Jakarta is as bold and dynamic as the Java coffee beans it has been exporting to the world since the 17th century. For intrepid foodies, it’s Kopi Luwak that gets all the attention.
Kopi Luwak (which literally means “civet coffee”) refers to coffee beans that have been consumed, digested and excreted by the Asian civet cats (luwak) which are found mainly in the Indonesia Archipelago. While some people dislike the taste of kopi luwak and consider it a gimmick, others claim that its distinct flavour is what makes it unique. Aficionados are willing to pay up to US$600 per kilo for it, and even more for beans (or feces) collected in the wild. The best place to try it is in the chain of coffee shops that bears the same name – Kopi Luwak, which has 10 branches throughout Jakarta.
If kopi luwak isn’t your cup of tea and you’re after some flavourful Indonesian cuisine instead, turn to our Restaurants in Indonesia guide for great recommendations.
Jakarta is a city of museums. Top of the list is the Jakarta History Museum which has an eclectic display, including a replica of the 5th century Tugu inscription, which describes ancient irrigation projects. The puppet collection at Wayang Museum tells fascinating stories of Javanese animism, Islamic teachings and Hindu mythology, while the Maritime Museum gives you an insight into the country’s dark colonial past under the rule of the Portuguese and then the Dutch. For more information on these museums and other attractions, check out our Things to see in Jakarta guide.
Don’t miss out on Jakarta’s Great Sale in June and July, famous for its shopping bargains. Then there are also interesting treasures to be found year-round at the flea market at Jalan Surabaya in Menteng. Other markets worth browsing include the Tanah Abang Market and Pasar Santa. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or top-quality batik, our Shopping in Jakarta guide will point you to the right place.
Buses are the backbone of public transport in Jakarta, and TransJakarta buses run around the city on dedicated busways, avoiding the city’s infamous traffic jams. When the traffic is moving, air-conditioned taxis are the preferred way to get around. To avoid being ripped off, check out our tips on the Getting Around page.
Best time to visit
The dry season from May to September is the best time to visit the city.
Download our Jakarta Travel Guide for more detailed information including history of the city, getting around, guided tours, restaurants and nightlife.