Your essential guides to Jakarta

Find your bearings


It’s appropriate that Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta, overlooks the soaring Selamat Datang Monument, which translates as ‘Welcome Monument’. The hotel borders the opulent Taman Menteng residential neighbourhood, yet is perfectly located for access to Jakarta’s business centre. Jakarta is not known as a pedestrian-friendly city, yet a pleasant 20-minute stroll through the back streets brings you to Merdeka Square, the great central park.


Feed your mind


The National Museum of Indonesia is less than a 15-minute taxi ride and will give you an ideal initial insight into the history and incredible culture of one of the world’s most diverse countries. To get orientated in this sprawling capital of more than ten million people, head to the top of the <137m National Monument, popularly known as Monas.
Shop like a local
Despite its humble name, Jalan Surabaya Flea Market – in the leafy suburbs of Menteng (just a six minute taxi drive from Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta) – is a treasure-trove of tempting antiques, where you’ll find everything from traditional wayang puppets to Dutch porcelain, and from collectible cameras to rare textiles. Plaza Indonesia, virtually next to the hotel, is one of the city’s oldest malls and still one of its finest, with more than 300 stores. Nearby, Grand Indonesia Mall is the new kid on the block at just ten years old – and it features many of the world’s most best-known brands.
See some sights
The Dutch founded their Indonesian capital, Batavia, in 1619, in what is known as Kota Tua (Old Town). Once ‘the Jewel of Asia’, this wonderfully evocative colonial-style quarter still charms visitors. The cobblestone square of Taman Fatahillah is the centre of the quarter, with the Jakarta History Museum occupying the old Batavia Town Hall on one side and the lovely Batavia Café in a 200-year-old building, on the other. For a truly off-the-beaten track insight into the diversity of Indonesia, take a 15-minute stroll directly northwards to Sunda Kelapa Harbour where dozens of huge Bugis-style schooners will be loading for far-off islands. Even today, this is Batavia as it must have looked centuries ago.

Toast your arrival
Immigrant is where the local glitterati find their groove, and is open until 4am, Wednesday to Saturday.

Make time to unwind

Dine in style 


Dine on sumptuous Cantonese classics with an imaginatively modern twist at Bebek Bengil, just across the road from the hotel, is the ideal lunch option, since you can sit in its open-air, Balinese-style rice barns while you dine on the signature crispy duck.

And finally...


Like a world expo, but focused only on Indonesia, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah is a fun attraction for families. Translating literally as ‘Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park’, it’s a quirky, must-see for anyone who is intrigued by the incredible diversity of the world’s biggest island nation. Viewfinder gallery name: Jakarta’s must-visit sights