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Planning Your Trip

The diversity of Indonesia, home to hundreds of ethnic groups, is brilliantly manifested in its capital, Jakarta. The energetic, sprawling city on the island of Java is a veritable melting pot and will make for an unforgettable trip. Here’s what to pack.

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Business Travel

Jakarta is a modern city with a strong financial and economic sector. However, there are still a few cultural things to keep in mind when coming here for work.

 

 

 

  • In Indonesia, developing a rapport is crucial to conducting business successfully. Exchanging small gifts, like delicacies, candy or coffee is common practice.
  • Bring a good supply of business cards to further develop relationships.
  • Your professionalism should be manifested in how you dress. For men, that means a dark-colored suit and tie, and for women, also a suit or a knee-length dress.
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Exploring the City

From sampling the diverse cuisine of Jakarta to strolling around the Old Town, which has retained the spirit of the city’s Dutch colonial past, there is a wide range of things to do, places to see and dishes to eat.

 

 

  • The city’s location so close to the equator makes for year-round warm weather. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and hats to stay protected.
  • September to January marks the rainy season. Pack a small umbrella and a light rain jacket.
  • The city’s upscale restaurants and cocktail bars draw a fashionable crowd. Women, throw in a few cocktail dresses and heels; slacks, button-downs and jackets for men.
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Cultural Considerations

Jakarta is a predominantly Muslim city. While that doesn’t mean you’re required to wear traditional dress, it’s a good idea to err on the side of conservatism, especially when visiting sacred sites.

 

  • Leave the short shorts and revealing tops at home and instead stay cool in loose fabrics like cotton and linen.
  • Bring a light sweater or scarf to cover your shoulders during visits to temples and mosques. Plus, you’ll need them for air-conditioned buildings.
  • Many religious sites will require you to take off your shoes, so consider leaving more cumbersome footwear at home.
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Don't Forget:

Bali may be Indonesia’s most famous beachy locale, but there are plenty of picturesque, white-sand beaches near Jakarta for a day trip. Pack swimsuits, flip-flops and cover-ups in case you fancy a day by the sea.


Jakarta strikes a perfect balance. It’s a place where people of different backgrounds can coexist and help create a vibrant city full of incredible food, unique historical sights, modern marvels and lots of culture. Here are a few suggestions to add to your itinerary.

Dining Reservations

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The combination of so many ethnic groups in Jakarta makes for an exciting and flavor-packed food scene. Journey back in time at the romantic Lara Djonggrang, which offers a menu inspired by the feasts of Javanese kings set in regal digs filled with artifacts, murals and statues. Angke Rest serves Hakka Chinese cuisine, brought over by the Chinese immigrants who have settled in Indonesia, while the beautiful Dapur Babah specializes in Peranakan cuisine, a fusion of Chinese, Dutch and Indonesian techniques. For contemporary European fare (like caviar, Iberico ham, Dover sole and foie gras), book a table at The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan’s Lobo, which has the added perks of a stellar wine list and live jazz.

Spa Appointments

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When your body craves a break, retreat into the serene, tropical gardens that house the spa at The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan. Javanese, Swedish and Hawaiian techniques are blended together for the signature Mystical Touch Massage, which makes for the ultimate in relaxation and tension relief. Then feel exhilarated again with the Spice Journey, a luxurious and fragrant body scrub and mask that incorporates lavender, jasmine, cumin, coffee, ginger and cinnamon. Finally, make up for extended sun exposure with the Water Lily Facial, which combines the flowers with green tea to reduce inflammation and replenish dehydrated skin.  

Tours

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The concierge at the hotel will help you book a personalized itinerary for seeing top highlights. If you feel like seeing the entire country of Indonesia, you can do so in one day at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, a 250-acre replica that also hosts cultural performances and special exhibits. Shop for textiles, antiques and spices at Pasar Baru, one of the oldest markets in town, and sample authentic Chinese street food in Petak Sembilan, a fun neighborhood in Chinatown. If you’re traveling with kids, bring them to Ancol Dreamland, a massive recreational facility with an amusement park, water park, Sea World and an art market (for the adults).  

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights

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To better understand the history of Jakarta, from ancient times to its independence from Dutch colonization, visit the Jakarta History Museum. It’s housed in a majestic 18th-century building that used to be the city hall of Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies. Afterward, take your time strolling around the Old Town (known here as Kota Tua), admiring the architectural relics of the colonial era. A city with as much religious diversity as Jakarta means you can visit the Jakarta Cathedral, which seats the Roman Catholic archbishop of the city, then simply cross the street to visit Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia.   

Jakarta, on the northwest coast of the island of Java, is the capital of Indonesia, and the country’s cultural, economic and political core. When you include its greater metropolitan area, Jakarta is home to more than 30 million people. Add in the fact that the city has been around for more than 1,600 years, and you’ve got a metropolis of epic proportions. There’s much to see and do in this magnificent melting pot of cultures and civilizations. Follow these itineraries to take in all the best that Jakarta has to offer.


24 Hours in Jakarta

Jakarta, Indonesia’s massive capital, was founded in 397. Over more than 1,600 years, a mix of many cultures (Arab, Chinese, European, Indian, Javanese, Malay) have influenced Jakarta, in everything from its architecture to its cuisine. Today, Jakarta is a dynamic metropolis of extremes and juxtapositions that defies any single description. If you have only 24 hours, here’s how to best catch a glimpse of multifaceted Jakarta.

 

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Cultural Treasures

Jakarta is a sprawling multicultural metropolis that’s more than 1,600 years old, full of cultural treasures spanning many ethnicities and eras. Luckily, a high concentration of must-sees can be found in and around the city core. With more than 10 million people speaking 200 languages in this area alone, it’s one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

 

 

 

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