Jakarta – 3 Fun Family Experiences

Depending on where demographers draw the line, Jakarta has between 10 million and 28 million people.  Either way, you’ll feel the human crush that only humid South-East Asian cities seem to be able to provide.  But isn’t that part of why you travel?  To swallow a brief sensation of how others on our planet live?

Jakarta was established as a trading port in the fourth century as part of the Kingdom of Sunda and its geographical position and natural resources saw it rise in importance.  In 1619 the Dutch defeated the English and renamed the city Batavia and it became the local head office of the Dutch East India Company.  After WWII, independence was declared and it was renamed Jakarta, or as some refer to it, The Big Durian, the Indonesian equivalent of The Big Apple.

View of Jakarta from the National Monument (449 ft. tall), Jakarta

[View of Jakarta from the National Monument (449 ft. tall), Jakarta]

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Also known as Old Batavia, Kota is a walk down Jakarta’s memory lane.  Historical sites and sensations abound as this antique area within its walled compound tells a story of how life existed 3 – 4 hundred years ago.  Café Batavia, the old art deco Jakarta Station, Jakarta History Museum, Glodok, Toko Merah, Fatahilah Square and meandering beside the canal will take you back to the colonial era that gave birth to the modern sprawling city only a few blocks away.  It’s a wonderful history lesson on foot.  Mosey on down to Sunda Kelapa and experience this old port’s charm while photographing all the colourful pinisi (traditional two-masted sailing boats) you can handle.  You’re bound to blow up one of these shots for the mantle-piece.

Jakarta History Museum

[Jakarta History Museum (former City Hall building under the Dutch), Jakarta]

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

A theme park dedicated to its host country, this place is where you want to go if you can’t get to the real thing.  In East Jakarta, it comprises 100 hectares designed to encapsulate all aspects of Indonesian culture and daily life.  Clothing, traditions, architecture and dance are all portrayed faithfully and there is even a lake with a manufactured representation of the main islands that comprise the archipelago.  The Buddhist temple at Borobudur has also been replicated and will leave you thirsting after a visit to this magical monk-house.


The fourth of the franchise, this place may plant seeds of relief or despondence in many parents.  You see, it’s a place where children get to experience some of the realities that accompany many given professions.  The local currency unit is the Kidzo and when your child runs out of these, he/she must work to earn more.  If your child is drawn to becoming a doctor, then perhaps early retirement is for you.  However, if, like my 8 year old, she is drawn to the broom closet, you could be hard at it for many years.

Kids love this place and it’s a fun family break from all the culture. So check out flights to Jakarta and join in the fun.

The Author… Sam Smith+ derives too much enjoyment from travel.  His infectious love for his chosen field has even been known to make airport security staff smile.
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