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Jakarta | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital and largest city, with about 10 million inhabitants, and totally 30 million in Greater Jakarta on the Java island. Dubbed The Big Durian, an equivalent to New York’s Big Apple, its concrete jungle, traffic frenzy, and hot polluted air may tempt you to skip the city as fast as possible, but […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital and largest city, with about 10 million inhabitants, and totally 30 million in Greater Jakarta on the Java island. Dubbed The Big Durian, an equivalent to New York’s Big Apple, its concrete jungle, traffic frenzy, and hot polluted air may tempt you to skip the city as fast as possible, but what awaits inside will change your perspective! One of the most bustling and cosmopolitan cities in Asia, the J-Town has cheerful nightlife, vibrant shopping malls, a variety of foods, refreshing greenery, cultural diversity and a rich history, that caters to all levels of budget and how much fun you want to have.

Jakarta Districts

Administratively, Jakarta is a province called the Jakarta Special Capital Region (Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta). It is administratively divided into 5 municipalities and 1 regency (the Thousand Islands in the Jakarta Bay):


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Districts of Jakarta


Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat)
The heart of Jakarta’s administration, government and finance, an aptly named district and the site of Jakarta’s symbol, the soaring Monas (Monumen Nasional) and also the world’s largest city square “Lapangan Merdeka”. The city is a part of the old Jakarta (Batavia), recognizable by the president’s palace and the National Museum of Indonesia, both built in the 19th century. Now filled with modern high rises for office buildings, hotels, and shopping centers, this is where most of Jakarta’s attractions are, such as the malls, the Tanah Abang garment complex, the Istiqlal mosque, the Cathedral, and the Bung Karno Sports Stadium.
West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat)
This site is also part of the Old Batavia. It is home to the Glodok area (Jakarta’s Chinatown) which is rich in street hawker food, Chinese restaurants, and temple complexes, and contains Jakarta’s electronic promenade. West Jakarta is also a major tourism destination for shopping, as it is home to a lane of upscale malls at S. Parman and cheap shopping lanes at Mangga Dua. This area is also home to Jakarta’s biggest nightlife entertainment and red light district “Mangga Besar”.
South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan)
Jakarta’s middle/upper class residential area, and part of Jakarta’s business center. Here you can find upscale shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, bustling nightlife and entertainment, Blok M, Senayan sports complex, and affluent residential areas. The Kemang area is very popular among expats and locals for its nightlife and entertainment.
East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur)
The city’s industrial quarter and the most populous city within Jakarta. The location of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (where you can see parts of Indonesia’s multiethnic community in one big park), some golf courses, Cibubur camping ground, and Jakarta’s second airport, Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.
North Jakarta (Jakarta Utara)
Jakarta’s main harbor area and the real home of the old Batavia. A small area consisting of Dutch buildings and harbor, its streets are thronged with hawker food, crafted goods, street performers, artists and Jakartan youths hanging around. This is also the location of Ancol Bayfront City, Asia’s largest integrated tourism area. The beautiful Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), accessible by boat from North Jakarta’s dock, is an instant escape from the hectic city with its beautiful beaches, marine parks, and world-class resorts.

Satellite cities: The Jakarta megalopolis of 30 million inhabitants includes Jakarta and the following satellite cities:

  • Bogor – One of the primary destinations to escape from Jakarta, with well-kept natural habitats, world class botany garden, resorts, and multiple golf courses
  • Tangerang – The airport, many large commercial centres and clustered homes
  • Bekasi – Mostly industrial parks
  • Depok – Home to the University of Indonesia

A common abbreviation to describe the megalopolitan area is Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi).


Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, is easier said than done. Sometimes, the same name is used for different streets in different parts of the city, and it’s often difficult to find the correct street or address without the post/zip code/region. A sign with a street name facing you indicates the name of the street you are about to enter, not that of the cross street. Alleys off a main road are often simply notated by Roman numerals, hence a street address like “Jl. Mangga Besar VIII/21” means house number 21 on alley number 8 (VIII) off the main road of Jl. Mangga Besar.

Fortunately, there is a logic to the name of the street. Outside of the corridors of high rise offices, you basically can find out on what branch of the street you’re on by looking at the name of the streets without the Roman numerals. Most often the name of the area is the same as the name of the street, especially if it also bears the phrase Jalan Raya or avenues. Knowing this almost takes you there, but the exception is the recently built gated clusters of houses which have their own main road that does not follow the convention, even though it is a branch of a specific street. In that case, knowing the name of the housing cluster would be the best option in addition to the above rules. Conveniently, most navigation apps such as Google Maps or Waze are useful for finding addresses and places throughout Jakarta due to regular updates from users.

If you don’t want to waste time, ask for the description/name of nearby landmarks or buildings, billboards, color of the building or fence, or the post/zip code. If you still cannot find the address, start asking people on the street, especially ojek (motorcycle taxi drivers).


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Jakarta Skyline

Jakarta’s nickname among expats is the Big Durian, and like the fruit itself, it’s a shock at first sight (and smell): a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 30 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl. The metropolitan area is a charm and melting pot for Indonesians, both as a business and a government center, and the most developed city in the country. But all of this comes at a cost: the city has been struggling very hard to keep up with the urban growth. Major roads are packed up during rush hours and weekends (sometimes all day during rainy season due to motorcyclists sheltering under the fly-over or the tunnel when it’s raining heavily, thus causing additional congestion), while the public transportation system has been unable to alleviate that much traffic. Housing the population has been a problem too and adding to that, the numerous people’s mentality are yet to make the city a great place to live in, as dreamed of.

All that said, while initially a bit overwhelming, if you can withstand the pollution and can afford to indulge in Jakarta’s charms, you can discover what is also one of Asia’s most exciting, most lively global cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from green parks and historical centers, to cosmopolitan shopping, diverse gourmet choices, and some of the hippest nightlife in Southeast Asia!

To cite a couple of figures that further clarify the position of Jakarta relative to the rest of the world, the city’s Human Development Index is categorized as High Human Development with a value of 0.694, whereas the category of Very High Human Development starts at 0.800 and would apply to the USA, Japan and most European countries. Jakarta’s Human Development Index number is higher than or on par with Turkey and most Balkan countries.

History of Jakarta

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The colonial building that is now the Jakarta History Museum, in West Jakarta.

The port of Sunda Kelapa dates to the 12th century, when it served the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran near present-day Bogor. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, who were given permission by the Hindu Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran to erect a godown (warehouse) in 1522. Control was still firmly in local hands, and in 1527 the city was conquered by Prince Fatahillah, a Muslim prince from Cirebon, who changed the name to Jayakarta.

By the early 17th century, however, the Dutch had pretty much taken over the port city, and the razing of a competing English fort in 1619 secured their hold on the island. Under the name Batavia, the new Dutch town became the capital of the Dutch East Indies and was known as the Queen of the East.

However, the Dutch made the mistake of attempting to replicate Holland by digging canals throughout the malarial swamps in the area, resulting in shockingly high death rates and earning the town the epithet White Man’s Graveyard. In the early 1800s most canals were filled in, the town was shifted 4 km inland and the Pearl of the Orient flourished once again.

In 1740, Chinese slaves rebelled against the Dutch. The rebellion was put down harshly with the massacre of thousands of Chinese slaves. The survivors were exiled to Sri Lanka.

In 1795, the Netherlands were invaded and occupied by France, and on March 17, 1798, the Batavian Republic, a satellite state of France, took over the VOC’s debts and assets. But on August 26, 1811, a British expedition led by Lord Minto defeated the French/Dutch troops in Jakarta, leading to a brief liberation and subsequent administration of Indonesia by the British (led by Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame) in 1811-1816. In 1815, after the Congress of Vienna, Indonesia was handed over from the British to the Dutch government.

The name Jakarta was adopted as a short form of Jayakarta when the city was conquered by the Japanese in 1942. After the war, the Indonesian war of independence followed, with the capital briefly shifted to Yogyakarta after the Dutch attacked. The war lasted until 1949, four years after Indonesian Independence, when the Dutch accepted the independence and handed back the town, which became Indonesia’s capital again.

Since independence, Jakarta’s population has skyrocketed, thanks to migrants coming to the city from across the Indonesian archipelago. The entire Jabodetabek (Jakarta-Bogor-Depok-Tangerang-Bekasi) metropolitan region is estimated to have a population of about 30 million.


Jakarta, like the rest of Indonesia, is under the tropical climate classification. It has two distinct seasons, rainy and dry. It is hot and usually humid with little fluctuation in temperature throughout the year. The average temperature is about 28°C (82°F), hot compared to other cities across Indonesia, especially because of the absence of trees in many areas.

November to March is the peak of the rainy season, and floods and traffic chaos on many of the streets usually occur. At its worst, floods can result in standstill on the prone spots and takes a few days to subside; recent canal widening and cleanings have mitigated the effect substantially and for most major roads, a couple hours is all it takes for the standing water to be wiped out. Even in rainy seasons, the sun usually appears for hours each day. During the transition from rainy to dry season or vice versa (April-May & September-October), there is occasional rain. Sometimes it pours; other times it’s not a washout. The good thing is that it cools down the air after a sweltering hot day. The rain is almost always absent from June through August.

Tourism information

  • -6.1864106.821371 “Enjoy Jakarta” Tourism Information Centre, Jakarta Theater Building, Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 9. (updated Nov 2016)
  • “Enjoy Jakarta” Tourism Information Service, Terminal 2D Arrival, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. (updated Nov 2016)

Get in

By plane

Jakarta has two airports with scheduled flights. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is 20 km northwest of the city in the neighboring city of Tangerang, and handles most commercial flights. This airport, along with transportation options to and from the airport, is covered in a separate article. An express train runs every half hour to Sudirman station right at downtown in one hour for Rp70,000 while a taxi will cost from Rp100,000 to Rp175,000 depending on the traffic. The government owned DAMRI buses take you to various major transportation hubs (trains & other buses) routinely for less than Rp40,000, while the JAConnexion buses serves a number of hotels and shopping malls within the metro area for up to Rp50,000. Many hotels are generous enough to offer shuttles from the airport. There is a dedicated tollway that takes you to the city, which should take 45 to 90 minutes. Avoid taking conventional or online taxi in rush hour as it may charge you more than Rp300.000.

The smaller Halim Perdanakusuma Airport , much closer to the city (in Jakarta/East), is served by a range of domestic scheduled flights, in addition to its use by the military, VIP flights, charter flights, helicopter leasing companies, and private jets. DAMRI also operates bus services to Rawamangun Bus Terminal for Rp20,000; to Pulogebang, Gambir Station, and Bekasi for Rp25,000; and to Depok, Bogor’s Botany Square, and Soekarno Hatta Airport for Rp30,000. There are also taxi services operating here, but avoid taking them inside the airport area.

Alternatively, you can use Husein Sastranegara International Airport , which serves the city of Bandung, 130 km from Jakarta. However, considering the more limited offering of flight destinations compared to Soekarno-Hatta, and the relatively lengthy and often congested trip between Jakarta and Bandung, this option is not commonly useful. There are coach services, although most of the time you have to transfer between coaches at the respective companies’ pools at downtown Bandung before continuing to Jakarta. The trip from Jakarta to Bandung’s airport by public transport requires at least 3 hours, often more.

By train

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Jakarta’s commuter train

The national operator Kereta Api runs multiple daily train services from other cities in Java such as Bandung, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.

Jakarta has several major train stations. Gambir in Jakarta/Central is the current main station for long-distance passenger service, especially Executive or Business class trains from most major cities in Java, thus it has the most complete facilities. If you are using an economy class train, you will likely stop at either Senen, two blocks away from Gambir, or Kota in Jakarta/West. All stations offer connections to local public transportation, including the Transjakarta system. While Jakarta’s suburban commuter trains (KA Commuter Jabodetabek) do stop at most Jakarta stations, Gambir and Senen are not included. Get off at Jatinegara station if you wish to connect with the commuter train.

By bus

When buying tickets for buses out of Jakarta, you’re better off buying them at each bus company’s booth. Do not buy from anywhere outside the booth as the prices are more expensive and the bus they will take you to is questionable. Jakarta has many bus terminals, but not all of them have inter-city services. Look for the sign AKAP (Antar Kota Antar Provinsi or Inter-city and Inter-Province).

Fortunately these terminals are easy to reach. City bus services, as well as airport shuttles, start and end at bus terminals, and busway services stop there too. Note that even though the listing says the destination the terminal mainly serves, some services may be available to other parts of Java.

  • Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal, Jalan Lingkar Luar Selatan, East Jakarta (Use busway line Koridor 7.jpg). The busiest terminal for intercity buses. Kampung Rambutan offers multiple bus services daily, mainly to and from destinations across Banten, especially the Merak port, and the central & southern part of Java island, such as Cianjur, Bandung, Garut, Tasikmalaya, Cilacap, Purwokerto, Yogyakarta, Solo, and Malang, although buses to major cities across the north may be existent. Note that city & intercity buses depart from two different areas! 
  • Pulo Gadung Bus Terminal, Jalan Bekasi Raya, East Jakarta (Use busway lines Koridor 2.jpg & Koridor 4.jpg). Formerly the second busiest terminal, nowadays Pulo Gadung Terminal only serves buses to Merak, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok!. 
  • x-6.2118106.95242 Pulo Gebang Bus Terminal, Jalan Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta (Use busway line Koridor 11.jpg). The new and biggest bus terminal in Southeast Asia. Offers multiple bus services daily, mainly to and from destinations across the northern coast of Java, such as Cirebon, Tegal, Pekalongan, Semarang, and Surabaya, though some operators may also drive you to Bandung. Some buses even offer routes to Bali and Lombok together after pickup from Pulo Gadung Bus Terminal. Lua error in Module:Wikibase at line 96: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). (Q28725669) on Wikidata Pulo Gebang Bus Terminal on Wikipedia 
  • Lebak Bulus Bus Station (Use busway line Koridor 8.jpg). Not a terminal but only a 100-m² bus stop, as a temporary replacement for the Lebak Bulus Terminal, which nowadays is an MRT station under construction. When the MRT station is completed, it will be integrated with the bus terminal. Service to destinations east of Jakarta, as far as East Java. 

If you are arriving from Sumatra or taking DAMRI buses from the Soekarno-Hatta airport, you will most likely arrive at one of these two terminals:

  • Rawamangun Bus Terminal, Jalan Perserikatan No. 1 (Jalan Paus), East Jakarta (Use busway line Koridor 4.jpg, but does not stop right at the terminal. The nearest stop is at Pemuda Ramawangun or Velodrome.). Like Pulo Gadung Terminal, only serves buses to Merak, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok. 
  • Kali Deres Bus Terminal, Jalan Daan Mogot KM 16, West Jakarta (Use busway line Koridor 3.jpg). Its location in west Jakarta makes it an optimal stop for buses from Sumatra, although it doesn’t have as many as Rawamangun. 

Travel by minivan in Jakarta

Recently, the expansion of minibus (vans for about 8-10 passengers, in Indonesia indicated as “travel”) service has taken over the short distance intercity coach services. Most minibus companies such as CitiTrans, and XTrans will take you to Jakarta from Bandung or to Soekarno-Hatta Airport. One way fares from Bandung are typically Rp100,000 to the downtown area and Rp150,000 to Soekarno-Hatta Airport. But note that the buses will most often not drop you at hotels or bus terminals, but at their own offices/drop-off locations instead. You still can bargain the driver to drop at your desired place with additional price.

By boat

The national ferry companies, ASDP Indonesia Ferry and Pelni, operate passenger services from a large number of destinations across the Indonesian archipelago. The main ferry terminal is Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta/North. Smaller speedboats, particularly to and from the Thousand Islands (Pulau Seribu), depart from Ancol and Muara Angke, also on Jakarta’s north shore.

There are no international passenger ferries but Pelni operates a weekly service from Batam, a 45 minute ferry ride across the strait from Singapore.

By car

While travelling by car may not be a good idea, it remains perhaps the most convenient way to enter Jakarta. Congestion can extend well past rush hours and a hesitation at any ring road tollway in Jakarta can have a domino effect on other tolls. There are four tollways that terminate in Jakarta:

  • Jakarta-Merak cuts through Tangerang and leads to the western edge of Java, the Merak port for connections to Sumatra Island.
  • Jagorawi tollway goes south to Bogor and the Puncak holiday resorts.
  • Jakarta-Cikampek goes east via Bekasi and Karawang and continues to Bandung or all the way towards Central Java.
  • The short Jakarta-Serpong toll road connects Jakarta to South Tangerang.

An odd-even license plate scheme is in effect for the first three tollways inbound towards Jakarta on weekdays 06:00-10:00, but is enforced only at selected on-ramps. Under the system, only odd-numbered plates may enter the road on odd dates, and even-numbered plates on even dates. And keep in mind that at most of these tolls, only an electronic toll payment card is accepted to enter the road.

Get around

Getting around Jakarta is more often than not, problematic. The city layout is Darwinistic and bewildering with horrendous traffic jams (macet “MAH-chet”) slowing the city to a crawl during rush hours (several hours in the morning and in the evening), and the current public transportation is inadequate to relieve the congestion. And during the rainy season, from December to February, the traffic jams are worse, even when there is no real flooding, mainly due to motorcyclists sheltering under the tunnel, which leads to heavier congestion than before. The gradually expanding Transjakarta Busway (Bus Rapid Transit) system helps to make things easier, but this is not enough for the world’s largest city without rail rapid transit. The first line of Jakarta’s MRT train network from Lebak Bulus (Jakarta/South) to Jakarta/Central will be publicly operated from the last week of March 2019 which will at least alleviate the traffic on the Jendral Sudirman street.

Various areas of the city have different levels of chaotic traffic. But while the better-organized traffic is mainly in the business districts (MH Thamrin, Jendral Sudirman, and H.R. Rasuna Said), they remain one of the most congested spots in Jakarta! It can even go beyond business hours because of the area’s mixed-use as both office and commercial space, as well as the domino effect from other streets’ stop-and-go traffic.

By train

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Inside a KA Commuter Jabodetabek train

The KA Commuter Jabodetabek (or KRL, colloquially known as the Commuter Line) commuter trains in Jakarta connect the city centre with the suburbs and satellite cities, namely Tangerang, Bekasi, Depok, Bogor, South Tangerang, and Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta/North. It’s usually worth trying as it is much faster than most motor vehicles on the road, but the late arrival of the train (usually by 10 to 15 minutes) might be bothersome. Riding the train is generally safe and comfortable; while they are of course cramped during peak hours, they are still better than using the bus. Major stations are adjacent to a TransJakarta bus stop, though you have to walk a bit or use a feeder bus service to transfer between systems.

There are three types of train tickets:

  • 7-day trips (Tiket Harian Berjaminan, literally: Daily Ticket with Guarantee) must be purchased at a ticket counter by stating your destination. A Rp10,000 refundable deposit will be added to the calculated fare and may be used for unlimited trips within 7 consecutive days in which the ticket must be returned to have your deposit back.
  • Multi trip, refillable at the vending machine and directly usable to enter the electronic gate at the station. The train company issues a special Multi-trip card that can be purchased at a ticket counter for Rp50,000 (initial balance contains Rp30,000), but you must have at least Rp5,000 to use the train.
  • Electronic money or prepaid Cards are a better alternative than the other two, as any credits are also usable for purchases at convenience stores, the toll road, parking and Transjakarta buses. Bank Mandiri’s e-money or e-toll card, BCA’s Flazz, BNI’s tap-cash, or BRI’s BRIZZI, are obtainable at the respective banks or minimarts such as Alfamart and Indomaret.

Distances between adjacent commuter train stations vary, and the fare is determined by distance: Rp3,000 for the first 25 km and Rp 1,000 for every 10 kilometres thereafter. This means that you have to tap in at your origin station and tap out at your destination; transfers are free as long as you do not tap out. You will be charged the longest route fare if you don’t tap out and Rp50,000 if you lose the ticket or pay the remaining fare through the fare-adjustment vending machine if your credit isn’t enough to pay the fare. It’s better to make sure that you have at least Rp20,000 credit left in your multi-trip or prepaid card.

Commuter services run daily from 04:30 to 00:00, roughly every 15-30 minutes. It usually takes 20 minutes to get from one end of the city to another, and another 30 minutes to the suburban terminus. Weekend special services connect Depok and Bogor with the popular Ancol entertainment park at North Jakarta.

Commuter trains do not stop at Gambir and Pasar Senen stations, the main stations for long-distance trains in Jakarta. If you wish to use the train when arriving from these stations, you have to use other forms of transport to Juanda station, located a few hundred meters north of Gambir; close enough if you wish to walk, but a hike in the heat. From the Jalan Jaksa backpackers’ area, you can walk for 5-10 minutes to Gondangdia station.

By TransJakarta

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Inside a TransJakarta bus

The TransJakarta buses (in Indonesian known as busway) are modern, air-conditioned and generally comfortable. The mainline service runs from 05:00 to 23:00 Sunday–Thursday and up to 24:00 on Friday and Saturday, with limited buses serving outside these hours except for corridors 4, 11 and 12 (look for the buses with the letter M preceding the numbers). The buses have separate seating for women at the front, an attendant who stands by the door announcing stops and providing security, and CCTVs. There are priority seats for the elderly, disabled, and expectant mothers, but the wide gap between the platforms and buses can be a hindrance. There are 13 main lines in operation, in addition to a number of feeder routes that operate between them.

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Transjakarta bus route map

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Transjakarta bus in corridor 1

Unlike Jakarta’s other buses, they run on fully dedicated lanes. Passengers must use dedicated stations usually found in the middle of large thoroughfares connected to both sides by overhead bridges. The system is remarkably user-friendly by Jakarta standards, with station announcements and an LED display inside the purpose-built vehicles. Grab onto a handle as soon as you enter the bus, as they move away from the stop suddenly and quickly.

Park and Ride facilities are in Ragunan (South Jakarta), Kampung Rambutan (East Jakarta), Kalideres (West Jakarta), and Pulo Gebang (East Jakarta).

Tickets cost Rp2,000 from 05:00 to 07:00 and Rp3,500 all other times regardless of distance. You pay by tapping a card that can be bought at the stop and major banks; they are also actually useful for shopping at major retailers & mini markets. An initial purchase of the card costs Rp40.000, which is credited toward each fare. The card is non-refundable and there are no single-use passes, however, you may be able to offer a helpful local a Rp5.000 note to tap you in using their card. Transfers between lines are free, but be careful not to exit the system until your journey is completed. The buses can get very crowded, especially during rush hours at around 07:00 and 17:00, when office workers are on the move.

Multiple smaller buses serve as a feeder between selected mainline stops and train stations or neighborhoods where the mainline does not run. Wait for them under the blue bus sign that says Bus Pengumpan Transjakarta (lit. Transjakarta feeder bus). If you transfer from the mainline stops, you do not need to pay for transfer; otherwise payments are accepted in both cash and prepaid card. They can also take you out to Jakarta’s satellite cities. See the Jakarta ‘By public bus’ section.

TransJakarta Cares is a program to help disabled people reach the nearest TransJakarta bus stop. There are 26 vehicles, with one driver and two additional staff per vehicle, who pick up disabled people for free, and they can be contacted at call centre 1500 102. Between one disabled person’s location and the nearest bus stop, it’s possible that other disabled people will be picked up.

There are also MetroTrans of TransJakarta which it use lower deck buses to facilitate disable people with ramp for wheelchair. For the initial only available at routes: Tanah Abang Station – Gondangdia Station, Kampung Melayu – Tanah Abang Station, History of Jakarta Explorer, Tanah Abang Station – Pasar Senen Station.

Passengers can keep track of bus arrival times at the screens in the mainline bus stops or with the Trafi app from any smartphones.

By tour bus

Jakarta may be one of the few cities in the world whose government provides tour buses. Dubbed the City Tour Jakarta, the buses are double-decker and you can ride them for free! There are 4 loop routes that are sorted by the genre of the places of interest: Historical, Modern, Art & Culinary and the Jakarta skyscrapers. The first two routes run Monday-Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00 and Sunday from 12:00 to 20:00, while the latter only operates Saturdays 17:00-23:00.

By public bus

A multitude of bus companies prowl the streets of Jakarta. However, buses do not run on schedule or even have one. Most maps bought outside Indonesia do not show bus routes, so Google Maps would be the best method to figure out what bus you should take. Most bus stops also post what route numbers and destinations stop there, but they do not always stop there! They make for a good adventure if you’re not in a rush and don’t mind being the centre of attention.

These are the bus companies, ranked from best to worst:

  • Transjabodetabek feeds between the Transjakarta stops and the outskirts of town. Look for the routes that has a letter preceding the line number.
  • Kopaja AC (not to be confused with Kopaja non-AC) has introduced a similar service on selected routes. Some of the lines are reachable from the Transjakarta bus stops. Look for the metallic grey and green colour bus. These buses offer Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Most Mayasari Bakti buses have an air conditioner, but a few routes do not. Air conditioned buses bear the letters AC on the bus number. These buses usually have a light & dark blue body, but some are green and orange. Inquire if in doubt.
  • PPD also has a combination of an air conditioned and non-air conditioned fleet. They have fewer buses and noticeably a lower tier of service than Mayasari Bakti. Look for the white & black strip, with the Monas icon; the buses may be branded as “PATAS”, which means express.
  • Avoid using MetroMini (orange & blue), Kopami (blue & yellow) and non-air conditioned Kopaja (white & green) at all costs as the buses are filthy, do not offer air conditioning and are driven recklessly.

Bus fares are generally less than Rp10,000 with a flat rate system. You usually pay in a box beside the driver but a kenek may reach out to you so you can pay him.

Cheaper still are mikrolet (mini-buses) and angkot (small vans) that ply the smaller streets and whose fares vary from Rp4,000 for the first 2 km to Rp10,000. You pay the fare directly to the driver when you get off.

You may want to have a couple of spare Rp500 coins before boarding the bus since there is on-board “entertainment” and other distractions. On a typical day, you may find street musicians singing unplugged versions of Indonesian and Western pop songs and asking for donations at the end of the performance, and street vendors, one after another, trying to sell almost everything, from ballpoint pens and candies to boxed doughnuts and health goods.

Avoid sitting or standing in the back of the bus, as this is where muggers find their prey. Always keep an eye on your belongings and be alert at all times for pickpockets and do not wear any valuable. The best seat is in the front, next to the driver.

Note that buses do not run according to any schedule or timetable. Sometimes a bus may take a while to come, other times two buses of the same route may come together and the drivers will steer aggressively to get more passengers. They do not stop at any particular bus stop, but anywhere they like. If you want to get off, simply say “kiri” (to the left) to the “kondektur” or just knock on the ceiling of the bus three times (be sure that the driver hears your thumping, best to use a coin), and the bus driver will find a place to drop you. An additional tip to alight from these buses is to use your left foot first to maintain balance and try to get down as quickly as possible and move the body in line with bus direction, as they do not fully stop the bus.

Also note that seats in these buses are built for Indonesians, who are typically shorter and more slender and agile than people with a larger build such as Caucasians and Africans. Non-Indonesians might find the seats in these buses confining and uncomfortable. TransJabodetabek, APTB and BKTB are not so crowded and the seats are more comfortable for non-Indonesians.

While most bus routes are from one bus terminal to another, not all of them have connections to long-distance bus services (see Get In section).

By car

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Jalan Jendral Sudirman, one of Jakarta’s business avenues and frequent spots for stop-and-go traffic

Caution Note: The odd-even traffic-rule routes throughout the city, stretches from Jalan S. Parman in the West, through Gatot Subroto, M.T. Haryono, D.I. Panjaitan, Jenderal Ahmad Yani up to Cempaka Putih in Jakarta/Central. Other expansion points: in Jakarta/South at Kebayoran Baru, and Jalan H.R. Rasuna Said, and Jalan Benyamin Sueb in the central. The rule is enforced 8 hours on Weekdays from 06:00-10:00 and 16:00-20:00 (excluding National Holidays). The fines for disobeying the rule is Rp 500,000.

Travelling by car, while it just adds up to the congestion itself, remains the most convenient way to travel around the city, especially because of its lacking public transportation.

Rental cars are available, but unless you are familiar with local driving practices or lack thereof, take reputable taxis. Foreigners are recommended not to rent cars and drive on their own, as the chaotic traffic can give you a headache; renting with a driver is more than advisable. That being said, safety and road rules are enforced much more rigorously than in other parts of the country—obey the traffic laws and do not be tempted to disobey like many of the locals do, even when it seems convenient.

Two toll roads circle the city: the Lingkar Dalam (“inner ring road”) and Lingkar Luar (commonly called JORR, the abbreviation for Jakarta Outer Ring Road). Using these toll roads is faster when the traffic is good, but are very often jammed themselves. The drainage systems of major roads are poorly maintained and during the rainy season, they may be flooded, causing a standstill.

Finding parking places in residential areas can be difficult due to the narrow roads. Paid parking is easy to find in shopping malls, offices and the like for a shockingly cheap rate: Rp3,000-6,000 per hour. Street parking often requires payment of up to Rp3,000-5,000 to an illegal parking ‘attendant’ for one hour. For 41 areas with street electronic parking posts, the fee is Rp5,000 per hour paid by 7 certain debit cards, and don’t pay anything to a formal attendant (monitoring by CCTV) such as you would in Sabang and Kelapa Gading Boulevards. If you park on a street, do so only at the designated areas and in a way that does not block the traffic. Otherwise, your car will be towed and ticketed, in which case you will need some paperwork to get it back!

An odd-even traffic control system is enforced at Sisingamangaraja, Sudirman, Thamrin, Medan Merdeka Barat, and Gatot Subroto streets every day from 06:00-21:00. Under the system, only vehicles with odd license plate numbers are permitted to travel on odd-numbered calendar dates, and even-numbered license plates on even-numbered dates. The fine for violations is Rp500,000, but taxis and public transportation are exempt.

If you wish to rent a car, consider these companies:

  •, SCBD Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav 52 – 53.  
  • TRAC Astra Rent A Car.  
  • Golden Bird (A subsidiary service of Blue Bird Group). (updated Dec 2017)

By taxi

Most visitors opt to travel by taxi, which is very cheap by Western standards, abundant and occasionally fast. There is a multitude of taxi companies of varying degrees of dependability.

  • Blue Bird Group. The Blue Bird, including the Pusaka & Morante taxis as well as the premium brands Silver Bird and Golden Bird, are well known for their reliability, efficient telephone order service, and orderly meter usage. A special ride for the physically impaired can also be requested. The Silver Bird executive taxi charges a premium rate for a larger car. In addition, Blue Bird Taxi has launched taxis using a low roof MPV which can accommodate up to 7 persons. The fare is the same as for a regular taxi, but if you want one, order it specifically when you call for a taxi. 

The popularity of online taxis (GrabCar and GoCar), due to cheaper fares, safer and more polite drivers, means that nowadays it can be more difficult or time-consuming to get conventional/regular taxis; out of 32 taxi companies previously operating in Jakarta, there are only 4 now. Besides Blue Bird, these are the remaining companies:

  • Express. This is typically the second-best option, if Blue Bird taxis are not visible, but hail this taxi if your main concern is price. No minimum payment for hailing in the street, the minimum payment is only for ordering by phone: Rp40,000. 
  • Gamya.  
  • Taxiku.  

You can generally determine a good cabbie by asking “Pakai argo?” (“meter?”) – if they say no or “tidak”, get another taxi. Taxis parked near train/bus stations, tourist attractions, and hotels often refuse to use the meter and quote silly prices (especially to foreigners) – in this case, it’s a good idea to walk away a bit, then hail a passing taxi from the above companies.

Tipping is not necessary, but rounding the meter up to the nearest Rp5,000 is expected, although rounding the meter up to the nearest Rp1,000 is also OK. So prepare some change if you want, or else you may be rounded up to the nearest Rp5,000.

Blue Bird, Gojek and Grab apps can be downloaded for free to help you order taxis via smartphone. Fill in the departure and arrival points and Google Maps will show the map with the taxis and also the estimated cost displayed in a range. Blue Bird Taxi has the same fare regardless of whether you hire them online or by phone (with minimum payment applied). GoCar and GrabCar have prices fixed in advance, regardless of any traffic jams. Choose the taxi that will be used and the taxi will usually come in five minutes. Only qualified taxis and qualified drivers can join the apps, so this is one of the safest ways to get a taxi. Taxis have been abundant since online ride-hailing started operating in Jakarta. Online taxis rate is only about two-thirds that of a conventional taxi, or at most the same as a conventional one during peak hours.

By bajaj

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Gas-Fueled Bajaj in Jakarta

The Jakartan equivalent to Thailand’s tuk-tuk is the bajaj (pronounced “bahdge-eye”), orange mutant scooters souped up in India into little three-wheeled vehicles that carry passengers in a small cabin at the back. Besides the usual orange bajaj, there is blue bajaj, which use gas as fuel.

They’re a popular way to get around town since they can weave through Jakarta’s interminable traffic jams much like motorbikes can. Although slow, boneshaking (they have no suspension), hot and windy (locals joke about the “natural A/C”), and a great way to breathe in more exhaust fumes than you ever thought possible (maybe less if you ride the blue bajaj), riding around in these little motor-bugs can really grow on you. Blue gas-fueled bajaj are quieter than the orange 2-cycle bajaj.

There are no set prices, but a short hop of a few city blocks shouldn’t cost much more than Rp5,000. Be sure to agree to (read: haggle) a price before you set off. Bajaj drivers are happy to overcharge visitors, and often ask double or even more than what you would pay by a meter in a more comfortable Blue Bird taxi. Locals who regularly use the bajaj know what a typical fare should be and are happy to tell you. Also, since bajaj aren’t allowed on some of the larger roads in Jakarta, your route may well take you through the bewildering warren of backstreets. Try to keep an eye on what direction you’re going, because some unscrupulous bajaj drivers see nothing wrong with taking the “scenic” route and then charging you double or triple the price.

Qute Bajaj

The new variant of bajaj in Jakarta, with 4 wheels instead of typical 3-wheeled bajaj. Since early June 2017, bemo (pronounced “bay-mo”) are forbidden to operate in the city due to their contributions to air pollution and sound pollution. Qute are much quieter than bemo and have air conditioning. These ‘new bemo’ operate throughout Central Jakarta towards North Jakarta via Mangga Dua to Ancol. The price is quite the same as for ordinary bajaj (about Rp. 5,000 for a short hop). Make sure to haggle a price before you ride the vehicle.

By ojek

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One of many Ojek driver in Jakarta

If you’re poking around narrow back streets, or in such a hurry that you’re willing to lose a limb or more to get there, then Jakarta’s motorcycle taxis (ojek) might be the ticket for you. Jakarta’s ojek services consist of guys with bikes lounging around street corners, who usually shuttle short distances down alleys and roads but will also do longer trips for a price. Agree on the fare before you set off. Insist on a helmet and wear it properly—no need to make it more insanely dangerous than it already is. The ojek drivers will insist you’re safe with them and that they’ll drive carefully—some are telling the truth, some lying. Before you choose a driver, pay attention to their motorcycle’s appearance and their helmet; sometimes it shows their character. Locals normally pay Rp5,000 for a short ride (one kilometre) and Rp7,000-10,000 for a longer (roughly more than a kilometre or a 15-minute walk). Foreigners are likely to be asked for more, but generally, ojek drivers will accept the proper fare if you insist on it, unless they see you really need their service.

On-demand (online) ojek services such as Go-Jek and Grab are ubiquitous can be booked through their respective smartphone apps, and offer generally cheaper fares which are stated in advance. Payments can be made by cash or stored value (akin to prepaid mobile phone service). You may chat or call the driver for help with finding each other, although some knowledge of Indonesian would be helpful. Go-Jek as a pioneer has more widespread availability; those who travel here alongside other Southeast Asian countries may find it useful to keep using Grab. The other more expensive on-demand ojek service is Lady Jek with female drivers. Unlike conventional ojeks, which typically only operate dawn to dusk, they are available at all times and relatively safe for both passengers and drivers as they are monitored by GPS. While it seems cheap, those who travel in groups of at least three may be better off taking a taxi for convenience and the unnoticeable difference in fares.

The aforementioned brands also offer taxi service that are either private cars akin to Uber elsewhere in the world or with taxi companies so that you can hail them from the same app. Other services include food or groceries delivery and shipping between residents or from online businesses.

By helicopter

If you have quite an amount of cash and want to beat the traffic exponentially, a helicopter can be an option for you. They can be chartered as well for excursions outside Jakarta.

  • Transwisata, Halim Perdanakusuma Airport Terminal Building, Ground Floor, ✉ (updated Sep 2017)
  • Whitesky Aviation, ✉ (updated Sep 2017)

Travel by bicycle in Jakarta

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Car Free Day in HI Roundabout

Cycling provisions are almost non-existent in Jakarta, but the first signs of a cycling culture are emerging. Every Sunday from 06:00-11:00 during the Car Free Day (CFD) in Jalan Sudirman and Thamrin (and every month in other places in each city in Jakarta) are emptied of motorized vehicles, except TransJakarta. The atmosphere can be festive, as events are held in some places (especially in Hotel Indonesia Roundabout). There are some bicycle lanes at Blok M and Kanal Banjir Timur.

Beyond that, there are dedicated mountain biking paths in Cihuni and along the Jalur Gas Pipa, both in Tangerang. Or you could head to Salak Mountain or other parts of the region beyond Bogor.

On foot

The bad news: walking is the last thing anyone wants to do in Jakarta. The hot and humid air sends folks into their air-conditioned vehicles. Then, because the sidewalks are less used, they are filled with pushcart vendors, resulting in even less room to walk. With the exception of a few posher areas, sidewalks are crowded with pushcart vendors, drivers disregard pedestrians and crossing streets can be suicidal. As a matter of fact, pedestrian crossings do nothing other than giving the visitor a false sense of security, because the local drivers don’t stop or even slow down for pedestrians, even at pedestrian crossings.

Now, the good news: because of the horrendous traffic, walking can be frustratingly faster than using motor vehicles, as you will not be caught up in traffic, especially if your destination is just across the thoroughfare. Use the overhead bridges for safety if the road is very wide, or cross only at the markings. You may think that conditions are bad in Jakarta, but some think that driving habits are even rowdier in other parts of Indonesia, where even less attention is paid to safety. Whenever you cross the road, always show your palm to the drivers to gain their attention.

A few neighbourhoods can, however, be explored on foot:

  • Kota Tua (Jakarta/West): a pedestrian-friendly square, a walk in this area explores the sights of Dutch colonial charm that was once central to the colonial administration.
  • Pasar Baru (Jakarta/Central): a pedestrian-friendly market that has been in existence since the colonial era.
  • Sudirman-Thamrin corridor (Central and Jakarta/South): the central business districts have a paved pedestrian footpath for eager explorers.
  • Rasuna Said, Kuningan District (South Jakarta): another business district along Jl. HR Rasuna Said with many embassies and office buildings.
  • Monas and Kebon Sirih area (Central Jakarta): the city square is a pedestrian-friendly zone, and the surrounding area has several attractions such as the presidential palace and old colonial churches.
  • Kanal Banjir Timur (Jakarta Timur), a nice river view in the morning with special bicycle and walking/running lane.
  • Jatinegara (Jakarta Timur), full of vintage stalls, building, train station, and river view of Ciliwung.
  • Kemang (Jakarta Selatan), full of coffee stalls, restaurants and bars. The best place to walk at night.
  • Cikini (Jakarta Pusat), for coffee stalls, art spaces, and performances.

On Car Free Day (CFD), every Sunday from 06:00 to 11:00 in the morning, the Sudirman-Thamrin thoroughfares are closed to motor vehicles, except for the Transjakarta buses. During the CFD times, the strip of the road becomes a wide open space to do sports, walking or biking.


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Jakarta History Museum, Kota

The heart of tourist attractions is to the north and centre of Jakarta. Visitors typically start exploring Jakarta from this part of the town, called the Kota Tua, where the old buildings of Jakarta are preserved within a dedicated walking area. Jakarta has 47 museums, which are spread across the city.

The Jakarta History Museum, formerly a city hall (Stadhuis), covers Jakarta’s history from 400 AD to the present day, with photos, replicas, and maps. Do not miss the Jagur cannon in the back yard.

The Bank Indonesia Museum tells about the economy and currency system then and now using modern technology while the Museum Bahari takes you to the old glory of Jakarta’s port, and Indonesia’s as a whole. If you are into arts & crafts, the Museum Wayang has a collection of different puppets (Wayang) from all across the country and the world, and the Museum Seni Rupa & Keramik allows you to admire Indonesia’s art in paintings and sculptures. Museum Prasasti for historical and scripture.

A few kilometers down south, you’ll find the legacy of the Dutch and the first years of the Indonesian government, such as the iconic landmark of Jakarta, the National Monument park standing right at the center of the court, and the Presidential Palace on its north side. And where else in the world could you find the Istiqlal Mosque, Southeast Asia’s biggest mosque, and a 113-year-old gothic cathedral standing mightily across from each other? On the western side of the court, the elephant statue welcomes you to the Museum Nasional, one of the better designed museums out there. Or Gallery Nasional for art and sculpture.

Statues and monuments are ubiquitous in Jakarta and many stand prominently in major points across the city. Most of these icons were erected during Soekarno’s rule in 1960, and thus still represent the old glory of independence. Start your trip from the Tugu Tani statue in Menteng that has a figure of a farmer going out to war. Across the Monas Park is Arjuna Wijaya, an eight-horse carriage statue near Monas. Going south at Jalan MH Thamrin, the iconic Selamat Datang statue waves at you, with a fountain that signifies its importance as the city center of Jakarta. Passing through that is the Jenderal Sudirman statue giving a salute, that gives the street its name. Going further until the end of the straight street, is the Pemuda Membangun or Youth Developing statue that looks like a man holding up a burning bowl. The Dirgantara statue is visible in its glory if you are using the inner tollway in South Jakarta.


Green spaces are often overlooked in Jakarta. While the city has nearly 1,000 public parks big and small, very few are well maintained including even the National Monument Park (Monas). Menteng is large and perhaps the best and Taman Suropati hosts regular violin shows. Pantai Indah Kapuk, while inundated by housing projects, still leaves a space for mangrove swamps and monkeys’ habitats in the two parks there. For parks with lakes, Pluit Park is one option, and a smaller one is Pulo Mas Park. Ragunan, the official zoo of Jakarta, is the second largest zoo in the world (140 hectares), offering diverse Indonesian and international flora & fauna, including a dedicated centre that houses primates, especially the endemic orangutans. Kalijodo Park is open 24 hours a day with green and child-friendly public space and an international skate park. For community park, look for Ruang Publik Terpadu Ramah Anak (RPTRA). Although smaller, it usually offers a small library with AC available to get some rest and a futsal field for physical activity. The newest is Lapangan Banteng Park which is also open for 24 hours and has good illumination for playing football.

However metropolitan Jakarta has 3 small forests in the city at Muara Angke, Srengseng and Tebet.

Jakarta also hosts two amusement parks. Taman Impian Jaya Ancol at the North, that is for pure fun plus a sea world aquarium, and Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Indonesia in miniature) in East Jakarta, which celebrates the culture of all 34 provinces of Indonesia, a bird park containing multiple endemic species, and multiple museums. Escape to Kepulauan Seribu to see wild birds and eagles, and island resorts not too far away from the city. The Setu Babakan down south is the centre of the indigenous Betawi culture. If you are looking for lake scene, go to Taman Waduk Pluit or Taman Waduk Ria Rio. For river scene, go to Taman Kanal Banjir Timur or RPTRA Mawar.


Individual listings can be found in Jakarta’s district articles

Betawi culture

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Traditional male & female ondel-ondel in Wayang Museum, Jakarta

Despite being the melting pot of Indonesia, Jakarta’s indigenous tribe called the Betawi still stays proud of its culture. They are actually a unique assimilation of various domestic and international races from the Chinese to the Portuguese, which makes it distinct from other parts of Indonesia. The Lenong theatre performance is accompanied by the Gambang Kromong orchestra that consists of the Sundanese Gendang, the Javanese Gamelan, and the Chinese Kongahyan (its own version of violin). The Tanjidor trumpets are an influence from the Dutch, while the Portuguese bequeathed the Keroncong orchestra. At the anniversary of the city’s founding every 22 June, a distinctive piece of culture can be seen at your hoPhone: the infamous pair of Ondel-ondel puppets. The complete experience of the culture can be found at Setu Babakan, the village of Betawi culture (and fishing at its lake).


Cinemas are a more affordable escape at around Rp30,000 – 45,000 for a plush seat (Rp40,000 – 70,000 on the weekend, up to Rp150,000 if you watch in Premiere Class at XXI or Velvet Class at CGV Blitz) in any of the capital’s shopping malls. Beware of the heavy hand of the Indonesian censor though. The price of popcorn and drinks are exorbitant so you may wish to bring your own coming in. CGV Blitz cinemas will typically show movies in any foreign language other than English and the lesser ones also exhibit Indonesian B-Movies with erotic themes (still heavily censored). The largest chain of cinemas in Indonesia are the 21 Cineplex (branded as XXI in premium shopping malls) and CGV Blitz . IMAX theaters are only available at Gandaria City’s XXI theatre, Mal Kelapa Gading III’s theatre and Keong Mas in TMII, although the latter more often shows documentary than blockbuster films.

Performing arts festivals

Jakarta boasts some of the world’s largest music events, which may surprise you, and the many young fans have attracted artists all around the world to regularly stop by Jakarta as part of their world tour, from rock concerts to Korean pop. Perhaps the best known event is the annual Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival that takes place each March for 3 days, filled with over 40 international and local artists performing jazz, R&B and reggae songs. The Hammersonic is an annual metal music concert, while We The Fest boasts some of the performances from indie/pop artists in August since its first inception in 2014, Road to Soundrenaline takes you to the popular local indie/major label bands showcases, before it ends up in Bali for the main event with some of international artists performing there and the Djakarta Warehouse Project hosts world famous DJs to jam the start of the year-end holiday. For a street performance, the Sudirman-Thamrin strip is closed at night on 22 June and New Year’s Eve, when stages for musical performances are erected and cultural parades set up to usher in Jakarta’s founding anniversary and the New Year, respectively.

For some traditional and classical stuff, there are performances at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, by indie, jazz, dance, and classical music orchestras. Taman Ismail Marzuki hosts mainly theatrical shows, although English shows might be rare. Erasmus Huis Hall by the Dutch embassy also regularly hosts classical music shows and photography exhibitions.


The sport scene in Jakarta is perhaps one of the most vibrant you’ll ever see in Asia. The Senayan sports complex still lives up to its name since the 1962 Asian Games, where archery and indoor shooting range are also publicly available to try. Soemantri-Brodjonegoro in Kuningan district also offers you many kinds of sport activities. If you like skateboarding, Kalijodo Skatepark is the best place to meet others.


Jakarta is perhaps the best city to play golf in Asia, thanks to the abundance of courses close to or even in the middle of the city, and relatively cheap prices compared to Western standards. Green fees can go as low as Rp70,000 on weekdays, although the better courses are twice that, and weekend rates are considerably steeper at Rp300,000 and more. Many golf courses are at South and East within the immediate suburbs of the city, much better in quality and quantity at the satellite cities.


Indonesia is one of the few lucky Asian countries where numerous European soccer teams, including from the prestigious British Premier League or the Italian League, play a trial game against the national team when the game itself is at break in Europe. The supporters between the national team and the Europeans at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium are even, yet even though for the most part Indonesia’s national team post losses, clashes do not seem to happen at least in a chaotic way. When the Europeans are back in season, numerous cafés and bars around town put up gigantic TV screens to let the enthusiasm erupt while having a drink at dawn.

Futsal is the indoor version of football, which has 5 players per team and more lax rules of play. Anytime after work or on the weekends, you can easily find crowds at the many indoor courts across the city. Outdoors, the dirt and grass makeshift fields are abundant in residential areas, crowded with players, spectators and vendors, typically on weekend afternoons. In these casual games, anyone can simply ask to jump in or relax.


As a badminton powerhouse, Jakarta has a multitude of badminton courts, ranging from the national venues at the Senayan Complex to the suburban halls which cater to both futsal and badminton. Most of them have wood-panel flooring and are maintained in reasonably good condition. Lighting is strictly functional and is below par in comparison with standard badminton halls. People play almost every evening – so, walk in, strike up a conversation with the group’s captain, and expect to blend in with their group for the session. If the captain refuses payment (usually less than Rp20,000), it is polite to buy the players a round of soft-drinks (teh-botol is a good choice). Be warned that it is common for Indonesians to eat, smoke, drink and nap by the side of the court: so watch your footing.

If you want to watch rather than to play, the Istora Senayan is packed every early June during the Indonesian Open Superseries, when Indonesia’s and the world’s top badminton players compete. The deafening cheers are chanted even beyond when the players hit the shuttlecock, an enthusiasm unmatched elsewhere in the world. It is advised to buy the tickets online (especially for the semifinals and final matches), otherwise you must choose between watching it on television or the big screen in Istora (think about Murray Mound/Henman Hill in Wimbledon).


You are in one of Asia’s big cities—karaoke is the norm, so sing your heart out! Most chain brands such as Inul Vizta, NAV, or DIVA can be found at the upscale shopping malls where the youngsters play. You’ll have your own lavish room with a wide span of libraries containing local, English, and East Asian songs, on a wide-screen TV while you can order a drink or food to be enjoyed while you wait your turn to sing. Rates can start from as low as Rp70,000 per room for a minimum of 6 people.


Cooking classes are held on Sundays at 10 AM by 99 Ranch Market at their branch in Pondok Indah for Rp200,000. There are also a few locations along Jalan Kemang that specifically cater to expats. Most offer pastry cooking classes.

Interestingly, you can learn about cultures from around the world in Jakarta. Many embassies have set up cultural centers where you can take world culture & language classes. Check these cultural centers for information: Korean Culture Center, Institut Francais, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Japan Foundation, Russian Culture Center, Goethe Institut.


Casual work in Jakarta is difficult to come by and Indonesian bureaucracy does not readily facilitate foreigners undertaking employment in Indonesia. As in the rest of Asia, teaching English is the best option, although salaries are poor (US$700–3000/month is typical, although accommodation may be provided) and the government only allows citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA to work as teachers. Formal work visas, residency permits and registration with several government offices is necessary. Formal approval from the Department of Manpower and the provision of documentation and guarantees from an employing sponsor is required to engage in any form of employment in Jakarta or elsewhere in Indonesia. Business visas are available for the purposes of conducting business related activities in Jakarta or elsewhere in Indonesia, this class of visa has strict conditions and requires a local business to sponsor the applicant. A business visa does not permit the holder to undertake any form of employment.


Individual listings can be found in Jakarta’s district articles

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Grand Indonesia Shopping Town located in Central Jakarta, as viewed from Plaza Indonesia

More than 2.5 million foreign tourists and more than 30 million domestic tourists visit Jakarta every year. It’s a paradise for buying international brand-name garments (both genuine and fake).

If you’re stopping in Jakarta, consider buying an extra suitcase, because there are lots of good shopping opportunities. Good used suitcases can be bought at Surabaya street and vendors also sell antiques. However, note that although quality can be excellent, genuine branded goods or quality products are expensive.

Every year, the Provincial Government of Jakarta holds an annual Festival Jakarta Great Sale that takes place from Mid-June to Mid-July. Most markets, shopping malls, and department stores attend it and will give discounts on selected items, although the event itself might be barely noticeable aside from some banners. Some stores also run Midnight Sales, usually in the weekend. And most of the malls are open from 10:00-20:00 every day, except on Ied Day when they’re open 13:30-22:00.

Shopping malls

Despite the crushing poverty exhibited in some parts of the city—mostly among migrant uneducated workers from other cities—In 2017, Jakarta has more than 170 giant, glittering malls (including trade centers and groceries centers) more than double of 70 at five years ago, more than other cities in the world, and far more than you’d expect as a newcomer. Note that for genuine imported goods from sole agents, prices are controlled to be roughly the same all over the world, so domestic tourists no longer need to look for bargains abroad, while some foreign tourists actually prefer to shop in Jakarta for more design options. Most of the shopping malls are located close to each other, so if you are unable to find what you need, just go next door.

Some of the most well known shopping complexes are at the heart of the city. Grand Indonesia and Plaza Indonesia are two upper-class malls next to each other on Jakarta’s busy Hotel Indonesia Roundabout. Plaza Senayan & Senayan City are also across each other and are both chic. Mal Taman Anggrek and Central Park at Jalan Letjen S. Parman are for all rounders.

Jalan Prof.Dr.Satrio is Jakarta’s answer to the famed Orchard Road in Singapore, Tokyo/Ginza in Tokyo and Fifth Avenue in New York. Four malls (namely ITC Mal Ambassador, Kuningan City, Ciputra World I, and a bit further off, Kota Kasablanka) and counting, catering to visitors of all budget levels. Kelapa Gading has a street with four malls on its side, and two other giant malls are located elsewhere in the region. Pluit and Pondok Indah hosts three malls located along a single strip.

Every shopping mall has at least one department store, alongside brands that have their own shops. Sogo has the most branches, followed by Metro & Centro. Galeries Lafayette can be found at Pacific Place while Seibu and Central are located at Grand Indonesia. Matahari also provides similar fashion usually for a lower price.


In addition to malls, there are also numerous extremely large shopping centres, most of them within a complex, so if you are unable to find what you need at one mall, you can try again at the mall next door. Mangga Dua, Tanah Abang, and Pasar Baru are the best places in Jakarta to shop for fashion. In Mangga Dua area there are at least 3 shopping centers connected by bridges: ITC is for middle and upper middle class fashion, while the lower class is served by Pasar Pagi Mangga Dua, and Mangga Dua Mall is for gadget enthuasiasts. Tanah Abang is a wholesale market and the biggest in Southeast Asia, with delivery to Africa and other parts of the world. Tanah Abang is overcrowded, so Thamrin city next to Grand Indonesia (500 m from Tanah Abang) can serve as an alternative, mainly for Muslim wear and batik. Pasar Baru is not a shopping center, but more like a street with old retail shops; stamp collectors will be able to find Indonesian stamps at the front of many of these shops. Mangga Dua Square, as well as Glodok and Roxy, are places to find gadgets. WTC (Wholesale Trade Centre) Mangga Dua is now specialized in sell used cars, with more than 100 sold per day.

If you are looking for antique products such as local handicrafts, Indonesian traditional batik or wayang golek (Sundanese puppets), you can go to Jalan Surabaya in Central Jakarta. If you are looking for rare maps, prints or paintings, you can go to Kemang Raya, where there are many galleries including Bartele gallery and Hadi Prana. Pasaraya Grande shopping mall at Blok M, South Jakarta has one dedicated floor for Indonesian antiques and handicrafts. Pasar Seni at Ancol is the centre of paintings and sculpture, including portrait pictures you can have done on the spot. Sarinah department store also has a vast section of traditional gifts.

Shopping at traditional markets may also be an exciting experience, where you can find exotic tropical fruits, traditional snacks, cheap fashion and novelty items. While most of them are far from tourist hot spots, Pasar Gondangdia across the namesake train station and the Fresh Market Pantai Indah Kapuk are the places that still offer such experience in a modern building while easily accessible.

Cash is still the most effective payment system for all transactions. A few established shops may accept payment with debit/credit card and electronic money.


Individual listings can be found in Jakarta’s district articles

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget up to Rp25,000
Mid-range Rp25.000-Rp100.000
Splurge more than Rp100.000

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Interior of Cafe Batavia near Museum Fatahillah

Jakarta has a vast range of food available at hundreds of eating complexes located all over the huge city. In addition to selections from all over the country, you can also find excellent Chinese, Japanese, and many other international foods thanks to the cosmopolitan population.

If you want to go local Jakarta, the indigenous Betawi has its own dishes to offer:

  • Sop iga sapi, beef spare rib soup that takes a simple Dutch dish and piles on Indonesian spices.
  • Soto betawi, coconut milk broth with beef tendons, intestines, tripe.
  • Kerak telor, omelette cooked with glutinous rice and served with shredded coconut and a dried shrimp topping.
  • Ketoprak, lontong (rice cake), tofu, bean sprout, shrimp crackers in peanut sauce.
  • Gado-gado is like ketoprak, but all of it is vegetables.
  • Bubur Dingin, literally cold porridge with beef sweet soup.
  • Nasi uduk, rice cooked in coconut milk similar to nasi lemak, served with choices of various toppings, such as fried chicken, beef, fried shallots, and sambal (chili sauce).
  • Nasi ulam, rice cooked in coconut milk served with fried minced beef, sweet fried tempeh, many other toppings, cucumber, and sambal.
  • Asinan Betawi: assorted pickled vegetables, served with peanut sauce (and sometimes chili) and chips.

Food at malls and brick-and-mortar restaurants are by and large of hygiene standards. Street vendors (kaki lima) or carts can be questionable, though it is still wise to use discretion as some of the best or well-known food can actually be from them.

The online ride-hailing apps Gojek and Grab also offer food delivery service to virtually all restaurants, for a small fee.

Though tips are originally not customary in restaurants, it starts to become a habit. In fact, a few do automatically charge a service fee of typically 5%, which may surprise some patrons. Eating at restaurants are almost always subject to a 10% general tax.


Food courts at just about every shopping mall in Jakarta offer cheap but filling meals. Prices range from Rp15,000 to Rp25,000. While street vendors (kaki lima) are cheap with questionable hygiene standards, some items are unfortunately offered only within street vendors, so use good judgment when shopping around. Look for those that have lines at least a couple people long, as that means it’s reputable and indisputably delicious. Steer clear from vendors that offer aggressively cheap prices or being pushy, as they might make their items using shady ingredients.

For cleaner alternatives with decent price, you can look for Lokbin (lokasi binaan), Loksem (Lokasi sementara), or Lenggang Jakarta, which serve same affordable food but with better hygiene standards. Practically the sellers there are relocated street vendors. Price in Lenggang Jakarta and Lokbin will be around Rp10.000 to Rp30.000.

Franchise fast food chains are also a good choice for eating as the hygiene is often up to standards. American fast food chains such as KFC and McDonald’s have ample seating. Local chain Bakmi GM is famous for its noodles and its fried wanton. Hoka-hoka Bento (locally known as HokBen), also a local chain, provides Japanese buffet with a complete meal set for an affordable price. Also consider Es Teler 77 & Solaria. You will find one or all of them at major malls across the city. Department store or mini market food items can be an alternative should you need to eat on the go or at work.

For some exquisite Indonesian snacks, head to the traditional markets or street vendors. The infamous jajanan pasar (lit. market snacks) or bakpao (Chinese meat buns) should cost around Rp10,000 to Rp35,000 per box or piece. Assorted fritters (gorengan) are ubiquitous throughout and should cost Rp7,000 to Rp15,000 for up to a dozen pieces of fried tofu, tempeh, cassava, yam, and even banana. Siomay and batagor will be available for around Rp5.000-Rp10.000. Instant ramen noodle for around Rp5.000-Rp10.000, ketoprak Rp5.000-Rp8.000, pecel lele Rp7.000-Rp10.000, or nasi uduk Rp3.000-Rp7.000.

More substantial meals such as martabak, satay, chicken noodle (mi ayam) or porridge (bubur ayam), and nasi goreng are typically on the upper end of budget dining. The Indonesian soto soup can be enjoyed for Rp45,000 with rice and a drink of your choice and a bowl of meatball (bakso) soup with a side of noodles or vermicelli should cost no more than Rp50,000 per bowl. Bakeries also have buns that you can consume for breakfast, starting from Rp10,000. Roti Lauw and Tan Ek Tjoan is the most popular choice in Jakarta.

You may look for d’Cost seafood for decent price all over the city.

As some traditional Indonesian cuisine may be too hot and spicy for many foreign tourist, you can usually ask for just a little chili or none at all: “pedas sedikit” and “tidak pedas”, respectively. It also better to know that you can say “bungkus” for take away order, or “makan di sini” for dine in. And be careful as red ketchup usually means hot chilli sauce, not tomato.


Fine dining restaurants offer main courses for a range of prices and can be found at just about every mall in Jakarta or better yet outside the malls.

Some of the restaurants in this category include pizza franchises Pizza Hut and Domino’s, or A&W, Wendy’s, and Burger King for fast food chain. Mains in shopping mall restaurants typically range between Rp40,000 and Rp75,000; many even provide lunch set menus for just about Rp50,000 that entitles you to rice, one or two main platters and a glass of drink which can be an impressive deal. Seafood restaurants north of the city center falls on the borderline between mid-range to expensive depending on your preference, with shrimp & fish on the cheaper side, followed by scallop, and lastly crab & lobster.

For middle class traditional cuisine, go to Menteng area, and look for Gado-Gado Boplo, Warung Daun, Bumbu Desa, Saur Kuring, Dapur Sunda, Sate House, Bunga Rampai, Sate Khas Senayan or Aroma Sedap. Or try to look around Sabang area. Garuda, Natrabu, Sederhana, Penang Bistro, or Pagi Sore will offer you the best value over price.


The best gourmet splurges in Jakarta are the opulent buffet spreads in the 5-star hotels such as the Marriott, Hotel Mulia, Ritz-Carlton and Shangri-La, which offer amazing value by international standards. Expect to pay upwards of Rp150,000 per person.

Chinese roundtable restaurants, such as Din Tai Fung, Imperial Duck, Jun Njan or Tai Pan among other small enterprises, offer considerably expensive dishes, but these are mostly meant to be communal rather than for individuals.

Steakhouses also fall into this category, especially if the beef is imported from Australia or a USDA certified. For pizza, look for Pizza Express (formerly Pizza Marzano).

For premium traditional cuisine, Rara Jonggrang, Remboelan and Tugu Koenstring Paleis will serve you the highest standard.


Jakarta may be the capital of the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, but it has an underground life of its own. If you’re the clubbing type, its nightlife is arguably among the best in Asia, except during fasting months when some venues are closed or have limited hours. From the upscale Kemang to the seedy Mangga Besar, nightlife is there for all levels of loudness, but bring a friend if you decide to brave the seedier places (though they tend to have the best DJs). Fans of live music, on the other hand, are largely out of luck if they go to budget bars, at least unless they’re into Indonesian pop.

To get alcoholic beverages in Jakarta is not an easy task since 2015 it is not permissible to sell them in the mini market except in big stores inside a mall to discourage underage drinking. Fortunately, there are some wine bars/stores that sell imported wines or hard liquors throughout the city.

When out and about, note that Jakarta has a fairly high number of prostitutes, known in local parlance as ayam (lit. “chicken”), so much so that much of the female clientele of some respectable bars (operated by five-star hotels, etc.) is on the take.

The Kota area in northern Jakarta is the oldest part of town with numerous colonial buildings still dominating the area. It is also considered to be the seediest part of town after midnight. Most karaoke bars and ‘health’ clubs there are in fact brothels who mostly cater to local Jakartans. Even regular discos such as Golden Crown have special areas designated for prostitutes. Other notable establishments in this area are Malioboro and Club 36 which should not be missed. This part of town has a large ethnic Chinese population who also dominate the clubbing scene there.

The bulk of the clubbing scene is spread throughout Jakarta but usually found in office buildings or hotels. The help of an experienced local with finding these places is recommended. Do note that nightlife in Jakarta tends to be pricey by local standards.

Due to Jakarta’s freedom, there is no specific dress code that should be worn unless you are in a religious area. However, it is best not to dress too openly to avoid awkward stares or giving the impression (especially for women) that you are a prostitute since most of them in Jakarta wear very short dresses or skirts. Sandals are fine to wear if you’re heading for North Jakarta since it is near the beach. During the month of Ramadan, most nightlife ends at midnight, while some venues do not open all month.

A nightlife district popular among expats is Blok M in South Jakarta, or more specifically the single lane of Jl. Palatehan 1 just north of the bus terminal, packed with pubs and bars geared squarely towards single male Western visitors. While lacking the bikini-clad go-go dancers of Patpong, the meat market atmosphere is much the same with poor country girls turned prostitute. Blok M is easily accessible as the southern terminus of BRT Line 1. For a more off-the-beaten track experience, head a few blocks south to Jl. Melawai 6 (opposite Plaza Blok M), Jakarta’s de-facto Little Japan with lots of Japanese restaurants, bars and karaoke bars. If you prefer to mingle with Koreans, go south to Jalan Wijaya.

Plaza Senayan’s Arcadia annex attempts to duplicate the concept, but with more of an emphasis on fine dining. The Kemang area in southern Jakarta is popular with expats and locals alike so it has numerous places to eat, drink and dance. Or if you want to keep it sober, bubble tea cafes and coffee shops are popping up sporadically, especially in North and West Jakarta, and most major malls. No jamming music and (mostly) no alcohol, but still a good place to hang out.

Coffee aficionados can rejoice as some of the best beans in the world hail from Indonesia, and they can easily be found from stands on the street to dedicated coffee shops and even the sachets at the supermarket. They are usually priced from Rp30,000 per cup while powdered coffee are sold from Rp15,000. Co-working spaces are also starting to expand their business into making a coffee shop which caters mostly for workers in the city.

Where to stay in Jakarta

Individual listings can be found in Jakarta’s district articles

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Less than Rp500,000
Mid-range Rp500,000-1,000,000
Splurge More than Rp1,000,000

The travel agencies at Jakarta’s airport can have surprisingly good rates for mid-range and above hotels. Star ratings are reserved for midrange and better hotels, while budget places have “Melati” rankings from 1-3 (best). Tax and service charges of 21% are usually added to the bill.

  • Budget, hostels (losmen) can be found around Jalan Jaksa, which is close to the Gambir station, for as low as Rp30,000 per night! Or Kwitang area offer low cost but filthy hotel for Rp50.000 to Rp150.000. Hotels around Cikini has better room to offer for Rp300.000 to Rp 400.000. Another choice is hotels around Mangga Besar, a street with a wide variety of hotels, clubs, restaurants and low class spas. Elsewhere, look for brands such as favehotel, amaris, and ibis budget.
  • Mid-range are easily found at all parts of Jakarta, from independents to chain brands such as all Accor Group hotels but Pullman.
  • Splurge, Jakarta has more than its fair share of luxury hotels, and after the prolonged post-crash hangover new ones are now going up again. Many remain good value by world prices, but opulent lobbies do not always correspond to the same quality in the room. Mostly found within the business strips of Sudirman-Thamrin and Rasuna Said.

In 2016, Jakarta’s hotel occupancy rate is the lowest in a decade, just 49.5 percent. It is lower than Bali’s occupancy rate. But, thanks to business travellers who usually sleep in the same hotel for their visits, the hotels get by. They also have relatively little competition from aparthotel and villas, so you won’t find cutthroat prices as in Bali, but certainly discounts are always available. Due to low occupancy rates, booking last-minute deals will get the cheapest price. In Ied holiday seasons (one week before the end of the fasting month and one week after), hotels in Jakarta are empty, and throughout the year, weekends are emptier than weekdays.

For stays longer than 2½–3 weeks, monthly rental rooms (called kost) and apartments are a good alternative to budget and mid-range hotels, respectively. Fully-furnished rooms (with TV, air-con, large bed, hot shower, kitchen outside) can be rented for 1½-4 million rupiah per month. In most cases, the rental fee already includes electricity and water usage, and often there are additional services included like laundry, Internet access, breakfast, etc. There are cheaper rooms as well (starting from Rp500,000-700,000), but those are usually small, windowless, and the furniture includes just a bed or even nothing at all. Also, some cheaper places are exclusively for either men or women (no opposite-sex tenants or visitors allowed); many others allow couples to stay together only if they’re legally married.

For apartments (one or more rooms + private kitchen + often balcony), prices are Rp3-4 million and up. Cheaper rates can be obtained in some places which are oriented to the long-term rental (3, 6 months or 1 year minimum); however, there may be same limitations as for cheaper rooms. Short term room rentals services such as Airbnb and Travelio can be an option for those on the budget.

Stay safe in Jakarta

The high-profile terrorist bomb blasts at the JW Marriott in 2003, the Australian Embassy in 2004 and the JW Marriott (again) and the Ritz-Carlton in 2009 mean that security in Jakarta tends to be heavy, with car trunk checks, metal detectors and bag searches at office towers and shopping malls. Statistically, though, you are far more likely to be killed in the traffic. Hostel, crowded street, and public transportation are generally safe from terror attack.

By and large, your stay in Jakarta should not be problematic as long as you use common sense. While theft and robbery seem too common, they are highly unlikely to happen in the crowded Sudirman streets, but very likely at the less economically fortunate areas such as in the East, or in residential areas in the suburbs. It is generally better to use a car, or the Transjakarta and commuter trains if your option is public transit. Women are even entitled to a dedicated seating area at these two options!

Strict gun control laws make Jakarta safer, but theft and robbery are real problems. Even these appear to have improved in recent years, but still take care. Violence is low, and most criminal acts are done by stealth or intimidation rather than lethal force. It is rare for even serious injuries to occur during these situations, although there are exceptions. If the theft is done by stealth, simply catching the thief in the act will cause him to run away. For intimidation such as robberies, simply giving them an object of value will usually satisfy the thief, who will leave without further ado. Most Indonesians are also very protective of their neighbors and friends; in many neighborhoods, a thief caught by the local residents will be punished “traditionally” before being taken to police. Shout for help (“Tolong!”) or robber (“Maling!”) to get yourself away from this. For safest journey, always stay inside Transjakarta or Commuter Line system and avoid travelling at night.

Be on your guard in crowded places such as markets, because pickpockets often steal wallets and cellular phones. You may wish to do as Indonesian girls do, and carry your backpack on your chest. Keep a close eye on your valuables and choose your transportation options carefully, especially at night. Business travelers need to keep a close eye on laptops, which have been known to disappear even from within office buildings. For all-night party excursions, it may be wise to keep your cab waiting; the extra cost is cheap and it’s worth it for the security. Lock your car doors and windows, and show no cellular phones or wallets on the dashboard. Organized criminals sometimes operate on the streets (especially at traffic lights) without fearing crowds.

Stay healthy due to COVID-19 in Jakarta

Tap water in Jakarta is not drinkable, unless it’s boiled or purified and the water is supplied by PT. Aetra Air Jakarta through the city water supply. It is generally fine for a bath or a toothbrush session, though. Bottled water is cheap, up to Rp5,000, and for safety reasons it is better to buy it from minimarts, rather than from street vendors. Check if the tamper proof seal is intact.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Jakarta is the 3rd most polluted city in the world after Mexico City and Bangkok. Should you go out a lot into the streets, use a mask or cover up your nose and mouth.

There is a law against smoking in public places in Jakarta, and the smoker can (in theory) be fined up to US$5,000. You may see the signs threatening a fine (denda) of Rp50 million or 6 months jail for smoking, although that law seems not to be enforced, as locals still smoke everywhere on the street and even in local buses, as anywhere in Indonesia. It’s generally prohibited to smoke, however, inside shops, offices, hotel, and air-conditioned buildings generally. If in doubt, you can ask locals: Boleh merokok?

Diarrhea, food poisoning, and typhoid fever is common in Jakarta, so it’s wise to prepare yourself with antidiarrhoeal and activated carbon, and always bring hand sanitizer. Spot your nearest hospital or clinic with 24 hours emergency service before deciding where to sleep.

A visit to general practitioner will roughly cost you Rp50.000 to Rp150.000. While attending a specialist or going to hospital will cost you around Rp200.000-Rp500.000.

Telecommunications in Jakarta


The area code for Jakarta and the metropolitan area is 021. You do not need to dial the area code if you are calling another number within the same area using a landline. Drop the 0 prefix when calling from elsewhere in Indonesia.

Wartel or telephone shops are ubiquitous on the streets of Jakarta, but are gradually disappearing because of the booming of mobile phones. If you wish to avoid the exorbitant roaming fees (or need to make a lot of calls), you can buy a new phone in small stalls for Rp120,000-150,000 plus your mobile number’s balance, while the card itself is relatively cheap or free. Coverage is generally great at most spots.

Public phones can still be commonly seen on the sidewalk. If you see a public telephone, lift the receiver and check the number in the display near the keypad. If the number is not 000, don’t insert coins, because the phone is broken. They usually are, but they’re very cheap (just Rp100 per minute) when they do work.

Internet Cafe’s in Jakarta

If you have your own laptop you may be able to access wifi networks in shopping malls, park, and government building. Ask at the information desk for access codes, but usually the speed is bad. Free hotspots are also available at restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience stores. Most hotels also provide wifi hotspots in their public area or in their rooms, either free or paid—inquire before booking.

Internet cafes are available in most parts of the city, especially around universities, residential areas, and most shopping malls, for Rp4,000-10,000 per hour. While the cheap ones will have slow dial-up connections, others offer broadband high speed capabilities, usually used by the youngsters for online gaming. If you are keen on using the internet for long hours, try to get the “happy hour” deals, where for up to Rp30,000, you can browse the Internet as long as you want.

All providers in Jakarta have 4G LTE, but the signals are only good in business triangle areas (Sudirman, HR Rasuna Said and Gatot Subroto); in other areas, the signal flips between 4G LTE, HSDPA, and 3G, or is mostly 3G. For more general information, see Indonesia Internet in Indonesia. For alternative, try to find for reliable connection in public space or big building. They will charge you Rp5.000 from your mobile phone credit for full day connectivity.

Postal Services in Jakarta

Post is provided by the government owned Pos Indonesia, open during business hours only. They do not have mailboxes but have mobile counters in a van, or you can just go to the post office. Major freight companies such as FedEx, DHL, and UPS also offer drop by package delivery, albeit through a third-party service. Both Gojek and Grab also offer door-to-door delivery service within their app if you only need to send something light and quick (maximum 5 kilograms), for which the price depends on distance rather than weight. TIKI, JNE, or J&T are reliable for bulk or inter-city delivery.


Jakarta’s emergency services are the best in Indonesia. Many hospitals have 24-hour emergency rooms, but equipment may not be as advanced as their international counterparts. The international emergency number 112 does work and will channel you to the respective services you need.

  • Fire ☎ 113.
  • Ambulance. ☎ 118.
  • Police. ☎ 110.
  • Search and rescue team. ☎ 115.
  • Indonesian Police HQ: Jl. Trunojoyo 3, South Jakarta. ☎+62 21 7218144.
  • Jakarta Police HQ: Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 45, South Jakarta. ☎+62 21 5709261.
  • Hospitals with 24-hour emergency room UGD (ER): see the Jakarta district pages.
  • Child abuse: ☎ 1-500-771


Jakarta is the centre of Indonesia’s media. Most news is actually sourced from Jakarta. English-language publications are starting to make their way into newsstands.

  • The Jakarta Post. Perhaps the most famous English-language newspaper in Indonesia.
  • The Jakarta Globe In a tabloid format. Provides more lifestyle content.
  • Tempo English Edition Weekly hard news magazine.
  • What’s New Jakarta is a lifestyle website full of food and event listings. Suitable for long-term visitors

State-owned TV station TVRI has an English news broadcast every day at 17:00, and MetroTV Tuesday-Saturday at 01:00. MetroTV has Metro XinWen for news in Mandarin Chinese.

Immigration office

The General Directorate of Immigration (Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said Kav.X-6 Kuningan-Jakarta Selatan) provides visas, re-entry permits and many other immigration services.

Embassies and consulates

The Kementerian Luar Negeri (Kemlu) or Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a complete searchable database of diplomatic institutions. The embassies are located in Jakarta; some consulates general and honorary consulates are located in other cities such as Surabaya and Denpasar. This list may not be complete.

  • Afghanistan Afghanistan, Jl Doktor Kusuma Atmaja 15, fax: +62 21 31935390. 
  • Algeria Algeria, Jl H. R. Rasuna Said Kav. 10-11, ✉ 
  • Argentina Argentina, Menara Thamrin R. 1602 Jl Muhammad Thamrin, Kav. 3. 16th Floor Suite 1602, fax: +62 21 2303962. 
  • Armenia Armenia, Jl Denpasar II No. 49, fax: +62 21 5276549, ✉ 
  • Australia Australia, Jl H.R. Rasuna Said Kav C 15-16, fax: +62 21 25505467. 
  • Austria Austria, Jl Terusan Denpasar Raya Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan, fax: +62 21 52920651, ✉ 
  • Bangladesh Bangladesh, Jl Denpasar Raya No. 3, Block A-13 Kav 10, Kuningan.  
  • Belgium Belgium, Deutsche Bank Building – 16th floor, Jl Imam Bonjol 80, fax: +62 21 3162035, ✉ 
  • Brazil Brazil, Jl Jenderal Gatot Subroto, 12190, fax: +62 21 5265659. 
  • Brunei Brunei, Jl. Teuku Umar No. 51, Menteng, Central Jakarta 10310, fax: +62 21 3190 5070, ✉ 
  • Cambodia Cambodia, Jl Kintamani Raya C-15 No. 33.  
  • Canada Canada, World Trade Centre I, 6th Floor Jl Jend. Sudirman Kav. 29-31, fax: +62 21 25507811, ✉ 
  • Chile Chile, Bina Mulia Building I, 7th floor, Jl H.R. Rasuna Said Kav. 10, fax: +62 21 5201955, ✉ 
  • China China (PRC), Jl Mega Kuningan No.2, Jakarta Selatan, fax: +62 21 5761034, ✉ 
  • Colombia Colombia, Jl Jend Sudirman Kav. 47-48, South Jakarta Central Plaza Building 12th Floor, fax: +62 21 52905217, ✉ 
  • Cuba Cuba, Jl. Logam Blok D/ No. 58, Permata Hijau, Jakarta 12210, fax: +62 21 532 8174, ✉ 
  • Czech Republic Czech Republic, Gereja Theresia 20, Menteng, fax: +62 21 336282, ✉ 
  • Denmark Denmark, Jl Mega Kuningan Lot 5 12930, fax: +62 21 5761535, ✉ 
  • Egypt Egypt, Jl Teuku Umar No. 68, Menteng, fax: +62 21 3145073, ✉ 
  • Finland Finland, Jl Mega Kuningan, Lot 5, fax: +62 21 5761631, ✉ 
  • France -6.196632106.8223483 France, Jalan M. H. Thamrin 20, Jakarta 10350, fax: +62 21 23557601. French Embassy 
  • Germany Germany, Jl MH. Thamrin No. 1 Gondangdia Menteng Jakarta Pusat, fax: +62 21 3901757, ✉ 
  • Greece Greece, Jl HR. Rasuna Said Kav X-7 No.6 Karet Kuningan Setiabudi Jakarta Selatan, fax: +62 21 5207753, ✉ 
  • Iran Iran, Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto No. 110, Menteng, Central Jakarta, fax: +62 21 310-7860, ✉ 
  • Italy Italy, Jl Diponegoro No. 45, Menteng – Central Jakarta, fax: +62 21 31937422, ✉ 
  • Japan Japan, Jl M.H. Thamrin 24, Central Jakarta, fax: +62 21 31925460. 
  • Jordan Jordan, Jl Kawasan Sudirman Central Business District 10270, ✉ 
  • South Korea Republic of Korea, Jl Jenderal Gatot Subroto Kav. 57.  
  • North Korea Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Jl Teluk Betung No. 2.  
  • Laos Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Jl Patra Kuningan XIV No. 1A, Kuningan.  
  • Malaysia Malaysia, Jl HR Rasuna Said 1-3 Kav X-6, fax: +62 21 5224974, ✉ 
  • Marshall Islands Marshall Islands, Jl Pangeran Jayakarta No. 115 Blok A-11, Central Jakarta.  
  • Myanmar Myanmar, Jl Haji Agus Salim No. 109, Menteng.  
  • Netherlands The Netherlands, Jl HR Rasuna Said Kav.S-3, Jakarta Selatan, fax: +62 21 5200734, ✉ 
  • New Zealand New Zealand, Jl Asia Afrika No. 8 Gelora Bung Karno – Central Jakarta Sentral Senayan 2 10th Floor, fax: +62 21 5709457, ✉ 
  • Nigeria Nigeria, Jl. Denpasar Raya Blok A-13 No. 3 Kuningan Timur, South Jakarta, fax: +62 21 526 0924, ✉ 
  • Norway Norway, Jl Mega Kuningan, Lot 5 12930, fax: +62 21 576 1537, ✉ 
  • Pakistan Pakistan, Jl. Mega Kuningan Barat Blok E.3.9 Kav. 5-8 Mega Kuningan – South Jakarta, fax: +62 21 5785 1645, ✉ 
  • Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea, Panin Bank Centre, 6th Floor, Jl Jenderal Sudirman No. 1.  
  • Philippines The Phillipines, Jl Imam Bonjol No. 6-8, Menteng.  
  • Russia Russia, Jl Hr Rasuna Said Kav X7 No 1-2 Setia Budi, Kuningan, fax: +62 21 5222916, ✉ 
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, Jl MT Haryono Kav. 27, Cawang, Jakarta Timur, fax: +62 21 3905864. 
  • Singapore Singapore, Jl H. R. Rasuna Said Blok X/4 Kav. No. 2, Kuningan.  
  • Serbia The Republic of Serbia, Jl H.O.S Cokroaminoto 109, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat, fax: +62 21 314 3613, ✉ 
  • South Africa South Africa, Wisma GKBI, 7th Floor, Suite 705, Jl. Jenderal Sudirman No. 28.  
  • Spain Spain, Jl H Agus Salim 61 Menteng Jakarta Pusat 10350, fax: +62 21 31935134, ✉ 
  • Sri Lanka Sri Lanka, Jl Diponegoro No. 70, Menteng.  
  • Sweden Sweden, Jl Mega Kuningan, Lot 5 12930, fax: +62 21 5762691, ✉ 
  • Switzerland Switzerland, Jl HR Rasuna Said 2, Kav X3 12710, fax: +62 21 5202289, ✉ 
  • Syria Syria, Jl. Karang Asem I No. 8, Kuningan Raya, Jakarta 12950, fax: +62 21 520 2511, ✉ 
  • Republic of China Taipei Economic and Trade Office, Gedung Artha Graha, 12th Floor(Service Division) and 17th Floor Sudirman Centre Business District Jl Jenderal Sudirman Kav. 52-53.  
  • East Timor Timor Leste, Gedung Surya 11th Floor, Jl. M.H.Thamrin Kav. 9.  
  • Thailand Thailand, Jl Imam Bonjol No. 74, Jakarta Pusat 10310.  
  • Turkey Turkey, Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, Kav. 1, Kuningan, Jakarta Selatan 12950, fax: +62 21 522 6056, ✉ 
  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates, Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio, Blok C-4, Kav. 16-17, Jakarta Selatan 12950, fax: +62 21 520 6526, ✉ 
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Jl. Patra Kuningan Raya Blok L5-6, ✉ 
  • United States United States of America, Jl Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 5, Jakarta Pusat.  
  • Venezuela Venezuela, Menara Mulia, 20th Floor, Suite 2005, Jl. Jenderal Gatot Subroto Kav. 9-11, Jakarta 12930, fax: +62 21 522 7547, ✉ 
  • Vietnam Vietnam, Jl Teuku Umar No. 25, Menteng.  

Go next

Within the metropolitan area:

The fun does not end in Jakarta, but well beyond its satellite cities!

  • Thousand Islands — administratively a part of Jakarta, but it is the complete opposite of the hectic mainland: an island escape with sprawling resorts and nature reserves.
  • Bogor — a sense of nature one hour away, where you can tuck yourself away in its botanic gardens or golf courses.
  • Puncak — cooler climate, beautiful view of the mountains and tea plantations, restaurants, as well as the Taman Safari Wildlife Park.
  • Tangerang — a thriving area for premium residents and opulent malls, especially to its south.
  • Depok — a budget style city with adequate facilities because of the nearby University of Indonesia.
  • Bekasi — home to Jakarta’s big industry companies and an increasingly bustling city.

A bit further off

  • A 3-hour drive using the tollway leads into the Merak Port at the western end of Java, where you can continue your journey by ferry to Sumatra island for 1½ hours.
  • Anyer is an upscale resort beach 4 hours away from Jakarta, but if you want a less crowded option, the Carita is just a short trip away from there.
  • Pulau Umang, an island resort to itself, is midway between Carita Beach and Ujung Kulon National Park.
  • Ujung Kulon National Park — a beautiful national park 5 hours away, featuring the endangered single-horn rhinoceros.
  • Bandung — 3 hours away from Jakarta, it’s a budget style city famous for both food and bargain fashions.
  • For a tropical island hype (without the resorts) and an instant escape from the hectic city, head to Belitung Island, less than 1 hour away by air.


Former founder of and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.


Tomohon | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Tomohon is a city in Northern Sulawesi. It is the fourth-largest city in the province of North Sulawesi after Manado, Bitung, and Kotamobagu. Tomohon is south of Manado. Tomohon Districts Eruption of the Lokon-Empung volcano (2020) photographed from Tomohon North – Tinoor, Kinilow, Kakaskasen, Wailan, and Kayawu. The first region to be discovered in Tomohon […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Tomohon is a city in Northern Sulawesi. It is the fourth-largest city in the province of North Sulawesi after Manado, Bitung, and Kotamobagu. Tomohon is south of Manado.

Tomohon Districts

  • Image of Destination Guide

    Eruption of the Lokon-Empung volcano (2020) photographed from Tomohon

    North – Tinoor, Kinilow, Kakaskasen, Wailan, and Kayawu. The first region to be discovered in Tomohon from Manado. There is mat production, fruit and flowers vendors in several parts such as in Tinoor for fruits and Kakaskasen for flowers.

  • Central – Talete, Kamasi, Kolongan, and Matani. Downtown of Tomohon, center of public activities, hospitals, and Mayor office and city hall.
  • West – Woloan and Tara-Tara. Traditional House (knockdown type) production, Woloan Ancient Park where Waruga, the ancient tombs are collected in one area, in the same area are 9 springs.
  • East – Paslaten, Rurukan, Kumelembuai. Vegetable Farms on the slope of Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Masarang, and the famous Tomohon Traditional Market.
  • South – Walian, Sarongsong, Pinaras, Lahendong. Hotspring areas, the outstanding Lake Linow is located in Lahendong.


Tomohon is an important town in Northern Sulawesi. It is young but holds an important role in tourism of the province. The panorama and nature of Tomohon are attractions for those who travel this far. It lies between two volcanoes, Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Lokon. The town is shaped like a starfish, with long tentacles visible from higher ground. Because of its position on the highland, Tomohon has a very mild climate, for which it is famous. The friendliness of its people is also well known in the region.

Most people in Tomohon are Christian. Christianity plays an important role in all aspects of life. The Christians are diligent churchgoers. Mostly are Calvinist Protestants, members of Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa (abbreviated as GMIM). Instead, the synod of the churches that spread over the Minahasa region is in Tomohon. Christianity has been developing in the area ever since the time of Dutch colonization. Every village in Tomohon has a church from this denomination. The oldest one is GMIM Pniel Kakaskasen 2.

Besides the Calvinists, there is also a Catholic congregation, which is the second biggest in Tomohon. Several parishes exist in Tomohon. The big ones are St. Fransiskus Xaverius in Kakaskasen and St. Joseph. In Kakaskasen, there is a Monastery called Biara Bukit Karmel or Karmel Monastery. There are also other congregations from other denominations such as Pentecostal, Adventist, and several minor denominations. Every village from north to south and east to west has luxurious churches (or at least luxe for its congregation). And also, one village would normally have more than one building according to the number of the denominations. That is one reason you will see a church every several hundred meters.


  • Christian

During holiday times, the people will decorate their houses, the lanes, the streets and so on with special themes. For example, during Christmas and New Year Christmas ornaments can be easily found anywhere in town. In several corners and intersections or in front of the church, a big white candle would stand up illuminating the lightless surrounding or a big decorated Christmas tree. Christmas musics starts playing as soon as September. They normally say “the months end in ‘-ber’ are Christmas.” During 1st – 24th December, the smell of Christmas cookies usually fill the air. The standard Christmas cookies in Tomohon such as nastar, kastengels, rambutan, biji-biji, sultana, snow white, kacang koek, corn flakes, and so on. The names of Christmas cookies are varied too. Christmas season would normally end with together with New Year on January 31st. During December, there would always be celebration they called it pre-christmas. In one month, a person could attend more than 10 pre-Christmas celebrations, for example pre-Christmas of the office, of the church, of the neighborhood, the school, the relative, family, youth organization, woman organization, from NGO, Sunday schools and so on. All the celebrations will end in a certain day called “kuncikan”, literally means closing day.

  • Chinese’s Holiday

The Chinese in Tomohon also still maintain their tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year and the biggest festival is on the 15th day after New Year, called Cap Go Meh. There will be a procession of calling the spirits of the Chinese Gods or Goddesses to possess mortal human bodies and they will be carried on sedan chairs from the temple around downtown to bestow their blessings on its believers. In this procession, the possessed mortal will perform magical things such as piercing his own cheek with some solid and sharp stick without from one to the other side without any bleeding out, a sword carrier will hit his own back with a very sharp sword without injuring himself, the other will cut his own tongue without injuring himself as well. This procession usually attracts attention of the whole town.

  • Islamic Holiday

Islam believers, although, a few, but they still have number in Tomohon. There is a special community in Southern Tomohon, they lived in a village called Kampung Jawa, literally means Javanese Village. Idul Fitri and the Month of Ramadhan are also celebrated here. However, there is not special procession for the holidays like at the other cities in Indonesia but praying in the open field on the day of Idul Fitri.


Tomohon is one of Minahasa Tribe region. Therefore, the Tomohoners are Minahasans. However, Minahasa Tribe is divided into several sub tribes, Tomohon belongs to a sub tribe called Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu spreads from Tombuluan in the east of Pineleng and Tombariri in the west and from Tomohon in the south to Manado in the north. Pakasaan Tombulu speaks Tombulu Language, Manado Malay, and Bahasa Indonesia. It is believed that Tomohon is the center of Pakasaan Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu in Tomohon, especially those who live in the region of Kakaskasen have special customs that are still maintained up until today.

  • Bakerah Tradition

This is a tradition of steam bath to a woman in several weeks after giving birth to a child. This is a traditional body cleansing process. The process of bakerah will be started by a special woman who has ability to arrange the process. She will boil a pail of water and while in the process, she will also put several special herbs such as leaves of agati tree (sesbania grandiflora) or leaves of hummingbird tree, lemon grass (cymbopogon nardus), kajuputih oil, and several other herbs into the boiling water. After the water boils, she will prepare a bucket or pail and pour the water and the herbs inside the container. The new mother will be asked to sit on a special chair that the bucket is placed under. She will be sitting and having a steam bath for around one hour. She will repeat the process for 7 days in a row.

  • Mapalus

This is a tradition of working together on the farm. A long time ago when modern technology for cultivation was still a dream, people in the highlands of Minahasa, especially in Tomohon, created a system of working the land together, called mapalus. Mapalus is a group of male and female farmers who are associated in a system, bound on their own or by village regulations to cultivate their farm lands. The farmers usually were divided into a timer and the workers. The timer’s function is to watch the time while working, carry the drum and hit the drum or another instrument called a tetengkoren. The process starts at dawn, around 04:30, with the sound of the drum. As the timer hits the drums in a special pattern, the other members of the group come at the appointed time to a house of one member, the intersection, street corner or any other place where they are meeting. Then, guided by the drum carrier, they go to one member’s farm. They work as the sun rises. While working, the workers usually sing songs, either together or responsorily.

  • Kumawus

This is a first or second Sunday of mourn after funeral. Kumawus derives from kawus means finish. I kawus ola, means just finish it, which means the mourn shall be finished. Kumawus means an activity to finish the mourning and all things or issues regarding to the late person. The other point also is that the left family will not have any more customs debt of those who have gone. Also with kumawus, the family was relieved, comforted and strengthened through meetings, fellowship with even more devotions.

The name of this activity at first was ‘muntep remdem’ or ‘Maso Itang’ the meaning ‘enter in black’. The point is the family by wearing black clothing entered the worship in the church at 09.00. Another custom in Kumawus is the people will eat on the table covered with banana leaves by hands.

Get in

By plane

Tomohon is reachable from any place in Indonesia. The nearest airport is in Manado about 33 km and can be reach in 1 hour via Ring road or 1,5 hour via Manado. There are many airlines destination in this airport are from Jakarta, Makassar, Bali, Gorontalo, Tahuna, Ternate, Sorong, Singapore, Balikpapan and several other minor cities. The airlines with route to Sam Ratulangi airport are Garuda Indonesia, Silk Air, Lion Air, Batavia Air, Sriwijawa Air, Merpati Air, Wings Air, and several chartered air lines.

Travel by ship/cruise to Tomohon

Tomohon is also reachable by ship and the nearest harbor is Manado harbor for provincial area, and Bitung Harbor national and international service. There are several ship route by PELNI harboring at Bitung Harbor.



MAKASSAR (South Sulawesi) – BAUBAU (South East Sulawesi) – BITUNG (North Sulawesi) – SORONG (Irian Jaya) – MANOKWARI (PAPUA) – JAYAPURA (PAPUA)


MAKASSAR (South Sulawesi) – BAUBAU (Buton Island, S.E Sulawesi) – AMBON (Maluku) – NAMLEA (Maluku) – TERNATE N.Maluku) – BITUNG (North Sulawesi)


BALIKPAPAN (East Kalimantan) – PANTOLAN (Central Sulawesi) – BITUNG (North Sulawesi) – TERNATE (North Maluku) – SORONG (Irian Jaya) – MONOKOWARI (West Papua) – NABIRE (West Papua) – SERUI (West Papua) – JAYAPURA (West Papua)


BENOA (Bali) – LEMBAR (Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara) – BIMA (West Nusa Tenggara) – LABUAN BAJO (Flores, East Nusa Tenggara – MAKASSAR (South Sulawesi) – BAUBAU (Buton Island, S.E Sulawesi) – RAHA (Muna Island, S.E Sulawesi) – BITUNG (North Sulawesi)

By car

  • Bus

Tomohon is reachable also by BUS or Car from cities in Sulawesi or Celebes Island such as Makassar, Pare-Pare, Tana Toraja, Poso, Tentena, Palu, Toli-Toli, Ampana, Gorontalo, Bitung, Kotamobagu, Manado and other minor cities.

Bus Terminals to Tomohon is from Tondano, Kawangkoan, and Manado and destined to Terminal Beriman, Tomohon.

  • Rental Car

Get a rental car direct from the airport on arrival. Cost around Rp. 500,000 per day Included Driver, or Self Drive approximately Rp.300,000.- per day, can be used for around minahasa. For Central Information tel +62 852-4022-0620 or +62 431-892-979

  • Bluebird Taxi (Bluebird) (Manado to Tomohon, Airport to Tomohon and other areas). Rp.100.000. 
  • Mikrolet Tomohon Tondano (AB), Terminal Tondano (Tondano-Tomohon-Tondano). 06.00-20.00. Rp. 4.000,-. 
  • Mikrolet Tomohon Sonder (AC), Terminal Sonder (Sonder-Tomohon-Sonder). 07.00-19.00. Rp. 3.500,-. 
  • Mikrolet Tomohon Tanawangko (AF), Terminal Tanawangko (Tanawangko-Tomohon-Tanawangko). 07.00-15.00. Rp.6.000,-. 
  • Bus Tomohon Manado, Terminal Karombasan, Manado – Terminal Beriman Tomohon (Manado-Tomohon-Manado). 05.00-20.00. Rp. 6.000. 

Get around

In Town

  • By mikrolet

There are several ways to get around Tomohon area. The first one is by Mikrolet. Mikrolet is the light blue Mitsubishi Colts and can be found everywhere with various destinations. They operate on set routes with established fares but also can be chartered when it is empty. The passenger seats in a Mikrolet face forward with maximum 9 passengers. Some mikrolets are fully furnished with a small LCD TV, CD Player or music player, comfortable seats and so on. All regular routes begin and end in the main terminal called Terminal Beriman.

  • By cart

Bendi is a local name for horse cart and can be a second option to go around Tomohon. Just like Mikrolet, Bendi also operates on set limited routes. Only from downtown to Areas such as Matani, Walian, Kamasi, and Kolongan. This bendi is the old transportation along with cow cart called Roda Sapi. While bendi served for public transportation in town, roda sapi served the route to the farm or rice fields. Nowadays, the fare for a trip by Bendi is Rp. 5.000 per person (as of Oct 2018) and can be chartered up into 4 hours to go around downtown Tomohon.

  • By ojek

Ojek is an Indonesian term for Public Motorbike. The fares are various depend on the distance of a particular destination but it usually starts from Rp. 3.000 until Rp. 20.000. This Ojek can also be chartered daily. The chartered fare is around Rp. 50.000 / per day without Fuel. By ojek, we can reach the places unreachable by Mikrolet or Bendi, even by Rental cars.

  • By taxi

Daily in front of Bethesda Hospital, at downtown, you can find many cars lining up. They are called black taxi or Rental Cars. The cars can be hired daily, weekly, monthly and even annually. The rate is various between Rp. 250.000,- up to Rp. 500.000/day. The service can be include driver and fuel or without them as well.

Out of Town

You also can reach other destination in Main Land of North Sulawesi from Tomohon.

  • To Tangkoko National Park, in Bitung (Via Tondano or Manado), ✉ Starts from 8AM. Tangkoko National Park is reachable from Tomohon also. It is two hours driving by rental car. You can ask the service from hotel but also from the address mentioned in the listing. €35 – €40/day (max 8 hours). 
  • Lake Tondano, Rental Car Service | Kakaskasen – Tomohon Utara (Via Kawangkoan and Langowan). Lake Tondano is more or less 15 km from Tomohon. To reach the lake, someone can hire a motorbike starting from Rp. 50.000 – Rp. 75.000 a day, or chartered a Mikrolet about Rp. 125.000 – Rp. 150.000 a day, or if preferred extra privacy and comfortable someone can rent a car for Rp. Rp. 250.000 – Rp.350.000 a day. You can call the phone number above or send text message for more information. 
  • Mt. Soputan (Gunung Soputan), Tombatu (Via Langowan), ✉ Start from 8AM. Mt. Soputan is also reachable from Tomohon, it is about 2 hours of driving to the southern area of Minahasa. If you are interested to go to Mt. Soputan you have to plan the trip very carefully. It is better to hire a guide who know the area very well. Mt. Soputan is one of the most active volcano in the region, even in Indonesia. € 50 per pax. 
  • Bentenan Beach. 
  • Nimanga River. 
  • Bukit Kasih (Hill of Love), in Kawangkoan. 
  • Batu Pinabetengan. 


As a cool highland, Tomohon has some very pleasant hiking and walking.

  • Lake Linow (Danau Linow)
  • Mt. Mahawu (Gunung Mahawu)
  • Mt. Lokon
  • Mt. Masarang
  • Tomohon Market (Pasar Beriman): Comprises of the Traditional Market, Fresh Market Extreme Market (this is where they sell various exotic meat such as dogs, bats, snakes). It is called “extreme” for a reason. If customer buys an animal alive, it will get slaughtered on the spot. Not for the faint-hearted. Come in the morning before 8am if you want to see the Extreme Market. It gets quiet after 10am.
  • Tintingon Hill
  • Tumimperas Waterfall
  • Wawo Hill
  • Knockdown House Industry
  • Ancient Site and Amphitheater Woloan
  • Tinoor View Point and Tinoor Waterfall
  • Inspiration Hill (Bukit Inspirasi)
  • Temboan Hill, Rurukan
  • Geothermal Lahendong
  • Palm Sugar Industry
  • Pagoda and Buddhayana Temple
  • Sony Art Gallery (Painting Gallery)


  • Bukit Doa Mahawu (Jalan Salib Mahawu), Jl. Lingkar Timur, Kakaskasen Dua. A quiet area made for Christian pilgrim. It has ‘Via Dolorosa’ at Mahawu (Jalan Salib Mahawu) to remember the sacrifice of Jesus until He died on the cross. . Inside the area is a Chapel of Virgin Mary, amphitheater Mahawu and man made grotto. All welcome Rp.2500 per person. (updated Oct 2018)
  • Buddhayana Monastery, Sunge, Kakaskasen tiga. a Buddhist religious and meditation complex. Chinese culture preserved in architecture of statues, Kwan Im goddess palace and pagoda. Religious service every Sunday 15.30. Free. 
  • 1.339082124.8351231 Sightseeing Around Tomohon, Flowers Lane Vacation | Jl. Kel. Tangkawarow No. 2 Kakaskasen. 08.00. When you stays in one of the resorts in Tomohon, having nothing to do, one of the option is go around Tomohon. FLV can arrange your sightseeing trip. starts from USD 30 / per pax. 
  • 1.339082124.8351232 Bird Watching, Flowers Lane Vacation (Jl. Kel. Tangkawarow. No. 2 Kakakaskasen). 05.00 – finish. There are several and special as well as incredible birds can be found in Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Lokon in Tomohon as well as the other part of North Sulawesi such as Rufus Bellied Eagle; Brown Cuckoo Dove; Mountain White Eye; Dark Fronted White Eye; Scarlet Honey-eater; Crimson Crowned Flowerpecker; Sulawesi Spotted Goshawk; Sulawesi Serpent Eagle; Bay Coucal; Yellow Bellied Malkoha; Superb Fruit Dove; Citrine Flycatcher; Streaky Headed White Eye; Grey Sided Flowerpecker; Island Verditer; Sulawesi Dwarf Woodpecker; Mountain Tailorbird; White Browed Crake; Cinnamon Bittern; Scaly Breasted Munia; Cinnamon Munia; Little Egret; Wandering Whistling Duck; Ziting Cisticola; Lesser Coucal; Glamorous Reed Warbler; Javan Pond Heron; Black Kite; Bhraminy Kite; Blue Breasted Quail. Start from USD 30 / person. 
  • 1.339082124.8351233 Horse Riding, Flowers Lane Vacation (Jl. Kel. Tangkawarow. No. 2 Kakakaskasen). 9AM – 2PM. There is a very interesting activity can be done in Tomohon, Horse Riding. The 4 hours trip is to Wawo hill. Start from US$40. 


  • 1.325153124.8378011 Grand Central Supermarket, Jl. Raya Tomohon. 9 AM – 9 PM. The first supermarket in Tomohon, very close to Bethesda Hospital. Selling many kinds of daily needs as well as fashion, computer, multimedia and so on. (updated Mar 2018)
  • Cool Supermarket, Jl. Raya Tomohon, Walian – Tomohon Selatan. 9AM – 9PM. Very nice Supermarket in Southern Tomohon. Selling many kinds of daily needs such as vegetables, herbs, fruits and the other stuffs as well as fashion, books, mechanical tools. 
  • Century Supermarket, Jl. Raya Tomohon. 
  • 1.315055124.8385042 Multi Mart Tomohon. a popular supermarket chain with restaurants and arcade on the upper floor. (updated Oct 2018)
  • 1.326618124.8455013 Pasar Beriman Tomohon (Tomohon Market), Pasar Tomohon (besides the Bus Station). 05.00 AM – 02.00 PM. Sell various kinds of vegetables, meat, spices, herbs, fish, meats, fruits, flowers, clothes. Comprises of the Fresh Market, Traditional Market, and Extreme Market (where they sell various exotic meat such as dogs, bats, snakes) (updated Mar 2018)
  • Gecko Art, Jl. Raya Tomohon, Kinilow (near by the intersection to Onong Palace and Highland Resort). 09.00 AM – 05.00 PM. This is one of the souvenir shops in Tomohon. Various kinds of souvenirs are displayed in this small shops. Travelers can choose according to their preferences. Rp. 20.000 + / Items. 
  • BLPT Kaaten, Jl. Raya Tomohon Tondano, Kaaten (Beside the road to Tondano). 9AM – 3PM. Locates in Kaaten, Matani 1 – Central Tomohon, BLPT is a coconut wood and arenga palm production. They make various kinds of furniture such as tables, chairs, desk, cupboards, beds and small items like toys, and also knockdown houses from coconut wood. Rp. 20.000 – Rp. 500 million / Item. 


Tomohon is very famous for Minahasan cuisine. Minahasan food or Manadonese food is usually very spicy. Among Indonesian Cuisine, Minahasan Cuisine is one of the spiciest cuisines. Traveler must pay attention to what they are asking in the restaurant. If you are not accustomed to spicy food, you will have to communicate with the waiter or waitress.

Check out the Tomohon Culinary Center (Pusat Kuliner Tomohon) at Jalan Nusantara, about 12 minutes’ walk away from the Tomohon Market.



  • Sup Ubi / Bete – is a very tasty home-cooking for appetizer. It’s made by Xanthosoma root with edible hibiscus leaves and or Water Spinach leaves.
  • Braunebonen – literally red bean soup. Cooked either with cow bones or pig legs with herbs such as clove, nutmeg, white pepper. The minahasan likes to eat this together with rice.
  • Sup Kacang Ijo – literally green bean soup. The preparation is very similar with braunebonen.
  • Kua Asam / Kua trang – Sour soup or Clear Soup. The local people has a riddle about this food. “Salt from the sea and Sour from the Mountains meets together in a pan, what is that?” – and the answer is Sour Soup, because it’s made by several herbs such as spring onion, lemon leaves, lemon basil, tomatoes, a little bit chilli, red ginger and fish with little bit salt and lime. Very tasty.
  • Sup kentangPotato Soup cooked in Pasta such as macaroni or rice vermicelli.

Main Course

  • Tinorangsak, pork cooked with herbs such as spring onion, lemon leaves, lemon grass, chilli, and other kinds of herbs; it is cooked in bamboo. Several prepare it using frying pan.
  • RW /err weh/, dog meat cooked with chilli, lemon grass, lemon leaves, spring onion and other kinds of herbs. “RW” stands for “Rintek Wu’uk” in the Minahasan dialect, which translates to “fine hair”, a euphemism for dog meat.
  • Paniki, bat cooked in coconut milk with spicy herbs.
  • Paku Popaya Bulu, Vegetables of Edible Fern and Papaya leaves (sometimes with flowers too), cooked in bamboo with spices and herbs. Some people likes to add the salty pork fat.
  • Ayam Bulu, Chicken cooked in bamboo.
  • Ayam Bumbu RW, Chicken cooked with spices for RW.
  • Bebek Bumbu RW, Duck cooked with spices for RW.
  • Ragey, a chunky pork satay marinated with spices.
  • Bebek Bulu, Duck cooked in bamboo.
  • Ayam Garo, literally means scratching chicken, because the preparation is a fast mixing of the herbs and spices on the frying pan similar to scratching it. This food is categorized to spicy food because of the amount of chilli.
  • Babi Garo, literally means scratching pork, the process is similar to Ayam Garo.
  • Babi Tore, literally means crisp pork.
  • Kapala Babi, literally means Pig Head. It is pig head boiled in spiced soup.
  • Acar, made of young bamboo, carrots, cucumber, peanut, herbs and other spices such as turmeric and onion.
  • Ikan Woku Blanga, any fish cooked in Main Minahasan Spices: chilli, turmeric, ginger, lemon grass, lemon leaves, lime, candle nut, lemon basil, turmeric leaf. It’s called blanga because it’s prepared by using frying pan.
  • Ikan Woku Daong, any fish cooked in Main Minahasan Spices: chilli, turmeric, ginger, lemon grass, lemon leaves, lime, candle nut, lemon basil, turmeric leaf. It’s called daong because it’s prepared by using palm leaves called woka.
  • Ikan Woku Kring, any fish cooked in Main Minahasan Spices: chilli, turmeric, ginger, lemon grass, lemon leaves, lime, candle nut, lemon basil, turmeric leaf. It’s called kring because it’s prepared with less of water and when it’s cooked, we can barely see any soup in it.
  • Rica Rodo, made of corn, aubergine (egg plant), long bean with spicy herbs, chilli, and smoked fish.
  • Sayor Pusu’ made of fluorescent or banana heart, cooked with entrails of animals, normally chicken or pork, such as intestine, heart, and liver.

and so on.


  • Buah segar – literally fresh fruit, it is prepared from various kind of fruits but mainly papaya, apple, avocado, pudding or gel, young coconut, rambutan, longan, and soursop in syrupy and milky water.
  • es braunebon – red bean ice, prepared from red bean cooked in traditional made of palm sugar and then later mixed with blended ice and sweetened condensed milk.
  • Es Kacang Susu – Milk and Peanut Ice, prepared from peanut and served like red bean ice.
  • Gohu – prepared from chopping papaya with spicy syrup containing red ginger, chilli, vinegar (palm vinegar is better), sugar (brown sugar is better), onion. The local likes to add more chilli.
  • Klapertaart – literally coconut tart, prepared from young coconut mixed with milk, eggs, maize flavor, sugar and raisin and frozen in the fridge.

Minahasan Cookies

  • Kukis Kalapa, literally means Coconut Cookie, made of unripe coconut, rice flavor and brown sugar.
  • Binyolos, made of sweet potato and brown sugar.
  • Onde-Onde, made of rice flavor and brown sugar, after cooked it is rolled on grated coconut. It is good to have it while it’s still warm but be careful not to eat it while it’s still fresh from the boiling pan. It can be very tricky that the outside could be cool while the inside is killing hot. The other variant is Onde-Onde Pulo, the difference between this two are the type of the rice. Onde-onde Pulo is made by sticky rice flavor.
  • Cucur, made of rice flavor and brown sugar, some people put anise or aniseed.

Curut, Apang, Apang Coe, Apang Polote, Nasi Jaha, Dodol, Bobengka, Ongol-Ongol, Geto’, Gabin Fla, Biapong, etc.


  • 1.317759124.8382821 Gloria. The best pig ribs in town. A full meal of white rice, 3 pig ribs (costellata), braunebonen (red beans) soup and vegetable only cost Rp 15.000 (US$ 1.5) 
  • 1.304904124.8325212 Kobong Cafe, Jl. Raya Tomohon. 
  • 1.325047124.8384483 Kit Sang Restaurant, Jl. Raya Tomohon. 
  • 1.330249124.8391084 Restaurant Sineleyan, Jl. Raya Tomohon. 
  • Risoma Restaruant (Restoran Risoma), Jl. Raya Tomohon – Manado, Tinoor (On the way to Manado). 11AM – 9PM. The best Minahasan Cuisine. It locates out of town and unfortunately the restaurant is hard to achieve just by microlet service. The menu includes Pangi, Acar, Tinorangsak (pork cooked in Bambu), RW (dogmeat), Paniki (Fruit Bat meat), Braunebonen (Red bean soup), Sayor pait (bitter vegetable) and many more. Rp. 20.000 / Person. 
  • 1.38573124.8337815 Heng Mien Restaurant (Restoran Heng Mien), Jl. Raya Tomohon Manado, Tinoor (On the way to Manado). 10AM – 10PM. The famous Minahasan Cuisine Restaurant in town. Unfortunaley, this restaurant also locates out of town on the road to Manado. The menu are almost all the famous of the Minahasan cuisine such as RW, Paniki, Pangi, Sayor Pait, Acar, and so on. To get here, you can charter a mikrolet the fare starts from Rp. 75.000 per trip, or ask the hotel to arrange the Dinner here. Rp. 20.000 / Person. (updated Mar 2018)


Cap Tikus and Saguer are two kinds of famous drink in Tomohon. Cap Tikus is distilled beverage from Zap. While Saguer is the Zap harvested from palm tree. Saguer has several tastes that are sweet, sour, bitter, sweet and sour, sweet and bitter, bitter and sour, all the tastes comes out depend on the technique of the farmers harvesting the zap.

There is also a certain kind of drink called Sukur, made of red ginger cooked with traditionally made of brown sugar in a clay pot. This drink is very good for health. Often time used when somebody get cold or cough.

Where to stay in Tomohon

  • Gardenia Country Inn Tomohon. About 30 minutes from downtown Manado, this countryside inn has bungalows, chalets, and standard rooms. Rates start at $88 for a single bed in the chalet, including free breakfast, welcome drink, a fruit basket, mineral water, tea and coffee in your room, afternoon tea and coffee with traditional snacks, and free Wi-Fi. It has a garden with fishponds, tropical flowers and plants, along with unique birds and butterflies give it the feel of an environmental sanctuary. In another part of the garden, you will find different organic crops like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, tropical exotic fruits, and local herbs like basil, chilies, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and so on which is used by the kitchen there. 
  • 1.368756124.8335321 Highland Resort Tomohon (Highland Resort and Spa), Kinilow Jaga VI, ✉ Check-in: 12.00, check-out: 14.00. Right outside of town and a 400-meter walk from the main road. There are five types of rooms: Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Highland Suite and Highland Grand Suite. All have private bathrooms with hot and cold water showers. Other amenities that are provided for your comfort in all our rooms are satellite TVs and large, comfortable beds. Free Internet. Tour arrangement from highland tour to volcano trekking and whitewater rafting. From IDR 340,000. 
  • Mountain View Homestay, Jl. Raya Tomohon, Walian Tomohon Selatan (In front of Cool Supermarket). It locates fifteen minutes ride on a public Microlet from Terminal Beriman Tomohon, and in front of Cool Supermarket. The homestay or inn have hot and cold shower. Mobile contact +62 81340363553 Rp.100.000 – Rp.175.000. 
  • Onong Palace, Kinilow. A ten minute walk from the Highland Resort. The bungalows are spaced further apart from each other than the Highland Resort and are also quite new. 250,000 Rp. per night (updated Mar 2018)
  • Volcano Resort. Five minute ride on a public mikrolet from the Terminal, and a 5 minute walk off the main street. Or you can charter a mikrolet for about 15,000 Rp. Wooden bungalows with attached cold showers cost 200,000 Rp per night. Economy double rooms are 100,000Rp. Includes breakfast. 100,000-200,000. 
  • 1.3699124.83432 Mountain View Resort & Spa (Mountain View Resort & Resto), Jalan Kali-Kinilow, Lingkungan VI, Tomohon Utara 95362 (from Manado 30 minutes by car), ✉ Check-in: 13.00, check-out: 12.00. This mountain resort features 12 traditional bungalows: double and twin bed, bathroom with western toilet, hot water shower and terrace. Flat screen television, free WiFi and mineral water. Own Spa with several wellness treatments. The restaurant serves specialties from the Minahasa Highland as well as Indonesian, Chinese and western dishes. Try the home made Mountain View Grog. They offer an early bird breakfast if you have a morning flight to your next destination. The resort is run by German management and offers a wide range of tours into the area as well as rafting and kayaking trips, caving, volcano trekking, waterfall tours, horseback riding, mountain biking, birding, cooking classes. .. From Rp. 375.000. (updated Mar 2015)

Go next

There are daily flight from Manado to several cities in Indonesia, and several days a week of Silk Air from Singapore. And Tomohon is only 33 km from the Sam Ratulangi International Airport, if you need a flight 1.5 hour from the check in time is the best time to go.

  • Manado
  • Terminal Malalayang to go to Gorontalo, Palu, Poso, Makassar. Manado harbor to Bunaken, Siladen, Sangihe, Talaud.
  • Sam Ratulangi International Airport to Jakarta, Bali, Makassar, Singapore, Balikpapan, Raja Ampat, Ternate
  • Bitung Via Tondano or Manado and to Bitung Harbor and Lembeh Island
  • Bitung Harbo for travel by ship to Eastern Indonesia such as Maluku and Papua, also to Central Sulawesi and South East Sulawesi
  • Tangkoko National Park
  • Pulisan


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Pontianak | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, and bisected by the Equator. The city is mostly populated by ethnic Chinese, Dayaks and Malays, as well as significant numbers of minorities such as Bugis and Javanese. Understand History of Pontianak The word pontianak — probably from bunting […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, and bisected by the Equator. The city is mostly populated by ethnic Chinese, Dayaks and Malays, as well as significant numbers of minorities such as Bugis and Javanese.


History of Pontianak

The word pontianak — probably from bunting anak, “pregnant with child” — means the undead vampire of a woman who died while during childbirth. Disguised as a beautiful woman, the pontianak goes around murdering unwary men, harming pregnant woman and eating babies, but they can be controlled by plunging a nail into a hole in the back of their neck.

According to legend, when Abdurrahman Alqadrie’s group arrived in the uninhabited area of Pontianak, it was haunted by pontianaks/kuntilanaks, which deterred many of his companions by their scary voices at night. To sweep these ghosts away, Alqadrie ordered his men to fire their cannons to the forest which was believed to be their base. Afterwards, no more pontianak’s voice was ever heard.

In 1771, Abdurrahman Alqadrie cut down the forest which was at the crossing between Kapuas and Landak river, then settled there. He was awarded the title Sultan. Under his leadership, he succeeded in attracting many traders, most of them ethnic Malays, and some Dayaks from the upstream parts of the Kapuas River.

Following the civil war and widespread poverty in China at the end of the 19th century, many Chinese migrated to Indonesia, and some settled in Pontianak due to its strategic location for trading. This later added Chinese culture to the history of Pontianak. Chinese in Pontianak are mainly of Teochew, Hakka, and Cantonese descent.

In the early part of the 19th century, the Dutch occupied Pontianak and the rest of West Kalimantan’s cities as part of its colonial campaign. Pontianak was occupied to become a trading post in order to gain rich natural resources, mainly rubber and wood, from upstream Kapuas River. Resistance by both ethnic Malays and Dayaks continued sporadically and this forced the Dutch colonial armed forces to frequently request reinforcements from Batavia/Jakarta.

Dutch occupation ended in 1941 during World War II when Japanese Imperial forces overran Dutch bases from the north. These bases were not able to deploy sufficient numbers of soldiers in order to defend the strategic island of Java. During the Japanese occupation, tens of thousands of civilians and intellectuals were massacred, mainly those who refused to recognise the emperor of Japan.

When the Japanese retreated, the Dutch under the Allied Forces umbrella re-entered West Kalimantan. Their colonial government over Pontianak ended a few years later after a series of diplomatic missions and local resistance which also freed the other Indonesian territories at the same time.


You may find that Pontianakians of each ethnicity tend to live homogeneously. For example, areas along Jalan Gajahmada are overwhelmingly Chinese whereas Sungai Jawi in the suburb are settled mostly by ethnic Malays. Intermarriage is not common, especially between ethnic Chinese and the indigenous people (Dayaks, Malays, Javanese, Madurese, etc.) But that’s not to say these people like to fight against each other. Visit a restaurant somewhere in the middle of Pontianak and you might find both Chinese and Dayaks chatting hilariously with each other.

The locals of Pontianakians are mostly easygoing, at least compared to those of other metropolitan cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya. Their tone of speaking may not as soft as the Jogjanese, but if you try to blend yourself with them you will almost definitely be reciprocated.

Get in

By bus

Bus trip to Pontianak can be arranged from Kuching in neighboring Malaysia. A trip from Kuching to Pontianak or vice versa will last at least 8 hours which will pass the border area of Entikong. Some of the bus providers serving this route are Damri, SJS and Biaramas Express ( The fares for the trip ranges from RM45 to RM75. Click Pontianak to Kuching for travel itinerary on this route. A bus trip to Brunei is also available. There is also a bus available from Pangkalan Bun. It takes around 14 hours and costs ~450,000 (2018/01).

By plane

  • x-0.150556109.4038891 Supadio Airport. There are very frequent flights from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport operated by all major Indonesian airlines. In addition, there are flights from many other major Indonesian cities, including Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Batam, and the larger cities of Kalimantan such as Balikpapan and Banjarmasin. XpressAir operates international flights to Kuching, and AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur.

To get to or from the airport, DAMRI runs hourly bus service to the city centre for IDR35,000. The easiest spot to catch the bus in the city is at the DAMRI office at Jl. Pahlawan 232, Pontianak (phone +62 561 744859). For taxis, coupons at a fixed price of Rp70,000 are sold.

There are Damri Bus from Supadio Airport to Singkawang and Sambas for Rp 100,000/person.

By boat

While being the cheapest inter-island transportation mean, it is recommended only for travellers to board on a ship to Pontianak. Tourists would do better to fly instead. The tide in Java Sea is unstable, which may make you feel sick on board, if you are not used to high tide. A trip will spend 12-18 hours to/from Jakarta. Contact nearest travel agent to conduct your trip.

By car

Pontianak can be reached by car from Kuching in 6-8 hours, although the road is not in very good shape. See Pontianak to Kuching for a detailed itinerary.

Get around

The most convenient way to explore Pontianak is either by taxi or rented car. The entire Pontianak is integrated by road link, parts of which are not well maintained. There are also plenty of cheap (Rp2,000) public buses but sometimes it can be kind of adventure to use them since the buses are not well marked, drivers and most of the locals do not speak English and the orientation is difficult. Also there are boats crossing the river and this is in general the most convenient and the cheapest (Rp1,000) way to get in to the other side.


  • Kebun Binatang Pontianak (Pontianak Zoo), Jl. Adi Sucipto, a reconditioned zoo with a reasonable variety of animals from the jungles of Borneo and from some parts of Indonesia. Some of the collection, including some orangutans, were said to had been freed from illegal ownership by an Italian lumber mill owner.
  • Tugu Khatulistiwa (Equatorial Obelisk), built directly under the 0 degrees equator line. It is 11 km from the city centre and is comparably easily and quickly reachable by public buses (Rp2,000). There you can learn lots of interesting facts about the equator and to see how unique is Pontianak, one of the few cities in the world situated exactly on the equator line. There are friendly English-speaking staff and a sоuvenir shop, actually maybe the only one in Pontianak.


  • Sungai Kapuas (Kapuas River) divides Pontianak into two different sides. Get a boat ride along the river about five or six o’clock local time and you will see amazing views along this river. The locals who live along this river taking a bath in this river during these hours throughout the year. A unique tradition that should not be missed.
  • During the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, there is a Meriam Karbit festival that is well worth visiting.


Equatorial souvenirs from the Equatorial Obelisk sоuvenir shop, as well as, cheap textile and many craftwork items as everywhere in Indonesia.


Pontianak is quite popular among domestic tourists due to its wide range of food with strong cultural touch, most notably the Chinese. There are plenty of eating options for the culinary adventurers, from street hawker food to local restaurant culinary to internationally franchised fast food.

  • Street hawker food, where you can taste the local delicacy such as Beef Rice Noodle & Beehoon (fried, with soup, dried), Seafood Noodle (with soup & dried), Nasi Goreng (fried rice with chicken, beef), Nasi Uduk, Kwe Kia Theng (Teochew phrase, rice noodle in soya sauce soup with pork and intestines (optional), Bakso (fish or beef ball soup), Sate (chicken or beef satay), Kari Peng (Teochew phrase meaning curry rice), Koi Peng (Teochew phrase literary “chicken rice”, but content also include pork, cucumber, etc. also known as “Nasi Campur” or mixed rice), Martabak, Kue Terang Bulan, Otak-otak, Pempek, Tui Jiu He (Teochew phrase literary “beaten cuttlefish”, dried cuttlefish are beaten until tender and flossy, woodfired until cooked, then served with belacan sauce, best to have it with friends and beer), Sio Bi (also known as Siomay, made of pork served in soya sauce with the options of chilli and mustard), Siomay Bandung (fish cake, beancurd, potato, vegetable, egg served in peanut sauce, with the option of chilli and tomato), He Mue/Bubur Ikan (fish porridge), and many more. These street hawkers are usually found from dusk until 10PM – midnight, depending or business, but some operated from dawn to dusk or midnight. They are usually clustered around busy commercial streets such as the CBD: Jalan (Jl.) Gajahmada, Jl. Hijas, Jl. Setia Budi, Jl. Agus Salim, Jl. Diponegoro, Jl. Patimura, Jl. Nusa Indah 1, Jl. Tanjung Pura, Jl Siam or around the suburban such as Jawi (Jl. Merdeka, Jl. Hassanudin, Jl. Wahid Hasyim), Kotabaru (Jl. St. Abdurrahman), Purnama, Siantan, Sungai Raya Dalam and Sungai Raya. Price per meal ranging from Rp5000 to about Rp25,000.
  • Satria Wangi Dining, Jl. Nusa Indah II No. 62. They have great local menu at very affordable price and average-English-speaking staff. The restaurant is centrally located. Its signature dishes such Ikan Gurame Terbang, Gulai Kepala Ikan, Ikan Jelawat Kukus, and have been featured and reviewed by many national TVs cooking show. 
  • Restoran Star, Jl. GajahMada. Pontianak cuisine 
  • Restoran Gajahmada, Jl. Gajahmada. Pontianak cuisine 
  • Restoran Hawaii, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. Pontianak cuisine 
  • Dangau, Jl. Arteri Supadio. Malay cuisine 
  • Italian Steak House, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. 
  • Sari Bento at Museum, Jl. Ahmad Yani. Japanese food 
  • Papyrus Restaurant at Gardenia Resort and Spa, Jl. A Yani (5 minutes from the airport). offers all-day dining with a selection of Asian, Western, and authentic Indonesian favourites. At open deck area, you can enjoy the views of the landscaped gardens while enjoying the chef’s specialities. 


Nearly all Pontians, regardless of their ethnicities, speak Bahasa Indonesia, albeit it is slightly mixed with Malay accent close to that of neighbouring Malaysia. Most ethnic Chinese people at the southern bank of Kapuas river speak Teochew, and those at the northern bank speak mostly Hakka (called Khek by locals). Mandarin is spoken mostly by those aged 30 years old or above, but don’t be surprised if they mix it with Hakka or Teochew dialect as it is not very commonly spoken in town. English is mostly spoken by also the young locals, but is usually not mastered beyond some basic knowledge despite many English courses, so it would be wise to know some phrases of Bahasa Indonesia. Hiring an English-speaking guide could smooth your travel a lot.

Stay safe in Pontianak

Pickpockets and motorcycle thefts are quite common in town. Exercise necessary caution even when being in a shopping mall. Be careful when travelling in a public bus (called oplet) as somebody could threaten you with a knife to hand over your valuables. (This safety note is from March 2009 and might be outdated)


Where to stay in Pontianak

If you arrive by Pelni ferry late at night then it’s better option to sleep aboard until morning as there is usually a long layover at Pontianak.


  • Hotel Wisma Patri, Pontianak. No air, no fan, no window and fairly mosquito-ridden with no insect spray available. Rp70,000. 
  • -0.0359109.334191 Ateng Guest House, Jl. Gajah Mada No. 201, Pontianak. Located in the centre of the city. All rooms are air conditioned and fairly clean. Breakfast included. Published rate is Rp130,000 single but compare price with Agoda. Travel agent is at the same location. Rp120,000 single. (updated Oct 2016)


  • Hotel Sentral, Jl H.O.S. Cokroaminoto no 232 (Ten minutes walk from drop off point for most Kuching buses, turn right at traffic light.). Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Faded rooms. Staff friendly enough. All have AC and attached bathrooms. On a busy junction between two streets so window rooms will be slightly noisy, (but non window rooms are a bit musty). Travellers have reported overpricing and demands for security deposit from the staff here From Rp160,000. 


  • Gardenia Resort and Spa, Jl. A Yani II. 
  • Hotel Sentral, Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto 232. Commercial Hotel 
  • Hotel Gajahmada, Jl. Gajahmada. 
  • Hotel Grand Mahkota. 
  • Hotel Peony, Jl. Gajahmada. 
  • Hotel Kapuas Palace, Jl. Imam Bonjol. 
  • Hotel Kini, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. Double from Rp400,000. 
  • Hotel Mercure, Jl. A. Yani. 
  • Hotel Orchardz, Jl. Gajahmada. 
  • Hotel Santika, Jl. Diponegoro. National Chain Hotel 
  • Star Hotel, Jl. Gajah Mada 189. 

Telecommunications in Pontianak

Phone call

Most national GSM and CDMA operators have their signal towers spread throughout the entirety of Pontianak, meaning that there should not be too many problems communicating around the town and the tariffs are also reasonable, at least for tourists coming from the West. Shops selling SIM cards and their top-ups are also in abundance, even in the outskirts of town, just like in other cities in Indonesia. Fixed line phones are also available everywhere. There are also few phone stalls (Warung Telkom) offering you phone call with a reasonable fare.

Internet access

Internet cafe businesses are flourishing, but you’ll only find a few without distracting gamers like you might find in typical East Asian internet cafes. Don’t worry about the billing (that’s how the locals say). An hour of internet access will cost you Rp3,000-6,000. But don’t expect a speed-of-light one out of it, though. Many locals have internet access varying from snaily dial-up to ISDN (most notably Telkom Speedy) installed in their houses. GPRS and 3G access from your cellphone exists, but you will not necessarily find GPRS signal everywhere even in the middle of the city.

Consulates in Pontianak

  • Malaysia Malaysia Consulate, Jl. Sutan Syahrir No. 21.  

Go next

Pontianak is the gateway for travellers wishing to travel deeper inland. Singkawang, another one of the most Chinese-influenced town is reachable by taxi. Kuching, which lies in the Malaysian part of the island, offers some modernity you wouldn’t find in the Indonesian part.

If you want to explore the rest of Kalimantan there is a bus heading East to Pangkalan Bun which leaves the Interstate Bus Station at 07:00, costing around 450,000 Rupiah as of 2018/01. It is however a long journey, expect arrival in the late evening in Pangkalan Bun.



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Tentena | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak

Tentena is a town in Central Sulawesi. Understand Beach at Lake Poso, near Tentena. Tentena sits on the road between Ampana and Rantepao, on the northern shore of Lake Poso. The town itself could be easily overlooked if it were not for the number of guides and locals recommending it as a better option than […]

Wolfgang Holzem




Tentena is a town in Central Sulawesi.


Image of Destination Guide

Beach at Lake Poso, near Tentena.

Tentena sits on the road between Ampana and Rantepao, on the northern shore of Lake Poso. The town itself could be easily overlooked if it were not for the number of guides and locals recommending it as a better option than Poso for an overnight stop. The main street might be a little underwhelming, however the various warungs and homes build over the clear lake waters, and the surrounding rice fields give this charming little town a surpsising appeal. The community exists on two sides of the lake, connected by a busy concrete traffic bridge and a quieter, wooden foot bridge. The main side of the lake is the more commercial area, while the opposite site has a noticeably quieter and more homely feel.

Tentena is in North Pamona district in the regency of Poso, about 50 km south of regency capital Poso. The headquarters of the Central Sulawesi Christian Church are in Tentena.

Get in

The arrival point is the Bus Terminal – a simple drop-off point on the side of the road. From here its a 4km walk into the main areas of guesthouses and shops. A better option is to flag down a local Ojek (motorbike taxi) to take you and your luggage in for IDR 5,000.

If you are arriving from Rantepao, ‘tourist guides’ will be on hand to suggest accommodation options. They are likely to charge you double the normal rate for an ojek (motorbike taxi) ride; however the late arrival of the bus from Rantepao (anywhere between 8pm and 11pm depending on road conditions) IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000 (as of Sep 2018).

Get around

  • Ojeks (motorbikes) can take you to most local spots for around IDR 5,000
  • Bemos (a minivan, Kijang [old model Toyota SUV], or minibus] can bring you around.


  • Poso Lake: The major tourist attraction within Tentena, which has beautiful clear water, adjacent warungs (and some home-stays under construction) and a peaceful vibe. 2 parallel bridges exist to bring you back and forth. Its worth exploring the opposite side of the lake for guesthouses, homestays, and warungs (kiosk / eatery).
  • Pamona Cave: Near the city center, on the West side, near the new bridge, off to a small road. You would need to squat down and crawl through. Remember to bring mosquito repellent.
  • Saluopa Waterfall: By all accounts the Saluopa Waterfall -while a little tough to reach, about 12km- is one of the best available; notable for the lack of other tourists and businesses. There are approximately 10 drops, each of which you can bathe in. A nice relief from the heat of Sulawesi, and worth if considering if you have time.
  • Lore Lindu National Park: Easier to be accessed from Poso, but it is possible to arranged a trip from Victory Hotel for IDR 2,000,000 (as of Sep 2018)


Try ‘Sigoli’, a freshwater eel from Lake Poso.

Where to stay in Tentena

  • Victory Hotel a bit old, but has good, clean rooms in both budget (IDR 150,000 per person) and Deluxe (IDR 250,000 with TV and hot shower). All prices include breakfast. A good option for a single night. The hotel is excellent at booking trips and transportation for you (Email:
  • Tropicana
  • Online Rock Cafe (under construction)

If you’re in town for a few nights, the opposite side (West side) is worth exploring for the peaceful atmosphere (away from the traffic and ‘bussle’) superior views of the lake and nearby farmlands, and good range of warungs (kiosk / eatery).

Telecommunications in Tentena

Go next

All connections in Tentena are made from the Bus Terminal, 4km out of town. Ojeks (motorbike taxi) are easily chartered to take you and your luggage to the Terminal for Rp 5,000.

To Rantepao: Bus connection (10-12 hours, Rp 170,000) (as of Sep 2018).

To Ampana: You need to take Ojeks (motorbike taxi) or Bemos to Tentena Bus Terminal to Poso (2 hours, IDR 40,000), and then transfer to Bus to Ampana (a further 4 hours from Poso, IDR 70,000) or another Bemos (IDR 80,000 – IDR 100,000) (as of Sep 2018). Taxis and private vehicles will hover by the Poso Bus station trying to convince you that the Bus is not available. Predictably, once it is apparent you intend to wait for the bus, the price of Taxis and Private vehicles will become more competitive (sometimes the same price as a bus seat). Private care can be arranged for IDR 800,000 – IDR 1,200,000 (as of Sep 2018).



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