What to do in Jakarta in 24 Hours?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
Many tourists stay in Jakarta for only 1 night, usually before heading to Bali. If you are in the same situation, you might be wondering what are the best things to do in the city in 24 hours or less.

To help my friend and family when they visit me, I have written for them a complete 24-hour itinerary that covers the town's best attractions. It is a bit rushed but it is realistically doable in a day. You can always skip a few steps to make your tour more relaxed.

Don't hesitate to write me directly if you have more specific questions (thibaud@jakarta100bars.com). You can also read 10 Best Things to Do in Jakarta, Jakarta Travel Guide and Is Jakarta Worth Going?

Important: Choosing the Right Hotel
In general, a car ride between the airport and the city center takes between 1 and 1,5 hours. During rush hour (5 PM to 7 PM on weekdays), it might last longer, up to 2,5 hours. For this reason, I would recommend choosing a hotel with an easy access to the toll road going to the airport. A hotel near Plaza Indonesia would be perfect or, alternatively, near Sarinah. To reach the airport faster, you could also stay near Semanggi, Taman Anggrek or Pluit, but then you would be further away from the attractions I will recommend below.

You should be aware that every Sunday is car-free day in Jakarta. This means that Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin will be closed to cars from 6 AM to 11 AM.

Recommend Hotel Near Sarinah/Plaza Indonesia for a 24-Hour Stopover in Jakarta
→ 5-stars (more than 150$/night): Kempinski, Grand HyattMandarin Oriental
→ 4-stars (more than 100$/night): MorrisseyKosendaArtotel, Pullman Thamrin
→ 3-stars (more than 40$/night): Holiday Inn ExpressLiberty HotelA-One
→ Under 40$ per night: Favehotel Wahid HasyimDreamtelCiptaMaxOne


Things to Do in 24-Hour in Jakarta

8 AM - 8.45 AM: ISTIQLAL MOSQUE
If you've followed my advice and booked a hotel near Sarinah, you can reach the Istiqlal Mosque in less than 10 minutes by taxi/Uber and 15-20 minutes by foot.

This mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia, is my favorite monument in the city. Not only is the building really impressive, it is also an interesting window on the way Indonesians practice Islam.

You can read my full review about it here: Istiqlal Mosque Jakarta.

9 AM - 9.30 AM: MONAS
The Monas (with the Istiqlal in the background)
You can walk from the Istiqlal Mosque to the Monas Park in just a few minutes.

The park is not particularly well-maintained, but in the morning it is nice enough for a short stroll until you reach the National Museum. If you feel like it, you can climb on top of the Monas for just Rp10,000.

9.30 AM - 11.00 AM: NATIONAL MUSEUM
The National Museum is just across from the Monas and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday starting 8.30 AM.


I spent around 2 hours inside and you can read my full review here: National Museum Jakarta

11.00 AM - 11.30 AM: TRANSPORT TO KOTA TUA (OLD CITY)
The touristic area of Jakarta is in the older part of the city, in the North. This is where you will find most Dutch historical buildings (Taman Fatahillah), the Chinatown (Glodok), and the old harbor (Sunda Kelapa).

The best way to go there is to download Uber, Grab or GoJek and to order a private car. The driver should drop you at Jalan Pancoran.

You can also use the TransJakarta line 1, just in front of the National Museum and ride it until Glodok Station. In this case, it will cost you only Rp4,500 per person (with Uber around Rp30,000).

11.30 AM - 12.15 AM: CHINATOWN
Jalan Pancoran is the gateway to Chinatown. From there, you can visit Chinatown by foot. The best streets are Jalan Kemenangan and Jalan Kemenangan III. In the latter, you will see a beautiful Chinese temple.

From Chinatown to Taman Fatahillah, the distance is less than a kilometer. Considering the potential traffic situation, I think it's better to just walk.

12.15 AM - 1.30 PM: LUNCH IN TAMAN FATAHILLAH SQUARE
There are several restaurants near Taman Fatahillah Square, including the famous Batavia Café. It is much pricier than the rest but I think it is worth it, at least for a drink.

Another option is to eat Padang food in Sederhana Restaurant on Jl. Kemukus No. 2A. Order the Nasi Rendang (around Rp35,000) and you'll feel full for the rest of the day.

1.30 PM - 4.00 PM: MUSEUMS OR SUNDA KELAPA
Because of limited time, you will have to choose between visiting a few of the museums of Taman Fatahillah Square (History Museum, Art Museum, Puppet Museum, Bank Indonesia Museum) or taking an Uber/Taxi to the old harbor of Sunda Kelapa.

I'd recommend the latter to those who want to take impressive pictures. If you have a keen interest in the history of spice trade and colonization, you'll probably enjoy the museums (particularly the Bank Indonesia Museum).

Read more: Best Museums in Jakarta

4 PM - 5 PM: TRANSPORT BACK TO SARINAH
It is better to go back to Jakarta's city center early to avoid the worst of the traffic jams (when office workers start to head home, around 5 PM).

If you do not wish to take a Uber/Taxi, you can ride the Transjakarta Bus line 1 from Kota Station to Sarinah directly.

The trip should last about 1 hour.

5 PM - 7 PM: MASSAGE
By the time you arrive, you will probably feel dirty and exhausted. The best way to get your energy back is to receive a soothing Javanese massage. There are a few recommended massage parlors near Sarinah: The cheapest is Bersih Sehat, which is basic but hugely popular. Just across the street, Relax Living is nicer and the prices are still reasonable (25$ for 90 minutes).

For 30$ more, you can also try the more upmarket Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa which is 300 meters from Sarinah.

7 PM - 8 PM: BACK TO YOUR HOTEL AND RELAX
After your treatment, you can go back to your hotel, relax for a while and change your clothes.

8 PM - 10 PM: STREET FOOD DINNER / SHOPPING
Street food stalls along Jalan Sabang
I would recommend eating street food in Jalan Sabang (also called Jalan Agus Salim), a 2-minute walk from Sarinah. There are dozens of various food stalls, as well as some proper restaurants. The area is famous for its "satay" sellers (skewers served with peanut sauce).

If you prefer eating Western food, you go to the nearby Grand Indonesia Mall instead. It is the largest luxury shopping center in Jakarta and it has a huge restaurant section. It closes at 10 PM so you can do a bit of shopping there as well (for cheaper prices, the next door Thamrin City Mall is perfect).

10 PM - 5 AM: DRINKING AND PARTY
Even on Sundays or Mondays, you can find happening parties until morning anywhere in Jakarta.

It is a good idea to start your night in a rooftop bar, for instance in Cloud or SKYE. You then have plenty of choices, from the expat bars of Mega Kuningan to cheaper backpacker bars like Camden or Melly's Garden.

You can read one of my nightlife reviews for more information:

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