Despite being Indonesia's capital, tourists often bypass Jakarta in favour of smaller islands, such as Bali. Escape Indonesia's beaten path with a trip to its vibrant, diverse, and welcoming megapolitan capital city. Prepare to be dazzled by the world-class food and coffee scene, and warmly welcomed by every local you encounter. Jakarta is incredibly diverse; you'll find people from all over Indonesia's 17,000 islands. They've come to the capital looking for a better way of life, and have brought with them different cultures, beliefs, and food. It's a city of juxtapositions: skyscrapers towering over historic colonial buildings, and parties still raving until the first call to prayer. Experience the chaotic beauty of Jakarta.
Flying to Jakarta from Australia couldn't be easier. Take advantage of Australia's geographical proximity and visit our northern neighbour. Direct flights are available with Garuda Indonesia and Qantas, departing Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. Flying with a Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) airline is the cheapest way to get to Indonesia, and with relatively short flight times, it's worth sacrificing a bit of leg-room.-
Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is located about 30km from central Jakarta. There are a few transfer options available, but taking a train or taxi is the most convenient.
Taxi: Catching a taxi from the airport is a safe and reliable option. However, ignore anyone who approaches you claiming to be a taxi driver, as it may be a scam. Make sure you catch an official taxi from the Blue Bird Group. There are three different options available. Blue Bird is a blue taxi with the cheapest fares (about $16AUD), Silver Bird is a black taxi that offers a premium service (about $27AUD), and Golden Bird is a limousine service (about $37AUD). Jakarta is notorious for its gridlocked traffic, so a trip into the city can take from 50 minutes to two hours, subject to traffic conditions.
Train: Catching the train into central Jakarta is the fastest option, and fares are very affordable. The train operates every 20 minutes, from 6:20 am to 11:20 pm. The journey takes 45 minutes, and fares are only about $7AUD.
The easiest way to get around Jakarta's chaotic traffic is with a personal driver. Your accommodation can assist you in finding a driver for your stay. Drivers' fees start at about $50AUD per day, so this is an affordable option, especially if you're travelling in a small group and want to explore outside of Jakarta. Alternatively, use the Grab app, Indonesia's answer to Uber. Using this app, you can easily find a ride with a car, or on a motorcycle, if you're feeling brave. A fare for a short trip will only cost you about $3AUD.
Jakarta Old Town: For about 300 years, from the early 16th Century, Jakarta was a Dutch colony known as Batavia. In a small area, known as Kota Tua, cobblestone streets and colonial-style buildings remain. These days, most of the buildings serve as museums where you can learn more about Indonesian history and culture. Don't miss the Wayang museum of Javanese puppetry, or the Fine Arts and Ceramic Museum housed in the historic Court of Justice building.
National Museum of Indonesia: This museum is a Jakarta essential. Its vast exhibits are some of the best in Indonesia. Learn more about the culture and history of Indonesian people in the ethnology wing, be dazzled by the array of treasures from Central Java, and explore the Indonesian archipelago through an extensive collection of architectural models.
National Monument: This iconic structure is a symbol of Indonesian independence. Visit the 115m high viewing deck for panoramic views of Jakarta. The lower levels of the building are home to the National History Museum, where you can deepen your knowledge of Indonesian history. Impressive dioramas explain historical moments from prehistoric times to the struggle for Indonesian independence in the mid-1900s.
Embark on a journey of flavours in Jakarta by trying these essential local dishes:
Pisang Goreng: This dish consists of a deep-fried banana served with sambal chilli sauce. It's a really popular local snack. Just think of it as a spicy banana fritter!
Ketoprak Jakarta: This traditional street food meal consists of tofu, gelatinous rice, boiled egg, cabbage, and bean sprouts. It's then generously topped with satay sauce and crispy onion. Bonus: it's vegetarian!
Nasi Goreng: While the name simply means 'fried rice', this dish is so much more. This iconic Indonesian dish combines golden-brown rice, with chicken, prawns, egg, and spices. It's typically served with a crispy fried egg topping and a side of crispy prawn crackers.