Jakarta Indonesia – Things To Do in 2 days

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Want to know what to do in Jakarta? Here is a detailed list of things to do in Jakarta for 2 days

Located on the island of Java, Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital city. Known as the world’s second most populated city, Jakarta is a massive megacity home to some 10.000.000 people.

So what is there to do in Jakarta? And is Jakarta worth visiting? Yes Jakarta is definitely worth visiting. How do we know it’s worth it? We’ve been to Jakarta 6 times and each time stayed there for 1 week.

While it took us some time to get used to the negative sides of Jakarta, we have to say we love the city that’s unfortunately on known for it’s bad traffic.

About Jakarta

Jakarta is often misunderstood as just a sprawling city, but it offers a surprising array of activities. The city’s diverse blend of Arab, Indian, Chinese, Javanese, and European cultures has shaped its unique character.

From towering skyscrapers and numerous malls to the European-influenced Kota Tua and the vibrant Chinatown district, Jakarta is captivating. Despite rapid growth leading to infrastructural challenges like traffic congestion and pollution, the city still holds its charm.

While Jakarta hasn’t always had a stellar reputation as a tourist destination, our firsthand experience contradicted expectations. Despite the bustling roads and non-pedestrian-friendly areas, Jakarta exceeded our expectations, especially in the warmth of its people.

Admittedly, the city can be overwhelming for first-timers, particularly those new to Asian cities. Flexible travel dates can help navigate the tropical chaos, where temperatures often exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

In our guide, we present a concise 2-day Jakarta itinerary, highlighting must-visit cultural sites, a sky bar, a city skyline-viewing tower, and some of the best dining spots. Explore Jakarta with an open mind, and you may find the city’s unique allure surpassing initial perceptions.

A performer in a hello kitty costume collects a tip from a yellow cab taxi driver somewhere on a busy street in Jakarta
A street performer wearing a hello kitty costume

Here is an interesting fact about Jakarta. Major changes are on the way for this megacity. The government plans to build a new city on Kalimantan island and transfer the administrative headquarters there in the hope to ease Jakarta’s current pressures.

Where to Stay in Jakarta

Jakarta is a massive City and home to various and areas. Add to that the horrendous traffic and you have the perfect reason to want to find the best place to stay in order to have the best things nearby.

Here are some places worth considering and the best hotels for each area.

Central Jakarta

This bustling district houses the city’s commercial and administrative centers, including the iconic Thamrin and Sudirman areas. It’s home to towering skyscrapers, upscale shopping malls, and cultural landmarks like the National Monument (Monas). Central Jakarta is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and luxury hotels catering to business travelers.

Mid Range: Ashley Tanah Abang

High End: Mandarin Oriental Jakarta

South Jakarta

Known for its trendy neighborhoods like Kuningan and Kemang, South Jakarta offers a blend of upscale living, entertainment, and dining. It boasts chic cafes, boutique shops, and lively nightlife scenes. Expansive green spaces provide a tranquil retreat amidst the urban bustle, making it a sought-after area for both residents and visitors.

Mid Range: Via Renata Prapanca

High End: Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta

Menteng and Cikini

Nestled amidst tree-lined streets and historic architecture, Menteng and Cikini exude a charming and laid-back ambiance. This area is home to cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and vibrant local markets. Boutique hotels and cozy cafes dot the neighborhood, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in its rich heritage and relaxed atmosphere.

Mid Range: Ashley Wahid Hasyim

High End: Novotel Jakarta Cikini

Things To Do in Jakarta in 2 days

Day 1 – Things to do in Central Jakarta

The things to do in Jakarta are everywhere. But one of the best things to do in Jakarta, is to visit a tourist attraction that will give some sense of orientation and help you understand how vast the city really is.

So on day 1 start off by visiting some of the must see places in Central Jakarta. Here somewhere in the middle of the city you will find some of the favourite tourist spots in the capital of Indonesia.

The National Monument, and National Museum, Merdeka Palace, Istiqlal Mosque and The Jakarta Cathedral are all within walking distance from Merdeka Square, a big beautiful park and the highlight of the day.

The National Monument or Monas Tower

Standing tall at 132 meters in height, the Monas Tower is a monument in the Merdeka Square. This beautiful white long tower stands as a reminder of the struggle Indonesia went through to achieve the country’s independance.

Jakarta Monas Tower from Merdeka Square

It may very well seem to only be a nice tourist site to take a few pictures, but the Monas Tower is a lot more interesting.

Right beneath the long narrow structure there is a big underground level that is in fact a museum. This rather unique museum offers a walk along gallery of dioramas depicting the history of Indonesia.

The dioramas tell the story of Jakarta from ancient times, to conflicts and the Dutch invasion until the time when Indonesia got it’s own independance.

And what is interesting, is that the very top level of the monument is accesible to tourists.

Going up there, and standing 132 meters above the city offers an amazing view of Jakarta’s streets and a skyline dominated by high modern skyscrapers.

The 360 view from the top of Monas Tower puts the whole city into perspective and will help you understand how massive Jakarta really is.

The viewpoint from the top of Monas Tower is a popular sightseeing spot in Jakarta, and on days off, like weekends and festive days, it does tend to get busy. And there may actually be other tourists waiting in line to use a lift that takes you to the top.

We visited on a friday and although the square was busy there was no queue at the lift that takes you to the deck. It seems that on weekends this attraction is busier and some waiting time is expected. 

Jakarta Monas Tower

The monument is open daily from 8:00 until 22:00 except Monday. The peak is open on these same days from 8:00 until 16:00 and then 19:00 until 22:00.

The entrance fee to the museum is 5.000 IDR ($0.35) per person and an for the viewing area there is an additional 10.000 IDR ($0.70) per person.

National Museum

Jakarta National Museum

It only takes about 10 minutes to walk from the Monas Tower and to Jakarta’s National Museum. The museum depicts Indonesia’s history and showcases many historical artifacts from all over the country.

As an addition to the traditional museum, a new modern buiding has opened to accommodate some contemporary arts exhibitions.

For a better understand of the museum, and what all the artifacts are, there are guided English tours on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10.00am and also on Thursdays at 1:30pm.

So it is best to plan your visit to coincide with the English tour as it will be a good opportunity to learn about the history of Indonesia.

The entrance fee is 10k IDR ($0.70) per person.

the entrance to the National Museum

Istiqlal Mosque & The Jakarta Cathedral

Istiqlal Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world and the largest in Southeast Asia and can accommodate an astonishing number of over 120,000 people. 4 levels of balconies face onto the large rectangular prayer hall.

The Istiqlal Mosque is beautiful. Although at first it may seem a simple building, the ceiling has a huge 45 meter diameter golden dome held up by massive pillars from inside the praying area.

Being a Holy place, we weren’t quite sure if this place should actually be listed as a tourist attraction in Jakarta. And we didn’t even know if we should be going there or not.

But as it turns out Istiqlal is in fact a popular place for people to visit in Jakarta.

On our visit, we were greeted by a guide who provided some general information on the Mosque and then allowed us to go around to the upper floors and the outside area freely. We were impressed by how big the mosque is.

And we were even impressed how we managed to not get lost because that is quite common with us.

It was nice to meet so many friendly people. And one of the persons we met also knew Arabic which is very similar to our Maltese language.

Istiqlal Mosque Dome
Inside the world’s second-largest Mosque

A facing dirrectlly onto the Mosque there is the Jakarta Cathedral. It was quite strange to come across a cathedral in Jakarta, simply because Cathedrals aren’t so common in Asia.

And f you are wondering how come a Cathedral and a Mosque are facing each other, there is a good and interetsing reason for the that.

These 2 religous places were built facing each other as a sign of unity throughout the country’s different beliefs.

Jakarta Cathedral
Jakarta Cathedral opposite Istiqlal Mosque.

Day 2 – Things To Do in the North and East Jakarta

Although hard to imagine, among Jakarta’s modern skyscrapers, massive malls, sprawling streets with scooters zig zagging through the notorious traffic jams, is an old town that dates back to the Dutch colonial days.

And on day 2, the tourist spots in Jakarta to visit are this interesting town in the North. And a massive park in East Jakarta that highlights the diversity throughout this island nation.

Both of these places are very interetsing sites in Jakarta. And although could be done in a single day, it may be better to each one seperately depending on how much time you have.

Kota Tua in the North of Jakarta

One of the best things to do while in Jakarta is to head up to the Northern part of the city and go take a stroll around Kota Tua Old town.

The old town of Kota Tua is a big contrast to the vibrant streets in Indonesia’s Capital Jakarta.

Most famously known for Fatahillah square in the middle of the town, Kota Tua has become one of Jakarta’s most famous tourist spots.

And, concentrated around the Fatahillah square are loads of well-preserved historic buildings. The buildings are a reminder of when the Dutch still ruled Indonesia.

The streets lined with historic buildings are influenced by European architecture. 

Besides being an interesting place to wander around, a lot of the buildings in Kota Tua have been transformed into museums, restaurants and hotels. So you could very easily get a look also from the interior.

If you’re staying somewhere in the City center which is where most tourists usually stay, Kota Tua is only a 30-minute taxi ride away and should only cost between $2 to $3 for the ride.

The beautiful European style buildings in Jakarta in

And while you’re in the area…..

Why not visit Jakarta’s very own China town? You don’t even need to get a taxi because it’s only a 10 minute walk away from the old parts of Kota Tua. 

When we came to North Jakarta it was very interesting to see how diverse this mega City is even within such a short distance.

We walked along tiny alleys lined with street vendors selling everything from fruit to meat, stalls cooking food and stopped for a break in what are known as two must visit places in the china town area – a tea house and a coffee shop.

Pantjoran Tea House – Old Chinese Tea House

One of the main highlights is an old tea on a corner street in the china town area.

Pantjoran Tea House is a popular place because the old shop has been there for around 200 years and serves a large range of tea options.

When we arrived in Kota Tua it started raining and because it was still about 7 am, we decided to go have a cup of tea and something to eat.

Keep in mind that this tea house is Chinese so don’t expect scones, biscuits, and cake. Instead, the menu is like actual meals. 

For example, we had a green tea, along with asparagus crab meat soup, chicken fillet in china town sauce, crispy things with chicken and mushroom, and a couple of egg tarts.

The old chinese tea house in Jakarta's very own china town district
Drinking tea at Pantjoran tea house.

There are also a few light options like dim sum and things like that.

Pantjoran Tea House is a unique experience because the tea in served in a traditional Chinese way.

A waiter takes care of setting a small tea tray next to the table and handling the small Chinese pots with boiling water. And then the tea is served in small traditional cups.

Although the tea alone costs $10 or more depending what you choose, it is worth the experience.

Kopi Es Tak Kie

In a tiny china town alley, there is this old Chinese coffee shop famous for its coffee and a dish named Nasi campur. 

Kopi Es Take Kie is a 2-minute walk from the tea house I have just mentioned.

It is a traditional family-run coffee shop and eatery hidden within a narrow alley lined with various street vendors one next to another.

You really need to keep an eye out for the sign of the shop because there are so many things going on that you’ll easily pass by the entrance without noticing.

What we had is their coffee (which the shop is famous for) and a dish of Nasi Campur. 

Nasi Campur means rice mix and here they serve plain white rice with different pork cuts, sausage, and some sauce. It is really good.

Don’t be surprised by the prices. We had actually thought we were ripped off really bad when they charged us 143k IDR ($10) for 4 coffee and a nasi campur. In any other place, the same equivalent of food would cost no more than 50k IDR.

But, it is a popular spot. And mostly the food is expensive because it has pork. Considering most of Indonesia is Muslim, pork isn’t that widely available therefore it is quite expensive to buy.

Nasi Campur: 55k idr

Coffee: 22k idr

Taman Mini Indonesia in the East of Jakarta

Taman Mini Museum Ganesha
A performance mask at the museum in Taman Sari mini Indonesia.

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago with over 17,000 islands (apparently there are even more islands than this official figure). The best option of getting a glimpse of Indonesia’s diverse culture prevailing on the islands is by visiting Taman Mini. 

Taman Mini has 26 reproductions of traditional houses found throughout the archipelago. These houses showcase the history and tradition of the islands. A number of parks and museums are also found at Taman Mini.

Jakarta Taman Mini Museum Balinese style architecture

Taman Mini is huge so getting around will require either renting a motorcycle or hopping on a bus. Also, an alternative and cheaper option is to take a ride above the park in cable car. Talking the cable car will help you get a perspective of the place and maybe even point out a few place that you want to visit while you’re there.

Taman Mini from cable car lake
The cable car offers an aerial view of the park

Entrance fee is 20k IDR (1.40$) per person and the cable car ride is 50k IDR (3.50$) per person. Some attractions within the park charge additional fees.

Taman Mini from cable car

Jakarta Map

Click on the button to the right to view the map larger and the list of attractions.

Jakarta Streetfood

Since not many foreigners visit Jakarta, the local food culture has yet to catch up with other popular destinations in Asia like Bangkok and Cities in Vietnam where the food is one of the highlights.

But I can assure you, in Jakarta and Indonesia you’ll find some of the best-tasting food in Asia. And also, there are a lot of plant based options in Indonesia culinary scene.

All around Jakarta you’ll see street vendors pushing around a wheeled cart or carrying a small kitchen workstation on a motorbike.

Read this before you just decide to try any street food in Jakarta. The food hygiene in Jakarta is questionable. Tourists and local people often get food poisoning for various mostly from food not being properly stored and because of the lack of fresh, clean water were to wash things. In order to minimise your risks, avoid eating undercooked food, or food that has been made in advance. You never know how long it’s been there. Always stick to meals that have been prepared after ordering. And if it’s something fried (goreng), make sure the oil doesn’t look like it’s been used for a week.

Food is usually served on a piece of paper or banana leaf so your food won’t be directly on the plate. But for cutlery, you may end up eating with a spoon that hasn’t really been washed in clean water. Try taking your own, or if you have some bottled water wash the cutlery before using it.

Before you eat any street food make a quick inspection and check where dishes are being washed – where the food is being prepared – what the oil looks like and what that place looks like compared to other vendors. You can usually compare places and tell which ones seem cleaner than others.

You can also tell what the place is by the number of people eating there. Generally, the good places are the busiest, and if there isn’t anyone it is most times a sign that the place has something wrong.

Street food is dominated by fried, boiled and grilled food with the most popular dishes being Nasi goreng (fired rice) Mie Goreng (fried noodles) Bakso (meatball soup) and ayam sate (chicken skewers).

So those are the popular dishes that you should try in Jakarta.

But there is more…..

Besides street food, there are eateries called Masakan Padang. These eateries are easily recognized from a glass cabinet on the side of the road that is used to display the various dishes they are serving. 

To be honest, Masakan Padang eateries are far from inviting and I had actually put them off of my food list for the first 2 months of my trip in Indonesia.

Masakan Padang’s serve precooked meals. I know this may sound contradictory to what I said further above. However, because these are actual shops thay do have a proper place where to store the food and other ingredients being used in the dishes.

But don’t let the presentation of the dishes and the bright colored walls inside put you off. They serve some of the most amazing pre-cooked meals I have ever tried. And actually, some places also serve beef rending which CNN Travel rated as one of the best dishes in the world.

Where to find street food

All around Jakarta you’ll find street food. We’ve eaten from lots of different places in different areas.

The only stalls I try to avoid are the wheeled carts that walk around with a load of fried things and have been precooked.

And also, I have never eaten from stalls [whatever the form] that are set on a bridge over a river. I just have this strange feeling the dirty river water could be used to wash the things.

This is where we love to go for a good choice of different street food vendors.

For a wide selection of different street food make sure to visit Jl. H Agus Salim. This street was our favorite place to eat almost every night that we were in Jakarta.

There is a good combination of different dishes from fish to rice and skewers, noodles and even sweets. And a meal shouldn’t cost any more than $1 or $2.

We tried quite a few of the street vendors and concluded that all were good.

If you’re looking for some of the best skewers, head to the intersection onto Jl. Wahid Hasyim.

There you’ll see a restaurant and someone grilling skewers on the sidewalk.

The prices are a bit higher than the street food vendors but everything, especially chicken skewers are amazing. If you want a beer, cross the street to the corner shop and they have large cold Bintangs in the back of the fridge.

Jakarta Restaurants


High above the busy streets of Jakarta, there is Skye rooftop bar and restaurant. The bar and restaurant are on the very last level of a skyscraper in the heart of Jakarta.

Being this high above the ground offers stunning views all over the city which will give you a perspective of how massive the city really is. And if you come here before the sun goes down on a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most amazing sunsets just sinking down behind the cities towers.

But Skye rooftop bar and restaurant isn’t just about the views. The drinks menu has enough choices to cater for anyone including cocktails, beer, wine, and nonalcoholic cocktails. 

And the food menu is, well let me just say it’s some of the best western food I’ve had in a while.

Jacqueline had a burger and I had rice with sliced meat.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t sure if their premium meats would reflect the high price. But considering how good the meat in the rice was, I will give the meat a try next time I’m there.

Plaza Semanggi

Plaza Semanggi is a shopping mall located between central and south Jakarta. The mall is well known for its choice of restaurants. On our visit, we ate at Leko which serves local and fusion dishes. Portions were small but the taste was exceptional. One of our favorite dishes was beef on the bone which was cooked to perfection and was absolutely delicious.

Kafe Pisa Menteng

Pisa Kafe Menteng is in central Jakarta and is a long-running Italian restaurant. Pizza and pasta are the highlights of the menu here. All the dishes we had were good. The restaurant has exceptional Italian ice cream. 

Dapur Babah Elite

If looking for a restaurant with a twist we suggest checking out Dapur Babah. A fusion menu and an avant-garde decor are the highlights here. Although the restaurant is high-end and popular with prominent figures, the ambience is still relaxed. The interior design is a mix of traditional furnishings, statues, and paintings which is in fact the owner’s private collection. We decided to visit the restaurant to sample a variety of food we would find in Indonesia. The menu is a mix of traditional, Dutch, and also fusion dishes. Food was very good especially the Dutch and traditional.

The interior of Dupur Babah restaurant
Dapur Baba


Whether you love shopping or not, at some point you are bound to end up in one of Jakarta’s malls for something or other. After all, there are around 170 to 200 malls scattered all over Jakarta.

Pretty much you’ll find anything you need in Jakarta’s malls. From gadgets and electronics to high end designer clothes or more common brands. And it is always interesting to see amazing brands (probably local) that create some of the coolest outfits and probably can’t be found anywhere else.

Some of the best malls (actually these malls that we’ll list are the ones we personally visited) 

Grand Indonesia: self explanatory – Grandest (largest/biggest) mall in Indonesia.

Central Park: Just about the right size for not getting and has a bit of everything.

Sınayan Park: There are some decent restaurants on the top floor.

You will be asked to show your passport and a confirmation of a full vaccine dosage to enter the malls.

Jakarta Travel Tips

Visa upon Arrival at Jakarta Airport

The visa upon arrival (VOA) costs 36 USD or 500k IDR. For the VOA you need to show proof of the flight out of the country. The process of getting the VOA at the Jakarta airport is fast (no queues) and simple.

Getting from Jakarta Airport to Central Jakarta

We used the Damri bus to get from the airport to the city centre (journey time is 90 minutes but usually the journey is longer because of traffic). The cost of a bus ticket to Gambir station (the train station in central Jakarta) is 40k IDR (2.80$).  From terminal 2, the buses are located to the left of the arrival hall within a short walk from the airport building. Tickets are bought before getting on the bus. It is possible to stop the bus if the hotel is on the way to the train station.

Where to stay in Jakarta

Jakarta is a huge city and identifying the best area to stay in can be difficult.

In our opinion, the best area to stay in Jakarta is along the street named Jl Wahid Hasyim.

We stayed in 3 different hotels during our 2 trips to Jakarta and every hotel we chose was somewhere along Jl. Wahid Hasyim.

Unless you have specific things that you want to do, like be close to malls, Wahid Hasyim is a good location because it isn’t too far from anything.

There is a popular street that is known for all the food stalls close to Jl. Wahid Hasyim. And you’ll also find western, Korean, and Chinese restaurants along this street.

Yellow Bee

This hotel was previously known as Simple Inn when we were there. Although the name has changed, the standards and service seem to have remained the same as reviews are still very good.

We booked one of the cheap rooms here and although a bit small, the room was comfortable and there was enough room to place all our bags without getting too cramped.

Rooms are clean and the staff are the best at helping out with many things.

Breakfast is usually included in the price which was mostly spicy Indonesian dishes with rice.


Juno was the hotel we stayed in after completing our 7-day quarantine in Jakarta. It was probably the cheapest hotel room we found at that time. And although cheap, the rooms were clean with fresh linen and towels and we also had a decent view from the 7th floor we were in.

Breakfast in also included in the price.


We chose Aloft for our 7-day quarantine when entering Jakarta. And we couldn’t have been happier about choosing this place. The room we had was huge, (at least to our standards), clean, had a super comfy bed and a flat-screen TV.

Included in the price we got 3 daily meals which were very good and freshly made, unlimited coffee and tea (in the room), and free laundry.

Definitely one of the best places we stayed in Jakarta. Especially that bed, I still miss it!!

Jakarta street with water fountain

Getting around in Jakarta

While in Jakarta we made use of Grab taxi for short distance travel and public buses for longer trips.


TransJakarta is one of the best ways to avoid the traffic in Jakarta. Bus fares are cheap and may even be faster than a taxi. Specific lanes are dedicated to the long bendy bus and therefore reduces time spent in traffic. Getting to your final destination might entail changing buses at certain stops. At bus stops there are TransJakarta personnel that can help with buses to your destination.

Grab or Gojek

Grab or Gojek are a good and reliable means of transport throughout Indonesia. What we love about these is the ease of use and the fact that you get to know the price from beforehand. Booking a ride is through their respective application and therefore you will need an internet connection.

Metered Taxi

Taxis are a good way of getting around the city especially from transport hubs. Airport, bus terminals and train stations have a restriction for online ride service. We found metered taxi prices very much similar to Grab prices. The only downside was that if the taxi doesn’t find your destination the cost just keeps going up until you finally get there. Blue Bird taxis are the most reliable service and always use the meter.

>>Once on the island make sure to visit the East of Java. This part of the island is our favorite and is home to the most amazing waterfall we came across during our 1 year trip around South East Asia, Tumpak Sewu. We liked it so much that we have written 7 guides and are as follows.

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Things To Do in Jakarta in 2 days

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    7 thoughts on “Jakarta Indonesia – Things To Do in 2 days”

    1. Hello, Great post about things to do in Jakarta! I’m planning a trip to Jakarta soon and I’ll surely use the information that you’ve provided. Thanks for sharing

    2. Going to Visit Jakarta next week as I don’t know much about it so I was looking for a blog to know the best things to do there thanks for this information. As Know I know What to do there.


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