People always tell me they are confused about what to do in Jakarta. The city has some beautiful spots and a unique charm. To experience it for yourself you need to leave the traffic jams behind and slow things right down (aka on foot). Taking a walking tour of Jakarta you get to see another side the city.
So let me share with you a few ideas of what to do in Jakarta (you have checked out my guide of 15 things to do in Jakarta for other ideas right?). Here is an example of a great walking tour that I’d recommend if you were visiting the city for the first time. Let’s get started with an action packed itinerary.
Jakarta Cultural & Religious Tour plus Old Batavia Tour
Monas, the National Monument, is an obvious starting point for any tour of the cities cultural highlights. The monument was built in 1954 to celebrate the Independence of Indonesia. In fact Monas is even located in Merdeka Square (that’s Indonesian for Independence). The tower is 132 meters in height and at the time of its construction it was one of the tallest structures in the city.
A bit like the Eiffel Tower, Monas is one of those places that you should just tick off your list if you’re a tourist visiting the city and there’s a good reason for that. On the ground floor of Monas you’ll find a small museum. You’ll enjoy looking around the museum, but it’s the view from the top of the tower that you’re going to remember. 😉
After visiting Monas and enjoying Merdeka Square it’s time to head off to the Istiqlal Mosque, which is a short taxi ride away. The Mosque is the National Mosque of Indonesia and it is big. At full capacity Istiqlal Mosque can hold 120,000 people (believe me it’s a really impressive place to visit during religious holidays).
It takes about around 30 minutes to take the full tour of the Istiqlal Mosque. You’ll be amazed by the size of the Istiqlal Mosque. My two favorite parts of the Mosque are the main prayer room and the colonnaded walkway that you visit at the end.
The main prayer room is five stories high. Light floods in from the large windows, slanting across the prayer room. The temperature is cool and there’s a relaxing ambience. Depending on when you visit you’ll see people sitting down and chatting between the 12 pillars on the carpeted floor, children running around and people in prayer. The colonnaded walkway is just as interesting, but this time purely for the architecture.
Opposite the Istiqlal Mosque is the cities cathedral, The Church of Our Lady of Assumption. The cathedral dates back to the colonial era and was built between 1890 and 1901. The architecture is neo-classical. Like most cathedrals the design is impressive. You can have a quick look at the cathedral, before heading off to the next stop, Bank Indonesia Museum.
Bank Indonesia Museum was opened in 2009 and is housed in the old central bank building. This is one of the more interesting museums in Jakarta. Exploring the premises you’ll learn about the history of Indonesia from the pre-colonial era to the present time. There are sections about spice trading, the VOC (the Dutch Colonial Authority), the Japanese occupation of Indonesia and the economic crises of 1997.
Before Jakarta became Jakarta it was known as Batavia and it’s at the historic center of this city and it’s a great place to explore on a walking tour. The best place to start is Fatahillah Square. The Square is at the center of old Batavia and is surrounded by impressive grand buildings and beautiful cafes.
Around Fatahillah Square you’ll find the Jakarta History Museum, the Wayang Museum (a museum dedicated to Javanese Wayang puppetry) and the Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum. It gives you a lot of option for places to visit. but one of the best ways to explore Batavia is on an old bicycle.
From Fatahillah Square you can head towards Sunda Kelapa port. On the way to Sunda Kelapa port you’ll follow one of the old canals in Jakarta and cross the Old Chicken Market Drawbridge (the drawbridge dates back to the 17th Century and is the last example of its kind in Jakarta).
Just before arriving at Sunda Kelapa port you’ll pass Toko Merah building. This is the oldest building in Jakarta (it was built in 1730). During the Dutch colonial era this used to be a Naval Academy and was even the residence of the Governor General of Batavia.
The final stop is Sunda Kelapa port to see the wooden Phinsi boats that still travel through Indonesian waters unloading goods between the islands. It’s a nice peaceful area to explore and the setting is a perfect place for photographers looking to take some great looking photos.
A great way to end the day is by taking a wooden boat ride around the Sunda Kelapa harbor. It’s a great way to explore the harbor and get a few unusual photos.
Book A Jakarta Walking Tour
I’ve always said that the best way to really learn about a city is to walk around its neighbourhoods. Jakarta is no different. The city has plenty to offer you if you get out of the car and start exploring the streets. If you’d like to arrange a walking tour in Jakarta I’d be happy to help. I’ve partnered with an independent travel agency that offers three personalised tours of the city.
Included in the package:
- Experienced local guide to take you around the city
- Transport costs for getting around while on the tour
- Entrance costs for Museums and other attractions
Email me to find out more about the Jakarta Walking tours. I’ll be happy to arrange everything for you.
I reply to every enquiry personally and only ever recommend tours I would join myself. Look forward to hearing from you.
Have you ever taken a walking tour in Jakarta? What was your experience, what places would you recommend visiting?
I’d just add that another option if you’re in the Monas area is the National Museum – with the new wing that opened a few years ago it has become a sizeable destination and certainly held my interest for a couple of hours.
It’s an easy enough stroll between the two and there’s a busway stop conveniently located as well if you’re so inclined.
We are 4 senior citizens who would like to explore interesting places of a day. Two can not walk well, so we need to use a car to travel taking your suggested Jakarta Cultural Tour. May we know how much it will cost, including lunch?
Thank you for getting in touch. Do you mind to let me know for what date is this? Thank you 🙂
I’ll get in touch through email.
Hi fista! I am travelling to jakarta next week alone and its my first time toto visit. I have whole day to spend, because i have another flight in the evening. So, can u recommend me some places to visit that is just near to the airport? And is it safe to stay to the airport as i will arrive in jskarta at midnight? Thank u dear…
Hi Mary. The airport is out of town. Unfortunately there is not much to see by the airport and it’s a 1-3 hour drive into town. If you do decide to visit Jakarta I’d recommend visiting the area around Jalan Surabaya, Bundaran HI and maybe Monas. btw, it is safe to stay at Jakarta airport. Hope you have a good time in Jakarta 🙂
I have seen your blog, an d I think that you are a charming and fascinating woman !!! I wish if I could become a friend of you!
I am planning to travel to Jakarta April 05 and I would appreciate, very much, if you can tell me of a good and not expensive hotel around the area of Gambir Bus/Train Station. (are you in Jakarta?).
If so, May I have the possibility to meet you?.
I’ll glad if you just give the information about the hotel(s).
Thanks Sincerely, eudo
Hi Eudo. Thank you very much for the compliment. Unfortunately I won’t be in Jakarta in April as I will probably be in Lombok. For hotels close to Gambir. I’d recommend Ibis Jakarta Arcadia. Hope that helps 🙂
Hi i wish to visit jakarta during fasting month…any recommend of places that i should go?or do jakarta have bazaar which sealing food during the fasting month?
Another thing which hotel tat u recommend tat r cheap and near to the mosque?
Hi Ismail. Jakarta has a lot of Bazaars that sell food during fasting month. Can you let me know what part of Jakarta you plan to stay in and I can recommend you a suitable hotel.
Helo there. My friends ans i will be at jakarta for one day and staying at Favehotel Hasyim. Maybe you can suggest any interesting place to hang around for a day? We will using public transport for this trip, so appreciate your advice 🙂
Hi Mya, there are plenty of interesting places close to Wahid Hasyim. For example: the National Monument, the National museum, or malls like Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia are actually walking distance. You can take the Trans Jakarta bus towards Kota and explore the Old Town. Try Batavia Cafe and Historia Food and Bar if you go there. Have a great time in Jakarta.
My family that’s my husband, son 25 years old and myself plan on visiting Jakarta for 3 nights from 13-16 April.
We are interested in listening to live music and Jazz. Prefer to be away from the red light district.
Please could you recommend an area n a hotel (3 star).
Hi Sabrina. Sorry I’m late replying to your comment. I was in Lombok with limited Internet connection. I hope you found somewhere suitable.
Hi there may I know your email address I want to book for Jakarta walk tour? thanks
I sent you an email. 🙂
Hello Firsta, very useful your blog, congrats!!!
I’m from Mexico and coming to Jakarta by myself, I’ve just arrive today and have to take a train to Bandung on friday, so I’d know if you could help me out to arrange a tour for these two days here…
Hope you see this message soon! hehe
All my best.
Hi Jorge. I’d love to help out. I’ll message you.
Hi Firsta! I am glad that I came across your blog. My sister and I are staying in Jakarta for 2 days and 1 night (June 30 to July 1) and was wondering if a day tour to Sepa Island is possible on our second day, if our flight back is at 12 midnight?
I am having a hard time looking for itineraries for the day trip to Sepa Island (such as which tours to book or if it can be done DIY) and would appreciate any help. As I am also a little hesitant to go to another island before our flight, I am leaning towards the Jakarta Food Tour (food is always a good idea). Looking forward to your response.
I’ve sent some information through email. Hope it helps.
I am a guide from Turkey coming to Jakarta with 19 Turkish tourists at the end of this december. We will stay at Santika Jakarta (4 stars) Hotel and have a local but I wonder if there are any places offering latin nights (salsa clubs or similar) near our hotel. Do you have any ideas? Do you yourself dance salsa? If you do and you would be around when we come, it would be great to meet and dance there..
Thanks for all the informations
Hi Kadir Kaçar,
I don’t know much about Salsa, maybe check this page. I hope you have a great time in Indonesia.