South East Asia Travel Guide for 2018

If you’re heading out to South East Asia, there’s a strong chance you’ll want to visit the wonderful city of Singapore, another popular choice, is Indonesia, but when you think of Indonesia from a travel perspective most people think of Bali, to the point that few travellers venture out of the Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands region.

Bali was made famous by the book and subsequent film Eat Pray Love which followed Julia Roberts’ journey through Italy, India and Bali.  This has given the island of Bali a further boost in tourism figures but Indonesia itself, which is a huge and diverse country made up of several islands remains somewhat untouched by the thwarting tourist masses of places such as Thailand.

There is so much to see and do within the country of Indonesia, but for most people traveling from a considerable distance, they will arrive at the airport of Jakarta.  Here, they might stay a quick overnight but more than likely will merely see the inside of Jakarta airport – yet this is a great shame as there’s so much to see and do in this frenetic yet tourist friendly city.

In this brief family-friendly travel guide we’re going to be looking at the city of Jakarta, which is the capital of Indonesia, known for its warm and optimistic culture as the capital city industriously develops. 

The chances are, if you’re heading to Jakarta, you’re probably not going there because it’s on your travel bucket list; it’s probably because you have a connecting flight or perhaps a work engagement.  Indeed, many tourists treat Jakarta as an entry and exit point into Indonesia, passing on the treats the city has to offer – but if you can spare 48 hours to explore this quirky city you’ll find that it may be crowded, loud, and busy – but it definitely isn’t boring!

Here are some great suggestions on family-friendly things to do whilst in Jakarta:

  1. Go Shopping in Menteng

Similar to Kuala Lumpur, shopping in Jakarta is a huge pastime, with several prestigious malls and street markets alike.  If you head down to the district of Menteng, you’ll find a famous flea market which has a range of goods from arts, crafts, textiles and food; just bring comfortable shoes as the market is over half a kilometer long.  If you’re looking for a more fancy mall experience there are plenty of options throughout the city.

  1. Take a Day Trip To The Thousand Islands

The Thousand Islands are considered part of greater Jakarta, meaning, if you’re looking for some beach time in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – you don’t have to venture too far from Jakarta to find natural beauty, peace and serenity.  

Just a few hours outside the city center you’ll find beautiful beaches, covers and inlets that are a million miles away from the chaos and congestion of Jakarta.  The best way to explore the islands is to take a boat tour that allows you to island hop.

  1. Check Out Monas Tower

This tower is the most famous monument in Jakarta that symbolizes the independence of Indonesia, declared in 1945, after years of Dutch colonial rule.  The tower is located in Merdeka Square, which translated, means ‘freedom’. Head to the observation deck at the top of the tower on a clear day to get tremendous views across the whole city.

  1.  Visit Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands and is split into 26 provinces.  Therefore, it’s unlikely you’ll even scratch the surface of this immense country on a trip here, but for an overview of the highlights head to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah or Beautiful Mini Indonesia.

This park is arranged according to province where you’ll find models of traditional homes and learn about the local traditions, costumes, and diverse ways of life across the country.  This is a great place to come with children and offers an interesting way to get your bearings and understand the geography of this vast country.

This would be a particularly good place to take a drone camera, as you can get some amazing footage.  If you’re interested in reviewing some of the best options for kid-friendly drones with cameras you might want to visit for some great insight.

  1.  Visit the Zoo

Ragunan Zoo is a place you’ll find over 3,600 species spread out over 185 hectares of land.  You can find Komodo Dragons and Orangutans from Indonesia along with a variety of species from other parts of the world.  The zoo is also home to an array of indigenous flowers and plants. The zoo is closed every Monday, and the top tip is to wear plenty of insect repellent when visiting.

  1. Hit The Beach

The beach within Jakarta is called Ancol Beach, which consists of a strip of golden sand that is technically free to walk on – but requires payment to enjoy facilities such as sun loungers; there are also a number of swimming pools along the shore as well as other attractions including SeaWorld and a waterpark.

  1. Head To A Theme Park

This is another great choice if you’re traveling with children.  

Dunia Fantasi is Jakarta’s version of Disneyland and fans of Disneyland may find many parts of it surprisingly familiar.  Whilst it doesn’t really compare to the likes of Universal Orlando, it’s well worth a visit.  There’s a Main Street, as well as a Puppet Castle, and you will find a variety of rides including the Niagara Flume (great to cool down on a hot day).  

  1. Museum Tekstil

This textile museum is one of the less visited museums in Jakarta, however, it is well worth the trip if you are interested in fashion or textiles as you’ll get the chance to learn more about traditional Indonesian weaving and fabric painting techniques.

The museum has just over 2,000 pieces on show including some famous Indonesian batik items.  There are also a range of antique looms displayed as well as a very pretty garden which hosts plants used to make dyes for the fabrics.  One thing to check out, are the taster classes where you can learn how to make Batik art work.

  1. Take a Walk Around Glodok

Found in Taman Sari is the area of Glodok which is essentially Jakarta’s Chinatown.

It is the largest Chinatown in the country and one of the biggest in the world; having started out in the Dutch Colonial Period.  Today, it’s a range of temples, markets, and shops where you can stroll around and admire the traditional Chinese architecture. It also has a famous electronics center which is one of the largest in Jakarta.  The other thing to look out for are the traditional medicine shops, that have a range of weird and wonderful remedies.

  1. Atlantis Water Adventure

Atlantis Water Adventure is a vast water park complex that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day.  The park has eight areas and you will find a large wave pool in addition to a variety of fun slides and pools for various age groups.  This is a great family activity that offers a more fun and relaxing side of Jakarta away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

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