Jakarta is the main gateway to Indonesian archipelago. It is a contrast of modern western architecture and traditional Indonesian culture. Its rapid growth into a metropolitan city, however, is a reflection of the economic, political, social and industrial development of the nation.
This enormous city has humble roots, starting as a small harbour town called Sunda Kelapa, but its actual founding dates back to the June 22, 1527 when it was named Jayakarta by Fatahillah of the neighbouring Sultanate of Banten. The name Jayakarta means City of Great Victory but under Dutch control the name was changed to Batavia. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Batavia fell into the hands of invading Japanese forces who also changed the name of the city.
This time it was called Jakarta as a gesture aimed at winning the sympathy of the Indonesians. The name was retained even when Indonesia achieved national independence after the wars end. Now, as Jakarta, it is the centre of government, business and industry and spreads over an area of more than 650 sq.km (410 sq miles) with a population of over nine million people. It is also designated as a special territory, (DKI) which means that it is administered by a governor and en joys the same status as a province.
In recent years, Jakarta has expanded its facilities for visitors with multi-star luxury hotels, fine restaurants, exciting nightlife and modern shopping centers as well as tourist attractions like Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park), marine resorts in the Bay of Jakarta, an extensive beach recreation complex and restored colonial period buildings.
Jakarta's architecture reflects the history of outside influences which came and left their mark on this vital seaport city. The Taman Fatahillah Restoration Project, begun in the early 1970's, has restored one of the oldest sections of Jakarta, known as Old Batavia or Kota, to almost its original state. An old Portuguese Church and warehouse have been rejuvenated into living museums.
The old Supreme Court building is now a museum of fine arts and houses part of a superb Chinese porcelain collection of former Vice-President Adam Malik and the old Town Hall has become the Jakarta Museum, displaying such rare items as Indonesia's old historical documents and Dutch period furniture Even the city's tower clock was returned to England to be repaired under its lifetime guarantee, a lifetime which until now has lasted for hundreds of years!
Jakarta is traditional and modern; rich and poor; spiritual and worldly standing side by side in this bustling metropolis. The population, gathered from the diverse ethnic and cultural groups which shape Indonesia, are often in contrast and a reminder of the nation's motto; Unity in Diversity. The ethnic Jakarta called "Orang Betawi" speaks Betawi Malay, also spoken in the surrounding towns such of Bekasi and Tangerang. This language has two variations; conventional Betawi Malay, spoken by elder people born and bred in Jakarta, and modern Jakarta Malay spoken by the younger generation and migrants.
As Indonesia's main gateway, Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport serves a growing number of international airlines and provides an abundance of domestic flights. Transport within the city is plentiful.
It should be noted that most museums are open daily from 8.00am (except Mondays) until 2.00pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On Fridays closing hour is at 11.OOam and on Saturdays at 1.OOpm.
PLACE OF INTEREST
The National Monument
The National Monument, or "Monas" as it is popularly called, is one of the monuments built during the Sukarno era of fierce nationalism. It stands for the people's determination to achieve freedom and the crowning of their efforts in the Proclamation of Independence in August 1945. The 137-metre tall marble obelisk is topped with a flame coated with 35 kgs. of gold. The base houses a historical museum and a hall for meditations. The monument is open to the public and upon request the lift can carry visitors to the top which offers a bird's eye view on the city and the sea.
This strikingly modern building on Jalan Gatot Subroto is the parliament where at least once in every five years, the People's Consultative Assembly (the National Congress) holds its sessions. When not in session, visitors are allowed in but permission must be obtained in advance.
Satria Mandala Museum
This central museum of the Armed Forces displays exhibits on the progress in the development of the Indonesian Armed Forces, its role in the struggle for the nation's independence, and other military relics. Open daily except Mondays.
Same of the most exotic orchids come from Indonesia. Several commercial orchid gardens are open to the public, the best known of them is located at Slipi and Taman Mini.
This village in southern Jakarta is a protected area where the old rural life style of Jakarta is preserved. Condet is also famed for its fruit archards.
Jakarta's zoo is situated in the suburb of Ragunan in the southern part of the city. Laid out in a lush tropical setting, such indigenous animals as the Komodo lizard, tapir, anoa, Java tiger, banteng wild ox and brightly coloured birds are given ample room to fly freely in the green foliage.
Open daily from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. The zoological garden is most crowded on Sunday and public holidays.
Established in 1778 by U.M.C. Rademacher under the auspices of the Batavia Association of Arts and Sciences, it offers historical, prehistorical, archaeological and ethnographic aspects of Indonesia through its extensive collection of artifacts and relics which date as far back as to the Stone Age. It has one of the most complete collections of bronzes and ceramics dating back to the Han, Tang and Ming Dynasties.
The Museum has one of the finest numismatic collections in the world, including cloth and money which was used on several islands until recently. The religious art section is filled with statuary and sculpture salvaged from sites of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic edifices. Its collection of cultural instruments, household utensils, arts and crafts provide an introduction to the life of the various ethnic groups which populate Indonesia. This museum is popularly known as Gedung Gajah or "Elephant Building" because of the stone elephant offered by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 1871, placed on the pront lawn of the building.
Indonesia in Miniature Park
An extensive park to get a glimpse of the diverseness of the Indonesian archipelago, it represents Indonesia's 27 provinces and their outstanding characteristics, reflected most strikingly in the exact regional architecture of the province. It has its own orchid garden in which hundreds of Indonesian orchid varieties are grown. There is also a bird park with a walk-in aviary, a fauna museum and recreational grounds with a swimming pool and restaurants.Of special interest here at Taman Mini is the Museum Indonesia. A richly decorated building in Balinese architecture, it houses contemporary arts crafts and traditional costumes from the different regions of the country. Open from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily.
"Teater Imax Keong Emas" (Golden Snail Theatre)
Located in the Taman Mini is the Imax theatre which presents"Beautiful Indonesia" on a gigantic screen using the latest Imax system. Open from 11.00 hrs - 17.00 hrs.
Built in the form of the Varanus Komodiensis (the only pre-historic giant lizard found exclusively on Indonesias Komodo Island), it exhibits dioramas depicting the fauna of insects and wild animals. Located at Taman Mini and open daily from 8.00 -15.00 hrs.
The Stamps Museum at Taman Mini has an attractive collection of stamps once issued in the country over the years.
The museum is ideal for the philatelist. Open daily except Monday, from 08.00 - 15.00 hrs.
Lubang Buaya Heroes Monument
Situated in the southeast of the city about 20 km from down town, it is a memorial park dedicated to the six army generals and one army officer who were slain on October 1, 1965, in an abortive communist inspired coup d'etat. The centrepiece is the Pancasila Monument with statues of the seven heroes, standing near the old well in which their bodies were thrown after having been tortured and executed by communist militia squads.
This street is located in one of the city's better residential areas known for its flea market. Stalls offer a wide range of goods, some of them antiquities, including ornate lamps, porcelain, brassware, handicrafts, Bargaining is necessary, including the skill to distinguish authenticity from imitations.
Perintis Kemerdekaan Building and the Soekarno-Hatta Monument
Both are located at Jalan Proklamasi 56, on the site of the former residence of the late President Soekarno where the nation's Independence was proclaimed. By the Perintis Kemerdekaan Building stands the Soekarno-Hatta Monument, in commemoration of the nation's first President, and Vice President, who together proclaimed Independence on behalf of the Indonesian people. Open daily from 8.00 a.m.
Bird Market (Pasar Burung)
For tropical bird lovers, besides the Bird Park at Taman Mini is the pasar burung/Bird Market at Jalan Pramuka with its colourful and rich varieties of attractive, lovable birds highlighted by the unique "perkutut" song bird, the pride of the Javanese people. Open daily from 9.00 hrs. It is advisable to go with an Indonesian speaking person for better communication.
Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) Art Centre
The focal point of cultural activities in Jakarta is the Jakarta Art Centre, known as Taman Ismail Marzuki or TIM in short. It is said to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and consists of exhibition halls, theaters, an academy of arts, archives building and a planetarium. A monthly programme of events, available at hotel counters, includes exhibitions, plays, musical and poetry recitals, dance performances, exhibitions, folk art and drama from the various regions of Indonesia.
Portuguese Church Situated in downtown Jakarta is the Portuguese Church, between 1693 and 1696 for the Portuguese speaking people of Batavia. Although rather plain from the outside, its interior is quite impressive with its baroque pulpit and organ
The Marina Jaya Ancol
This is a special port for yachts, motor and sail boats the port of departure for Pulau Seribu, the scatered islands in the Bay of Jakarta. This is also the place for marine recreation and sports where each facility is amply provided; water cycles, canoes, sail boats, fishing gear and many others. Stalls along the beach serve drinks and snacks while tents are available for sunbathers and sea-overs.
Jaya Ancol Dreamland
This is Jakarta's largest and most popular recreation park. It is built on reclaimed beach land at the Bay of Jakarta, having, sea and fresh-water aquariums, swimming pools, an artificial lagoon for fishing, boating, bowling, an assortment of nightclubs restaurants, a steam bath and massage perlours.Daily shows are held at the Aquarium where dolphins and sea lions perform. The Ancol complex includes a marina, Dunia Fantasi [Fantasy Land), a golf course, hotels and a drive-in theatre. The "Pasar Seni" or art market has a varied collection of Indonesian handicraft, paintings and souvenirs on sale. At a nearby open air theatre art performances are held using the local dialect.
The latest addition to Jakarta's growing recreation facilities is the Fantasy Land, a 9.5 hectare 123.75 acres) entertainment park lo" cased inside the Ancol Dreamland. Planned to eventually become a part of a 200-hectare 1500-acre) park designed to usher the visitor into the fascinating world of modern science and technology, the present facility takes him on an imaginative tour of Old Jakarta, Africa, America, Indonesia, Europe, Asia and the Palace of Dolls. Each of the areas is designed to give the visitor a feel of The region he is visiting through features and the architecture of the area at a certain period of its history and by the use of animated puppets in the Palace of Dolls.
The park also offers a number of restaurants and souvenir shops.
Two warehouses are the only remains left, which were of the first trading post and port of the Dutch East Indies Company in Java. They now house the Maritime Museum. The old harbourmaster's tower stands nearby. Open from 8.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. on Tuesdays Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. On Fridays closed at 1 1.00 a.m. and on Saturday at 1.00 p.m. It closes on Monday.
The Wayang Museum
This puppetry museum on the western side of Taman Fatahillah in " the Old Town " area has displays of wayang puppets from all parts of Indonesia and some from other parts of Southeast Asia as well. The wooden and leather puppets displayed here represent the finest craftsmanship in this particular form of traditional theatre. The museum also shows shortened performances of the wayang kulit leather puppets every Sunday morning.
This museum displays various textiles from all over the country, from handwoven cotton, silk and to batiks as well, of ancient as well as contemporary productions.
Completed in 1627, the building initially served as the Dutch East Indies Company's Town Hall. Additions and renovations including a stone gate, offices and renovations were added between 1705 and 1715. The known Indonesian hero, Diponegoro, was said to have been imprisoned in its dungeon before his exile to South Sulawesi.
The building was used as military barracks and offices when the Jakarta City Administration decided in the early 1970s to make it the focus of a restoration plan of old Batavia.
Now a museum, it provides the historical background of Jakarta through displays of old maps and antiquities including furniture and porcelain used by the Dutch rulers of Batavia, plus a 1 6th century Portuguese cannon which stand across the cobblestone square.
The Jakarta fair Ground, Kemayoran (JF-K)
Opened by President Soeharto on 20th June 1992, JF-K is designed to increase Jakarta's capacity for medium and large scale exhibition with modern facilities. Part of a new 450 ha complex known as Kemayoran New Town, it is located on the site of Jakarta's first international airport.
The Jakarta Hilton Convention Centre (JHCC)
The Jakarta Convention Centre, which is now allowed to insert the name "Hilton" abbreviated to JHCC, can accommodate three conferences, and three functions simultaneously. The plenary hall has a seat capacity of 3300 theatre-style, and is equipped with a giant avideo-wall, hi-tech lighting and sound system. It has a VIP holding lounge, speakers waiting room, 3 board rooms, 3 meeting rooms, 10 translation booths, a secretariat and administration office. The Exhibition Hall measuring 6, 120a square metres has a 14-foot ceiling and 1 m 350 square metre pre-function lobby. The ballroom can seat 3.000 or can be divided into 3 unit each for 1000 persons. Besides there are 7 multi-function meeting rooms which can seat from 220 to 20 persons or joined together 700 persons. The main lobby can be utilized as a precoctail area or for coffee break for 3.500 persons. The car park can accommodate 10.000 cars.
The Non Aligned Nations Friendship Monument
As a tourism and cultural center, beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park attracted the attention of high officials from many countries.
Eighty six Heads of State and Government have visited Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park, showing great appreciation for the cultural wealth of the diverse archipelago.
Each head of State and Government were requested to a personally planted a tree of friendship to mark their visit to the park.
The Monument of Friendship of the Non-Aligned Countries, in the form of a human eye, reflects the dreams and visions of the Non-Aligned Movement to look far into the future, to see the essential meaning of human life, peace, prosperity, freedom, and equality.
Sunda Kelapa, better known as Pasar Ikan (meaning fish market) is located at the mouth of the Ciliwung river. It was formely the harbour town of Sunda Kelapa where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early 1 6th century.The fish catch of the day was auctioned in the early morning at the old fish market.The street leading to it was lined with shops selling all sort of shells, dehydrated turtles, lobsters and mostly everything the seafarer might need. Dutch domination of Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia began from this area, whereas the remnants of Kasteel Batavia, an old fort and trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company can still be seen now. Sunda Kelapa is at present a fisherman's wharf and an inter-island port. Tall massed Bugis schooners from South Sulawesi anchoring there offer a picturesque scene. They belong to one of the last fleets of sail boats in the world and still ply the seas between the islands, as they did centuries ago, carrying merchandise.
This group of islands in the Jakarta Bay offers a haven away from the bustle of city life. There are golden beaches fringed with coconut palms. The surrounding waters are a paradise for skin divers. They are filled with a myriad of tropical fish which live among the multicoloured corals. The islands can be reached from Tanjung Priok or Pasar Ikan (Sunda Kelapa) by ferry or by chartered boat.
Some of the islands in this group developed for tourism are Pulau Bidadari, Pulau Ayer, Pulau Laki and Pulau Putri. Pulau Tanjung near Putri has an airstrip. There are cabins for hire, having fresh water on Pulau Air and Pulau Bidadari only. The Pulau Putri Paradise Co. has developed Pulau Putri, Pulau Melintang, Pulau Petondan and Pulau Papa Theo as a holiday resort with cottages, restaurants, diving and sailing facilities.