It takes a special type of tourist to enjoy Jakarta as the ever present noise and pollution from the incessant traffic, the constant heat and humidity, and the millions of darting people is a bit off-putting to many first-timers. But give it time and exploration and the place grows on you.
There are many intriguing districts to duck into, away from the noise and traffic, where you can take in the colonial past through ancient buildings and museums. South Jakarta in particular is lots of fun. There are glitzy air-conditioned malls, swanky eateries, large hotels and some excellent markets here, while West Jakarta is best known for its museums and parks.
You can also head into the Bay of Jakarta, beyond North Jakarta District, and take to cruising around the beautiful Thousand Islands region, or stick to land and have fun at the bustling Ancol Marina or the old port of Sunda Kelapa. In among all this is Central Jakarta, which is also home to many highlights and can be gotten about on foot or by monorail, bus or taxi.
Jakarta Pusat is where most of the tourist action is, with monuments, skyscrapers, wide boulevards, huge shopping malls and star-rated hotels. It is home to the Presidential Palace and the National Monument, along with the fancy residential shopping and dining area of Mentang.
Jakarta Selatan is a boon for tourists with its swanky shopping malls, top-end department stores, quality restaurants and hotels, buzzing nightlife and a general air of affluence. The Blok M mall and Senayan sports complex both reside here.
Jakarta Barat is where Jakarta's Chinatown is at and is a bit more laid-back than the center and south. There is plenty of shopping, eating and nightlife here, but also many museums and galleries as well Jakarta's old town.
Jakarta Timur is the least tourist-friendly part of Jakarta, being heavily built up, residential, industrial and strewn with rail tracks. However, it also has some nice areas and attractions, such as the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah culture park and the backpacker street of Jalan Jaksa.
Jakarta Utara goes right the way north toward the Bay of Jakarta, where the stunning Thousand Islands region is located. There are good shopping and entertainment options at the shore as well as many hotels and options for water sports. Find more information about Jakarta and hotels in the area: Jakarta hotels
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