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.
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Tips to Enjoy a Short Holiday in 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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* –
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.
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.