10 Great Sights In and Near Jakarta

Written by  on July 14, 2011 

After choosing one of the many hotels in Jakarta for a place to stay, you need help figuring out which sights to see and which activities to do. In an attempt to make it easier for you, we’ve distilled the hundreds of activities and sights in Jakarta in a list featuring our 10 favourites.

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Photo: buitenzorger

1. Ragunan Zoo
The Ragunan Zoo contains about 4000 animals and is probably the best zoo in Indonesia. It specializes in Indonesian species such as the Komodo dragon. The zoo has recently added a primate enclosure that contains gorillas and orangutans. Kids in particular will love the Ragunan zoo.

2. Museum Nasional
This important museum originally built in 1862 is probably one of the best of its kind in all Southeast Asia. It’s a cultural museum holding artifacts from a number of cultural groups around the country: clothing, model homes and villages, musical instruments, etc. It also contains native and ancient art in the form of bronzes and stone pieces from temples.

3. Monas monument
A remnant of the dictatorial era, the Monas is probably the best-known landmark in Jakarta. Towering at 132 meters, the tower took 14 years to build out of Italian marble. You can reach the top of the tower through a lift (avoid on Sundays and holidays) and look around the city from high up.

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Photo: “The owner”

4. Taman Fatahillah
The Taman Fatahillah Square, located in the old (and rather dilapidated) Dutch colonial town, is perfect for lovers of history. While most of the architectural beauty has been lost, the beautiful cobblestone square remains.

5. Museum Bahari
For those who like maritime history, head to the Jakarta port where you’ll find the Museum Bahari. The museum’s best feature is probably the old warehouse buildings that have been renovated and preserved. While the exhibits are rather sparse, you’ll get to see some navigational instruments, Indonesian boats and some random pickled sea wildlife. Don’t miss the view from the watchtower!

6. Sunda Kepala
On the same nautical theme, spend a bit of time along the docks of the Sunda Kepala, where you can still see Makassar schooners. You’ll be transported back to another era where boats were unloaded by hand and trolleys.

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Photo: zsoolt

7. Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
This enormous park in the southeast part of the city features traditional houses from all over the country. In the houses, you can also see cultural objects belonging to the region. Don’t miss cultural shows in the morning and on Sundays. Allow at least three hours to visit.

8. Taman Impian Jaya Ancol
This park is the city’s main recreation center. Situated right along the bay front, the park is home to hotels, theaters and sports centers. If you’re on a family trip, this is a great place to the take the kids.

9. Gereja Sion
The oldest church in Jakarta, the Gereja Sion has the sad history of having been built for the slaves brought to Indonesia by the Portuguese. The outside is unimpressive, but the inside retains its 18th century features with a baroque pulpit and the original organ.

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Photo: .angels.

10.Jin de Yuan
For fans of Buddhist architecture and history, Jin de Yuan is the biggest Buddhist temple in the city and reminds of the ample Chinese influence in Indonesian history. You can wander around and smell the heady incense, look at beautiful calligraphy and observe the unique stonework.

If you’re staying in a good Jakarta accommodation, the concierge services can help you plan your trip around the city. But don’t be afraid to go and wander on your own.

Do you have any other great sight suggestions for Jakarta? Share them in the comments.

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