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Jakarta is a dynamic city, and one of the world’s greatest megalopolises. At first sight it can appear to be a crowded and confusing city, and it can be difficult to look past the maddening traffic and pollution for which it is known. Many tourists choose to take in other destinations throughout the archipelago instead. Their loss. Why should I travel to Jakarta?

Missing out on Jakarta on a visit to Indonesia is a mistake. Underneath what is often perceived as an unappealing facade are plenty of surprises; an exciting nightlife and vibrant shopping scene, and a melting pot of Indonesian culture and cuisine. What are the best cities in Indonesia?

The locals here are friendly, welcoming, and positive, and in comparison to many other world capitals, crime levels are low. “Because Jakarta is usually not on the radar of tourists, there’s an authenticity to much of it that is hard to avoid. Dutch colonial influences stand alongside those of the dominant Islam religion, while cultural traditions from the diverse Indonesian islands meld with the Western comforts of the expat community.” – Michael Turtle.

The following are 4 reasons to include Jakarta on your trip to Indonesia.

4 Reasons to Visit Jakarta, Indonesia

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Best Shopping in South East Asia

Jakarta offers the best shopping options in South East Asia, and you can’t claim you’ve been here without having visited at least one of the city’s many malls. Though Jakarta shopping centers aren’t your regular malls. These are “giant, marble-floored, extravagant malls, sometimes with apartments nestled on top for convenience. There are indoor cafés, restaurants, karaoke bars, and billiard lounges. Shopping here isn’t an experience – it’s a way of life.

There are 150 + gigantic shopping malls scattered throughout Jakarta, with more and more popping up every year. Many people travel here just for a shopping expedition. From local Indonesian brands, to international labels, you can literally find anything you want. Is Jakarta worth traveling to?

Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia are two epic malls you shouldn’t miss. For smaller malls and shopping complexes selling electronic items and uncommon gadgets, make a trip to Chinatown. Things to do in Jakarta.

The Food

When in Indonesia, one of the most popular things to enjoy is the cuisine. Jakarta has a diverse range of food options available, and cuisine from all over the archipelago comes together to offer travelers the highest quality Indonesian food. Best places for good food in Jakarta.

There are markets and street food stalls for those looking to eat as the locals do. Though if you’re worried about the hygiene, you should eat at a restaurant chain called Sate Khan Senayan. They have locations across Jakarta and serve fantastic Indonesian food. Can I eat Jakarta street food?

With 33 provinces throughout Indonesia, each with their own specialty cuisine, there is a lot of Indonesian cuisine for you to sample. Though international cuisine is also available, and upmarket restaurants (including some by Michelin-starred chefs) serve everything from French to Chinese food. Many major hotels have great onsite restaurants too. Best food in Jakarta.

Wonderful Weather

Indonesia is one of those fabulous destinations where stays relatively warm all year round. Warm tropical temperatures average around 28 – 30 °C every day, though those traveling to Jakarta from October to May will have to embrace the rain. What is the weather like in Jakarta? Fun things to do in Jakarta.

Jakarta has two distinct seasons, wet and dry. The dry season (June to September) is a popular time to travel because it’s more comfortable with lower humidity, and travel is easier. Though don’t let that stop you from enjoying Jakarta during the wet season too – the rain doesn’t have to spoil your trip, and there will be far fewer tourists around. Must visit in Jakarta.

Jakarta still sees many days that are sunny and dry during the wet season, and rain doesn’t last all day. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of white water rafting, or “join a trek into the mysterious and alluring Halimun National Park, alive with greenery and gorgeous scenery.” There are also plenty of indoor museums and cultural attractions to explore around town. Or if you’re at a luxury hotel there will be plenty of onsite facilities to entertain you for a few hours until the rain has cleared.

Best Nightlife City in Asia

Jakarta is known to have some of the best city nightlife in Asia, and there is a great party atmosphere here. As most tourists head to other islands and cities throughout Indonesia, there are hardly any foreigners, and you will find Jakartans are very friendly and welcoming. Visit Jakarta blog.

The majority of the bars and nightclubs throughout Jakarta are filled with a mix of upper class Indonesians and Western expats, so it is very easy to talk to people and have a safe night out. Partying is likely to be expensive though, and you should budget around $150 per night. Cocktails usually start from $10 (alcohol is heavily taxed), and entrance fees to popular nightclubs can set you back as much as $20. Best nightlife in Jakarta.

Be sure to visit SKYE. A rooftop restaurant and bar on the 56th floor of a skyscraper, it offers an amazing view of the Jakarta skyline at night. Cloud Lounge is another great rooftop bar with more of an “expat” vibe, and arguably better music. Things to do in Jakarta at night.


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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Featured photo by Osrin. Pinterest street image by Jaka Santana. Padang lunch in Jakarta by leiris202. Market food stall, Jakarta by Indigo Skies Photography.


  1. I totally agree with you aboutJakarta its an amazing place loads of shopping malla you should try kelapa gadung shopping mall.people friendly and lots of happy people life is good there.Foreigners are missing out if you dont go to jakarta.Food is plentiful and varied a good time can be had morning noon and night.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Lee, and your time in Jakarta – and thanks for the tip on kelapa gadung shopping mall – really is a shoppers paradise over there!!

    • Sorry the name of the mall is not kelapa gadung but the true name is kelapa gading. Located in north jakarta ?

  2. I would love to eat from the street carts especially with how authentic this city sounds. Also, I think I would head to SKYE to see the city skylines. That’s one of my favorite things when visiting a city. Thanks for sharing. Will make sure to see Jakarta whenever I go to Indonesia.

    • City skylines are always my favorite part of visiting a new place – especially at dawn and dusk for sunrise and sunset shots.

      Glad you enjoyed the post Sarah!

  3. I wish I could go to Jakarta but I can’t go to Indonesia at all. Heard from someone that they don’t allow Pakistanis on tourist visas, so I checked myself by calling the consulate here in Bangkok and yup they said I can’t even apply. Crazy huh? I always wanted to go to Bali also.

    • Well I hope they change this for you in the future Shayan – in the meantime there’s a lot of South East Asia which is just as amazing to discover and explore :)

    • Hi hello Im Indonesian , Indonesian always open to Pakistanis. I met so many pakistanis me

    • Hi Shayan,

      Pakistanis can definitely visit Indonesia. You just need to apply visa in advance back in your home country (Pakistan). You cannot apply for an Indonesian tourist visa while you’re in another country (Bangkok). That’s why they said you cannot apply.

      We welcome you to Indonesia at anytime!
      P.S. Indonesia is more than just Jakarta or Bali. There are thousands of islands in this country!

    • Thanks for sharing your knowledge Soni & Hasoloan – that’s great news!

  4. Jakarta sounds great but I’m not sure if I could believe that it’s the best nightlife city in all of Asia. I haven’t been myself so I can’t really compare, but I’ve been to Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Macau. If Jakarta can beat those 3 cities, then I definitely will have to bow down to it lol.

    • Sounds like the perfect excuse to plan a trip to Indonesia to compare :D

  5. I’m not a huge city person. I just got back from Cairo and it was overwhelming for me. But I’d brave Jakarta for the amazing food. Also love a good party, but $150, wow!

    • Definitely the place you want to be for some of the best Indonesian cuisine!! And yes, if you’re traveling for the party just keep your purse strings in mind!!

    • Yup..its so true bout the price….im indonesian…sometimes i dont feel like im part of jakartan anymore..but it definitely hmmm…overatted…so dont take it seriously…coz u r foreigners so they charge u that…we all got treated the same way even for locals…especially drinks such as cocktails..anything with alcohol…the cheapest one u have spend around us$8…mostly around us$10 per drink….its carzy huhhh…im not really a big drinker..but still i have to spend @least us$50 just for 1 night..entrance fee included…gasoline or any other tranportation excluded..depends…my total expenses a week…just for a week..around shopping..just even stall market food..n weekend nightlife

    • But…one thing about jakarta…OMG…IT IS AMAZING….it just never sleep…its crazy in good way…i love my city..n sooo proud to be part of it…i really do..cheers…

  6. I do feel that Jakarta is highly underrated, and it is a lovely, throbbing city. You have spelled out all the right reasons to visit it.

    • Absolutely – one of the most underrated cities in South East Asia :)

  7. I think your reasons convince me :D I have to add it to my list.

    • Excellent! That’s what we like to hear Ulli! Hope you have the chance to visit Jakarta soon :) Happy travels!

  8. My best friend from college lived there for years. I regret not visiting while she was there. It does seem like an amazing city. She told me the spa situation was fabulous. She let herself be pampered EVERY week!!!

    • Definitely make sure it’s part of your upcoming travel plans then – who doesn’t love being pampered!! Maybe you can plan a trip with your friend from college and have her show you around :D!

  9. Thanks for sharing! I really haven’t heard much from anyone about Jakarta, except that it’s not worth going so it is so good to hear another opinion. I love visiting cities that are less tourist-y and more authentic so I would definitely love to go this a go.

    • Glad we could offer you a second opinion then! Definitely one of the most authentic destinations in SE Asia – I really love cities which are off the beaten path and not overrun with tourists too (one of the definite perks of Jakarta), so do consider a trip if you’re heading through Indonesia :)

  10. Looking forward to heading to Jakarta while en route to Bali one day. Was planning to come here for my honeymoon but opted for South America instead. Looks like I should come here soon!

    • Definitely make sure you take in Jakarta if you’re taking in Bali – so many wonderful spots in Indonesia it would be a shame to limit yourself to just one :D

      And congrats on your wedding!

  11. I was hoping to spend time in Jakarta when I was in Indonesia last year, but this post has made me sure that when I’m there next year, I’ll make time for Jakarta! The food and the weather are the things I’m most excited about! Cheers!

    • Happy to hear that Paige! Happy travels & enjoy Indonesia next year :)

  12. Good reasons to visit Indonesia. You do make me yearn to visit the country. I am craving for the food right now.

    • Food is definitely one of the best reasons to go :D

  13. Nice post ! Im so proud become indonesian people :D

    • Thanks Samuel! You have a wonderful country to explore :)

  14. Hi Meg , thank you for your share , Im blogger too. Thank you for promoting Jakarta, because I was born live and work in Jakarta . Im glad to be a company or guidance peoples who want to travelling in Jakarta ?

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Soni, and we’re happy to promote your hometown!

  15. Waw your blog is so nice megan. Happy to read it. Btw Please kindly check my website for some information if u wanna come to Jakarta. I have free guide tour information :).

    • Thanks for sharing your website with us RiRi … glad you enjoyed our post :)

  16. Hi Megan…i love with your discussion about Jakarta. So many interesting place that you havent discuss here. Im glad to offer all of the traveler here who want to have planning to go to jakarta. And i will give no fee for you…coz i really like to promoto my capital city..

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Ari, and thankyou for your kind offer. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to visit Indonesia again soon :)

  17. If you guys visit to Jakarta and need some transportation fell free to contact me.on whatsapp or email.

    • Thanks Hasbi :-)

  18. We went with the family. We visited a lot of the cultural spots. Went shopping, both big names like Uniqlo and local malls. Food was so good. Hearing the call to prayer was an exotic treat. Plan for the early call, if you are a light sleeper. Go again? Absolutely!

    • So glad you had a great time Giovanni!

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