A country that tries to rival China for sheer size and diversity is Indonesia. This crazy place of thousands of islands is a really popular backpacker haven, but with so many options to see and do, you can often be left wondering where to start. A good option is always to kick things off in the capital city – Jakarta is a superb place to start.
This is the thriving hub and capital city of the nation. It has a massive airport and sprawling suburbs and is a crazy hangout. I backpacked my way here and stayed in the downtown – the Big Hotel Jakarta is a great spot, for holidays just after Ramadan, it’s a good idea to book now. Once you have a base in Jakarta you need to head out and see the sights, and these are the most recommended, a brilliant top 4 for your time touring Jakarta!
1.A Slum Tour
Sadly poverty lurks in the capital but a slum tour takes you through these backstreets and suburbs and you can mingle with and help the locals. We played football with them and had a great time. You can also do some volunteer work and even live there, which helps raise money for charity and develop the locals. English teachers are also sought after in Jakarta so there are many options arising from a slum tour.
For a vintage taste of extravagance and the coolest bar in town, head to the Cafe Batavia in the main square, this exquisite venue has Dutch Colonial history, intriguing design and good food and drink. Happy hour beers, go down a treat, we recommend sinking some Bintang on the top floor. The toilets are also really interesting. The male toilets has some nude potraits and also shows celebrities who have drank here down the years.
The main Mosque in Jakarta is epic. This is a hugely dominant Muslim country and the locals are proud of the city’s centrepiece. The Mosque rises high and there are often large queues to get inside but it’s always worth it. As ever, shoes off and respect the local culture and you will love this place. At dusk, when the call to prayer sound comes out, its magical. You can hear it all over the city as the sunsets over this sprawling metropolis. The Mosque has several floors and is free entry of course.
4.Dutch Colonial Quarters
The Dutch history is still evident in the downtown area with a stunning array of colonial buildings. The main square is full of memories of the Dutch invasions, but realistically it’s only a small part of the city and it’s history now. But it still makes for a pleasant walk, and you can see the clear influence that the Dutch once had here – some buildings are decrepid, while others still retain their sparkle.
So now you know all about Indonesia, it’s time to head there and check out vibrant Jakarta!