Best Things to Do in Jakarta for First Time Visitors

In 2010, my friends and I got a really cheap flight deal to Jakarta, Indonesia. You see, Jakarta wasn’t really on my top list of destinations I wanted to go to. But since I was with really great friends in college, I decided to just go with the flow. It was my first ever trip abroad. We spent three days in Jakarta, and boy, was I glad I took the trip! Here are the things we did when we were in the Indo capital and something you should not miss for your first trip here:

Learn history at the National Museum

Although it’s a bit touristy, the first thing we did in Jakarta was to visit the National Museum. They say that no trip to a country is complete without exploring a local museum. My friend of mine is such a history buff and begged us to see the place. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad at all. We learned the history of Indonesia and some facts about its heritage and people. There were also interactive activities that both young and old can enjoy.

Eat Martabak

Martabak is one of the staple foods Indonesians are proud of. It is quite similar to pancakes. There are two Indonesian versions: a sweet one, and a savoury one with egg and meat. You get to choose from a lot of variety of flavours. The first bite is quite surprising, but the more you dig into it, the more you want to eat it. It’s that good!

Visit Monas

Smack in the middle of the cosmopolitan Jakarta is the National Monument or Monas. It’s probably the most iconic structure of Jakarta. The National Monument is a 132 metre tower in the centre of Merdeka Square, Central Jakarta, symbolising the fight for Indonesia. According to our tour guide, it was built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian independence can see a lot of displays that tell Indonesia’s culture and history. Up top, you’ll get a great view of the city.

Visit a mosque

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country and visiting a mosque to pay homage to their culture and practices was a great idea. It was good to see the faith of the Indonesians translated into their area of worship and it’s great to be reminded to respect others beliefs and way of life.

Enjoy seafood

Just like the Philippines, Indonesia is surrounded by bodies of water so there is a good amount of seafood offered here. We went to Ancol Dreamland, a big theme park and aquarium where a great amount of marine life and creatures are being housed. Make sure to not miss eating at the big dining area by the sea where you can choose from the many fresh seafoods and have them cooked the way you want. Make sure that you try it as a group or you’ll end up destroying your diet.

Explore Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Taman Mini is a must-visit when in Jakarta. It is the best place to go to if you have a limited time in Indonesia. It’s a miniature park featuring all 34 provinces of the country which felt like you have visited the whole of Indonesia! Each province has its own block complete with traditional infrastructures and mini museums inside highlighting the best the province had to offer.

Shop at Mangga Dua

What is a trip without shopping, right? If you are familiar with Divisoria and love exploring the hallways and alleys of never-ending shops, then Mangga Dua is a haven for you. Buy your pasalubongs here and don’t forget to bargain!