Weekend in Jakarta—A City of Contrasts
Conquer a volcano or shopping mall, cast yourself away on a deserted island, relax in a luxury spa, and discover a hidden destination treasure in a three-day visit to Jakarta.
Even as the economic, shipping and political gateway to Indonesia, Jakarta remains a relatively undiscovered tourist and leisure destination. In keeping with the meaning of its name, a visit to this seaport city on the coast of Java will prove to be a “complete victory” for even the most seasoned traveller. Very few destinations in Asia—or around the globe—allow you to climb a volcano, shop in futuristic malls and recline on your own deserted island, all in little more than 72 hours. With Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta as your base, here are some ideas on how to make the most of your time exploring the exciting contrasts of Java’s dynamic capital.
Day 1: Cultural Jakarta
Jakarta’s Old Town—known as Kota Tua or Old Batavia—contains many museums, cannons left behind from colonial Dutch rule, traditional eateries and the old port of Sunda Kelapa, which is still home to scores of brightly coloured wooden schooners.
The Old Town’s attractions are primarily situated around Taman Fatahillah square. In the days of the Dutch administration, this site was used for public executions. Fortunately, the gallows have been replaced by street entertainers and tourists. Places of interest on the square include the Wayang Museum (dedicated to Javanese wayang puppetry) and the famous Cafe Batavia—once named as one of the world’s best bars.
While in Kota Tua, try Indonesian staples such as satay, gado-gado (a salad of vegetables topped with a peanut dressing), fresh seafood and nasi goreng (fried rice), as well as regional specialties like jackfruit curry from Yogyakarta and spicy chicken from Manado.
Day 2: Active Jakarta
A rising column of smoke in the distance alerts you to the fact that you are nearing the island of Krakatoa, one of the most infamous and destructive volcanoes the world has ever seen. This infamous volcano is located near the port of Carita Beach, about two hours’ drive from Jakarta.
A journey here will allow you to climb right up near the edge of its smoldering crater, and on the return trip you can snorkel in clear green waters and swim alongside giant monitor lizards.
If volcano trekking is too adventurous for you, find an adrenaline rush by shopping one of Jakarta’s expansive malls. One of the largest and nearest to the Hotel is the Grand Indonesia Shopping Town.
And if you still feel energetic, let your hair down in Jakarta’s infamous nightlife scene, with clubs like Red Square, rocking until the early morning hours.
Day 3: Relaxing Jakarta
If you’ve spent the previous day either climbing a volcano or shopping till you drop, then you deserve some rest and relaxation. The Thousand Islands to the north of Jakarta offer some pleasant “castaway” experiences. One of the more popular destinations is Pulau Macan, home to Tiger Islands Village & Eco Resort.
If all that tropical lounging has taken its toll, spend the evening at one of Jakarta’s luxury spas. Certainly the best spa in the city is located in the Hotel, where the finest herb and flower ingredients melt away the day. However, alternatives include the Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, which aims to treat guests like Javanese royalty.
After three days discovering the hidden gems and celebrated sites of this coastal capital, declare your own visit a “complete victory,” but do return for a re-match.
If you’re travelling with kids, be sure to check out these family-friendly ways to experience Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta on Have Family Will Travel.