Old Jakarta: 5 Things to do in Kota Tua

Kota Tua, which translate to Old Town, is a charming landmark that you should visit whilst in Jakarta, Indonesia. The place houses old buildings from when the country was colonized by the Dutch.

There are several museums here, the Jakarta History Museum, the Wayang Museum, the Fine Arts and Ceramic Museum, the Maritime Museum, and the Bank Museum. You don't have to go inside all of these, unless you have historical preferences. I personally went into the Wayang Museum (the dolls are just so intricately made and there's a free doll show every Sunday), the History Museum, and the Bank Museum. This list will only include them, but if you want to visit all of the museums, all of them are located in the same area, so you don't have to worry.

Aside from museum hopping, the old town also houses one of the oldest restaurants, Batavia Cafe. Though the place is expensive, I find a bit of me wanting to say later on that I was able to eat there and experience what it was like for the Dutch, dining, when they were in Jakarta. You can also rent a bike and go all the way down to the harbor. Or just do some window shopping as there are a lot of cheap souvenirs being sold everywhere in the area.

1. Get fascinated by dolls and shadow plays.

Museum Wayang, Foursquare.com

Museum Wayang, Foursquare.com

Three best things about the Wayang Museum:

Free shows once a week (check schedule). I know, I don't completely understand the language, but still, it's a cultural experience to have witnessed a Wayang show.

The construction of the dolls are just perfect. I probably spend most of the time looking at the intricacy of how the dolls were made.

That you can purchase Wayang dolls. And I did. And I have them in my home now. How cool is that?

Name:
Museum Wayang
Address:
Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No. 27 (Kota), Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11110, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 6929560
HP:
Foursquare.com

2. Immerse yourself in Jakartan history

Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Museum Fatahillah), Foursquare.com

Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Museum Fatahillah), Foursquare.com

Perhaps there's an explanation for traffic? Kidding aside, you will learn a lot about what old Jakarta was before this bustling metropolis came to be.

Name:
Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Museum Fatahillah)
Address:
Jalan Taman Fatahillah No. 1 (Jl. Taman fatahillah No 1), Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11110, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 6929101
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

3. Get "creep-ed" out in the Bank Museum

Museum Bank Mandiri, Foursquare.com

Museum Bank Mandiri, Foursquare.com

The first level was already kind of creepy because they have mannequins to show you how people were in the bank. And then they have a lower level, which is like the bank's vault, and it was just really creepy. I enjoyed it though. Imagining that I was the one working there and that I needed to go down in the vaults to get some stuff. I know, I should stop my imagination sometimes. But the upper levels are nice. They have this stained glass window that was mesmerizing. And they have an open space were people can perform. When I was there, there was a show. Perhaps you can time your visit, too.

Name:
Museum Bank Mandiri
Address:
Jalan Lapangan Stasiun No. 1, Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11110, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 6902000
HP:
Foursquare.com

4. Have a lovely meal in Cafe Batavia

Cafe Batavia, Foursquare.com

Cafe Batavia, Foursquare.com

Cafe Batavia, Foursquare.com

The prices are steep, just a warning. For someone like me who loves to buy cheap but really great tasting food from warungs, I found this expensive. But what the heck, I would like to say I ate in this place that's jam-packed with history.

Name:
Cafe Batavia
Address:
Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No. 14 (Taman Fatahillah), Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11110, Indonesia
TEL:
+62 21 6915531
HP:
Official Foursquare.com

5. Ride those two wheels and go all the way down the harbor

Sunda Kelapa Historical Harbour Jakarta, Foursquare.com

Sunda Kelapa Historical Harbour Jakarta, Foursquare.com

I can't drive bikes so I didn't rent a bike. But you can rent a bike and ride it all the way down to the harbor. I say all the way down because the harbor and the Maritime museum is around ten minutes from the main square where you will find Cafe Batavia and the other museums.

Name:
Sunda Kelapa Historical Harbour Jakarta
Address:
Jakarta, DKI Jakarta, Indonesia
HP:
Foursquare.com

Conclusion

Reminiscing back on my trip here I wish I stayed longer. There's so much to learn, still a lot of places to explore. If you have enough time, try to come back to this place more than once because in Jakarta, you will never see one thing twice. It's always going to be different the second time around.

Author

Geninna
5 things I can't live without: coffee, books, my iPod, wifi, and my husband :D Born and raised in Manila, Philippines but I've lived in Qatar, Indonesia, and the UAE. I am currently living in Romania, and I have been on vacations to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam :) And does a stop over in Bahrain and Germany count?