Indonesia, a rustic of thousands of beautiful and exotic Islands, that spark off your imagination with thoughts of fine sandy beaches, huge temple complexes, great diving and also the giant dragons of
Komodo. The islands of Indonesia are spread on the vast expanse of ocean and from a technical perspective is split by two Continents.
Certain parts of the nation is often as not the same as each other as black comes from white. The hubbub of the modern capital Jakarta is much like another planet in comparison to the traditional Papuan tribes from the Baliem Valley.
Jakarta - Not only is it the biggest City in the Country, Jakarta is also the heartbeat. Indonesian's from all within the archipelago come to the City to find their fortune or just to survive. The face area from the City is continually changing because of the construction of new skyscrapers, shopping malls and hotels.
Jakarta is principally a business and political City and never really a tourist destination, however the older colonial areas of the City are very intriguing and the museums possess a lot of fascinating exhibits.
Jakarta, like you would expect, is easily the most expensive place in Indonesia, as well as the most polluted and many congested. It can be very difficult to cope with all of the hustle, dirt, crime and cost, but when you are able to you will find a thrilling City with plenty to provide.
Kota - This is the old Town of Batavia, that was the main city from the Dutch East Indies and the best example of the colonial era in Indonesia. Though much of the old town has been destroyed or demolished through the years, some of the old Colonial buildings continue to be in active use, and the area includes a definite Dutch feel to it.
The centre of the old Town is the pebble stone square known as Taman Fatahillah which is the key to having the ability to orientate yourself around the sights of the old Town. The canal of Kali Besar is one block towards the west of the square and runs alongside the Ciliwung River. This was a very prosperous area as well as on the west bank are some of the high class homes that date in the eighteenth Century.
The Chicken market bridge may be the last remaining drawbridge in the Dutch era, it is in the north end of the Kali Besar. Buses always come across on their routes and also the city train also has a stop here.
Jakarta History Museum - This museum is housed in the old town hall of Batavia, that is on the south side of Taman Fatahillah. It's a well built building, that was originally constructed in 1627 and put into in early 1700's. It was from here that the Dutch administered their colony, and also the cities law courts were also because well as their main prison compound.
It contains plenty of heavy, carved furniture in the colonial, along with other memorabilia from the Dutch period. Open, 9am till 3pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission: 1,000Rp
Wayang Museum - This museum can also be on the Taman Fatahillah, and it has an excellent assortment of
Wayang puppets. Additionally, it has types of puppets using their company Countries like Cambodia, India and china.
This building was formerly the museum of old Batavia and was built in 1912 on the site of the former Dutch church that was demolished in 1808 as the Dutchman 'Daendel's' plan to rid the Town of its unhealthy areas. Within the downstairs courtyard, there are memorials to previous governors who have been buried on site. Open, 9am till 3pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission: 1,000Rp
Fine Arts Museum - Built in the 1860's, the palace of Justice building has become the Fine arts museum. It has a nice collection of contemporary paintings from prominent artists. They likewise have some ceramics on show from Chinese items to Majapahit offerings. Open, 9am till 3pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission: 1,000Rp
Gereja Sion - This church was built in 1695, and it is the oldest Church in Jakarta. It's on Jl Pangeran Jayakarta near the Kota stop. The exterior of the Church is actually pretty plain but inside copper chandeliers, the initial organ and the baroque pulpit makes it very appealing. Though lots of people have been buried here you will find very few tombs left remaining.
Sunda Kelapa - Just a 10 minute walk in the Taman Fatahillah, the old City port of Sunda Kelapa is filled with wonderful Macassar schooners and the brightly coloured sails of those boats alllow for great viewing. The ships are still an important means of transporting goods to outlying Islands.
Guides hold off the docks as well as for a few thousand rupiah will show you around and let you know some insightful stories. You can also have a ride out to the offshore fish marketplace for around 5,000Rp.
Admission, 250Rp to the dock area.
Maritime Museum - It is really an old VOC warehouse that was built-in 1645 and is by the entrance
to the Sunda Kelapa. It has types of Indonesian crafts from round the ages and it has photos from the voyages from Europe to Jakarta. Your building itself is worth the visit and also the lookout posts are part of the old City wall.
Just before the entrance towards the museum proper, may be the old watchtower which was built-in 1839, it has brilliant views within the harbour. Opening hours are hit and miss, so try to find the caretaker.
National Museum - This museum, constructed in 1862, is the paramount museum in
Indonesia, and something of the finest in East Asia. It features a huge ethnic and relief maps of Indonesia on which you can track your travels. The museum includes a number of different cultural displays that show a diverse assortment of clothing, instruments, model houses and religious items. In addition the museum has a fine assortment of Chinese ceramics that even date back towards the Han dynasty of the third Century.
The museum may also be known as the Elephant house because of the giant bronze elephant which was a present from the King of Thailand, which now stands outside. Open, 8.30am till 2.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Admission: 750Rp. Guides are around who are able to conduct tours in various different languages.
National Monument - This 130 metres high monument stands over Merdeka square and is Jakarta's chief landmark. The construction was started in 1961 but wasn't finished until 1975, when it was officially opened by President Soeharto. At the base is the National History Museum which tells the storyline from the Indonesian struggle for independence. On national holidays and at the weekends the queues can be long. Open, 9am till 5pm, daily. Admission: 600Rp or 3,100Rp with a ride to the top.
Lapangan Banteng - Just east of Merdeka square is this nineteenth century colonial square. It's some of the best examples of Dutch colonial architecture within the whole of Jakarta. The Catholic Cathedral was built in the turn from the last century, and it is opposite the main host to worship for Jakarta's Muslim community, the Istiqlal Mosque. To the east from the square may be the Supreme Court which was built, combined with the Secretary of state for finance, in 1809 by that man 'Daendel' to exchange those buildings torn down.