Discover the vibrant heart of Indonesia with our guide on the top things to do in Jakarta. As the bustling capital city continues to evolve, so do the myriad of experiences and activities it offers to locals and visitors alike. From cultural gems and historical landmarks to modern attractions and culinary delights, Jakarta promises a diverse tapestry of adventures. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie eager to explore the culinary scene, or someone seeking the pulse of contemporary urban life, there’s an activity out there for you in the sprawling heart of Indonesia.

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Visit Kota Tua

Things to do in Jakarta (2024): Kota Tua
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Sandwiched between urban train lines, the thriving Chinatowns and shopping malls lives Jakarta’s Kota Tua (Old City). Home to some of the biggest amusement parks, luxurious hotels, and oldest buildings in the city, Kota Tua is a must-visit for any tourist or new resident of the city. To keep things simple, the NOW! Jakarta editorial team recommends that you visit Fatahillah Square, a lively plaza that occasionally hosts events such as traditional dance shows. Adorning the plaza are plenty of places to visit and experience and to help you find your way around the old city, this is what we’d recommend for a half-day (or if you want to walk and cycle around the old town, a day) trip up North:

  1. Start your day with learning Jakarta’s heritage at the Jakarta History Museum
  2. Make your way over to the Museum of Fine Art and Ceramics to explore the diverse crafts Indonesia has to offer
  3. Take a break and grab a coffee at Cafe Batavia – Dutch-era Eats and Traditional Fares in the Plaza’s 2nd Oldest Building
  4. Indulge in Indonesia’s rich culture at the Wayang (Puppet) Museum

Need more guidance? Here’s our Visitor’s Guide to Kota Tua.

Embrace Your Inner Chef and Learn how to cook Indonesian & International Dishes

With a myriad of cuisines developed over Indonesia’s thousands of islands, the archipelagic nation’s dishes are one of its cultural highlights. While tasting this diverse palette of flavors is one of life’s many joys, it’s just as fun learning how to cook Indonesia’s iconic dishes. If you’re already a budding MasterChef of Indonesian plates, why not try your hand at another Asian specialty or International cuisine?

Here’s a list of some of the places offering regular cooking classes:

Museum Hopping in Central & West Jakarta: A Journey Through History & Art

Things to do in Jakarta (2024): Museum hopping
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As Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta has an extensive history having survived several kingdoms, sultanates, and colonial conquests. Much of the records documenting this history have been lost but the ones that do remain are exhibited in the city’s many museums. If you’re looking to explore them, here’s a list of museums you could visit within a day or two in Jakarta’s central and Western regions:

  • Museum Taman Prasati: former Dutch colonial cemetery turned into a memorial ground / outdoor museum showcasing one of the world’s oldest modern graveyards
  • Grand General Dr. A. H. Nasution Memorial Museum: An army museum that immortalises the events of the 30th September 1965: an abortive coup d’état which plunged the nation into chaos
  • Museum Tekstil Jakarta: 19th-Century Home hosting a permanent exhibition on Indonesia’s colourful regional textiles
  • Museum MACAN: Standing for Museum of Modern And Contemporary Art in Nusantara, this museum showcases Indonesian and international artists in its galleries
  • National Museum of Indonesia: Temporarily closed due to a fire in September 2023, tentatively set to  re-open in September 2024 

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Things to do in Jakarta (2024): Shopping
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If traveling around the city is too much for you, why not dive into Indonesia’s indulgent shopping centers and malls? Mall culture is big in the capital (and other major cities in Indonesia), and it’s one of the top things to do in Jakarta. Below we’ve got a list of some of the most popular and newest malls in the city. 

  • Senayan City & Plaza Senayan: Iconic luxury shopping mall duo located in Central Jakarta.
  • Grand Indonesia Mall: Local and international brands fill a sprawling multipurpose complex.
  • Kota Casablanca: 11.5-hectare mixed-development with interconnected offices, mall buildings, and convention hall.
  • Pacific Place Mall: South Jakarta mall located in the Sudirman Central Business District.
  • Pondok Indah Mall: Four-building shopping mega complex connected to office towers, a 5-star hotel, and a driving range.
  • ASHTA District 8: Newest luxury mall located in Senopati South Jakarta filled with F&B vendors as well as prominent brands.
  • ITC Mangga Dua: Humble mall which is known as the go to spot for electronics, local brands, and home goods.
  • Central Market PIK (Pondok Indah Kapuk): Comprehensive shopping destination for eco-friendly goods 
  • Kemang, South Jakarta: Relaxed, expatriate-friendly neighbourhood known for its furniture shops.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Things to do in Jakarta (2024): Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

As one of the more distinctive things to do in Jakarta Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (or just Taman Mini) is a classic East Jakarta day trip. With easy access by the toll road, this sprawling theme park brings together all aspects of Indonesian culture into one centralised hub. It was recently revitalised in 2022 to update the park with more capacity and close down irrelevant attractions. Traditional Indonesian buildings from all over the archipelago border the centerpiece of the park: a miniaturized map of Indonesia immortalised in a lake. Dotted around this 146-hectare park are various museums, attractions (like the bird park), warungs (a small Indonesian eatery), and Indonesian restaurants. There’s so much more to explore to this park but ensure you visit on a weekday: national holidays and weekends are notoriously busy and overcrowded.

Things to do in Jakarta for kids: 5 Activities & Attractions

Things to do in Jakarta (2024): 5 things for kids
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  1. Jakarta Aquarium: Located inside Neo Soho Pomodoro City Mall is the city’s latest marine and freshwater aquarium boasting over 300 species of international and endemic species. 
  2. Kidzania: The world-renowned edutheme park is shaped after a real-world city; Kids play a role or adopt an adult profession and explore the wonders of the working world.
  3. Skyrink Jakarta: Featuring a skating school and a snack bar is Skyrink Jakarta, an indoor ice rink where kids of all ages can glide across the icy grounds.
  4. Dunia Fantasy Ancol (Dufan/Dreamland): Indonesia’s largest theme park boasting rollercoasters, rides, and displays.
  5. Pondok Indah Water Park: Laidback South Jakarta water park where kids and adults can cool off at any time of the year.
NOW! Jakarta

NOW! Jakarta

The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta