Jakarta is a sprawling cosmopolitan city where the modern and traditional meet head on. There are fine museums and superb examples of colonial architectures, traditional temples and marketplace as well as plethora of antique shops, shopping malls, shopping centers, cinemas, local and foreign fast food restaurants, fine dining establishment and discotheques.
The colonial architecture inherited from the Dutch era can be found downtown or in older sections of the town. Not to be missed are the urban kampong or villages. The Jakarta municipality in recent years has worked hard to upgrade basic services in these places and the results is closely settled but very charming of kampong or villages.
To capture the mood of Jakarta you can go to various evening entertainment places, nighttime food stall along the entire length of Jalan Pecenongan, just across from Bina Graha, the President working office.
The Glodok Chinese quarter, sandwiched between Jalan Gajah Mada and Jalan Moh Mansyur, just south of the old Kota area and the Tanjung Priok, port area (where first class se food place abound) though modest in appearance, rub shoulders with nightspots and ubiquitous billiard balls.
You can also enjoy Jakarta by sipping cup of tea or coffee at any one of the seemingly thousands of warung or canvas-topped street stalls that can be, and often must be picked up and moved at a moment’s notice to avaoid police sweep.
Apart from the rustic kampong, Chinese quarter and nightspots, there are many other major places of interests in Jakarta.
Indonesia National Museum
The National Museum is located in Central Jakarta. Established in 1778 by U.M.C Rademacher under the auspices of the Batavia Association of Arts and Sciences, the museum offers historical-prehistoric archaeological and ethnographic aspects of Indonesia through its extensive collection of artifacts and relic which date a far back as the Stone Age.
It has one of the most complete collections of bronze and ceramics dating back to Han, Tang and Ming Dynasties. The museums has one of the finest numismatic collections in the world. The religions art sections is filled statuary and sculpture salvaged from sites of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic edifies.
Its collection of cultural monuments, household utensils arts and crafts provide an introduction to the life of the various ethnic groups which populate Indonesia. The museum is popularly known as Gedung Gajah “Elephant Building” because of the stone elephant presented by King of Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 1871, which is placed on the front of the building.
The National Monument (Monas)
he National Monument is one of the main monuments built during Soekarno era of fierce nationalism. The 137-meter tall marble obelisk is topped with a fame coated with 35 kilograms of gold, and represent the people’s determination to achieve the freedom . It towers over Merdeka (freedom) Square, and serves as Jakarta’s most prominent landmark.
The monument is open to the public and houses a historical museum and meditation hall. An elevator carries visitors to the top, offering a bird’s eye view across the city of the sea.
Two of original warehouses from the first trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company in Java, now house of the Maritime Museum. Exhibits include large models of boats from various islands. The old harbor master’s tower stands nearby.
Sunda Kelapa, also known as Pasar Ikan (Fish Market) is located in the north of the city at the mouth of the Ciliwung River.
This is where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Padjajaran in the early 16th century . In days of yore, the street leading to it was lined with shops selling all sorts of shells dehydrated turtles, lobsters and everything else the seafarer may need. Dutch domination of Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia from this area began from this area, and the remnant of Kasteel Batavia, an old fort and trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company, can still be seen.
Sunda Kelapa is at present a fisherman’s wharf and inter-island port. Tall masted Bugis schooners from South Sulawesi anchoring there offer one of the finest sights Jakarta has to offer. They belong to one of the last fleets of sail boats in the world and still ply the sea between the islands, as they did centuries ago carrying merchandise.
A city tour may also include other places of interests such as Ragunan Zoo, Indonesia in Miniature Park (TMII), Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (the Jakarta Playhouse) and Ancol Dream Land.
(Destination by Tourviewers)