Densely populated, bold, and packed with towering glittery buildings, the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta is often perceived as a concrete jungle that is commercial, cold, and with no soul. At one glance, it would be hard to disagree. But in reality, that is far from the truth.
Located on the northwest coast of the island of Java, the sprawling metropolis is the country’s largest and the most populous not only in Indonesia but also in Southeast Asia. When in Jakarta, Indonesia’s economic and political center, you will find yourself in the thick of it all as it is a thriving hive of activities, with vibrant shopping areas and an exciting nightlife in the heart of the city and its greater areas.
Travelers on business often zip in and out of Jakarta without so much as pausing to soak in the sights and the sounds or exhale. However, if you go deeper into the city, you will discover its rich history spanning centuries tucked at every corner and a melting pot of cultures promising endless surprises.
Much of Jakarta was transformed from Dutch colonial spaces to playgrounds and historical parks, perfect for a quick reprieve from the high energy and constant buzz of the city. For history buffs, Kota Tua is one of its most significant parts and not to be missed. Also known as the Old Batavia, it was the first walled settlement of the Dutch in Jakarta and stands as a relic of Indonesia’s rich history and Jakarta’s colonial past.
Kota Tua’s cobbled streets are dotted with colonial buildings and museums that will take you back to the era of discovery and aromatic spices. In fact, museum-hopping is a highly recommended activity while visiting the old town, the most famous being Museum Fatahillah (the Jakarta History Museum), named after a 16th-century commander for the Sultanate of Demak. Keen to get a slice of Jakarta’s history? Here, you will find exhibits of paintings, furniture, and objects from the Dutch East Indies Company, as well as archaeological remains.
For cultural cultivators, the scented streets of Glodok, Jakarta’s Chinatown and the biggest in the country, is where you want to be. Located right next to Kota Tua, this area dates back to colonial times when Jakarta was inhabited by Chinese migrants in the 17th century. Till this day, this population remains an important part of the city.
Glodok covers three main areas: Gang Gloria (Gloria Alley), Jalan Pancoran, and Petak Sembilan. Once a trading center, Glodok is now a popular spot to buy Chinese delicacies at its wealth of food stalls, traditional Chinese medicine, and cheap electronic goods.
Feast your eyes on the quintessentially Chinatown features such as the striking traditional architecture of the temples and the colorful handicrafts shops that line the streets.
Indonesia’s melting pot of cultures is evident in every morsel of its cuisines. So as you meander through the rows of food stalls on Jalan Pancoran, stop to treat yourself to a piping hot plate of savory kuo tieh, Chinese dumplings that are a dim sum mainstay, then wash it down with a nice cold glass of cincau hijau (grass jelly). And while you are at it, do not forget to pick up a memento that will remind you of Jakarta for years to come.
The idyllic islands of Bali and Lombok may be hundreds of kilometers away but those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city can always slip away to Ancol Beach.
Located to the east of Kota Tua, Ancol is a coastal lowland area that stretches from Kota Tua to Tanjung Priok. It is also home to Jakarta’s strip of powder white sand and warm tropical waters, sure to excite sunlounger lovers. Ancol Beach has a bit of everything, so there is something for everyone. Pop by the Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy World, or Dufan) amusement park or the Atlantis Water Adventure waterpark for a dose of carefree fun.
Alternatively, you could just sit back, relax, and people-watch while sipping on a mug of rich Indonesian roast at a local cafe.
If you prefer singing to the tune of contemporary art, head on over to the wondrous Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN), Indonesia’s first international modern art museum. With a fascinating collection of more than 800 artworks from Indonesia, Europe, North America, China, and throughout Asia, Museum MACAN celebrates the dynamic movement of art in Indonesia.
Knowing Jakarta through its centuries-long history, mouthwatering cuisines, and exciting creative scene is simply not enough. The city has no shortage of chill out bars and lively clubs that open till late so as night falls and the tropical air cools, put on your dancing shoes for the “other side” of Jakarta, filled with pulsating crowd-pleasing beats and drinks for days. Do as locals do and go bar hopping to sample delicious cocktails or party it up in the jaw-dropping Colosseum to your heart’s content.
Of course, no city-tripping in Jakarta would be complete without the “cherry on top” – the perfect, restful stay.
Located front and center of South Jakarta’s dynamic commercial hub is the multiple award-winning Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel, an elegant establishment that is within easy reach of the city’s must-see attractions.
Its 293 beautifully appointed guestrooms, including 30 stylish suites all with city views, feature the hotel’s plush Sheraton Signature bed, ready to pamper you with extra comfort. Each room comes with a thoughtful collection of amenities as well, such as flat-screen TVs, complimentary instant coffee, and complimentary tea. Plus, you will never have to worry about being off the grid for too long because with Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel’s complimentary highspeed internet access in all rooms, you can stay connected always.
Should you desire to clock a couple of kilometers on a treadmill or ease your tired muscles in a pool, Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel has recreational facilities designed with you in mind. To further enrich your stay, the hotel offers all-day dining and international menu options specially curated by its talented culinary team. If you prefer to have your meal in a more intimate setting, the 24-hour room service ready to serve you right at your doorstep.
No request is too demanding for Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel, which just wants to ensure luxurious comfort and a seamless blend of sterling service to complete your holiday.
Book now for your unforgettable Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel experience.
Before you jump on that flight to Jakarta, steal a glance at its amazing attractions on the one-stop shop for Indonesia, the Wonderful Indonesia portal.
Explore the city’s bountiful of offerings, from bargain shopping hotspots to unique fine dining restaurants featuring master-crafted cuisine, as well as local cafes that serve the perfect brew in Insta-worthy surroundings. You could also take a stroll around and watch how the modern wonder gets livelier as the sun goes down through the Indonesia 360° Experience video.
They say Jakarta is one of the world’s greatest megalopolises and well, it truly is, for it is all of Indonesia in one place.
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