We asked Tinoek Oentari, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta, to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions she could find—not just her own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some she works with every day at the Hotel. Jakarta is the capital and bustling commercial centre of Indonesia. The city offers a rich sampling of the cultures of the country’s many islands, as well as lively nightspots.
Many foods now common throughout Asia originated here, including satays and sambal, and Indonesian cookery is a melting pot of spices, coconut milk and the omnipresent peanut sauce. The Menteng neighbourhood in central Jakarta, famous for its Indonesian restaurants, is the best place to try these authentic dishes. Seribu Rasa and Kembang Goela are especially good, and do not miss rendang, a meaty, curry-like stew that is a true local specialty.
Indonesia in Miniature
Given that the country has more than 17,000 islands, it is almost impossible to see all of Indonesia. The next best thing is Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park), a theme park spanning over 100 hectares (247 acres) on the outskirts of Jakarta, with nearly every island reproduced in miniature around a central lake. Additionally, pavilions representing each province feature traditional architecture, a display of cultural items and other exhibits.
Jakarta offers a surprisingly diverse after-hours scene. The latest rooftop scene is SKYE, located on the 56th floor of the Menara BCA building, and the Bluegrass Bar & Grill in the Epicentrum area features the longest bar in Jakarta. Some new hot places: Lucy in the Sky and Fable in the SCBD area and Jack Rabbit in the Kuningan area near the hotel.
Blowfish is an award-winning contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar. Dragonfly offers a modern interpretation of Eastern flavours and world-class DJs. X2 is a fashionable club offering top-notch entertainment and sleek modern décor.
Unique to Jakarta
The Jalan Surabaya Antique Market stretches for one third of a mile through the streets of the upscale Menteng neighbourhood and is a great place to shop for antiques and faux-tiques. For the best view of this large, bustling city, head to the top of the 132-metre (433-foot) Monas, the National Monument topped with a gold-foil flame, and savour the panoramic vista. Spend a morning at the Ragunan zoo, home to indigenous animals such as the rare Komodo dragon, tapir, Sumatran tiger, banteng (wild ox) and various brightly coloured birds.