any smartphones.
By tour bus
Jakarta may be one of the few cities in the world whose government provides tour buses. Dubbed the City Tour Jakarta, the buses are double-decker and you can ride them for free! There are 4 loop routes that are sorted by the genre of the places of interest: Historical, Modern, Art & Culinary and the Jakarta skyscrapers. The first two routes run Monday-Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00 and Sunday from 12:00 to 20:00, while the latter only operates Saturdays 17:00-23:00.
By public bus
A multitude of bus companies prowl the streets of Jakarta. However, buses do not run on schedule or even have one. Most maps bought outside Indonesia do not show bus routes, so Google Maps would be the best method to figure out what bus you should take. Most bus stops also post what route numbers and destinations stop there, but they do not always stop there! They make for a good adventure if you're not in a rush and don't mind being the centre of attention.
These are the bus companies, ranked from best to worst:
- Transjabodetabek feeds between the Transjakarta stops and the outskirts of town. Look for the routes that has a letter preceding the line number. In case of no shelter, wait under the blue bus sign.
- Kopaja AC (not to be confused with Kopaja non-AC) has introduced a similar service on selected routes. Some of the lines are reachable from the Transjakarta bus stops. Look for the metallic grey and green colour bus. These buses offer Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Most Mayasari Bakti buses have an air conditioner, but a few routes do not. Air conditioned buses bear the letters AC on the bus number. These buses usually have a light & dark blue body, but some are green and orange. Inquire if in doubt.
- PPD also has a combination of an air conditioned and non-air conditioned fleet. They have fewer buses and noticeably a lower tier of service than Mayasari Bakti. Look for the white & black strip, with the Monas icon; the buses may be branded as "PATAS", which means express.
- Avoid using MetroMini (orange & blue), Kopami (blue & yellow) and non-air conditioned Kopaja (white & green) at all costs as the buses are filthy, do not offer air conditioning and are driven recklessly.
Bus fares are generally less than Rp10,000 with a flat rate system. You usually pay in a box beside the driver but a kenek may reach out to you so you can pay him.
Cheaper still are mikrolet (mini-buses) and angkot (small vans) that ply the smaller streets and whose fares vary from Rp4,000 for the first 2 km to Rp10,000. You pay the fare directly to the driver when you get off.
You may want to have a couple of spare Rp500 coins before boarding the bus since there is on-board "entertainment" and other distractions. On a typical day, you may find street musicians singing unplugged versions of Indonesian and Western pop songs and asking for donations at the end of the performance, and street vendors, one after another, trying to sell almost everything, from ballpoint pens and candies to boxed doughnuts and health goods.
Avoid sitting or standing in the back of the bus, as this is where muggers find their prey. Always keep an eye on your belongings and be alert at all times for pickpockets and do not wear any valuable. The best seat is in the front, next to the driver.
Buses do not run according to any schedule or timetable. Sometimes a bus may take a while to come, other times two buses of the same route may come together and the drivers will steer aggressively to get more passengers. They do not stop at any particular bus stop, but anywhere they like. If you want to get off, simply say "kiri" (to the left) to the "kondektur" or just knock on the ceiling of the bus three times (be sure that the driver hears your thumping, best to use a coin), and the bus driver will find a place to drop you. An additional tip to alight from these buses is to use your left foot first to maintain balance and try to get down as quickly as possible and move the body in line with bus direction, as they do not fully stop the bus.
Also, seats in these buses are built for Indonesians, who are typically shorter and more slender and agile than people with a larger build such as Caucasians and Africans. Non-Indonesians might find the seats in these buses confining and uncomfortable. TransJabodetabek, APTB and BKTB are not so crowded and the seats are more comfortable for non-Indonesians.
While most bus routes are from one bus terminal to another, not all of them have connections to long-distance bus services (see Get In section).
Travelling by car, while it just adds up to the congestion itself, remains the most convenient way to travel around the city, especially because of its lacking public transportation.
Rental cars are available, but unless you are familiar with local driving practices or lack thereof, take reputable taxis. Foreigners are recommended not to rent cars and drive on their own, as the chaotic traffic can give you a headache; renting with a driver is more than advisable. That being said, safety and road rules are enforced much more rigorously than in other parts of the country—obey the traffic laws and do not be tempted to disobey like many of the locals do, even when it seems convenient. Police regularly patrol the major roadways, and many rules are poorly marked, such as which lanes exactly are reserved for the TransJakarta service.
Two toll roads circle the city: the Lingkar Dalam ("inner ring road", bisecting the downtown core) and Lingkar Luar (JORR, Jakarta Outer Ring Road, encircling the outskirts). Using these toll roads is faster when the traffic is good, but are very often jammed themselves, particularly during rush hours. They generally only accept payment using prepaid bank cards.
Outside of the toll roads, road quality differs heavily between the wide downtown avenues and thin alleyways in the residential districts. Road types may be poorly marked in maps. Flooding is common in certain areas during the rainy season, with even large roads being completely inaccessible.
Finding parking places in residential areas can be difficult due to the narrow roads. Paid parking is easy to find in shopping malls, offices and the like for a shockingly cheap rate: Rp4,000-6,000 per hour. Street parking often requires payment of up to Rp3,000-5,000 to an illegal parking 'attendant' for one hour. For 41 areas with street electronic parking posts, the fee is Rp5,000 per hour paid by 7 certain debit cards, and don't pay anything to a formal attendant (monitoring by CCTV) such as you would in Sabang and Kelapa Gading Boulevards. If you park on a street, do so only at the designated areas and in a way that does not block the traffic. Otherwise, your car will be towed and ticketed, in which case you will need some paperwork to get it back!
An odd-even traffic control system is enforced along select main streets Mondays to Fridays from 06:00-10:00 and 16:00-21:00, except public holiday. Under the system, only vehicles with odd license plate numbers are permitted to travel on odd-numbered calendar dates, and even-numbered license plates on even-numbered dates. The fine for violations is Rp500,000, but taxis and public transportation (vehicles with yellow-black plate number) are exempt. Look for the sign above the road that indicates if the rule is enforced at the adjacent street; generally speaking they are valid on roads along the Inner Ring Road south of the Merak toll interchange and along the eastern side, Rasuna Said, and the Sudirman-Thamrin-Medan Merdeka Barat corridor. Starting on September 9, 2019 there are additional 16 new routes of the system. It can be read at: http://www.beritajakarta.id/en/read/31342/city-expands-odd-even-system-in-16-routes#.XXU9R3E3GM8
If you wish to rent a car, consider these companies:
- RentalMobil.com, SCBD Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav 52 - 53, ☏ .
- TRAC Astra Rent A Car, ☏ .
- Golden Bird (A subsidiary service of Blue Bird Group), ☏ .
Beware the false Blue Bird
Blue Bird's reputation has spawned a host of dodgy imitators, so just because it's blue doesn't mean it's safe. Check the following before you get in:
Most visitors opt to travel by taxi, which is very cheap by Western standards, abundant and occasionally fast. There is a multitude of taxi companies of varying degrees of dependability.
- Blue Bird Group, ☏ , . The Blue Bird, including the Pusaka & Morante taxis as well as the premium brands Silver Bird and Golden Bird, are well known for their reliability, efficient telephone order service, and orderly meter usage. A special ride for the physically impaired can also be requested. The Silver Bird executive taxi charges a premium rate for a larger car. In addition, Blue Bird Taxi has launched taxis using a low roof MPV which can accommodate up to 7 persons. The fare is the same as for a regular taxi, but if you want one, order it specifically when you call for a taxi.
The popularity of online taxis (GrabCar and GoCar), due to cheaper fares, safer and more polite drivers, means that nowadays it can be more difficult or time-consuming to get conventional/regular taxis; out of 32 taxi companies that used to operating in Jakarta, there are only 4 now. Besides Blue Bird, these are the remaining companies:
- Express, ☏ . This is typically the second-best option, if Blue Bird taxis are not visible, but hail this taxi if your main concern is price. No minimum payment for hailing in the street, the minimum payment of Rp40,000 is only for ordering by phone.
- Gamya, ☏ , .
- Taxiku, ☏ .
You can generally determine a good cabbie by asking "Pakai argo?" ("meter?") - if they say no or "tidak", get another taxi. Taxis parked near train/bus stations, tourist attractions, and hotels often refuse to use the meter and quote silly prices (especially to foreigners) - in this case, it's a good idea to walk away a bit, then hail a passing taxi from the above companies.
Tipping is not necessary, but rounding the meter up to the nearest Rp5,000 is expected, although rounding the meter up to the nearest Rp1,000 is also OK. So prepare some change if you want, or else you may be rounded up to the nearest Rp5,000.
If the taxi takes a toll road, the added cost is not reflected on the meter. The driver will tap their contactless card to the toll booth, receive a receipt, and you can see the cost shown on a large display next to the payment machine. Drivers may run out of their card's credits, and require a short stop at a convenience store to top up; this is normal. At the end of the trip, your driver will sum up the meter price with any toll receipts, and you can always pay in cash, while some taxis accept cards. A taxi receipt is available on request and is not standard.
Blue Bird, Gojek and Grab apps can be downloaded for free to help you order taxis via smartphone. Fill in the departure and arrival points and Google Maps will show the map with the taxis and also the estimated cost displayed in a range. Blue Bird Taxi has the same fare regardless of whether you hire them online or by phone (with minimum payment applied). GoCar and GrabCar have prices fixed in advance, regardless of any traffic jams. Choose the taxi that will be used and the taxi will usually come in five minutes. Only qualified taxis and qualified drivers can join the apps, so this is one of the safest ways to get a taxi. Taxis have been abundant since online ride-hailing started operating in Jakarta. Online taxis rate is only about two-thirds that of a conventional taxi, or at most the same as a conventional one during peak hours. Since the price is preset, drivers have no incentive to take an unnecessarily roundabout route, which used to be common with conventional taxis.
The Jakartan equivalent to Thailand's tuk-tuk is the bajaj (pronounced "bahdge-eye"), orange mutant scooters souped up in India into little three-wheeled vehicles that carry passengers in a small cabin at the back. Besides the usual orange bajaj, there is blue bajaj, which use gas as fuel.
They're a popular way to get around town since they can weave through Jakarta's interminable traffic jams much like motorbikes can. Although slow, boneshaking (they have no suspension), hot and windy (locals joke about the "natural A/C"), and a great way to breathe in more exhaust fumes than you ever thought possible (maybe less if you ride the blue bajaj), riding around in these little motor-bugs can really grow on you. Blue gas-fueled bajaj are quieter than the orange 2-cycle bajaj.
There are no set prices, but a short hop of a few city blocks shouldn't cost much more than Rp5,000. Be sure to agree to (read: haggle) a price before you set off. Bajaj drivers are happy to overcharge visitors, and often ask double or even more than what you would pay by a meter in a more comfortable Blue Bird taxi. Locals who regularly use the bajaj know what a typical fare should be and are happy to tell you. Also, since bajaj aren't allowed on some of the larger roads in Jakarta, your route may well take you through the bewildering warren of backstreets. Try to keep an eye on what direction you're going, because some unscrupulous bajaj drivers see nothing wrong with taking the "scenic" route and then charging you double or triple the price.
There are also Grab Bajaj that use the Grab application. The tarif is Rp 3,000 per kilometre and minimum payment Rp 9,000. It is intermediate between GrabBike and GrabCar due to Bajaj can accommodate 2 passengers and baggage.
This variant of bajaj has 4 wheels instead of 3. Qute are much quieter than bemo and have air conditioning. These 'new bemo' operate throughout Central Jakarta towards North Jakarta via Mangga Dua to Ancol. The price is quite the same as for ordinary bajaj (about Rp5,000 for a short hop). Make sure to haggle a price before you ride the vehicle.
If you're poking around narrow back streets, or in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb or more to get there, then Jakarta's motorcycle taxis (ojek) might be the ticket for you. Jakarta's ojek services consist of guys with bikes lounging around street corners, who usually shuttle short distances down alleys and roads but will also do longer trips for a price. Agree on the fare before you set off. Insist on a helmet and wear it properly—no need to make it more insanely dangerous than it already is. The ojek drivers will insist you're safe with them and that they'll drive carefully—some are telling the truth, some lying. Before you choose a driver, pay attention to their motorcycle's appearance and their helmet; sometimes it shows their character. Locals normally pay Rp5,000 for a short ride (one kilometre) and Rp7,000-10,000 for a longer (roughly more than a kilometre or a 15-minute walk). Foreigners are likely to be asked for more, but generally, ojek drivers will accept the proper fare if you insist on it, unless they see you really need their service.
On-demand (online) ojek services such as Go-Jek and Grab are ubiquitous can be booked through their respective smartphone apps, and offer generally cheaper fares which are stated in advance, although for Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi area are more expensive than other area Rp 2,250 to Rp 2,650 per kilometer with minimum payment Rp 9,000 to Rp 10,500. Payments can be made by cash or stored value (akin to prepaid mobile phone service). You may chat or call the driver for help with finding each other, although some knowledge of Indonesian would be helpful. Go-Jek as a pioneer has more widespread availability; those who travel here alongside other Southeast Asian countries may find it useful to keep using Grab. The other more expensive on-demand ojek service is Lady Jek with female drivers. Unlike conventional ojeks, which typically only operate dawn to dusk, they are available at all times and relatively safe for both passengers and drivers as they are monitored by GPS. While it seems cheap, those who travel in groups of at least three may be better off taking a taxi for convenience and the unnoticeable difference in fares.
The aforementioned brands also offer taxi service that are either private cars akin to Uber elsewhere in the world or with taxi companies so that you can hail them from the same app. Other services include food or groceries delivery and shipping between residents or from online businesses.
If you have a lot of cash and want to beat the traffic exponentially, a helicopter can be an option for you. They can be chartered as well for excursions outside Jakarta.
- Transwisata, Halim Perdanakusuma Airport Terminal Building, Ground Floor, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Whitesky Aviation, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
Cycling provisions are almost non-existent in Jakarta, but the first signs of a cycling culture are emerging. Every Sunday from 06:00-11:00 during the Car Free Day (CFD) in Jalan Sudirman and Thamrin (and every month in other places in each city in Jakarta) are emptied of motorised vehicles, except TransJakarta. The atmosphere can be festive, as events are held in some places (especially in Hotel Indonesia Roundabout). As of 2019, 63 km of new bicycle lanes have been opened, besides previous bicycle lanes at Blok M and Kanal Banjir Timur. The Pemuda Pramuka is the most used bicycle lane, mainly to commute between work and home. New rules mention that bicycle lanes can be used by bicycle, electric bicycle, otopet, electric scooter, hoverboard and unicycle. Whoever violates the rule will be penalized up to Rp 500,000.
Grab (the online transport service provider stated in the 'Ojek' section) offers eScooter services with the 'GrabWheels' brand and a fare of Rp 5,000 per 30 minutes (Nov 2019). There are hundreds of parking lots for GrabWheels in Jakarta, mainly in the Sudirman Street area, so one can depart from a GrabWheels parking lot and deposit their eScooter in another. Despite the service's relative newness, many people rent it (mostly for fun).
However, after a car accident involving GrabWheels, in which 2 persons were killed and 4 others were injured, regulations were enacted: eScooters can be used only at bicycle lanes (no usage allowed along pavements, regular streets, or pedestrian overhead bridges).
Jakarta is hot and humid year-round, discouraging pedestrians, while what sidewalk is left is often quickly occupied by pushcart vendors. Crosswalks are not always available, and not always respected even when present. Many locals will simply walk across a busy street, holding up a palm to request vehicles slow down for them.
Even then, walking can sometimes be faster than using a vehicle, especially when the maze of streets results in a winding, roundabout, and congested route.
Jakarta is rapidly revamping its pedestrian facilities on its main roads, with clean and accessible wide sidewalks already in place along the Sudirman-Thamrin corridor and adjacent districts, with continuous construction work outwards. The paths remain hot and are very quiet during the day, but are more pleasant and busy during the afternoons. Still expect to clamber around mismatched concrete blocks and step on asphalt in the residential areas of the city.
A few other neighbourhoods can be explored on foot:
- Kota Tua (West Jakarta): a pedestrian-friendly square, a walk in this area explores the sights of Dutch colonial charm that was once central to the colonial administration.
- Pasar Baru (Central Jakarta): a pedestrian-friendly market that has been in existence since the colonial era.
- Rasuna Said, Kuningan District (South Jakarta): another business district along Jl. HR Rasuna Said with many embassies and office buildings.
- Monas and Kebon Sirih area (Central Jakarta): the city square is a pedestrian-friendly zone, and the surrounding area has several attractions such as the presidential palace and old colonial churches.
- Kanal Banjir Timur (Jakarta Timur), a nice river view in the morning with special bicycle and walking/running lane.
- Jatinegara (Jakarta Timur), full of vintage stalls, building, train station, and river view of Ciliwung.
- Kemang (Jakarta Selatan), full of coffee stalls, restaurants and bars. The best place to walk at night.
- Cikini (Jakarta Pusat), for coffee stalls, art spaces, and performances.
On Car-Free Day (CFD), every Sunday from 06:00 to 11:00 in the morning, the Sudirman-Thamrin thoroughfares are closed to motor vehicles, except for the Transjakarta buses. Locals crowd the streets to walk, jog, bike, enjoy performance arts and generally have some fun on the streets. While crowded, this is a good time to get in touch with the locals and see a different side of the city.
- Individual listings can be found in Jakarta's district articles
The heart of tourist attractions is to the north and centre of Jakarta. Visitors typically start exploring Jakarta from this part of the town, called the Kota Tua, where the old buildings of Jakarta are preserved within a dedicated walking area. Jakarta has 47 museums, which are spread across the city.
The Jakarta History Museum, formerly a city hall (Stadhuis), covers Jakarta's history from 400 AD to the present day, with photos, replicas, and maps. Do not miss the Jagur cannon in the back yard.
The Bank Indonesia Museum tells about the economy and currency system then and now using modern technology while the Museum Bahari takes you to the old glory of Jakarta's port, and Indonesia's as a whole. If you are into arts & crafts, the Museum Wayang has a collection of different puppets (Wayang) from all across the country and the world, and the Museum Seni Rupa & Keramik allows you to admire Indonesia's art in paintings and sculptures. Museum Prasasti for historical and scripture.
A few kilometres down south, you'll find the legacy of the Dutch and the first years of the Indonesian government, such as the iconic landmark of Jakarta, the National Monument park standing right at the centre of the court, and the Presidential Palace on its north side. And where else in the world could you find the Istiqlal Mosque, Southeast Asia's biggest mosque, and a 113-year-old gothic cathedral standing mightily across from each other? On the western side of the court, the elephant statue welcomes you to the Museum Nasional, one of the better designed museums out there. Or Gallery Nasional for art and sculpture.
Statues and monuments are ubiquitous in Jakarta and many stand prominently in major points across the city. Most of these icons were erected during Soekarno's rule in 1960, and thus still represent the old glory of independence. Start your trip from the Tugu Tani statue in Menteng that has a figure of a farmer going out to war. Across the Monas Park is Arjuna Wijaya, an eight-horse carriage statue near Monas. Going south at Jalan MH Thamrin, the iconic Selamat Datang statue waves at you, with a fountain that signifies its importance as the city centre of Jakarta. Passing through that is the Jenderal Sudirman statue giving a salute, that gives the street its name. Going further until the end of the straight street, is the Pemuda Membangun or Youth Developing statue that looks like a man holding up a burning bowl. The Dirgantara statue is visible in its glory if you are using the inner tollway in South Jakarta.
Green spaces are often overlooked in Jakarta. While the city has nearly 1,000 public parks big and small, very few are well maintained including even the National Monument Park (Monas). Menteng is large and perhaps the best and Taman Suropati hosts regular violin shows. Pantai Indah Kapuk, while inundated by housing projects, still leaves a space for mangrove swamps and monkeys' habitats in the two parks there. For parks with lakes, Pluit Park is one option, and a smaller one is Pulo Mas Park. Ragunan, the official zoo of Jakarta, is the second largest zoo in the world (140 hectares), offering diverse Indonesian and international flora & fauna, including a dedicated centre that houses primates, especially the endemic orangutans. Kalijodo Park is open 24 hours a day with green and child-friendly public space and an international skate park. For community park, look for Ruang Publik Terpadu Ramah Anak (RPTRA). Although smaller, it usually offers a small library with AC available to get some rest and a futsal field for physical activity. The newest is Lapangan Banteng Park which is also open for 24 hours and has good illumination for playing football.
However metropolitan Jakarta has 3 small forests in the city at Muara Angke, Srengseng and Tebet.
Jakarta also hosts two amusement parks. Taman Impian Jaya Ancol at the North, that is for pure fun plus a sea world aquarium, and Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Indonesia in miniature) in East Jakarta, which celebrates the culture of all 34 provinces of Indonesia, a bird park containing multiple endemic species, and multiple museums. Escape to Kepulauan Seribu to see wild birds and eagles, and island resorts not too far away from the city. The Setu Babakan down south is the centre of the indigenous Betawi culture. If you are looking for lake scene, go to Taman Waduk Pluit or Taman Waduk Ria Rio. For river scene, go to Taman Kanal Banjir Timur or RPTRA Mawar.
- Individual listings can be found in Jakarta's district articles
Despite being the melting pot of Indonesia, Jakarta's indigenous tribe called the Betawi still stays proud of its culture. They are actually a unique assimilation of various domestic and international races from the Chinese to the Portuguese, which makes it distinct from other parts of Indonesia. The Lenong theatre performance is accompanied by the Gambang Kromong orchestra that consists of the Sundanese Gendang, the Javanese Gamelan, and the Chinese Kongahyan (its own version of violin). The Tanjidor trumpets are an influence from the Dutch, while the Portuguese bequeathed the Keroncong orchestra. At the anniversary of the city's founding every 22 June, a distinctive piece of culture can be seen in hotels, the infamous pair of Ondel-ondel puppets. The complete experience of the culture can be found at Setu Babakan, the village of Betawi culture (and fishing at its lake).
Cinemas are a more affordable escape at around Rp30,000 - 45,000 for a plush seat (Rp40,000 - 70,000 on the weekend, up to Rp150,000 if you watch in Premiere Class at XXI or Velvet Class at CGV Blitz) in any of the capital's shopping malls. Beware of the heavy hand of the Indonesian censor though. The price of popcorn and drinks are exorbitant so you may wish to bring your own coming in. CGV Blitz cinemas will typically show movies in any foreign language other than English and the lesser ones also exhibit Indonesian B-Movies with erotic themes (still heavily censored). The largest chain of cinemas in Indonesia are the 21 Cineplex (branded as XXI in premium shopping malls) and CGV Blitz [dead link]. IMAX theaters are only available at Gandaria City's XXI theatre, Mal Kelapa Gading III's theatre and Keong Mas in TMII, although the latter more often shows documentary than blockbuster films.
Performing arts festivals
Jakarta boasts some of the world's largest music events, which may surprise you, and the many young fans have attracted artists all around the world to regularly stop by Jakarta as part of their world tour, from rock concerts to Korean pop. Perhaps the best known event is the annual Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival that takes place each March for 3 days, filled with over 40 international and local artists performing jazz, R&B and reggae songs. The Hammersonic is an annual metal music concert, while We The Fest boasts some of the performances from indie/pop artists in August since its first inception in 2014, Road to Soundrenaline [dead link] takes you to the popular local indie/major label bands showcases, before it ends up in Bali for the main event with some of international artists performing there and the Djakarta Warehouse Project hosts world famous DJs to jam the start of the year-end holiday. For a street performance, the Sudirman-Thamrin strip is closed at night on 22 June and New Year's Eve, when stages for musical performances are erected and cultural parades set up to usher in Jakarta's founding anniversary and the New Year, respectively.
For some traditional and classical stuff, there are performances at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, by indie, jazz, dance, and classical music orchestras. Taman Ismail Marzuki hosts mainly theatrical shows, although English shows might be rare. Erasmus Huis Hall by the Dutch embassy also regularly hosts classical music shows and photography exhibitions.
The sport scene in Jakarta is perhaps one of the most vibrant you'll ever see in Asia. The Senayan sports complex still lives up to its name since the 1962 Asian Games, where archery and indoor shooting range are also publicly available to try. Soemantri-Brodjonegoro in Kuningan district also offers you many kinds of sport activities. If you like skateboarding, Kalijodo Skatepark is the best place to meet others.
Jakarta is perhaps the best city to play golf in Asia, thanks to the abundance of courses close to or even in the middle of the city, and relatively cheap prices compared to Western standards. Green fees can go as low as Rp70,000 on weekdays, although the better courses are twice that, and weekend rates are considerably steeper at Rp300,000 and more. Many golf courses are at South and East within the immediate suburbs of the city, much better in quality and quantity at the satellite cities.
Indonesia is one of the few lucky Asian countries where numerous European soccer teams, including from the prestigious British Premier League or the Italian League, play a trial game against the national team when the game itself is at break in Europe. The supporters between the national team and the Europeans at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium are even, yet even though for the most part Indonesia's national team post losses, clashes do not seem to happen at least in a chaotic way. When the Europeans are back in season, numerous cafés and bars around town put up gigantic TV screens to let the enthusiasm erupt while having a drink at dawn.
Futsal is the indoor version of football, which has 5 players per team and more lax rules of play. Anytime after work or on the weekends, you can easily find crowds at the many indoor courts across the city. Outdoors, the dirt and grass makeshift fields are abundant in residential areas, crowded with players, spectators and vendors, typically on weekend afternoons. In these casual games, anyone can simply ask to jump in or relax.
As a badminton powerhouse, Jakarta has a multitude of badminton courts, ranging from the national venues at the Senayan Complex to the suburban halls which cater to both futsal and badminton. Most of them have wood-panel flooring and are maintained in reasonably good condition. Lighting is strictly functional and is below par in comparison with standard badminton halls. People play almost every evening - so, walk in, strike up a conversation with the group's captain, and expect to blend in with their group for the session. If the captain refuses payment (usually less than Rp20,000), it is polite to buy the players a round of soft-drinks (teh-botol is a good choice). Be warned that it is common for Indonesians to eat, smoke, drink and nap by the side of the court: so watch your footing.
If you want to watch rather than to play, the Istora Senayan is packed every early June during the Indonesian Open Superseries, when Indonesia's and the world's top badminton players compete. The deafening cheers are chanted even beyond when the players hit the shuttlecock, an enthusiasm unmatched elsewhere in the world. It is advised to buy the tickets online (especially for the semifinals and final matches), otherwise you must choose between watching it on television or the big screen in Istora (think about Murray Mound/Henman Hill in Wimbledon).
You are in one of Asia's big cities—karaoke is the norm, so sing your heart out! Most chain brands such as Inul Vizta, NAV, or DIVA can be found at the upscale shopping malls where the youngsters play. You'll have your own lavish room with a wide span of libraries containing local, English, and East Asian songs, on a wide-screen TV while you can order a drink or food to be enjoyed while you wait your turn to sing. Rates can start from as low as Rp70,000 per room for a minimum of 6 people.
Cooking classes are held on Sundays at 10 AM by 99 Ranch Market at their branch in Pondok Indah for Rp200,000. There are also a few locations along Jalan Kemang that specifically cater to expats. Most offer pastry cooking classes.
Interestingly, you can learn about cultures from around the world in Jakarta. Many embassies have set up cultural centres where you can take world culture & language classes. Check these cultural centres for information: Korean Culture Centre, Institut Francais, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Japan Foundation [dead link], Russian Culture Centre, Goethe Institut.
Casual work in Jakarta is difficult to come by and Indonesian bureaucracy does not readily facilitate foreigners undertaking employment in Indonesia. As in the rest of Asia, teaching English is the best option, although salaries are poor (US$700–3000/month is typical, although accommodation may be provided) and the government only allows citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA to work as teachers. Formal work visas, residency permits and registration with several government offices is necessary. Formal approval from the Department of Manpower and the provision of documentation and guarantees from an employing sponsor is required to engage in any form of employment in Jakarta or elsewhere in Indonesia. Business visas are available for the purposes of conducting business related activities in Jakarta or elsewhere in Indonesia, this class of visa has strict conditions and requires a local business to sponsor the applicant. A business visa does not permit the holder to undertake any form of employment.
Jakarta caters to a growing class of remote workers and visitors on business trips with a large selection of coworking spaces. Mostly spread around Central and South Jakarta, day passes can be as low as Rp100,000, with hourly passes even lower. These spaces typically share buildings with offices and provide internet, drinks, and sometimes extra services like printing and meeting rooms. Some spaces are directly connected to shopping malls or public transit, making them very useful alternatives to spending hours in a cafe for work. Available desks may be limited in popular areas; call ahead to reserve a spot if necessary.
- Individual listings can be found in Jakarta's district articles
More than 2.5 million foreign tourists and more than 30 million domestic tourists visit Jakarta every year. It's a paradise for buying international brand-name garments (both genuine and fake).
If you're stopping in Jakarta, consider buying an extra suitcase, because there are lots of good shopping opportunities. Good used suitcases can be bought at Surabaya street and vendors also sell antiques. However, although quality can be excellent, genuine branded goods or quality products are expensive.
Every year, the Provincial Government of Jakarta holds an annual Festival Jakarta Great Sale that takes place from Mid-June to Mid-July. Most markets, shopping malls, and department stores attend it and will give discounts on selected items, although the event itself might be barely noticeable aside from some banners. Some stores also run Midnight Sales, usually in the weekend. And most of the malls are open from 10:00-20:00 every day, except on Ied Day when they're open 13:30-22:00.
An escape from Jakarta's sweltering heat, hundreds of shopping malls serve as social hotspots and are where the city congregate on weekends to shop, buy groceries, and hang out. They range from grand top-end luxury malls to smaller trade centers and shopping complexes, with new buildings constantly under construction, so you can probably find a suitably stocked mall (or three) for what you're looking for close to you. Genuinely imported goods from official retailers are priced to international standards, but Jakarta also offers local and lesser-known designer alternatives. A vast selection of cafes and social spots are also attached to malls, so if you're planning to meet up with an Indonesian acquaintance, brunch or dinner at a mall is a popular affair.
As a convention, most Jakarta malls will have a supermarket in the basement, alongside utilities such as ATMs, office goods, barber shops, pharmacies, personal health, and budget eating options. Shopping options are on the middle floors, followed by a selection of higher-end restaurants and potentially a movie theater at the top floors. Expect each location to have one or more lobbies at which you can be dropped off, and one of these lobbies will usually include a taxi stand. If calling in your own taxi (or rideshare) be sure to specify which lobby you're waiting at. Most malls open at 10:00, though breakfast dining spaces on the ground floor may open sooner, and lunch options may only fully open at 11:00.
Some of the most well known shopping complexes are at the heart of the city. Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia are massive upper-class malls next to each other on Jakarta's busy Hotel Indonesia Roundabout, easily accessible via MRT. To the south, Plaza Senayan & Senayan City are popular chic hangouts across from each other, also accessible by MRT. Mal Taman Anggrek and Central Park to the west at Jalan Letjen S. Parman are for all rounders.
Jalan Prof.Dr.Satrio is Jakarta's answer to the famed Orchard Road in Singapore, Ginza in Tokyo and Fifth Avenue in New York. Four malls (namely ITC Mal Ambassador, Kuningan City, Ciputra World I, and a bit further off, Kota Kasablanka) and counting, catering to visitors of all budget levels. Kelapa Gading has a street with four malls on its side, and two other giant malls are located elsewhere in the region. Pluit and Pondok Indah hosts three malls located along a single strip.
Every shopping mall has at least one department store, alongside brands that have their own shops. Sogo has the most branches, followed by Metro & Centro. Galeries Lafayette can be found at Pacific Place while Seibu and Central are located at Grand Indonesia. Matahari also provides similar fashion usually for a lower price.
In addition to malls, there are also numerous extremely large shopping centres, most of them within a complex, so if you are unable to find what you need at one mall, you can try again at the mall next door. Mangga Dua, Tanah Abang, and Pasar Baru are the best places in Jakarta to shop for fashion. In Mangga Dua area there are at least 3 shopping centres connected by bridges: ITC is for middle and upper middle class fashion, while the lower class is served by Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua, and Mangga Dua Mall is for gadget enthuasiasts. Tanah Abang is a wholesale market and the biggest in Southeast Asia, with delivery to Africa and other parts of the world. Tanah Abang is overcrowded, so Thamrin city next to Grand Indonesia (500 m from Tanah Abang) can serve as an alternative, mainly for Muslim wear and batik. Pasar Baru is not a shopping centre, but more like a street with old retail shops; stamp collectors will be able to find Indonesian stamps at the front of many of these shops. Mangga Dua Square, as well as Glodok and Roxy, are places to find gadgets. WTC (Wholesale Trade Centre) Mangga Dua is now specialised in selling used cars, with more than 100 sold per day.
If you are looking for antique products such as local handicrafts, Indonesian traditional batik or wayang golek (Sundanese puppets), you can go to Jalan Surabaya in Central Jakarta. If you are looking for rare maps, prints or paintings, you can go to Kemang Raya, where there are many galleries including Bartele gallery and Hadi Prana. Pasaraya Grande shopping mall at Blok M, South Jakarta has one dedicated floor for Indonesian antiques and handicrafts. Pasar Seni at Ancol is the centre of paintings and sculpture, including portrait pictures you can have done on the spot. Sarinah department store also has a vast section of traditional gifts.
Shopping at traditional markets may also be an exciting experience, where you can find exotic tropical fruits, traditional snacks, cheap fashion and novelty items. While most of them are far from tourist hot spots, Pasar Gondangdia across the namesake train station and the Fresh Market Pantai Indah Kapuk are the places that still offer such experience in a modern building while easily accessible.
Cash is still the most effective payment system for all transactions. A few established shops may accept payment with debit/credit card and electronic money.
- Individual listings can be found in Jakarta's district articles
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Budget||up to Rp25,000|
|Splurge||more than Rp100.000|
Jakarta has a vast range of food available at hundreds of eating complexes located all over the huge city. In addition to selections from all over the country, you can also find excellent Chinese, Japanese, Western, and many other international foods thanks to the cosmopolitan population.
If you want to go local Jakarta, the indigenous Betawi has its own dishes to offer:
- Sop iga sapi, beef spare rib soup that takes a simple Dutch dish and piles on Indonesian spices.
- Soto betawi, coconut milk broth with beef tendons, intestines, tripe.
- Kerak telor, omelette cooked with glutinous rice and served with shredded coconut and a dried shrimp topping.
- Ketoprak, lontong (rice cake), tofu, bean sprout, shrimp crackers in peanut sauce.
- Gado-gado is like ketoprak, but all of it is vegetables.
- Bubur Dingin, literally cold porridge with beef sweet soup.
- Nasi uduk, rice cooked in coconut milk similar to nasi lemak, served with choices of various toppings, such as fried chicken, beef, fried shallots, and sambal (chili sauce).
- Nasi ulam, rice cooked in coconut milk served with fried minced beef, sweet fried tempeh, many other toppings, cucumber, and sambal.
- Asinan Betawi: assorted pickled vegetables, served with peanut sauce (and sometimes chili) and chips.
Food at malls and brick-and-mortar restaurants are by and large of hygiene standards. Street vendors (kaki lima) or carts can be questionable, though it is still wise to use discretion as some of the best or well-known food can actually be from them.
The online ride-hailing apps Gojek and Grab also offer food delivery service (such as Gojek's GO-FOOD) to virtually all restaurants, for a small fee. Furthermore, it can increase your convenience when you only want to rest at your hotel.
Though tips are originally not customary in restaurants, it starts to become a habit. In fact, a few do automatically charge a service fee of typically 5%, which may surprise some patrons. Eating at restaurants are almost always subject to a 10% general tax.
Food courts at just about every shopping mall in Jakarta offer cheap but filling meals. Prices range from Rp15,000 to Rp25,000. While street vendors (kaki lima) are cheap with questionable hygiene standards, some items are unfortunately offered only within street vendors, so use good judgment when shopping around. Look for those that have lines at least a couple people long, as that means it's reputable and indisputably delicious. Steer clear from vendors that offer aggressively cheap prices or being pushy, as they might make their items using shady ingredients.
For cleaner alternatives with decent price, you can look for Lokbin (lokasi binaan), Loksem (Lokasi sementara), or Lenggang Jakarta, which serve same affordable food but with better hygiene standards. Practically the sellers there are relocated street vendors. Price in Lenggang Jakarta and Lokbin will be around Rp10.000 to Rp30.000.
Franchise fast food chains are also a good choice for eating as the hygiene is often up to standards. American fast food chains such as KFC and McDonald's have ample seating. Local chain Bakmi GM is famous for its noodles and its fried wanton. Hoka-hoka Bento (locally known as HokBen), also a local chain, provides Japanese buffet with a complete meal set for an affordable price. Also consider Es Teler 77 & Solaria. You will find one or all of them at major malls across the city. Department store or mini market food items can be an alternative should you need to eat on the go or at work.
For some exquisite Indonesian snacks, head to the traditional markets or street vendors. The infamous jajanan pasar (lit. market snacks) or bakpao (Chinese meat buns) should cost around Rp10,000 to Rp35,000 per box or piece. Assorted fritters (gorengan) are ubiquitous throughout and should cost Rp7,000 to Rp15,000 for up to a dozen pieces of fried tofu, tempeh, cassava, yam, and even banana. Siomay and batagor will be available for around Rp5.000-Rp10.000. Instant ramen noodle for around Rp5.000-Rp10.000, ketoprak Rp5.000-Rp8.000, pecel lele Rp7.000-Rp10.000, or nasi uduk Rp3.000-Rp7.000.
More substantial meals such as martabak, satay, chicken noodle (mi ayam) or porridge (bubur ayam), and nasi goreng are typically on the upper end of budget dining. The Indonesian soto soup can be enjoyed for Rp45,000 with rice and a drink of your choice and a bowl of meatball (bakso) soup with a side of noodles or vermicelli should cost no more than Rp50,000 per bowl. Bakeries also have buns that you can consume for breakfast, starting from Rp10,000. Roti Lauw and Tan Ek Tjoan is the most popular choice in Jakarta.
You may look for D'Cost Seafood for decent price all over the city.
As some traditional Indonesian cuisine may be too hot and spicy for many foreign tourist, you can usually ask for just a little chili or none at all: "pedas sedikit" and "tidak pedas", respectively. It also better to know that you can say "bungkus" for take away order, or "makan di sini" for dine in. And be careful as red ketchup usually means hot chilli sauce, not tomato.
Fine dining restaurants offer main courses for a range of prices and can be found at just about every mall in Jakarta or better yet outside the malls.
Some of the restaurants in this category include pizza franchises Pizza Hut and Domino's, or A&W, Wendy's, and Burger King for fast food chain. Mains in shopping mall restaurants typically range between Rp40,000 and Rp75,000; many even provide lunch set menus for just about Rp50,000 that entitles you to rice, one or two main platters and a glass of drink which can be an impressive deal. Seafood restaurants north of the city centre falls on the borderline between mid-range to expensive depending on your preference, with shrimp & fish on the cheaper side, followed by scallop, and lastly crab & lobster.
For middle class traditional cuisine, go to the Menteng area and look for Gado-Gado Boplo, Warung Daun, Bumbu Desa, Saur Kuring, Dapur Sunda, Sate House, Bunga Rampai, Sate Khas Senayan or Aroma Sedap. Or try to look around Sabang area. Garuda, Natrabu, Sederhana, Penang Bistro, or Pagi Sore will offer you the best value over price.
The best gourmet splurges in Jakarta are the opulent buffet spreads in the 5-star hotels such as the JW Marriott, Hotel Mulia, Ritz-Carlton and Shangri-La, which offer amazing value by international standards. Expect to pay upwards of Rp150,000 per person.
Chinese roundtable restaurants, such as Din Tai Fung, Imperial Duck, Jun Njan, or Tai Pan, among other small enterprises, offer considerably expensive dishes, but these are mostly meant to be communal rather than for individuals.
Steakhouses also fall into this category, especially if the beef is imported from Australia or a USDA certified. For pizza, look for Pizza Express (formerly Pizza Marzano).
For premium traditional cuisine, Rara Jonggrang, Remboelan and Tugu Koenstring Paleis will serve you the highest standard.
- Individual listings can be found in Jakarta's district articles
Jakarta may be the capital of the world's largest Muslim-majority country, but it has an underground life of its own. If you're the clubbing type, its nightlife is arguably among the best in Asia, except during fasting months when some venues are closed or have limited hours. From the upscale Kemang to the seedy Mangga Besar, nightlife is there for all levels of loudness, but bring a friend if you decide to brave the seedier places (though they tend to have the best DJs). Fans of live music, on the other hand, are largely out of luck if they go to budget bars, at least unless they're into Indonesian pop.
To get alcoholic beverages in Jakarta is not an easy task since 2015 it is not permissible to sell them in the mini market except in big stores inside a mall to discourage underage drinking. Fortunately, there are some wine bars/stores that sell imported wines or hard liquors throughout the city.
Jakarta has a fairly large number of prostitutes, known in local parlance as ayam (lit. "chicken"), so much so that much of the female clientele of some respectable bars (operated by five-star hotels, etc.) is on the take.
The Kota area in northern Jakarta is the oldest part of town with numerous colonial buildings still dominating the area. It is also considered to be the seediest part of town after midnight. Most karaoke bars and 'health' clubs there are in fact brothels who mostly cater to local Jakartans. Even regular discos such as Golden Crown have special areas designated for prostitutes. Other notable establishments in this area are Malioboro and Club 36 which should not be missed. This part of town has a large ethnic Chinese population who also dominate the clubbing scene there.
The bulk of the clubbing scene is spread throughout Jakarta but usually found in office buildings or hotels. The help of an experienced local with finding these places is recommended. Nightlife in Jakarta tends to be pricey by local standards.
Due to Jakarta's freedom, there is no specific dress code that should be worn unless you are in a religious area. However, it is best not to dress too openly to avoid awkward stares or giving the impression (especially for women) that you are a prostitute since most of them in Jakarta wear very short dresses or skirts. Sandals are fine to wear if you're heading for North Jakarta since it is near the beach. During the month of Ramadan, most nightlife ends at midnight, while some venues do not open all month.
A nightlife district popular among expats is Blok M in South Jakarta, or more specifically the single lane of Jl. Palatehan 1 just north of the bus terminal, packed with pubs and bars geared squarely towards single male Western visitors. While lacking the bikini-clad go-go dancers of Patpong, the meat market atmosphere is much the same with poor country girls turned prostitute. Blok M is easily accessible as the southern terminus of BRT Line 1. For a more off-the-beaten track experience, head a few blocks south to Jl. Melawai 6 (opposite Plaza Blok M), Jakarta's de-facto Little Japan with lots of Japanese restaurants, bars and karaoke bars. If you prefer to mingle with Koreans, go south to Jalan Wijaya.
Plaza Senayan's Arcadia annex attempts to duplicate the concept, but with more of an emphasis on fine dining. The Kemang area in southern Jakarta is popular with expats and locals alike so it has numerous places to eat, drink and dance. Or if you want to keep it sober, bubble tea cafes and coffee shops are popping up sporadically, especially in North and West Jakarta, and most major malls. No jamming music and (mostly) no alcohol, but still a good place to hang out.
Coffee aficionados can rejoice as some of the best beans in the world hail from Indonesia, and they can easily be found from stands on the street to dedicated coffee shops and even the sachets at the supermarket. They are usually priced from Rp30,000 per cup while powdered coffee are sold from Rp15,000. Co-working spaces are also starting to expand their business into making a coffee shop which caters mostly for workers in the city.
- Individual listings can be found in Jakarta's district articles
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||Less than Rp500,000|
|Splurge||More than Rp1,000,000|
The travel agencies at Jakarta's airport can have surprisingly good rates for mid-range and above hotels. Star ratings are reserved for midrange and better hotels, while budget places have "Melati" rankings from 1-3 (best). Tax and service charges of 21% are usually added to the bill.
- Budget, hostels (losmen) can be found around Jalan Jaksa, which is close to the Gambir station, for as low as Rp30,000 per night! Or Kwitang area offer low cost but filthy hotel for Rp50.000 to Rp150.000. Hotels around Cikini has better room to offer for Rp300.000 to Rp 400.000. Another choice is hotels around Mangga Besar, a street with a wide variety of hotels, clubs, restaurants and low class spas. Elsewhere, look for brands such as favehotel, amaris, and ibis budget.
- Mid-range are easily found at all parts of Jakarta, from independents to chain brands such as all Accor Group hotels but Pullman.
- Splurge, Jakarta has more than its fair share of luxury hotels, and after the prolonged post-crash hangover new ones are now going up again. Many remain good value by world prices, but opulent lobbies do not always correspond to the same quality in the room. Mostly found within the business strips of Sudirman-Thamrin and Rasuna Said.
In 2016, Jakarta's hotel occupancy rate is the lowest in a decade, just 49.5 percent. It is lower than Bali's occupancy rate. But, thanks to business travellers who usually sleep in the same hotel for their visits, the hotels get by. They also have relatively little competition from aparthotel and villas, so you won't find cutthroat prices as in Bali, but certainly discounts are always available. Due to low occupancy rates, booking last-minute deals will get the cheapest price. In Ied holiday seasons (one week before the end of the fasting month and one week after), hotels in Jakarta are empty, and throughout the year, weekends are emptier than weekdays.
For stays longer than 2½–3 weeks, monthly rental rooms (called kost) and apartments are a good alternative to budget and mid-range hotels, respectively. Fully-furnished rooms (with TV, air-con, large bed, hot shower, kitchen outside) can be rented for 1½-4 million rupiah per month. In most cases, the rental fee already includes electricity and water usage, and often there are additional services included like laundry, Internet access, breakfast, etc. There are cheaper rooms as well (starting from Rp500,000-700,000), but those are usually small, windowless, and the furniture includes just a bed or even nothing at all. Also, some cheaper places are exclusively for either men or women (no opposite-sex tenants or visitors allowed); many others allow couples to stay together only if they're legally married.
For apartments (one or more rooms + private kitchen + often balcony), prices are Rp3-4 million and up. Cheaper rates can be obtained in some places which are oriented to the long-term rental (3, 6 months or 1 year minimum); however, there may be same limitations as for cheaper rooms. Short term room rentals services such as Airbnb can be an option for those on the budget.
Beware of Travelio, a real estate booking agent and app. Do not sign a contract with these predators, especially if you're an expat or foreigner. If you are looking for an apartment, go straight to the apartment and ask to see apartments at their front desk or after you find out the unit number you want from Travelio.
A number of high-profile terror attacks in 2003, 2004, and 2009 have led to the city beefing up its security presence. An attack in 2016 specifically targeted foreigners, killing four. However, given the scale and population of the city, terror attacks are exceedingly rare and wayward traffic is a much more realistic threat. Security continues to be highly visible in the city, although checks are generally light and act more as a first layer of defense (that actively helped save lives in the 2016 attack). You'll spot many x-ray machines and people waving metal-detection wands in offices, malls and transportation infrastructure.
By and large, your stay in Jakarta should not be problematic as long as you use common sense. While theft and robbery seem common, they are highly unlikely to happen in the crowded Sudirman streets, but much more likely at night in the less economically fortunate areas such as in the East, or in residential areas in the suburbs. It is generally better to use a car, or the Transjakarta and commuter trains if you opt for public transit. Women are even entitled to a dedicated seating area or car on these routes!
The City that Definitely Sleeps
Jakarta operates on a different timetable to many other countries.
Early birds wake up around 04:00 to 05:00, schoolchildren and workers leave home by 06:00, and the day begins around 07:00 or 08:00. Likewise, dinner starts early at 18:00 to 19:00, and people head home by 21:00 or 22:00 at the latest. This means the streets tend to be much more quiet leading up to midnight than you might expect elsewhere around the world. At best, major streets may still be have a few stalls and business areas may still have people going home late.
Most shops close around 21:00, with whole malls closing down at 22:00 (with the exception of dedicated late-night eateries and bars). The MRT, Transjakarta and commuter trains run until 23:00 or midnight. Properly-licensed taxis are the easiest and safest way to get around after the city goes to sleep.
Take this into account when returning home late after a day out.
Strict gun control laws make Jakarta safer, leaving theft and robbery as day-to-day concerns. Violence is low, and most criminal acts are done by stealth or intimidation rather than lethal force. It is rare for serious injuries to occur during these situations, although there are exceptions. If the theft is done by stealth, simply catching the thief in the act will cause him to run away. For intimidation such as robberies, simply giving them an object of value will usually satisfy the thief, who will leave without further ado. Most Indonesians are also very protective of their neighbors and friends; in many neighborhoods, a thief caught by the local residents will be punished "traditionally" before being taken to police. Shout for help ("Tolong!") or robber ("Maling!") to get yourself away from this.
Be on your guard in crowded places such as markets, because pickpockets often steal wallets and cellular phones. Do as the locals do, and carry your backpack on your chest when you see others do the same. Business travelers need to keep a close eye on laptops, which have been known to disappear even from within office buildings. For all-night party excursions, it may be wise to keep your cab waiting; the extra cost is cheap and it's worth it for the security. Lock your car doors and windows, and show no cellular phones or wallets on the dashboard. Organised criminals sometimes operate on the streets (especially at traffic lights) without fearing crowds.
Indonesians are fiercely protective of their right to protest, which proved critical in establishing its democracy in 1998, when citizens (particularly students) descended upon the streets, with significant damage to the city and killing thousands in the process.
Today, as a dense concentration of 30 million citizens in its metro area representing one of the world's largest democracies, Jakarta sees regular protests of all sorts. Most protests are rowdy yet organised events, taking place around government offices. Visitors will see their impact from miles away as they cause congestion in the already congested traffic, but they're also decorated with large banners, flags and posters. Protesters generally don't interact with others around them, although given the tight streets and sidewalks, beware of getting swept away or separated in a march. During larger protests, entire roads or areas may be cordoned off by police.
There is always a police presence of some sort at these events, so follow their directions. Transjakarta, rail and metro services will also know in advance and announcements may be displayed in stations. Taxi companies also broadcast this information to their drivers. When in doubt, do like an Indonesian and simply ask a nearby uniformed person and ask if there's a disruption going on.
Protests tend to take a turn for the chaotic once night falls and the bulk of protesters leave to return to their families. Most protests end right around nightfall (about 18:00), but if a one extends into the night, it would be prudent to give it a wide berth.
Tap water in Jakarta is not drinkable, unless it's boiled or purified and the water is supplied by PT. Aetra Air Jakarta through the city water supply. It is generally fine for a bath or a toothbrush session, though. Bottled water is cheap, up to Rp5,000, and for safety reasons it is better to buy it from minimarts, rather than from street vendors. If you're staying for extended periods, you can also obtain gallon-sized water containers. Ensure the tamper proof seal is intact.
Jakarta's air quality is poor, especially during the dry season. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors near the streets (especially in less central areas, where you may be meters from passing cars and motorbikes, without a proper sidewalk) it's wise to do like many Indonesians and wear a mask. You can obtain masks from pharmacies or convenience stores; ask for a "motorbike mask" if necessary. Keep an eye on air quality through weather apps if you're sensitive to air quality, as it may vary depending on where you are in the city.
There is a law against smoking in public places in Jakarta, and the smoker can (in theory) be fined up to US$5,000. You may see the signs threatening a fine (denda) of Rp50 million or 6 months jail for smoking, although that law seems not to be enforced, as locals still smoke everywhere on the street and even in local buses, as anywhere in Indonesia. It's generally prohibited to smoke, however, inside shops, offices, hotel, and air-conditioned buildings generally. If in doubt, you can ask locals: Boleh merokok?
Diarrhea, food poisoning, and typhoid fever is common in Jakarta, so it's wise to prepare yourself with antidiarrhoeal and activated carbon, and always bring hand sanitizer. Spot your nearest hospital or clinic with 24 hours emergency service before deciding where to sleep.
A visit to general practitioner will roughly cost you Rp50.000 to Rp150.000. While attending a specialist or going to hospital will cost you around Rp200.000-Rp500.000.
The area code for Jakarta and the metropolitan area is 021. You do not need to dial the area code if you are calling another number within the same area using a landline. Drop the 0 prefix when calling from elsewhere in Indonesia.
Wartel or telephone shops are ubiquitous on the streets of Jakarta, but are gradually disappearing because of the booming of mobile phones. If you wish to avoid the exorbitant roaming fees (or need to make a lot of calls), you can buy a new phone in small stalls for Rp120,000-150,000 plus your mobile number's balance, while the card itself is relatively cheap or free. Coverage is generally great at most spots.
Public phones can still be commonly seen on the sidewalk. If you see a public telephone, lift the receiver and check the number in the display near the keypad. If the number is not 000, don't insert coins, because the phone is broken. They usually are, but they're very cheap (just Rp100 per minute) when they do work.
If you have your own laptop you may be able to access wifi networks in shopping malls, park, and government building. Ask at the information desk for access codes, but usually the speed is bad. Free hotspots are also available at restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience stores. Most hotels also provide wifi hotspots in their public area or in their rooms, either free or paid—inquire before booking.
Internet cafes are available in most parts of the city, especially around universities, residential areas, and most shopping malls, for Rp4,000-10,000 per hour. While the cheap ones will have slow dial-up connections, others offer broadband high speed capabilities, usually used by the youngsters for online gaming. If you are keen on using the internet for long hours, try to get the "happy hour" deals, where for up to Rp30,000, you can browse the Internet as long as you want.
All providers in Jakarta have 4G LTE, but the signals are only good in business triangle areas (Sudirman, HR Rasuna Said and Gatot Subroto); in other areas, the signal flips between 4G LTE, HSDPA, and 3G, or is mostly 3G. For more general information, see Indonesia Internet in Indonesia. For alternative, try to find wifi.id for reliable connection in public space or big building. They will charge you Rp5.000 from your mobile phone credit for full day connectivity.
Post is provided by the state-owned Pos Indonesia, open during business hours only. They do not have mailboxes but have mobile counters in a van, or you can just go to the post office. Major freight companies such as FedEx, DHL, and UPS also offer drop by package delivery, albeit through a third-party service. Gojek and Grab also offer door-to-door delivery service within their app if you only need to send something light and quick (maximum 5 kg), for which the price depends on distance rather than weight. TIKI, JNE, or J&T are reliable for bulk or inter-city delivery.
Jakarta's emergency services are the best in Indonesia. Many hospitals have 24-hour emergency rooms, but equipment may not be as advanced as their international counterparts. The international emergency number ☏ 112 does work and will channel you to the respective services you need.
- Fire, ☏ 113.
- Ambulance, ☏ 118.
- Police, ☏ 110.
- Search and rescue team, ☏ 115.
- Indonesian Police HQ, Jl. Trunojoyo 3, South Jakarta, ☏ .
- Jakarta Police HQ, Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 45, South Jakarta, ☏ .
- Child abuse, ☏ 1-500-771 (in country only).
- Hospitals with 24-hour emergency room UGD (ER): see the Jakarta district pages.
Jakarta is the centre of Indonesia's media. Most news is actually sourced from Jakarta. English-language publications are starting to make their way into newsstands.
- The Jakarta Post. Perhaps the most famous English-language newspaper in Indonesia.
- The Jakarta Globe In a tabloid format. Provides more lifestyle content.
- Tempo English Edition Weekly hard news magazine.
- What's New Jakarta is a lifestyle website full of food and event listings. Suitable for long-term visitors
State-owned TV station TVRI has an English news broadcast every day at 17:00, and MetroTV Tuesday-Saturday at 01:00. MetroTV has Metro XinWen for news in Mandarin Chinese.
The General Directorate of Immigration (Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said Kav.X-6 Kuningan-Jakarta Selatan) provides visas, re-entry permits and many other immigration services.
Embassies and consulates
The Kementerian Luar Negeri (Kemlu) or Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a complete searchable database of diplomatic institutions. The embassies are located in Jakarta; some consulates general and honorary consulates are located in other cities such as Surabaya and Denpasar. This list may not be complete.
Within the metropolitan area:
The fun does not end in Jakarta, but well beyond its satellite cities!
- Thousand Islands — administratively a part of Jakarta, but it is the complete opposite of the hectic mainland: an island escape with sprawling resorts and nature reserves.
- Bogor — a sense of nature one hour away, where you can tuck yourself away in its botanic gardens or golf courses.
- Puncak — cooler climate, beautiful view of the mountains and tea plantations, restaurants, as well as the Taman Safari Wildlife Park.
- Tangerang — a thriving area for premium residents and opulent malls, especially to its south.
- Depok — a budget style city with adequate facilities because of the nearby University of Indonesia.
- Bekasi — home to Jakarta's big industry companies and an increasingly bustling city.
A bit further off
- A 3-hour drive using the tollway leads into the Merak Port at the western end of Java, where you can continue your journey by ferry to Sumatra island for 1½ hours.
- Anyer is an upscale resort beach 4 hours away from Jakarta, but if you want a less crowded option, the Carita Beach is just a short drive away from there.
- Pulau Umang, an island resort to itself, is midway between Carita Beach and Ujung Kulon National Park.
- Ujung Kulon National Park — a beautiful national park 5 hours away, featuring the endangered single-horn rhinoceros.
- Bandung — 3 hours away from Jakarta, it's a budget style city famous for both food and bargain fashions.
- For a tropical island hype (without the resorts) and an instant escape from the hectic city, head to Belitung Island, less than 1 hour away by air.