Visitors planning to explore Jakarta's every nook and cranny are often advised two things: dress comfortably and avoid the buses. The blistering sun may make for a unpleasant journey if you intend to do a fair bit of walking, so remember to put on light clothing. Arm yourself with an umbrella, too, in case you get caught in a tropical downpour. As for the buses, they are the working grounds for pickpockets. Taxis offer an inexpensive yet safe alternative. Renting a car gives you extra flexibility, but unless you are familiar with the chaotic streets, it is better to get one with a driver.
The tours below incorporate the some of the main activities and sites in Jakarta. However, they only hint at the wealth of what Jakarta offers.
The historic northern part of the city is still known as or Batavia, as it was known during colonial times. The Sunda Kelapa Harbor still operates as the port of call for colorful Bugis schooners. Pass through the Fish Market on your way to the Lookout Tower for sweeping views of the port. You can also catch glimpses of the past by visiting the Maritime Museum and the V.O.C. Warehouses, which once belonged to the Dutch United East India Company.
A short distance to the south of Sunda Kelapa HarborJakarta History Museum, Fine Arts Museum and the Puppet Museum stand surrounding Fatahillah Park, Batavia's old town square. If you come on Sunday, be sure to arrive at the Puppet Museum around 10a for a dose of Indonesian ethnic entertainment—a wayang kulit puppet performance. During lunchtime, make a beeline for the historic Café Batavia. Afterwards walk southward to the colonial-style Kota Train Station. Further away at Jalan Gajah Madah is the National Archive Building, a window to the opulent lifestyle of well-to-do Dutch colonists in the bygone era. Finish up with a ride eastward to the National Monument in the Lapangan Merdeka. Visit the museum at the base of the monument to learn about Indonesia's struggle for independence, then take an elevator to the top for exhilarating views of the cityscape. Refresh and rest after wards at Warong Shanghai Blue 1920, one of the oldest restaurants in Jakarta.
Tropical Fun at Jakarta Bay
Ancol Dreamland on the north coast of Jakarta is one of Southeast Asia's largest marine recreational resorts, which kids, especially, will love. If you are trave ling with children, make Fantasy World your first destination. Set aside four hours to enjoy the thrilling rides, including the fearsome Big Dipper. Adults might prefer to pick up some artwork at Pasar Seni, get a portrait made, or just observe the artists at work. Many restaurants and food stalls in the area provide delicious offerings at modest prices, or head over to Raja Kuring for cuisine from North Africa in an old colonial warehouse. In the afternoon, witness the incredible diversity of Indonesia's marine life at Sea World. After that, take a boat from Ancol Marina to the offshore islands of the Thousand Islands mini-archipelago and explore until su ndown. In the evening, treat yourself to some seafood delights in Hailai International Executive Club for dinner, dancing or even private room karaoke.
The neighborhood around the National Monument has the multi-ethnic signature of post-colonial society. Please note that to enter several of the landmarks in this tour conservative dress is required and women wearing trousers may not be allowed to enter. Along the central square are historic churches, mosques, and more. Start out admiring the organ in the Gereja Immanuel, a Baroque style church dating to the 18th century. Next walk across the National Monument square to the cool gardens of Ist ana Mendeka, Jakarta's Presidential Palace. Adjacent to the gardens is the Istana Negara State Palace, where the peace treaty between the Indonesian and Dutch was signed. After admiring the Dutch colonial architecture, cross Jalan Veteran to Jalan Pecenongan to sample snacks such as frozen coconut and avocado or thick pancake-like bandung. Afterwards, continue eastwards along Jalan Insinyur Haji Juanda towards the Mesjid Istiqlal to admire its elaborately decorated floors and walls and the towering minaret that can be seen all around Jakarta. Afterwards, skirt the eastern end of the National Monument again as you make your way to Gereja Katedral, Jakarta's neo-gothic Catholic church. The basement museum has exhibits about the church's construction and Catholicism in Indonesia. Finally, make your way down Jalan Ridwan Rais to Aryaduta Hotel and what may possibly be Jakarta's best Japanese restaurant, Shima.
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