How to make the Most of a Short Trip to Jakarta

For travelers, Jakarta is usually just a point of entry or transit which means a trip to Jakarta can be anywhere from 2-4 days. Considering you have 48-72 hours at hand, here are some tips on places to see , things to do and best time to visit Jakarta for a short holiday.

Tips to Enjoy a Short Holiday in Jakarta

Short trip to jakarta

Visit during Independence day to bask in the festive vibe

Jakarta is the bustling metropolis of Indonesia. On 17th August, every year, there is a grand celebration at the State Palace which starts from the hoisting of the Indonesian national flag. Fun and games follow this epic event and the competitions build friendships and entertain onlookers.

Celebrating Indonesian Independence Day

Celebrating Indonesian Independence Day – Let the games begin..

I myself participated in the cracker eating contest and balancing a tiny glass ball on a spoon. Needless to mention, I won both events as the prize was open bar. Now you all know I cannot resist that, right?

trip to jakarta

Games, Contests and Shows galore!

Check out places of worship

Jakarta boasts of one of the largest mosque in South East Asia – Istiqlal Mosque. It is surely worth a visit for its amazing architecture and intriguing interiors. You will also find it gives you a calming effect as soon as you enter the building. Well, this is probably the case with any kind of place of worship.

istiqlal mosque jakarta

Istiqlal Mosque Jakarta

Another important place to see is just across the street from Istiqlal and hence is perfect for your short stay. Just cross the road on foot and you can also view Neo-Gothic architecture at The Cathedral Church. This daunting building has two floors. The first one holds the daily mass and the second level is a museum.

Jakarta Cathedral

The towering Jakarta Cathedral

Indulge in the local culture and cuisine

From the national museum to the national monument, Jakarta is a cultural hub. The national museum in particular is a must visit to understand the history and heritage of Indonesia. From gold treasures, statues of gods and kings to the Dayak puppets and even penis sheaths worn by men from the tribes of Papua new guinea, this museum has it all.

bhairawa statue at national museum jakarta

Bhairawa Statue of a king standing on a pile of skulls. Largest statue towering at 4 metres.

You can also enjoy impeccable local cuisine in Jakarta’s food streets or one of the many restaurants, like Nasi Goreng, Baso, Mie Goreng, Bebek Bakar and more.

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Relax and Unwind with a traditional massage

Visiting Indonesia and leaving without experiencing a traditional massage is a big no no. You need to try one of the many local massage parlors where you can opt for a 30-90 min massage for just around $10.

Recommended Massage Parlor in Jakarta – Kokua Eastern Reflexology Menteng

Get close to Nature at Bogor Botanical Garden

Okay so this is not exactly in Jakarta but if you have time, head to Bogor which is just around 60 kms away. Once there you can enjoy pleasant weather, Taman Safari or the famous Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya).

Lovely gardens at Kebun Raya

Lovely gardens at Kebun Raya

Spread across 87 hectares, these gardens house over 15,000 different types of plans and trees. There is so much to see and explore here that you can easily spend an entire day inside the garden. The Grand Garden Resto is a lovely place to enjoy a lavish lunch with bird’s eye view of the lush greenery around.

bogor botanical garden

Plenty of pathways and scenic walks inside the gardens

Where to Stay?

There are a variety of low-mid-high range hotels in Jakarta for travelers to choose from. However, we stayed in Mercure Sabang hotel which was just perfect. It is a cozy, centrally located hotel offering all basic amenities in a stylish setting.

Mercure Sabang hotel, Jakarta

My cozy room at Mercure Sabang hotel, Jakarta

Where to Eat?

The night food market and street food is always my top choice of eating out while visiting a country. However, since I had spent quite some time in Indonesia relishing their street delicacies, these lavish restaurants were a refreshing change.

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There are many places to eat out in Jakarta but I picked these two as they have so much culture, history and story. Yes, I am still talking about restaurants and my top 2 picks are… *Drum roll please* –

Dapur Babah

Tugu Kunstkring Pales Teuku Umar

I picked these two stunning places as the owner happens to be an Indonesian antique collector. These restaurants not only offer scrumptious cuisine (Which many other places do) but they also reflect art and history of Indonesia. Each section has a different theme and is designed in a grand, unique manner.

Tugu Kunstkring Pales Teuku Umar

Admiring wonderful antiques at Tugu Kunstkring Pales Teuku Umar – and I think I am sitting on one – eek!

It is a museum of sorts with no glass boxes to safeguard the owners invaluable items. You can walk right up to the masterpieces and admire the artifacts up close.

Disclaimer – I was invited by Ministry of Tourism, Indonesia for the Trip of Wonders 2016, to share my experiences in Wonderful Indonesia.

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  • I’m just passing through next February…now I wish I had a few days there!

    • Oh no. How long do you have there? You could opt for a date change and spend a day or so exploring the city 🙂

  • ooh i’m going to jakarta at the end of the month! i won’t have much time in the capital so this post is so helpful.

    Sher
    http://www.shershegoes.com

  • Punita Malhotra

    You got it all covered here..great reference post for a small trip

  • Adelheid Bethanny

    I’m from Indonesia but I’m not a big fan of Jakarta because every time I was there, I would always experience really bad traffic. You made me think about the good things in Jakarta with this post, and I’m happy you enjoyed your stop there. Hope you enjoyed other places in my country as well.

  • What a cool place to visit – definitely looks like somewhere people should go for more than just a stopover. And how awesome to be there for Independence Day! That sounds like so much fun – glad you had the opportunity to partake in the games!

  • Livi Bee

    Great read! I cannot wait to visit Indonesia!! Ever since visiting the UAE, I’ve developed this affinity for mosques! $10 massages? Did I read that correctly?! It sounds like I need to be visiting sooner than later. Whenever I do make my way there, I’ll make sure my dates include August 17!

  • This is awesome! Indonesia is so beautiful! I’m planning a trip for next year 🙂

  • Helena

    Great post. I had a day trip here a couple of months ago and all I wanted to do was stay and your posts reminds me why I need to go back. Those games look like so much fun as well 🙂

  • Great trips what to see and do in Jakarta. I wish I had known about Bogor Botanical Garden when I was there, it was so hot!

  • Elisa Subirats

    What a pity I did not read this post before! I stayed in Jakarta 2 days and apart from the museum I missed the rest of your tips! Good tips

  • You have rekindled my feelings for Jakarta. It has so many things to do and see. Istiqlal has a calming effect on me whenever I have visited it. Also, Bogor botanical garden is one which can easily take half a day.