Jakarta Is A Fascinating Mixture Of The Old And The New!
Jakarta is the beautiful capital of the Southeast Asian country, Indonesia. Being an archipelago of more than 18,000 islands, the nation is filled and overflowing with the most wonderful sights and experiences. Its capital alone holds enough things to do to last an entire month of walking around the city without pause, and still not being able to explore every nook and cranny. It is so full of different types of attractions to visit, and is very rich in historical and cultural heritage.
The population is approximately 10 million. The dominant religion in Jakarta is Islam, and the currency used is the Rupiah. The climate in Jakarta is very hot and humid. For the six months from April, the temperature will hover around 30 degrees Celsius. There is a wet season from October to February when it is a little cooler and there is a lot of rain, often torrential.
The city of Jakarta was born in 1527 when a small harbour town called Sundra Kelapa was conquered by Prince Fatahillah from nearby Cirebon and he renamed his conquest Jakarta, which translates as Glorious Victory. The city was taken again in 1619 and renamed Batavia only to be fall under the control of the Japanese during World War II, who renamed it Jakarta. Martial law was declared in 1957 and a period of unrest ensued. In the late nineteen nineties, with the economy collapsing and widespread belief of governmental corruption, riots took place in Jakarta in which 500 people lost their lives and there still obtains a social and political tension in the region.
So, Jakarta may not be the first choice for the traveller, but in recent years the facilities for the visitor have improved dramatically and there is no shortage of luxury hotels, good restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Of course, there is also the diverse architecture and the traditional tourist attractions of the city and diversity is the operative word when talking about Jakarta. It is a mix of traditional and modern, rich and poor. The nations motto is Unity in Diversity and even the local language has two varieties: one spoken by older people born and bred in the city and the other by the young and the immigrants. To help you wander through this wonderful place, here’s a mini Jakarta travel guide.
Places To See & Things To Do
Seeing Jakarta’s History: The Old Town
The best place to go to for a look at what Jakarta was in the old days is definitely Jakarta Old Town, or Old Town Batavia, an area formally stated as heritage in 1969. Even European travelers and voyagers as early as the 16th century saw the beauty of the place and called it “Jewel of Asia” and “Queen of the East”.
In Old Town Batavia, history is brought back to life with the magnificent and picturesque scenery of old colonial Dutch architecture and surroundings. The streets are lined with museums and other interesting tourist attractions. Some of these are Gedung Arsip Nasional, Cafe Batavia, Postal Office, Museum Bank Indonesia, and the Museum Fatahillah.
Other than the many buildings you can freely walk into, you can also see many street vendors and open markets in the area. Visit the old drawbridge, Sunda Kelapa old harbor, and delight yourself in the old Javanese leather puppets at the Puppet Museum.
Every Monday, most of the museums in Jakarta are closed. The best day to visit is on Sunday, because usually there would be a puppet show at the Puppet Museum. At the same museum, you can also see the funeral of Jan Pieterszoon Coen. He was an officer of the Dutch East India Company in Indonesia (VOC) in the early 17th century who renamed the city into Batavia from its older name, Jayakarta.
Immersing Yourself in Indonesia’s Culture: Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) is literally translated to English as Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park. This large 250 acre park, located in the area of East Jakarta, is indeed one of the most beautiful and perfect places to feel like you’re actively participating in the culture of the beautiful Indonesia.
An hour is not enough to witness everything you need to experience in this colossal park, as it is a conglomeration of everything Indonesian. The entire archipelago is crammed into the place, and the best thing to do is to let yourself be swept away by the sheer magnificence of experiencing all you can of the country in the shortest time possible. If you take a cable car inside the park, you will see the beautiful of Indonesian archipelago miniature in the middle of a lake.
Encyclopedia Britannica dubs TMII as a living museum, because of all the culture you can get from the entire experience. Each of the 34 provinces of Indonesia are represented in the park as pavilions. Each of them have their own unique surroundings, furniture, and ornaments to give the true feel of the territory. There are also more informative and fascinating museums that you can visit while inside the park, such as the Reptile Museum where you can see a dragon Komodo, Military Museum, Indonesian Museum, etc. You can also walk around and enjoy the calm beauty of the different sub-parks and have fun at the recreational facilities.
The best day to visit TMII is on Sunday, because the pavilions in the park usually perform their traditional dances and shows only on Sunday or public holiday.
Visiting the National Landmark of Jakarta: Monas
And of course, your stay in Jakarta would not be complete without seeing the monument built to remember the day Indonesia became a free country: the Monas, stand for Monumen Nasional. It was built by the first President, Mr. Soekarno, in 1961 and opened to the public ten years later. In Soekarno era, it was the highest building, the 132-meter monument powerfully tower high over Jakarta, a visible testament to the fight for freedom from colonial rule.
When you go there, you can reach the top of the Monas via elevator and see all of Jakarta. Afterwards, you can visit the Independence Room, which holds the national flag as well as other important artifacts. At the base of the Monas is the National History Museum, and the surrounding area is a beautiful park named Merdeka square. In the museum, you will find 51 dioramas telling the story about Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
Sunday and holiday are not best days to visit Monas if you want to reach the top, because there are many students and people want to reach the top causing a long queue. There is only one lift with maximum 11 persons maximum capacity while hundreds of people want to enter the lift every holiday.
Jaya Ancol Dreamland
A more modern attraction is Jaya Ancol Dreamland. This is a recently developed recreation park on a vast site and offers a wealth of diverse attractions from swimming pools, boating, golf, even an artificial lagoon for fishing! There is an aquarium providing live daily shows involving dolphins and sea-lions. The complex houses numerous restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels. Also on site is Fantasy Land which is a terrific entertainment park where visitors can take a historical tour through old Jakarta, Africa, America, Europe and Asia. Jaya Ancol Dreamland is a fantastic resource. While it may not appeal to the culturally aloof, it has a great deal to offer the fun-loving visitor.
Batavia is situated in the northern portion of the city and has historic importance; it came into the picture in the colonial times. The beautiful colored Buggies schooners are still parked at the Sunda Harbor port. To view the beautiful sights of the port, just cross the fish market and climb the lookout tower. If someone is interested in the history of the place, one should pay a visit to the V.O.C. Warehouse and the beautiful Maritime Museum as both these places were a part of the Dutch East India Company.
The Puppet Museum, Jakarta History Museum and Fine Arts Museum
The Puppet Museum, Jakarta History Museum and Fine Arts Museum are situated a very short distance towards the southern part of the Sunda Harbor. All these museums are standing together neighboring the Fatahillah Park at the old town square of Batavia. People visiting the Puppet Museum on Sunday should watch the Wayang Kulit puppet show at around 10 am local time to get a close look of the Indonesian cultural entertainment.
The momentous Café Batavia is the best place for lunchtime. Tourists can then move south to have a look at the colonial style railway station. The building of the National Archive is just ahead of the station and is called Jalan Gajah Madah which provides a picture of the lavish lifestyle of the Dutch during the colonial era. Lapangan Merdeka is a National Monument situated in the east and this is the place where your ride ends. At the basement of the National Monument is a museum where one can find out about the history of the Indonesian fight for independence. At the top of the Monument, is a view the beautiful cityscape.
Hotels In Jakarta
There are lots of good hotels in Jakarta for tourists to stay in comfort. The Jakarta hotels offer top-notch facilities and services to its guests.
Majority of hotels and resorts in Jakarta lie close to the Soekarno Hatta International Airport. You will also get an easy access to the train station and business and commercial centers from most of the Jakarta accommodation options. There are hotels for every kind of traveler, be it business or leisure. For those who intend to stay long, there are many serviced apartments in Jakarta. These apartments offer quality facilities and services to its guests.
One of the popular hotels in Jakarta is the Allson Residence Hotel Jakarta. The hotel is located at a very short distance from the central business district and Soekarno Hatta International Airport. You will get to experience warm hospitality and unsurpassed services once you come to stay at Allson Residence Hotel Jakarta.
To enjoy excellent services and amenities, visitors should come to Ambhara Hotel. Located near the airport, this hotel is one of the most famous luxury hotels in Jakarta. The hotel features first-class accommodation and quality services for a peaceful stay in the city. The banquet and dining facilities in Ambhara Hotel are simply great.
One of the top-class business hotels in Jakarta is Crowne Plaza. The hotel truly understands and fulfils the requirements of both business and leisure travelers. The hotel is located close to the famous Golden Triangle business district and lies next to entertainment and shopping complexes of Jakarta. Crowne Plaza is also known for its supreme dining and recreational facilities.
There are numerous Jakarta accommodation options that are specially made keeping in mind the budget-conscious travelers. Visitors will find several budget hotels located at various corners of the city. Alpine Hotel, Jakarta provides comfortable accommodation at a reasonable rate. The hotel includes clean rooms and comes with a wide array of hotel and security services and facilities.
Josephine Guest House is another known budget hotel to stay when in South Jakarta. From the Guest House, travelers can easily visit Blok M, a shopping district and to the range of local restaurants, bars and cafes of South Jakarta. The place provides a homely ambiance and friendly services to stay in comfort and tranquility. Casa 34 is a bed and breakfast hotel that offers a wide assortment of quality facilities and services to its guests. You will find peace and calmness ruling the place.
Overall, Jakarta is a fascinating mixture of the old and the new and has a lot to offer the tourist. An unusual destination, those who visit leave the city with a tale to tell and an exciting experience behind them.
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