13 Travel Tips You'll Need For A Short Getaway In Jakarta, A Culturally-Rich Metropolitan City

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Jakarta, the capital and most populous city of Indonesia, is a mere two-hour flight away from Singapore. With a rewarding currency exchange rate of 10,000 IDR to 1 SGD, it makes for an incredibly affordable escape when a short vacation is much needed!

In this travel guide, I will recommend 13 places that you can stay, explore and eat in this fabulous cosmopolitan city. Read on for more.


#1 | Where To Stay

1. Be pampered at Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City

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Sheraton Grand Gandaria City is the second Sheraton to debut in Jakarta, and also the first Sheraton Grand Hotel in all of Indonesia. It is located in the South side of Jakarta, the hippy part of this cosmopolitan city.

The 4.5-stars hotel boasts 293 contemporary guestrooms and suites, fitted with the Sheraton brand signature amenities and services – including Sheraton’s Signature Sweet Sleeper Bed.

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Sheraton Club Room
Comes with access to the exclusive Sheraton Club Lounge

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Impressive lap pool

The hotel is also equipped with state-of-the-art fitness centre (with a personal trainer), an outdoor pool, and an ultra-modern Sheraton Club Lounge.

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Sheraton Club Lounge on the 20th Floor
Exclusive to SPG members and/or club level guests

Club-level guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast and all-day refreshments at the Sheraton Club Lounge while taking in the breath-taking panoramic views of Indonesia’s urban skyscrapers.

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Anigré restaurant

Enjoy all-day dining at Anigré, which serves international cuisine as well as local delicacies. The restaurant welcomes guests with a chic and convival décor, and is able to sit up to 165 guests with semi-private rooms available for private functions.

In the lobby lounge, you can enjoy Sheraton’s Paired Programme, a reinvigorated food and beverage program. Sip on premium wines or take a chug of local craft beers together with expertly-matched small plates of food. It would be an exquisitely relaxing way to end the night before heading back up to your room!

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Sheraton's Exclusive Paired Program

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Gandaria City Shopping Mall

Sheraton Grand Jakarta is also part of the Superblock Gandaria City Complex, which includes a retail shopping mall, convention and exhibition facilities, a helipad and various restaurants.


Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City
Address: Superblock Gandaria City, Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda, Mall Gandaria City, Jakarta, Indonesia
Phone: +62 21 80630888




#2 | Where To Go


2. Hunt down Yayoi Kasuma’s pumpkin in Gandaria City Mall

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The hunt for this polka dotted pumpkin statue is on! This giant yellow pumpkin is created by world renown Japanese artist, Yayoi Kasuma, who has an intense love for these vegetables that kept her alive during the Second World War; her passion for pumpkins has since been an inspiration for her artworks.

Yayoi Kasuma’s pumpkins are scattered at various discreet locations throughout the globe, and people have been travelling the world just to get a picture of it for bragging rights. You can check out all the pictures taken on Instagram with the hashtag #yayoikasuma. Or you can check it out for yourself at Gandaria City Mall.

Gandaria City Mall
Address: Jalan Sultan Iskandar Muda, Kebayoran Lama, Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 10pm



3. Make your own batik!

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Sealing in the design with wax using a Cantik

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Carefully adding colours to the cloth

One of the must-buy souvenirs from Indonesia would be batik, an intricate-patterned cloth made using a wax-resistant dyeing technique! The cloth can then be used to make an apparel, a bag, shoes or a hat!

Instead of buying batik from a shop – which is what most people would do – why not give batik-making a go? There are tonnes of workshops throughout Jakarta offering batik-making courses!

You will be taught to identify an authentic handmade batik from a printed one, and the memories reaped from making your very own one-of-a-kind batik to give as a souvenir to your loved ones back home.


4. Watch a shadow puppet show

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Wayang Kulit are shadow puppets made using a large piece of leather with fine holes carefully chiseled into the leather to create each unique puppet design

After having watched one of these traditional puppet shows, I can safely conclude that they have been understated and deserve more recognition. No fancy science tech is used in the performance but the simplicity of a wayang kulit (shadow puppet show) was the very thing that captured my attention.

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Wayang Golek are wooden doll puppets operated using rods connected to the hands and body of the doll

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You can catch a shadow puppet show at Wayang Museum on every second, third and fourth Sunday of every month, from 10am to 2pm. The show would last for about an hour. Alternatively you can walk around Wayang Museum for a fascinating display of the various puppets used.

Purchase one of these puppets home as a souvenir for SGD15 (for a small one, approximately 15cm in height) or SGD40 (for a medium size one, approximately a forearm’s length long).

Wayang Museum
Address: Jl. Pintu Besar Utara No.27, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Fridays (9am to 3pm); Saturdays to Sundays (9am to 8pm). Closed on Mondays



5. Visit the National Museum

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The National Museum of Indonesia (or known as ‘Museum Gajah’) has a wide collection of artefacts that records most of Indonesia's history. Museum Gajah is one of the finest archeological, historical, ethnological and geographical museums that can be found in Southeast Asia. It holds a collection of 61,000 prehistoric and anthropological artefacts, and 5,000 archaeological artefacts from all over Indonesia and Asia.

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Courtyard at The National Museum of Indonesia

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The largest artefact in the museum is this large Hindu-Buddhist statue, Adityavarman (depicted as Bhairava)

From tribes who believe that sleeping on the skull of their loved ones would bring them answers to their questions in life, to indigenous women who believed that blackening their teeth is a sign of beauty, learn about the various traditions and beliefs of Indonesians throughout the different regions of the country.

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Black teeth was a sign of beauty for the women folks in some tribes

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Understanding the history of puppet shows through the years

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Sign up for a free tour of the museum in your language of choice, including English, French, Korean and Japanese. Do note that the museum practices double-pricing – foreign-looking people are charged at a higher price.

National Museum of Indonesia
Address: Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.12, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Fridays (8am to 4pm); Saturdays to Sundays (8am to 5pm). Closed on Mondays



6. Take a picture at Fatahillah Square

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Fatahillal Square (formerly known as Batavia City Square) is home to several museums such as Jakarta History Museum and Wayang Museum. The iconic city square famous for being the “old downtown of Jakarta”. The Square is now a neighbourhood attracting tourists with its history and appealing Dutch architecture.

You can rent a bike to ride around the square, or score some cheap souvenirs at the small flea market located at the side of the Square. Take a picture with the scenic Jakarta History Museum in your background, however do be warned that the local kids are really good photo-bombers – especially those on the bikes (see picture above for evidence)

Fatahillah Square
Address: Jalan Kali Besar Timur 4 No.29, Pinangsia, Tamansari, Jakarta Barat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily, 24 hours



#3 | What To Eat

7. Soak in the 19th Century vibes at Café Batavia

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Located on the northwestern corner of Fatahillah Square, Batavia Café is set in a 200 year-old building and famous for its iconic portrait-full wall. Batavia Café is the second oldest building in central Jakarta (after the Fatahillah museum) and gives off the vibes of 19th century Jakarta during the colonial era.

The restaurant serves delicious traditional Indonesian cuisine such as Nasi Campur Meneer, Batavia Nasi Goreng and Es Campur Betawi.

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Freshly-brewed Indonesian coffee

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Refreshing strawberry juice

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Fried beancurd stuffed with seafood and vegetables

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Bitter ballen

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Batavia fried noodle with seafood, chicken and shrimp cracker

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Nasi campur meneer

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Fatahillah oxtail soup

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Es campur betawi


Café Batavia
Address: Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No.14, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily, 8am to 12am



8. Comfort Indonesian dishes at SOULFOOD Kemang

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Soulfood Kemang started its operations in late 2015 and is now considered a “hipster Indonesian restaurant”.

The restaurant offers authentic Indonesian cuisines using the best ingredients available within the country, and is set in an environment furnished with assorted vintage ornaments that used to exist in homes of Indonesians back in the days.

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Trio fishcakes

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Kembulan lunch platter

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Kembulan dinner platter

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Putu mayang

Do be warned that their food is not for non-spicy eaters and the flavours of the food is more suited for the local palate.


SOULFOOD Kemang Jakarta
Address: Jl. Kemang Raya No.72, Bangka, Mampang Prpt., Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily, 9am to 12pm



9. Dining at Letter D.

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Letter D. is the latest brain-child of acclaimed chef Degan, who appeared in Indonesia Masterchef as one of the judges. Their menu consists of Asian-fusion dishes that combines seasonal Indonesian flavours with a brasserie-twist.

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Thai fresh spring rolls

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Pandan chicken

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Chargrilled fillet of salmon with mixed salad

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Balinese style shredded roast duck with shallot, chilli and lemongrass served with long bean salad and sate lilit

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Traditional style warm coconut pudding, palm sugar emulsion and jackfruit


Letter D. Cuisine & Bar
Address: Jalan Ahmad Dahlan No. 16, Kebayoran Baru, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays (11am to 11pm), Fridays to Saturdays (11am to 2am)



10. Three Buns Senopati

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This international gourmet burger joint comes as no surprise as we have a franchise of our own here in Singapore, located in Potato Head Folks at Keong Saik Road. With that being said, the menu between the two franchises differ.

The signature burgers at Three Buns – such as Baby Huey, Burning Man and Four Floor – are served in both outlets, however Jakarta offers unique burger flavours – such as Street Truff, Piggie Smalls and Big Krabby Kane – which are only found in the Three Buns Senopati restaurant.

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Piggie Smalls: 120g prime beef patty, twice cooked belly pork, BBQ sauce, 3b mayo, smoked cheese and crisp onions

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Street Truff: 120g prime beef patty, ketchup, cheese, lettuce, truffled onion jam and den miso mayo (with an additional fried egg)

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Naughty Fries: Spiced béarnaise, beef chilli, crisp shallots, parmesan cheese and sesame seeds

P/S: I am in love with their Piggie Smalls burger. There is nothing better than beef and bacon sandwiched between perfectly grilled buns!

Three Buns Jakarta
Address: Jl. Senopati No.90, Selong, Kby. Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Weekdays (11am to 12am), Weekends (11am to 1am)



11. Dapuraya, where all Indonesian Street Food resides

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Always wanted to try Indonesian street food, but you’ve been afraid of the food being unclean or of the scorching Jakarta heat? Well you can now fulfill all of your street food desires at Dapuraya, a newly-opened, fully air-conditioned, indoor food court that gathers all of Indonesia's local flavours.

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Here are some dishes that you can try: Kerak Telor (a traditional rice and egg omelette dish), Es Selendang Mayang (sago and rice flour cubes served cold with coconut milk and palm sugar), Serabi Solo Niki Mawon (Indonesian style pancake made with rice flour and coconut milk, topped with jackfruit or chocolate), Kue Putuh (Gutinous rice flour with sweetened grated coconut steamed in a bamboo cylinder).

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As for your beverage, wash the food down with a nice pot of Teh Poci – their local tea served in terracotta teapot and cups accompanied with bits of rock sugar.

Dapuraya
Address: Pasaraya Grande Blok.M Lt.LG, Jalan Sultan Iskandarsyah 2, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily (10am to 10pm)




12. Have a cuppa at One-fifteenth Coffee

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If you are looking for a good cup of coffee, then head to 1/15 Coffee which is one of the first coffee places to provide specialty coffee in Jakarta.

Coffee is a well-respected industry in Indonesia as it has played an important role in the growth of the country’s economy. Indonesia’s affinity with coffee can be traced back to its colonial era, and in 2014, Indonesia was rated as the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world.

One Fifteenth Coffee
Address: Jl. Gandaria 1 No. 63, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Daily (7am to 9pm)



13. Buttering pancakes at Martabak Boss

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Tuna crisp martabak


When in Indonesia, you’ve got to try their Indonesian pancake! Their thick pancake is heavily buttered and resembles our local min jiang kueh in terms of its texture. The thin one, on the other hand, is sinfully deep-fried and absolutely crispy and delicious.

Martabak Boss is one of the famous Martabak franchises in Indonesia offering a variety of flavours from savoury to sweet, and one of their outlets is located a mere three-minute walk across from Gandaria City Mall.

Which would you go for: the Nutella Martabak, or the Tuna Martabak? (I liked the crispy Tuna-flavoured Thin Martabak more, but hey that’s my choice!)

Martabak Boss
Address: Jl. Taman Gandaria, Gandaria, Jakarta
Opening hours: Daily (3pm to 12am)



For more information, catch a better glimpse of my trip to Jakarta in this video:



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This post was sponsored by Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City.