As of 2015, the National Museum of Indonesia (or Museum Nasional) is probably the best museum to visit in Jakarta. 

Centrally located, it is just a few minutes away by taxi from Plaza Indonesia or Jalan Jaksa. You can also reach it with the busway by stopping at the "Monas" station on the Kota - Blok M line. For the contact details, the opening hours, the free tours schedule and the entrance free, please scroll to the bottom of this review.

The Museum was open in its present location in 1868 and it has been known for a long time as the Gedung Gajah or Elephant Building. The nickname is due to the statue in front of the building, a gift from the King of Thailand Rama V in 1871.
A second building called Gedung Arca is more modern with 4 floors of collections, but I found it less interesting.

I didn't take pictures of every rooms, but this is pretty much what a visit looks like:

Archeology Garden:
The garden has hundreds of stone sculptures, relics and scriptures, some over a thousand years old. It is the largest collection of Hindu and Buddhist artifacts in Indonesia.
The 4-meter tall Adityavarman (depicted as Bhairawa Buddha) statue from Sumatra (14th Century)

Ethnography rooms:
Masks, weapons, musical instruments, toys, fabrics, tools, instruments from every regions of Indonesia. For more images, you can also read: 11 Spooky Indonesian Statues and Masks.

The history room:
Dedicated to the colonial history of Indonesia. It is rather small and random. 

Ceramic and Terracotta room:
I went by quickly as many of the ceramics on display are actually from China or other Asian countries.
This Javanese piggy bank from the 15th century is the highlight of the room.

Traditional Houses Room:
Different miniature houses from all over the archipelago (Sulawesi, Borneo, Sumatra, Maluki, Java, Bali, Papua, etc).

Map Room

The new Arca Building:
Displays on four floors:
1) Human and Environment
2) Sciences, Technology and Economy
3) Social Organization and Settlement Patterns
4) Gold and Ceramics
I spent about 4 hours visiting the museum, but if you want to take the time to look and read everything, you may need at least 8 hours. The museum is kid-friendly so don't hesitate to visit it with your family. You have a children's activities center, a lot of free space to play, and also some fun interactive displays.
The courtyard between the two buildings is a nice place to take a rest.

"Ku Yakin Sampai di Sana"
The statue in the garden is from Balinese sculptor I Nyoman Nuarta and was inaugurated for the Museum's 235th anniversary. It is called "Ku Yakin Sampai Di Sana", which is also a song by former President SBY. You could translate it by "I know I can reach there".
Ku Yakin Sampai Di Sana
I Nyoman Nuarta is also the one who made the famous Arjuna Wijaya Sculpture in front of Monas, a 2-minute walk from the National Museum.
Arjuna Wijaya Sculpture
Many will tell you that the Museum is old-fashioned. While this is partly true, it remains an excellent introduction for tourists and expats to the cultures and history of Indonesia. For this reason, it is one of the most recommended things to do in Jakarta for anyone interested in those.

Free Guided Tours
Most of the explanations are translated in English, but not all. If you are flexible with your schedule, the best way to visit is to join one of the free tours offered by the Indonesian Heritage Society. Languages available are English, French, Japanese and Korean. 

The free tour's schedule is the following:
English: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday at 10AM. Thursdays at 1.30PM.
French: Third Wednesday of every month (9.30am), upon request.
Japanese: Every Tuesday and first Saturday of the month (10.30am)
Korean: Every third Saturday of every month (9.30am)
You can reach them by phone: +62 21 572-5870 or email:

National Museum of Indonesia or Museum Nasional
Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat No.12
Central Jakarta 10110, Indonesia
Phone number: +62 (0) 21-3447778

You can look at their website to make a virtual visit (Mostly in Indonesian at the moment):
Social medias are a good way to know about their events and exhibitions too:
Twitter: Museum National

Entrance fees:
For Indonesian nationals, the entrance ticket is Rp5,000 for adults and Rp2,000 for children.
For foreigners, the cost is Rp10,000 for all.
Discounts are available for groups (minimum 20 persons)

Opening Hours:
From Tuesday to Thursday: 8am to 4pm
Friday: 8am to 11.30am and 1pm to 4pm
Weekends (Saturday and Sunday): 8am to 5pm
The museum is closed on Monday and on Public Holidays.

1 comment to '' National Museum or Museum Nasional of Indonesia (Jakarta) "

  1. Good post, I recently visited this museum and was surprised. Well laid out with loads of exhibits and useful signage. A pleasent way to spend a few hours in Jakarta and very easy to get to via the busway.