Jakarta is the beautiful capital of the Southeast Asian country, Indonesia. Being an archipelago of more than 18,000 islands, the nation is filled and overflowing with the most wonderful sights and experiences. Its capital alone holds enough things to do to last an entire month of walking around the city without pause, and still not being able to explore every nook and cranny. It is so full of different types of attractions to visit, and is very rich in historical and cultural heritage. To help you wander through this wonderful place, here’s a mini Jakarta travel guide.
Seeing Jakarta’s History: The Old Town
The best place to go to for a look at what Jakarta was in the old days is definitely Jakarta Old Town, or Old Town Batavia, an area formally stated as heritage in 1969. Even European travelers and voyagers as early as the 16th century saw the beauty of the place and called it “Jewel of Asia” and “Queen of the East”.
In Old Town Batavia, history is brought back to life with the magnificent and picturesque scenery of old colonial Dutch architecture and surroundings. The streets are lined with museums and other interesting tourist attractions. Some of these are Gedung Arsip Nasional, Cafe Batavia, Postal Office, Museum Bank Indonesia, and the Museum Fatahillah.
Other than the many buildings you can freely walk into, you can also see many street vendors and open markets in the area. Visit the old drawbridge, Sunda Kelapa old harbor, and delight yourself in the old Javanese leather puppets at the Puppet Museum.
Every Monday, most of the museums in Jakarta are closed. The best day to visit is on Sunday, because usually there would be a puppet show at the Puppet Museum. At the same museum, you can also see the funeral of Jan Pieterszoon Coen. He was an officer of the Dutch East India Company in Indonesia (VOC) in the early 17th century who renamed the city into Batavia from its older name, Jayakarta.
Immersing Yourself in Indonesia’s Culture: Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) is literally translated to English as Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park. This large 250 acre park, located in the area of East Jakarta, is indeed one of the most beautiful and perfect places to feel like you’re actively participating in the culture of the beautiful Indonesia.
An hour is not enough to witness everything you need to experience in this colossal park, as it is a conglomeration of everything Indonesian. The entire archipelago is crammed into the place, and the best thing to do is to let yourself be swept away by the sheer magnificence of experiencing all you can of the country in the shortest time possible. If you take a cable car inside the park, you will see the beautiful of Indonesian archipelago miniature in the middle of a lake.
Encyclopedia Britannica dubs TMII as a living museum, because of all the culture you can get from the entire experience. Each of the 34 provinces of Indonesia are represented in the park as pavilions. Each of them have their own unique surroundings, furniture, and ornaments to give the true feel of the territory. There are also more informative and fascinating museums that you can visit while inside the park, such as the Reptile Museum where you can see a dragon Komodo, Military Museum, Indonesian Museum, etc. You can also walk around and enjoy the calm beauty of the different sub-parks and have fun at the recreational facilities.
The best day to visit TMII is on Sunday, because the pavilions in the park usually perform their traditional dances and shows only on Sunday or public holiday.
Visiting the National Landmark of Jakarta: Monas
And of course, your stay in Jakarta would not be complete without seeing the monument built to remember the day Indonesia became a free country: the Monas, stand for Monumen Nasional. It was built by the first President, Mr. Soekarno, in 1961 and opened to the public ten years later. In Soekarno era, it was the highest building, the 132-meter monument powerfully tower high over Jakarta, a visible testament to the fight for freedom from colonial rule.
When you go there, you can reach the top of the Monas via elevator and see all of Jakarta. Afterwards, you can visit the Independence Room, which holds the national flag as well as other important artifacts. At the base of the Monas is the National History Museum, and the surrounding area is a beautiful park named Merdeka square. In the museum, you will find 51 dioramas telling the story about Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
Sunday and holiday are not best days to visit Monas if you want to reach the top, because there are many students and people want to reach the top causing a long queue. There is only one lift with maximum 11 persons maximum capacity while hundreds of people want to enter the lift every holiday.