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The capital of the island of Java, Jakarta is a megacity of contrasts. Its metro area is home to more than 30 million people, and sleek malls, hotels, and skyscrapers are perched alongside striking poverty. The city’s official nickname is “The Big Durian,” and, like its namesake, Jakarta is spiky and stinky with a surprisingly soft, sweet center. Travelers will find plenty of things to do here, from visiting mosques, cathedrals, museums, and galleries to exploring Old Town (Kota Tua), the old port (Sunda Kelapa), and Chinatown (Glodok).
Most travelers choose to visit Java, including Jakarta, during the dry season (roughly April to October), when rainfall and humidity are lower and floods less likely. Be aware that travel anywhere on Java becomes exceptionally difficult during mudik. That’s the period when migrant workers from across the archipelago travel home to visit their families for the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Muslim fasting month, Ramadan.
Getting around central Jakarta is easier than it was thanks to the Jakarta MRT light rail system, which opened in 2019 and is still expanding. Bus networks, however, are confusing, and frequently gridlocked traffic makes self-driving challenging. Many travelers opt to book tours, hire private drivers, or make their way around using Bluebird taxis or regional ride-sharing apps, such as Grab and Gojek.
For a taste of upscale, up-to-the-minute Jakarta, head to Pantja for cocktails and farm-to-table dining with an emphasis on open fire cooking, all set under a stunning brick archway in South Jakarta. Travelers on the hunt for culture should visit Museum MACAN (Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara), which showcases local and international artists, from Japan’s Yayoi Kusama to Mexico’s Miguel Covarrubias.
There are different ways to have fun in Jakarta, from visiting theme parks—like the seaside Ancol complex or the Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park (Taman Mini Indonesia Indah)—to eating street food or savoring the upscale bar and restaurant scene to shopping at malls or the Jalan Surabaya Flea Market....More
Many of Jakarta’s most famous sights are recently constructed, including the Indonesia National Monument (Monas) in Merdeka Square and the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. Well-known older sites include the Jakarta old port (Sunda Kelapa), Old Town (Kota Tua), Merdeka Square, the National Museum, and Jakarta Cathedral....More
Not really. Jakarta is a megacity and not primarily geared toward tourists. Many travelers to Java opt for more approachable cities like Yogyakarta instead. However, Jakarta is home to great museums, including Museum MACAN and the National Museum, some interesting sights, and a food and nightlife scene....More
As you’d expect for a megacity, Jakarta has many things to do at night. Shop for bargains and sample street food at markets, such as Kota Tua Night Market. Visit the city’s lively malls, which often stay open until 10pm. Drink, dine, and dance at bars, restaurants, and clubs aplenty....More
Like any big city, Jakarta has some crime, but it remains much safer than most US cities. The biggest problem in Jakarta is that the city is sinking fast—literally. The city sits on a delta, and rising seas, tropical rains, and depleted aquifers combine to lead to frequent, serious flooding....More
Jakarta is hot and steamy all year round, with average highs between 86°F (30°C) and 91°F (33°C). While average temperatures are slightly lower in January and February, the rainy season humidity offsets the temperature change. Temperatures feel most comfortable during the dry season (June–September), with humidity typically lowest in September....More
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