If you only have one day in Jakarta you want to make sure you make the most of it. I’ve put a full-day itinerary covering the best places in Jakarta. A trip to Indonesia usually includes a stop in this bustling metropolis. However, many people fly in and leave on their way to Bali or other places. With only one day in Jakarta, there’s no time to spare! I would consider all of these places on this itinerary to be within walking distance.
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The capital of Indonesia is not amongst the most popular places to visit in the country but since I had a long layover till the next flight, I decided to give it a chance. Maybe due to the early hour, there were not many passengers and the check was quick. As soon as I went out, a couple of people rushed to me like eagles flying to their prey. They turned out to be taxi drivers. They offered to drive me to downtown for 200,000 IDR (€ 12-13). There were also others who offered me to rent them for the entire day for about 950,000 IDR (€ 60). I turned all of them down easily and I rushed to the bus stop. The state bus company DAMRI operates there, and the ticket price is only 40,000 IDR (€ 2.5). The travel was an hour long but it was a holiday again and there was no traffic. The woman who was standing next to me was very kind and she recommended what I should see and what local traditional dishes I should eat. The stop that I had to get off on was Gambir Station. In this area, there are a couple of the main attractions that you can see for a couple of hours.
The Perfect One Day in Jakarta Itinerary
There are lots of places to visit in Jakarta, but if you’ve only got one day in Jakarta, similar to me, you may want to explore one area of the city. In this case, I highly recommend the area around Merdeka Square.
The Istiqlal Mosque or Masjid Istiqlal in Jakarta is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and it has the largest capacity – up to 200,000 people. It was built to recognize the Indonesian independence and it is called “Istiqlal”, an Arab word for “independence”. It was founded for the public on 22 February 1978 under the supervision of the first president of Indonesia Sukarno. It is situated next to Merdeka Square and the Neo-gothic Catholic Cathedral in Jakarta. The main prayer hall represents a rectangular building, covered by a central spherical dome with 45m diameter. The dome is being supported by 12 columns and it has a very open design: minimalistic and simple. There is no entrance fee but after the tour, there is a donation box, where you can leave money.
Right next to the mosque, is the Neo-gothic Catholic Cathedral. And this is no coincidence. The first president of Indonesia – Sukarno, chose the spot for the mosque to be there in order to symbolize the philosophy of the nation of unity inside diversity, where all religions can coexist in peace and harmony. This is how the two pilgrim places work together in harmony – an example, from which the world can learn something. For example, the mosque park is used by the visitors of the cathedral on Easter and Christmas and vice versa – during the time of Muslim holidays, they can park all the way to the parking of the cathedral.
This is the heart of Jakarta. Many of the important government buildings are located around the park. During the time of the Dutch colonial days, it was known as Koningsplein (The Royal Square). In 1949, Sukarno changed the name of the square to Medan Merdeka, which means “Independence Square”.
The statue of Prince Diponegoro symbolizes his irreconcilable spirit in the fight against the Dutch colonial rulers during the Java war from 1825 – 1830. It is situated in the North part of the park. In the center of the square, is rising the national monument.
The National Monument
The National Monument (Monumen Nasional) represents a tower that is 132m high in the center of the Merdeka square, symbolizing the independence of Indonesia. The construction began in 1961, under the proficient leadership of the Sukarno president, and it was found for the public in 1975. On the top, there is a sculpted flame, covered with gold foil. Every visitor can climb up on the observation spot. The distance from the platform for observation to the top of the flame is 17m.
Although, I am a supporter of the high sights, this time I didn’t climb to the top because the queue was too long and the heat was unbearable. I went north to the presidency.
This is one of the six presidential palaces and it being used a official residence of the president of the Republic of Indonesia. During the time of the colonial period of Indonesia, it was housed by the general-governor of the Netherlands East-Indies. The palace, together with other buildings, form the Jakarta Presidential Palace Complex with an area of 6.8 hectares.
Unfortunately, I managed to take only one picture because there was some official gathering, where there were ministers, politicians and official guests. The area around the palace was divided by the police and they were not letting people in. After I took a picture, two policemen came to me and told me that it is forbidden to take pictures. I looked a little and I headed over to the station because time was running. On the way there, I stumbled on an interesting and very beautiful fountain.
Arjuna Wijaya Chariot Statue in Jakarta
The sculpture is part of the classical scene of the epos Mahabharata. In the chariot are Krishna and Arjuna, holding a bow and arrow.
Jakarta definitely is not one of the places I would recommend for visiting. The capital of Indonesia fades away on the background of all natural beauties in the country. In spite of that, if you have a long stay, you can always walk for a couple of hours.