Visitors to Jakarta often have a very short check-list of ‘must see’ attractions – the museums, the national monument, the old town, the old port, the big mosque. All of which can be done in a day. So what else can you do? The answer is really this – anything you want. Almost everything is possible and available in Jakarta, it’s just a question of knowing about it, and knowing where it is.
So, we decided to compile a small list of slightly more unusual activities and things to do in and around the city. Enjoy!
See the Best Dump Ever
Located south-east of the city in Bekasi, it takes about an hour to reach the Kingdom of BGBJ. In the middle of Bantar Gebang – South-East Asia’s biggest landfill – a band of volunteers guided by Queen Resa have built a community hub for the children of the thousands of families who live in and make a living from the dump. You can help by teaching and hanging out with the kids on Sunday Funday, or help build the playground, workshop and classroom on other days. Cooking classes are also available, and you can get creative and turn a broken palette into something wonderful. Overnight stays are possible in the 4-bed pod dormitory built by Six Degrees.
As with many of the activities on this page, weekends are usually busy and best avoided. There’s speedy Karting in Pancoran (closest to Six Degrees, but the track is quite small) and a bigger centre with faster karts at PIK (Pantai Indah Kapuk) in the North of the city. It’s great fun but, depending on how hard you drive and how many crashes you have you can be quite sore the following day!
Go to a Water Park
Water Bom in Pantai Indah Kapuk (PIK) is probably the best of the several waterparks in Jakarta, which also include those in Pondok Indah (South Jakarta) and Ancol (North Jakarta). Entry usually costs around 150,000 but special offers and group discounts sometimes apply. There are several good slides and places to relax in gardens, but all of them get crowded at the weekend. HERE is their website.
Experience ‘Fantasy World’ (DUFAN) Theme Park
Jakarta’s main theme park consists of several average rollercoasters and other rides of varying levels of white-knuckledness. It’s fun on a weekday when you don’t have to queue for anything (check it’s not a public or school holiday). Dufan is located in the Ancol complex, along with a waterpark, a ‘beach’, a waterskiing centre and plenty of restaurants. Admission fees apply both to the Ancol complex and the theme park. If you’re up there check out ‘Bandar Djakarta’ seafood restaurant – it’s famous and deservedly so. To get to Ancol, take a train to Kota then a taxi, or a taxi/Uber all the way.
Catch a Movie at VIP Cinemas
There are plenty of good cinemas in Jakarta playing the very latest English-language moves. The two main cinema groups are 21cineplex.com and cgv.id . The closest cinema to Six Degrees is 21 TIM, a 2-minute walk up the road. However some ‘premiere’ cinemas now have VIP seats featuring electric lazy boys and beds, blankets and food delivered to your seat. It’s a really great way to watch a movie, usually for around Rp100,000. The closest VIP cinemas to Six Degrees are 21 Premiere Metropole (walking distance) and CGV in Grand Indonesia Mall (15 mins in a cab). CGV also has a ‘4DX’ cinema in which chairs move around and spray you with water.
Pamper Yourself with a Spa Day
There are hundreds of day spas for both men and women in Jakarta. Prices and services vary greatly but generally if you are up for a day of pampering and massage, or lounging in saunas and jacuzzis, then Jakarta has plenty to offer. Check google reviews or ask staff at Six Degrees for their recommendations based on your budget. There are several simple massage places within walking distance of Six Degrees, too.
Switch Tinder on!
Seriously. It might sound a bit odd on this list, but it’s a great way to not only meet people, but also to get out and about around different parts of the city, with a free guide. Tinder is very popular among Jakartans.
Hang out in Pool Halls
Pool (‘Billiar’) is a very popular game in Indonesia, usually played on larger US-style pool tables. There are plenty of great pool halls around the city, and usually a table or three in many of the bars. Not a bad place to meet the locals, and also test your skills on the tables. We have a table at Six Degrees, but if you’re out and about check out some of the cheaper places dotted around, or classier places such as ‘After Hour’ in Sarinah department store.
Have a Swim
Cikini swimming pool is a 2-minute walk from Six Degrees and costs Rp40,000 to get in (50,000 at the weekend). If you go in off-peak hours you’ll get an Olympic-size swimming pool almost all to yourself.
Go Wall Climbing
Our friend Panji runs a climbing wall behind Plaza Festival in Kuningan. Go down on Saturday or Sunday morning for climb. He also arranges rock-climbing trips out of town every now and again. It’s only 10 minutes away in a taxi or Uber.
Mall Day (or pub day if shopping ain’t your thing)
Jakartans love their malls. It’s not just about shopping either – most malls have lots of great food options, and entertainment like cinemas and amusement arcades. One (Taman Anggrek) has an ice rink. Closest to Six Degrees are Grand Indonesia (huge) and Plaza Indonesia (fancy). The malls also have bar/lounges, and are a good place for daytime drinking and people watching! If you’re at Grand Indonesia, consider a sunset drink at Skye – on top of a skyscraper located next to the mall (menara BCA), and with unparalleled views of the city.
Get Sozzled at Happy Hours and Ladies’ Nights
Most bars within easy reach of Six Degrees have daily happy hours, and many have ladies’ nights during the week (often Wednesday or Thursday) at which girls get free or heavily discounted drinks. Ask at Six Degrees for the latest updates on when and where to go for these. Camden pub up the road from Six Degrees has a ladies night, while Aphrodite, Cazbar and Liquid Exchange in Kuningan also have daily happy hours. Face Bar near the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout has afternoon happy hours on cocktails attracting the after-office crowd, and lethal, cheap jugs of Margaritas and mojitos.
Enjoy Car Free Day
Every Sunday morning two of the biggest roads (Thamrin and Sudirman) in the capital are closed to cars and motobikes and lots of people gather to walk, run and cycle through the business district. It’s a fun atmosphere and a good place to meet the locals. You can get there from Six Degrees by taxi in 10 minutes, but why bother when you can walk through the wealthy, leafy suburb of Menteng in about 25 minutes.
Catch a Train to Bogor – Gardens and Waterfall walk with monkeys
Bogor is an easy hour-and-a-bit train ride from Cikini Station. It’s a very densely populated , not-so-charming town south of Jakarta but does enjoy cooler temperatures than the city and features the 200 year old botanical gardens which are a lovely place for a stroll. There are several nice waterfall walks which are short bus rides from the centre of Bogor – check out trip advisor for reviews and directions or click HERE for a decent summary. Be prepared for some close encounters with macaques! Six Degrees reception staff have been there, and they’re happy to advise you.
Jump on a Free bus Tour
Hop on the free city tour bus which runs from 9am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday, and 12pm to 7pm on Sundays (because some roads are closed for car free day). There are 9 stops around central Jakarta taking in many of the sights, and there’s a tour guide on the bus. The bus stop sign is marked “city tour” and the closest place to Six Degrees to jump aboard is at the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout (Bundaran HI)
Catch a Gig, or a Fight
Many international acts stop in Jakarta on their global tours and Jakarta has a lively home-grown music scene. Whatever music you’re into it’s worth checking out what’s on while you’re in town. Many pubs in the area also have live bands on a few times a week, and every year Java Jazz and Djakarta Warehouse Project festivals attract acts and party people from all over the world. There are also sometimes MMA fights (OneFC) and boxing too.
Try Weird & Wonderful Eats
One of the best things about being in Jakarta is its restaurants, and Cikini is a great place to start. Restaurants do come and go so check tripadvisor or ask at reception for recommendations. Around the city there are options for every taste and budget, from street food to fine-dining. And for the more adventurous there are even things like a snake restaurant in Glodok. Don’t miss a ‘Padang’ restaurant while you’re in town. There are hundreds of them, easily identified by a peaked roof above the door and lots of plates of food stacked precariously in the window. They bring literally all the food to your table and you pay for what you eat. This writer counts Beef Rendang as one of the primary reasons for falling in love with the city!
Visit a Skate Park
The awesome former governor turned a seedy red light district in Kalidojo, North Jakarta into a great skate park He’s now in jail, but that’s a different story.
Experience Sunday Brunching
A Jakarta expat institution. Sunday brunching in 5-star hotels is fantastic if you’ve got a bit of money spare. For upwards of $50 you can enjoy top-notch all-you-can-eat buffet with free-flow wine for around 4 hours, usually starting at 11am. The best (and dearest) are probably at Shangri-la, Ritz-Carlton and Hotel Mulia. Treat yourself!
Bounce at ‘Amped’ Trampoline Park
Located in Kelapa Gading in the north of the city, Amped is a big new complex featuring lots of trampolines, parkour areas, foam pits and the like. Obviously it’s best to go when kids are all at school. Here’s their website.
Get Fired at Senayan Gun Range
‘Lapangan tembak Senayan’ is not cheap, but if you have a desire to fire off a revolver or rifle in safe, controlled surroundings, check it out. There’s also a very famous Bakso (meatball soup) restaurant on the doorstep.
Whack some Balls at Golf Courses & Driving Ranges
There are several very exclusive, world-class golf courses around the city, but prices are steep. If you can’t go another day without hitting a golf ball check out one of the several driving ranges around the city. Prices are reasonable, cold beers are available, and trainers are often floating around giving people tips.
The more you get out and about in Jakarta, the more you’ll get to know the cIty, and grow to love it. It’s no more dangerous than any other capital city, so don’t afraid to just get lost. Jump on a bus or train to somewhere random, or go for a walk from the hostel with no particular destination. You’ll find most people are extremely friendly and welcoming, and you’ll encounter some of the thousands of different food options everywhere you go. It’s worth bearing in mind that Jakarta has some of the worst traffic in the world – check out our article on how to avoid it!