Jakarta, with its traffic-plagued streets, high-rise buildings and persistent blanket of smog, may at first seem like a not-so interesting destination that can easily confuse and confound Pinoy travelers. But beneath its unappealing façade and rough surface, you will find a diverse and multicultural megalopolis filled with unexpectedly delightful corners, colorful attractions as well as remarkably positive and good-natured citizens.
And, with a little travel planning and help from Skyscanner, you can surely have a blast and a hassle-free memorable trip in Indonesia’s thriving capital.
Why visit Jakarta?
Jakarta isn’t normally the first place that pops into mind, when Pinoys imagine of travel destinations in Indonesia. Hardly a relaxing and scenic vacation spot, the economic dynamo of Indonesia boasts no palm-lined avenues and gorgeous beaches, in spite of its coastal and sub-equatorial profile. Not to mention, it is a humid, populous and immense urban sprawl known for its maddening traffic.
But, the “Big Durian” has a plethora of rewarding experiences and spellbinding diversions that compensate for its flaws, should the more adventurous Pinoy travelers accept its challenges, sensations and sights. While it’s no oil painting, the city has tons of hipster markets and a fascinating colonial history that’s totally worth exploring. What’s more, it has a flourishing culinary scene, and an electric world-class nightlife circuit, making Jakarta one of the most dynamic cities in Southeast Asia.
A colorful mixture of customs, dialects and cultures, Jakarta is also praised for its ultra accommodating and hospitable locals. As a matter of fact, the citizens here are so friendly that you are bound to create lasting friendships.
Documents needed to travel to Jakarta
You don’t need to go through the hassles of securing a visa, to set foot on this buzzing and colorful Indonesian hub. After all, any Juan with a Philippine passport that’s valid for 6 months following the departure date will be granted visa on arrival in Indonesia.
Keep in mind, though, this kind of visa is valid only for 30 days and is applicable to social visits, leisure, government visits as well as for people who are attending conferences, seminars and convention. Furthermore, it’s nonconvertible, non-extendable and can’t be used for employment purposes.
Though you can enter Jakarta without a visa, you still need to present a few supporting travel documents, and go through an interview at the immigration counter. For those who are traveling overseas for the first time, it may take a while for you to get through the immigration officer, meaning you should prepare your documents beforehand and check-in early. For the most part, these are the documents that the immigration officer from a Philippine airport will ask from you.
- PRC ID (if you have one)
- Proof of employment/business certificate
- A Philippine passport (valid at least 6 months following your departure date)
- Credit card (if you have one)
- A confirmed travel itinerary
- Back-and-forth tickets
- Proof of accommodations
- Show money (at least 13,000 PHP for a 4-day trip)
How to get to Jakarta
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific offer daily flights from Manila to Soekarno Hatta International Airport – Jakarta’s main international gateway. Travel duration from Manila to Jakarta is about 4 hours. Likewise, Singapore Airlines has connecting flights to Jakarta with a layover in Singapore. Travel time for this route is around 6 hours and 40 minutes.
Upon your arrival at the airport, you may get to the city center via DAMRI shuttle buses, which connect international passengers to numerous destinations in Jakarta. Depending on the type of seat and location of your drop off, a ticket person for this bus ride will cost you 25,000 to 35,000 IDR (91 to 250 PHP). The bus service is air-conditioned, comfortable, reliable, and operates until midnight.
To get tickets for this bus ride, head to the left after going out of the Terminal 2 building, until you see DAMRI bus stops and ticket booths.
When to go and visit Jakarta
Jakarta, with its tropical climate, is a good year-round destination, though floods can affect the city during the wet season. The dry season, which starts from May and ends in September, is arguably the best time to visit Jakarta. With a friendly low average temperature of 30°C (86°F), you can easily tour the city without having to worry about getting wet on the dry months. But, make no mistake about it – visiting Jakarta during the wet season can be quite a pleasant experience as well, once you get used to the frequent rains.
Important Bahasa words and phrases
Since English is not widely spoken in the archipelago, it’s essential for you to learn a bit of Bahasa Indonesia, when visiting Jakarta. Here are a few words and phrases in Bahasa that may come in handy in your trip!
- Selamat dating – welcome
- Apa kabar – how are you?
- Di mana? – where?
- Ya – yes
- Tidak – no
- Makasi/ Terima kasih – Thank you
- Maaf – sorry
- Masuk – enter/entrance
- Berapa?- how many/how much?
- Anda – you
- Saya – we/me/I
- Disini – here
- Boleh – possible/can
- Walking or biking – Sidewalks are not well-maintained and well-connected in Jakarta, so cycling and walking on its busy streets are not recommended.
- Car rental – With its perpetual gridlocked traffic jams, hiring a car, and driving through the city may not be such a good idea, especially if you’re on a rush, and short on time.
- Taxi – Taxis are, in general, reliable and affordable, as long as you use a reputable taxi company, like the Blue Bird group.
- Bajaj – It’s Jakarta’s version of Thailand’s famous tuk-tuk. They are a fairly popular option in Jakarta, as they can weave through the city’s interminable traffic jams, just like motorbikes do.
- Tour Bus – Nicknamed as “City Tour Jakarta”, these buses are double deckers that will take you to some of the city’s places of interest for free.
Other things to keep in mind
- Don’t drink tap water wherever you are in Jakarta.
- The local currency is Indonesian rupiah (IDR or Rp). For an updated IDR to PHP conversion, check out themoneyconverter.com/IDR/PHP.
- Jakarta is credit card friendly, with hotels, restaurants and shops mostly accepting Mastercard and Visa.
- Indonesians are generally laid-back, but there are customs and etiquette that you should be aware of, so that you won’t offend them. For instance, shoes should always be removed when entering mosques, temples and even some shops. Also, make sure your skirts and shoes cover the knees when in town, and avoid smooching in public with your partner.
- Electrical: 240 Volts, 50 Hertz
- Jakarta isn’t a dangerous place to roam around, but just like any modern city, there’s always an array of scammers out to prey on unsuspecting and naïve foreign tourists. Just be vigilant, use your common sense and you’ll get to dodge the city’s scams.
Things to do in Jakarta
- Explore the Ancol Dream Park.
- Get an up close look of the charming animals at the Ragunan Zoo.
- Discover the fascinating maritime history of Indonesia with a visit to Museum Bahari.
- Unwind at Taman Mini Indonesia.
- Visit the city’s other top museums, including the Wayang, Museum National, and National History Museum.
- Snap pictures of the city’s beautiful landmarks, such as the Gegung Pancasila, Toka Merah, Mahkama Agung, and the towering Monas monuments.
- Be wowed by the intricate designs of Jakarta’s Islamic mosques, Buddhist temples and the Cathedral.
- Experience the city’s renowned nightlife scene by visiting cool spots like the Blowfish, Stadium, Jalan Jaksa and Blok M.
- Sample Jakarta’s mouthwatering street food.