Jakarta's Mall Culture

It is astonishing how many new malls have opened during the last decade or are currently being developed in Jakarta. Most new malls are part of large real estate projects that also comprise apartment complexes, office towers, hotels and even hospitals. The mall is usually the center of such projects, connecting the various other buildings. Most of these malls (in particular the new ones) aim for the upper-middle class and elite segments of Jakarta's society. These malls contain all the luxury you can imagine and more: the most exclusive global design and fashion brands, amusement parks, fancy restaurants and much more. For Indonesians - from the middle class up to the elite - these malls are places to hang out, relax and eat because the environment is enjoyable: pleasant temperatures, no pollution and clean (as well as spacious) spaces. Most of the malls - if not all - contain one or more floors with many restaurants (both expensive and affordable ones) which are very popular among young adults. Malls are also common places to have a business meeting (usually in a coffee place). In some of these malls live music performances are held, in particular on Friday or Saturday evenings.

Elite and Upper-Middle Class Malls

Grand Indonesia Central Jakarta,
Jalan MH. Thamrin No. 1
Mall in Jakarta
Plaza Indonesia Central Jakarta,
Jalan MH. Thamrin Kav. 28-30
Senayan City South Jakarta,
Jalan Asia Afrika, Lot 19
Plaza Senayan South Jakarta,
Jalan Asia Afrika, Senayan
Pacific Place South Jakarta,
Jalan Jend. Sudirman Kav 52-53
Pondok Indah Mall South Jakarta,
Jalan Metro Pondok Indah
Central Park West Jakarta,
Jalan Let. Jend. S. Parman

There are also malls which are less luxurious and therefore more suited for consumers with lower budgets at their disposal. These malls are also very popular among Jakarta's middle class to buy clothes and - of course - to eat or just hang out. Three famous examples of these malls are mentioned below:

Middle Class Malls

Sarinah Central Jakarta,
Jalan MH. Thamrin 11
Blok M Mall South Jakarta,
Jalan Iskandarsyah II/2
Plaza Semanggi South Jakarta,
Jalan Jend. Sudirman kav. 50

Sightseeing in Jakarta

Jakarta contains ample possibilities to go sightseeing. Popular places are those that have historic significance or other national symbols. As it is too much to list all the places here, we will only present a few suggestions that form the most famous sightseeing sites in Jakarta. By clicking on the picture on the right you can continue to its official website (if it has one).

National Monument (Monas)

The National Monument (Monas) is a 132 meter high monumental tower located in the center of Jakarta. Construction was started in 1961 with close involvement of president Soekarno. Monas stands as a symbol of Indonesia's struggle for independence. You can go to the top to enjoy a lovely view of Jakarta. At the bottom part is the National History museum which depicts many scenes from Indonesia's history. Around the monument is a wide square where many Indonesians come to picnick or hang out.

Monas Jakarta

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

Taman Mini is a big recreational park located in East Jakarta. It is basically a synopsis of the cultural heritage of the many provinces in the country and the park contains a lake with in the middle a miniature version of the geographical outline of the country. The idea to create this park came from Siti Hartinah, wife of president Suharto and aimed at enhancing the national pride of the Indonesians. The park opened in 1975 and is a major tourist attraction - for both Indonesians and foreigners - up to this day.

Taman Mini Jakarta

Ancol Dreamland

Ancol Dreamland (Taman Impian Jaya Ancol) is the largest integrated tourism area in Southeast Asia. It contains housing estates, hotels, an international golf course, famous entertainment and amusement parks such as Fantasy World (Dunia Fantasi), Seaworld, Atlantis Water Adventure, and more. Ancol Dreamland, which opened its first attractions in 1966, is located in North Jakarta, along the sea. In particular Fantasy World is a popular destination but expect it to be packed with children during holidays and weekends.

Dufan Jakarta

Sunda Kelapa & Old Batavia

Sunda Kelapa is the old harbor in North Jakarta which was built by the colonizing Dutch and has been used for many centuries. Although today it only plays a minor economic role it is still an interesting place to go as it contains many remnants of the past. Only a short walking distance from Sunda Kelapa is the location of Old Batavia, the oldest part of the city, which still shows Dutch history, in particular through the architecture of the houses.

Sunda Kelapa Jakarta 

Museums in Jakarta

Jakarta contains a large amount of highly interesting museums that exhibit the Indonesian past or arts. Below are a few suggestions:

Jakarta History Museum

This museum is located in the old town hall of Batavia (built in 1627), in the oldest part of Jakarta which is known as Kota. The museum displays a multitude of items stemming from the Dutch period (including the VOC period) such as furniture, maps, paintings and ceramics. It also exhibits objects from the prehistoric and the precolonial era. Other names by which this museum is known are Fatahillah Museum and Batavia Museum.

Jakarta History Museum 

National Museum of Indonesia

The National Museum of Indonesia, which is often labeled as the greatest museum in Indonesia, is located very close to the National Monument in the center of Jakarta. The museum contains lots of cultural items of many ethnic groups in the country and many remnants from the Hindu-Buddhist period such as beautiful stone pieces. In front of the museum is a bronze elephant which was a gift from the king of Thailand in 1871. 

National Museum of Jakarta

Restaurants and Cafes in Jakarta

As mentioned above most malls in Indonesia (in particular the upper-middle class and elite ones) have good accommodations to eat. You will find any kind of food there (for any kind of budget) and it always breathes a lively atmosphere. Below we recommend a selection of places inside or outside the mall:

Anomali Coffee

Anomali Coffee is a coffee roaster company that provides coffee with specialty standards from all over Indonesia. It has established itself as one of the prominent coffee producers that specializes in freshly roasted coffee of the highest standard. From 2007 it opened a number of coffee shops in Jakarta where people can enjoy the rich taste of Indonesian coffee. People with a sincere love for coffee should try this place.

Anomali Coffee Jakarta Indonesia 

Music in Jakarta

Jakarta does not really attract many famous international names when it comes to music concerts, the one big exception being the Java Jazz Festival which is discussed below. Actually, most of the richer segments of Jakarta's society will go to Singapore, which is just one and a half hours away by airplane, to see some of the world's most famous musicians or artists in live concerts.

Java Jazz Festival

The Java Jazz Festival is one of the largest jazz festivals in the world today. Since its first appearance in 2005 this festival has succeeded in attracting many famous names from (mainly) the international jazz scene. It is an annual event in Jakarta comprising three days in early March. The festival is organized by businessman Peter F. Gontha who is an avid jazz admirer as well as musician. For those that love jazz this festival is a must see.

Java Jazz Festival Indonesia