The city of Jakarta gets a bad rap! Most visitors to Indonesia skip the city altogether, not even realizing there are so many attractions in Jakarta to explore. All they see is a big and congested city, dirty and full of traffic. After all, why spend time in this city when you can just make a beeline to the beaches of Bali, right?
But spend some time in the city that locals affectionately call, “The Big Durian,” and you’ll realize that there are so many things to love about this city. Jakarta has history. It has culture. And there are actually a lot of kid-friendly Jakarta attractions for families to enjoy.
So rather than skipping Indonesia’s capital city altogether, why not include a couple of days into your Indonesia itinerary to explore Jakarta tourist attractions with your family? There are some great suggestions in the Lonely Planet Indonesia guide book. They can serve as a supplement to my suggestions here.
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Exploring Jakarta tourist attractions
When we were planning out our Indonesia trip, I knew I wanted to spend at least one month in Jakarta. Having lived in this city as a kid, I was keen to showcase all the Jakarta attractions I remembered from when I was a child to my kids and husband.
A lot has changed in the city since I lived there. New stores exist now. And new roads and buildings as well. My home that I lived in as a child has since become a furniture store!
But one of the things that remains is that there are still plenty of attractions in Jakarta for families to experience. One month is more than enough time to experience the city. And even if you only have a few days to explore, you can still squeeze in several Jakarta attractions during your visit.
Getting to and from Jakarta attractions
The city of Jakarta is located in Indonesia’s most populous island, Java. There are 10 million people who live in Jakarta, and they all need to get around the city. This means traffic is a serious concern for anyone trying to get to and from all the Jakarta attractions.
As visitors, even if you find lodging in Jakarta close to the city center, some of attractions are on opposite ends of the city. Sightseeing can take all day just to see one thing!
Fortunately, travelers have a few options for traveling around the city. Here are some inexpensive transportation options for families exploring the attractions in Jakarta.
GoJek and Grab
We like using ride-sharing apps like Uber overseas, but Uber doesn’t really exist in Jakarta. Fortunately, there are still ride-sharing options for travelers. GoJek is a local ride-sharing company, while Grab is popular throughout Southeast Asia. While both companies have the option of paying through the app, I had issues with connecting my credit card, since it’s from a foreign bank. Fortunately, you can pay cash directly to the driver after every ride.
MRT and TransJakarta
There are a few public transportation options in Jakarta that families can use to visit attractions in Jakarta. The MRT is the city’s mass transit rail system, newly opened in 2019. At the time of our visit, the rail line runs from South Jakarta to Central Jakarta, with 13 stops along the line. Fares range from Rp. 2,000-11,000 ($.14-.77 USD), depending on the distance. You can purchase either a single trip card or a multi trip card, which cost Rp. 15,000 or Rp. 25,000 ($1-1.75 USD), respectively. Then add money on the card to pay for the fares.
If going on the road, the TransJakarta is one of the major bus systems that takes people all across the city. Each ride costs Rp. 3,500 ($.25 USD), and will need to be paid with an electronic card. You can purchase a card at the ticket window at any TransJakarta station, and you can top up (add money to) the card there as well. Several banks around Jakarta also sell multi-purpose cards, which can be used to pay for bus fare, museum admission, and shopping at certain stores.
If you’re traveling short distances to Jakarta tourists attractions, you can also squeeze into a bajai. These are three-wheeled auto rickshaws. You’ll need to bargain for the fares. We usually end up spending about Rp. 30,000-40,000 per ride, depending on the distance.
Taking a bajai is always fun for our family, because they can maneuver through the traffic of the city fairly easily. But they’re not necessarily the cheapest option. And in terms of environmental impact, they’re definitely less environmentally friendly than buses or trains.
Finding attractions in Jakarta for families
We spent our month in the city seeking out as many Jakarta attractions as we could. Although we stayed mainly in south Jakarta, we ended up going to all parts of the city.
As I was putting together my list of my favorite attractions in Jakarta for families, I realized it might be easier to break down the list into groups. So I organized the list into three main categories: museums and historical sites, family-oriented activities, and food. Depending on your interest, you can scroll down to the category that most appeals to you.
Museums and historical sites
As I mentioned earlier, Jakarta is a city steeped in history. The city itself was established in the 1500’s. During the era of the spice trade, the Dutch established Jakarta as a trade port (back then they called in Batavia), and later it became the administrative center of the Dutch colonial government. Many old colonial buildings have since been turned into museums.
But even beyond the historical sites, Jakarta has many interesting museums that are worth visiting. They’re a great way to learn about the city’s history and culture.
The Monumen Nasional (known as Monas, for short), is one of the most iconic attractions in Jakarta. Sitting in the center of Merdeka Square (Freedom Square) in central Jakarta, the monument stands at 433 feet tall, like a giant candle in the middle of the city. Within the base of Monas is a museum with dioramas depicting significant moments in Indonesia’s history.
Monas is open every day from 8am to 10pm. Admission costs Rp. 5,000 ($.35 USD) for adults and Rp. 2,000 ($.14 USD) for kids. You can pay extra to go up to the top of the monument. Merdeka Square is a popular place for locals to go around the late afternoon and early evening. Try to time your visit to Monas around that time so you can see the sunset from the top of the base.
#2. National Museum
Another one of the Jakarta tourist attractions where you can learn about Indonesia’s history is the National Museum. Located near Monas, the National Museum houses exhibits from all over the Indonesian archipelago.
There are not a lot of things written in English, but visitors can see replicas of traditional Indonesian houses, tools used by different ethnic groups throughout Indonesia, and other historical artifacts. Every Saturday, the museum hosts free dance lessons to the public.
The National Museum is open on Tuesdays to Fridays from 8:30am to 4pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, the hours are 8:30am to 5pm. Tickets are Rp. 10,000 ($.70 USD) for foreigners.
#3. Kota Tua and Fatahillah Square
I love visiting the historic parts of cities, and Jakarta’s old town, called Kota Tua, is no different. There are several attractions in Jakarta centered around old town. But the actual square, called Fatahillah Square, is a popular spot in itself for hanging out and people watching.
Kota Tua is located in the northern part of Jakarta, near the historic port of Sunda Kelapa. Fatahillah Square was once the central square of Batavia, when the Dutch ruled over Indonesia. You can read up on Indonesia’s oppression under Dutch rule in the book, A Brief History of Indonesia. It gives a great overview of how life was like under the Dutch.
These days, Indonesians have reclaimed Kota Tua as their own. Families come to the square to hang out and picnic. Visitors can rent bicycles and bike around the square. And college students hang out around Fatahillah Square, looking for foreigners to practice their English with.
#4. Jakarta History Museum
The main attraction of Fatahillah Square is the Jakarta History Museum, known as Museum Sejarah Jakarta in Indonesian. The building was once the city hall during the Dutch colonial era.
These days, it holds artifacts from that time period. One exhibit worth visiting is the room where Diponegoro, a Javanese prince who once led a rebellion against the Dutch, was imprisoned. Because of his high stature as Javanese royalty, the Dutch put him in a room on the second floor of the building, rather than in a normal prison cell.
The Jakarta History Museum is open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am to 5pm. Tickets are Rp. 5,000 ($.35 USD) for adults and Rp. 2,000 ($.14 USD) for kids.
#5. Wayang Museum
I’m a big fan of shadow puppets. So of course one of the attractions in Jakarta we visited was the Shadow Puppet Museum, known as the Museum Wayang in Indonesian.
The museum has a large collection of shadow puppets, and other types of puppets, from around Indonesia. It also has puppets from all over the world, including a puppet from France that we saw in one of the museums we visited when we were exploring things to do in Lyon this summer.
The Wayang Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 4:30pm. Admission is Rp. 5,000 ($.35 USD) for adults, and Rp. 2,000 ($.14 USD) for kids.
#6. Museum Layang-Layang
When it comes to museums, we love ones that are hands on. That’s why we loved visiting the Museum Layang-Layang, the Kite Museum. Located in south Jakarta, this museum has a small collection of kites from Indonesia and around the world.
Our favorite part about Museum Layang-Layang, though, was being able to make our own kites. Our kids had a fun time trying them out the next day! Admission to Museum Layang-Layang is Rp. 15,000 ($1 USD) per person. This includes the kite making experience. The Museum Layang-Layang is open daily from 9am to 4pm.
Family-oriented attractions in Jakarta
Besides museums and historical sites, there are also plenty of family-oriented attractions in Jakarta as well. Most of these cost money, and are a bit more pricey than museums. So be sure to include enough funds in your budget for these activities.
#7. Jakarta malls
I don’t really like visiting malls in the U.S., but I do like visiting them in Asia. Jakarta has a plethora of malls to choose from. Most of them have movie theaters, plenty of dining options to choose from, and kid-friendly play areas. They’re also a good option for getting out of the heat. Since we visited Jakarta during the holidays, we even had a chance to do some ice skating at the mall!
Our favorite mall to visit is Pondok Indah Mall in south Jakarta. But there’s also the Mall of Indonesia in north Jakarta, as well as the swanky Pacific Place Mall in central Jakarta. Spend a day people watching at the mall, and see how locals like to spend their money!
#8. Atlantis Water Adventure
When it comes to family-friendly attractions in Jakarta, water parks are always a good bet. The city has a few to choose from, like Waterbom in north Jakarta, and the Pondok Indah Water Park in south Jakarta.
We chose to spend an afternoon at Atlantis Water Adventure, which is part of Ancol, a recreational area in north Jakarta. The water park is open on weekdays from 8am to 6pm, and on weekends from 7am to 6pm. Tickets start at Rp. 140,000 ($10 USD) per person. Entrance into Ancol park is Rp. 25,000 ($1.75 USD) per person. Besides a water park, there’s also a theme park, restaurants, shopping areas and a beach at Ancol.
#9. Ragunan Zoo
We enjoy visiting zoos when we travel, as they’re good learning opportunities for the kids. Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo, in south Jakarta, has seen better days, but there are still some fun exhibits to visit, especially the newer primate exhibit.
Ragunan Zoo is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 7:30am to 4pm. The entrance fee is Rp. 4,000 ($.28 USD) for adults and Rp. 3,000 ($.21 USD) for kids. But any of the activities inside cost an additional fee, including the primate center.
#10. Taman Mini
If you’re pressed for time for exploring Indonesia, head to Taman Mini Indonesian Indah in southeast Jakarta. This theme park, known as Mini Indonesia, has exhibits from every part of Indonesia. So you can see houses from islands like Sumatra and Sulawesi without even leaving Java!
Taman Mini is open every day from 8am to 5pm. There are several attractions at the theme park, including an Imax theater, a waterpark, a skytram, and a monorail. Basic admission into the park is Rp. 25,000 ($1.75 USD) per person. If you come with a car, they will also charge Rp. 15,000 ($.10 USD) per car. The attractions at the park have an additional cost.
One of the attractions in Jakarta that our kids absolutely loved visiting was Kidzania. We’ve done Kidzania activities before, in Mumbai and Mexico City. This Kidzania is located at the Pacific Place Mall in south Jakarta.
Kidzania is an indoor theme park, where kids can do jobs to earn Kidzania money. The jobs are similar to jobs you would find in real life: bakers, police officers, archaeologists, race car drivers. And the companies are actual companies, usually local ones who don’t mind lending their brand (it’s advertising, after all!) to the park.
Admission to Kidzania ranges from Rp. 50,000 ($3.5 USD) to Rp. 100,000 ($7 USD) for kids aged 2-3 and Rp. 225,000 ($15.75 USD) to Rp. 295,000 ($20.65 USD) for kids aged 4-16, depending on the length of time and day of the week. Adult admission costs Rp. 185,000 ($12.95 USD) to Rp. 235,000 ($16.45 USD). Kidzania is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 9am to 7pm.
#12. Trampoline Park
When you have two active kids in your family, one of the best ways to burn off energy is by visiting the trampoline park. Jakarta has a few trampoline parks to choose from. The one we visited was Houbii, located near Pondok Indah Mall in south Jakarta. Houbii has over a dozen trampolines for jumping. There’s a dodgeball area, a foam pit, a giant slide, and even an area specifically for young kids. There’s also a ropes course to challenge your little ones!
Houbii is open Monday through Friday from 12-9pm, and Saturday through Sunday from 8am to 9pm. A solo ticket, good for all day (you can leave and come back!) costs Rp. 225,000 ($15.75 USD) per person. A buddy ticket, admission for two people, costs Rp. 200,000 ($14 USD) per person. And a combo ticket, admission for four to ten people, costs Rp. 175,000 ($12.25 USD) per person.
#13. Taman Ismail Marzuki
If you’re looking for attractions in Jakarta with a bit more culture, head to the Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), one of the popular arts centers in the city. TIM has a cinema, a theater, and an art gallery. During our visit to TIM, we watched a musical put on by Jakarta street kids, with proceeds also benefiting the street kids.
Entrance to TIM is free, but you’ll need to pay for admission to whatever show you are watching. Opening hours depend on the facilities that you’re visiting.
#14. Car Free Day – Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin
A free activity for families to do on Sunday morning is Car Free Day. This is a city wide initiative, running every Sunday from 6am to 11am, that transforms many of Jakarta’s main streets into pedestrian only streets.
There are several Car Free Day locations throughout Jakarta, as well as many other cities throughout Indonesia. But we like the one that runs along Jl. Sudirman, from Monas south past the Welcome Statue at Hotel Indonesia.
Food-centered attractions in Jakarta
Of course, no visit to Jakarta would be complete without experiencing the city’s food. For a city of 10 million people, you’re sure to find a variety of cuisines and dining options to suit all ranges of tastes and budgets.
We liked frequenting locally run restaurants while we were in Jakarta. But we also liked visiting some unique ones too! Here are a few of our favorite food-centered Jakarta attractions.
#15. Warung MJS
For traditional Javanese food in a kitschy atmosphere, Warung MJS is where it’s at. Think of it as an Indonesian version of Buca di Beppo. There are posters, pictures, dolls, and knick-knacks in every nook and cranny of the restaurant. We sat at a table that was on a bridge above a swimming pool!
Despite the kitsch, the food at Warung MJS is delicious. The food, which is traditional Javanese cuisine, is laid out near the entrance, and you order by telling the server which dish you want and how many portions. They then bring the food to your table, along with any drinks you order. We had such a fun afternoon there!
#16. Sabang Street
We love eating street food! When we were in Mexico, we loved eating street tacos. And when we were in Bali, we had a great time sampling street food at a Bali night market.
If you’re looking for the best street food in Jakarta, then you’ll need to visit Sabang Street. This is a street that has the largest concentration of food vendors. You can find all types of street food from satay, fried chicken, martabak, and many more.
Just remember to take a few precautions, if you’re planning on eating street food. My husband recently suffered through a bout of amoebas, so even we aren’t immune to food-borne illnesses. Always make sure your food is freshly cooked and piping hot. Only go to food stalls where you see other people eating. And avoid raw fruits or vegetables, unless you are certain that the water used to wash the fruits or vegetables is safe to drink. We bring along a GRAYL bottle to make sure our water is safe to drink.
#17. Cafe Batavia
On the opposite end of the culinary spectrum is Cafe Batavia, at least in terms of cost. While Sabang Street caters to the working class, Cafe Batavia serves mainly the high-browed set.
Cafe Batavia, set in Fatahillah Square in Jakarta’s historic center, has a decidedly 1930’s feel, although it was actually established in the early 1990’s. The building, however, was built in the 1830’s, so there is some history to the places, at least in terms of its setting.
The food at Cafe Batavia is a bit pricey for our tastes. But what makes the price worth it is the view of Fatahillah Square from the second floor salon.
#18. Take A Bite (Harry Potter Restaurant)
If you’re a Harry Potter fan like we are, then you’ll want to visit Take A Bite, in north Jakarta near Pluit Village. It’s a Harry Potter-themed restaurant, complete with broomsticks and Butter Beer. The food is American style pub fare, with onion rings and steak, burgers and pastas. But we did enjoy seeing all the Harry Potter decor.
#19. My BunBun Cafe (Bunny Cafe)
One of the restaurants that our kids loved was My Bun Bun Rabbit Cafe, a bunny cafe in northwest Jakarta. At this restaurant, you can borrow a rabbit for the day, and pet it while you enjoy your lunch!
The cafe has several bunnies available for guests. Upon entering, you can pick your bunny, and they’ll put it on a tray for you, and bring it to your table. The tray has a water absorbent pad, so the bunny doesn’t go to the bathroom all over the table! During your visit to the cafe, you can pet the bunny all you want, and indulge in its adorable cuteness. My daughter was in heaven!
The food at My Bun Bun is mostly various types of rice or noodle dishes. But they do have Chinese bao dishes that are shaped like bunnies. It’s all so very cute!
#20. Miss Unicorn
Since we’re on the topic of cuteness, the other restaurant that our kids liked visiting was Miss Unicorn, in east Jakarta. Miss Unicorn is a unicorn-themed cafe (mostly My Little Pony). The restaurant is equipped with sofas, pillows, and tables, as well as several stuffed My Little Pony unicorns to play with. The kids had fun running around collecting all the unicorns into one pile.
There are a few themed dishes on the menu, including rainbow spaghetti and rainbow roti bakar (toasted sandwich with creamy cheese and condensed milk filling). It was like eating a rainbow, inside a rainbow. The whole restaurant is just so colorful! If your little ones love unicorns, then you should definitely take a visit to Miss Unicorn.
Making the most of our time in Jakarta
Our month in Jakarta flew by. There were so many attractions in Jakarta that we didn’t end up visiting, like the famous Istiqlal Mosque or Jakarta’s old harbor, Sunda Kelapa. But the places that we did get to visit definitely made our time in the city memorable.
If you’re planning a trip to Indonesia, don’t skip out on Jakarta. Instead, spend a few days and see all the family-friendly things the city has to offer. I’m sure you’ll love the Jakarta attractions as much as we did.
Have you spent time in Jakarta? What were your favorite Jakarta tourist attractions to visit with your family? Share them in the comments below!
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