Jakarta is the largest city in Indonesia and one of the most densely populated in the world. Its impressive skyline is home to some of the tallest buildings on the planet - emblems of the city's financial prowess.
The city is made up of an array of regions and suburbs - all of which are distinctly different, making this hub of Asia is a true melting pot of cultures.
Dating back to the 12th century, the city has had a tumultuous past and the influence conquering nations have had on Jakarta is palpable. Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British architecture can be spotted at various points throughout the city.
Jakarta is one of the grandest cities you could hope to visit and embodies globalisation in almost every respect.
Jakarta Travel Tips
Once you have picked a Jakarta hotel that catches your eye it's time to start thinking about how you are going to get there. The easiest way to travel to the city is to fly into Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Just 20 km outside the city, the airport is serviced by most major airlines and you will find that getting to your Jakarta hotel from here is easy.
There is a free shuttle bus into the city, but it can be unpredictable so pre-booking a taxi could be the way forward. However, these can be very expensive.
Another alternative is to hire a car so you can head straight to your Jakarta hotel without any fuss, but the traffic can be a nightmare.
Travelling to and from the city is easy by train and there are plenty of good connections. Commuter services start running early (5.00 a.m. local time) and they often run late into the night. The service is generally reliable and you can pick from four distinct services - air-conditioned non-stop trains, semi-express trains, ekonomi AC - which will stop at every station but is air conditioned - and ekonomi.
Unless you are short of cash, an upgrade is advisable as your journey will be infinitely better.
Bus connections are solid and the mode of transport is relatively comfortable - much less crowded than the train. However, it is advisable to avoid travelling from your hotel in Jakarta during rush hour.
Like other south-east Asian destinations, there are also less substantial modes of transport. Like Thailand with its tuktuk, Jakarta has a huge number of bajajes - which can be quick and convenient if you know exactly where you are headed.
What to pack:
The words tropical and monsoon should give you an idea of Jakarta's weather. Despite its equatorial location, the city has distinct seasons and if you travel between November and June, expect rain. It is a good idea to pack an umbrella, but it is also worth investing in a lightweight waterproof. Lightweight because the temperature does not fall much.
During the dry season - July to October - it can reach highs of 34C and there are about five rainy days per month. So pack plenty of light clothing and carry an umbrella, or you could find yourself rushing for your Jakarta hotel as the heavens open.
What to do and where to go?
There is plenty for everyone in Jakarta from historical sites to theme parks, fine eateries to dazzling markets. The short Jakarta travel guide below will give you a taste of what to expect.
Arts and Culture:
Gedung Kesenian Jakarta
Wayang Orang Bharata Theater
Parks and Recreation:
Ancol Dream Park
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
Area: 661 square kilometres
Currency: Indonesian rupiah (Rp)