From Indonesian arts and history museums to an immense waterside entertainment zone, here are five places to explore during your free time in Jakarta.
Ancol Bay City: Located in northern Jakarta, sprawling Ancol Bay City is Jakarta’s biggest entertainment area and a good place to spend a free day off the urban grid. Here attractions include an 18-hole golf course, swimming beach, water park, arts market, and much more.
Glodok (Chinatown): Reputedly one of the world’s largest Chinatown districts, Glodok is a bustling area filled with markets, temples, shops, and tons of tempting street food. It’s best experienced in the morning, when the foods are freshest and markets are busiest. Pair with a visit to nearby Kota Tua (below).
Kota Tua: Like Glodok, this historic district is one of the few areas in Jakarta that can be easily covered on foot. Here you’ll find much of what remains from Dutch colonial times, including the ill-advised canals. There are a number of worthwhile museums here, too, notably Museum Bank Indonesia (better than it sounds) and Museum Wayang.
National Museum of Indonesia: There’s no better place in the entire country to get a well-rounded look at Indonesian history and heritage than at this gargantuan museum located on Merdaka Square. The scope is intimidating, so if possible join a free English-language guided tour at 10:30am on Tuesday or Thursday; a 1:30pm tour is offered on Thursdays, too.
National Gallery of Indonesia: On the opposite side of Merdaka Square sits the smaller, though still impressive National Gallery of Indonesia, home to a collection of more than 1,700 modern and contemporary works from primarily Indonesian artists. The main building, constructed in 1817, is a fine showcase of Dutch colonial architecture.