Top 10 fun things to do with kids in Jakarta
Take A Different Route For Your South-East Asia Trip. Here Are Ten Best things to do with Kids In Jakarta, Indonesia. South-East Asia, considered to be one of the most exotic places in the world, lies at the crossroads of major cultures and even trading routes. For centuries, the region has been dominated by the Indians and the Chinese, especially the former.
Even today, you can see Indianized names and concepts forming the underlying cultural basis in the region, Buddhism of which is the prime example. While there are nations that are Indianized such as Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Cambodia, there are others that are at least partially Sinicized.
Surprisingly, it’s not Buddhism or local religions that are followed by a majority of the people, but its Islam that dominates the religious scene of the region. Indonesia in these regards is a very special case since its underlying cultural ethos and material culture is thoroughly Hindu, but it follows Islam as its official religion.
If you read names of Indonesian establishments, you will know that they haven’t forgotten and abandoned their ancient Hindu heritage. The island of Bali can be considered as the last ‘Hindu stronghold’ in Indonesia.
Coming back to its capital Jakarta, it is a mix of the old and the new as any other major South-East Asian city. While the city has considerably boomed with the economic miracle, you can still see the remnants of the old Dutch colonial era.
Old Jakarta Town:
Also known as Kota Tua in Bahasa Indonesia, the old town is one such remnant of the bygone era. If you are especially interested in the old Dutch rule here, this can be an ideal starting point for you.
The buildings in this area were built in the classical Dutch colonial architecture, a style that you will find prevalent even in their South American and Caribbean colonies.
The Jakarta Old Town was likely a place for the ruling elites of the Dutch colonial masters to operate and also use as their residence. The old town is still being repaired from the damage it suffered from neglect and is not listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.
Also known as Museum Wayang, this museum is dedicated to the Indonesian and by extension the South-East Asian traditions of puppetry. South-East Asian nations have a rich tradition of stick puppet shows being played behind a light colored cloth, lit by a lamp far back in the background.
This tradition of shadow puppetry likely came from India and China. Within Indonesia, the Javanese have an extensive culture of shadow puppetry for telling stories from Hindu and Buddhist epics such as the Ramayana and even local folklore of heroes and demons.
The museum houses these puppets and their history. But that’s not all; this former Dutch Colonial church also has puppets from other parts of the world as well.
The Ragunan Zoo:
Also known in Indonesian as Kebun Binatang Ragunan or Taman Margasatwa Ragunan, this zoo is the oldest zoo in the city and was established during the colonial times by the Dutch.
The main objective of establishing this zoo was to house all the local species of tropical animals and birds brought in from the forest and show them to the families of the Dutch colonial rulers.
The zoo not only has animals from Indonesian forests, but also from other parts of the world that can adapt to the local climate.
There are almost three-thousand individual animals here such as Komodo Dragons, Sumatran Tigers, Orangutans, tapirs and many local tropical birds. You may even find the Australian lyrebird here.
Taman Mini Indonesia Park:
This park is a strange mix of a fun theme park and a museum that houses Indonesian culture and educates visitors about it. The park building is divided into various pavilions with each one of them representing a distinct region of the country.
Each pavilion contains cultural artifacts of the respective region such as costumes, local architecture and the various performing arts. What’s more interesting is that they have a small model of the Indonesia archipelago that can be seen from above by a cable car.
They also have an IMAX theater where you can sit back, relax and enjoy movie shows with your family.
Indonesian National Gallery:
Where there is culture, there is art, and Indonesia has proved that it too can catch up with the West. The Indonesian National Gallery houses a variety of arts and paintings by prominent Indonesian artists and painters.
It is known for its varieties of arts, ranging from the traditional Indonesian arts of the old times to the modern and contemporary or post-modern art forms.
It also has a separate section where they have art installations and paintings by international artists, mostly from Europe and Netherlands in particular. If you have been bitten by the art bug, make a point to visit this art gallery.
Known in the Indonesian language as Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, this is Jakarta’s most popular waterparks. After spending a whole day in the hot tropical sun, hopping from one monument to another, if you are seeking some fun, this is where you will find it.
The Ancol Dreamland theme park is visited by foreign tourists in numbers not only because of its popularity, but also because of its standards. You will find rides, water sports, a resort and even a golf course if you had enough of the water rides and want to carry on with some adult’s stuff.
Also known as the ‘Glodok’ in Indonesian, the Jakarta Chinatown is a historically most significant place in the city and is located right adjacent to the Kota Tua or the Old Dutchtown of Jakarta.
It is said that the Chinatown was established somewhere around the 16th century by Chinese merchants who traveled to South East Asia for trade. Especially, Indonesia used to be at the maritime crossroads of the East Asian trading routes.
Many Chinese trading families settled here while making temporary stops. You can still find descendants of the old Chinese inhabitants here as well as Chinese establishments such as temples, restaurants, shrines, homes, lodges, and granaries.
The area is also where you will find the hybrid Chinese-Indonesian cuisine. Surprisingly, there still are old Chinese temples built in the 17th century existing intact in the area.
Indonesia’s Islamic history is quite recent that does not span beyond the last six-hundred years. As said before, the true heritage of the country is its Hindu and Buddhist culture that it has been following for several centuries.
While you can find the contemporary and classical culture of the country in another museum, this museum is a special place, above all other museums in the city.
The building of this museum was built in the year 1778, by the Dutch VOC and now houses artifacts and relics from Indonesia’s Hindu and Buddhist monuments. You will see the ancient and antiquity era in Indonesia’s history come alive here.
Statues of various Hindu Gods, images of Boddhisattva, objects of daily use, artifacts of religious significance, this museum has so much of it, a true lover of history and culture will truly live the history here.
Old Seaport And Maritime Museum:
Also known as the Sunda Kelapa, the maritime museum explains the naval and maritime history of Indonesia throughout the ages. The museum houses various naval artifacts such as Indonesia’s old maps, naval equipment from the Dutch colonial era, old Dutch sail ships, and small fishing vessels.
The museum is a great educational resource for learning about the maritime history of world’s biggest archipelago which has seen several cultural influences and invasions and hence has come into contact with various cultures from all over the globe.
Setu Babakan Village:
Your Jakarta trip would be incomplete if you do not get to experience the local culture first hand. The Setu Babakan is a traditional village in Jakarta where you can experience the various aspects of Indonesian village life such as the food, traditions, music, beliefs and festivals.
If you think you have seen enough of Indonesia’s village cultures in one of the museums, then you are badly mistaken. The Setu Babakan Village is where you will find all what you have read come to life. If you want an authentic experience of Indonesia’s rural life, we suggest you visit the Setu Babakan village at least once.
That being said, Indonesia is constantly growing in its popularity as a major tourist destination in South-East Asia. If you have already toured Thailand and Malaysia, consider your next trip to Indonesia. All the destinations listed above will not take more than three to four days of sightseeing.
However, if you are planning to visit Singapore, and have some money and time to spare, you should visit Jakarta and experience its rich culture. For those who are looking for budget travel to South-East Asia, Jakarta is not a bad choice.