Home to millions of people from around the world, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a vibrant and dynamic city that is like no other. This city has an allure that rivals other major cities in Southeast Asia and whatever you are looking for, you can find it here. You will never have to worry about where to stay in Jakarta since there is a place for everyone regardless of your budget.
As the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is located on the island of Java in the northwest coast. It is the center of culture, economics, and politics of Indonesia and has a population of over 10 million people. By 2030, it is predicted to become the world’s biggest mega city with a population that is expected to reach 35.6 million people.
The city is massive and there are several areas in Jakarta that include a historic mix of different cultures to include Javanese, Malay, Indian, Arab, Chinese, and European. As a result, there are many neighborhoods in Jakarta that you can visit where you will see how these cultures have influenced language, cuisine, and architecture.
Famous neighborhoods in Jakarta that are well-known among tourists include:
- Sunda Kelapa: This is a historical port where traditional wooden schooners dock
- Kota Tua: An old town that is famous for its Dutch colonial buildings
- Glodok: The most famous Chinatown neighborhood in the city
These are just a few examples of the long list of famous areas in Jakarta that are awaiting you when you visit there. As a traveler, you should not only get an idea beforehand of where you will stay in Jakarta, but also take the time to learn about the best areas in the city.
Best Areas and Neighborhoods to stay in Jakarta
Many visitors often get confused about where to stay in Jakarta. The following list contains the best areas in the city and hopefully, you can determine which one is for you:
This neighborhood is situated in the heart of Jakarta and there are lots to explore here. Menteng is popular for its tree-lined streets, the massive fountain, and banking institutions. Whether you plan to stay in Jakarta for a night or longer, this charming area is for everyone, especially those who want to experience the local dining and entertainment selections.
Menteng is known for its park. For many people, Menteng is one of the best areas in Jakarta for walking. On a Sunday morning, Taman Suropati is a great place to start your day where you can find yoga classes for free. If yoga is not your thing, Taman Menteng is right around the corner where you can stroll around and watch other people go home from work.
While in Menteng, you may want to visit the Besuki Public School, which is a famous institution. It was where Barack Obama studied here when he was younger and you can find his statue right in the courtyard.
As with the other areas in the city, you can simply walk around Menteng since traveling to and from this neighborhood is time-consuming. When it is time to sleep, there are numerous accommodations in Menteng that will suit your budget. There are hotels for those who do not mind shelling some money but there are also backpacking hostels, such as Six Degrees and Konko Hostel.
Budget hotels are also around Menteng, such as Whiz Hotel Cikini and Gondia International Guesthouse. If you are with your family, there are budget-friendly hotels that are recommended for those with kids, including Amaris Hotel Kebon Sirih and AONE Hotel. Of course, you can find luxury hotels in this neighborhood but they are still affordable, such as The Hermitage and Hotel Borobudur.
Menteng is a great place to stay because you will be in the center of Jakarta. The only downside is that you will have to pay extra compared to other places in the city. Almost everything is expensive from food to accommodation. Additionally, you will have to endure the rush hour traffic, which is one of the things that frustrate visitors and locals alike.
2. Jalan Jaksa
Also spelled Jl. Jaksa, this street is one of the shortest in the city, spanning only 400 meters long. Jalan Jaksa is nearby Monas, which is the national museum. To the west of this neighborhood, you will find the Gondangdia railway station.
Jalan Jaksa is designed for domestic and foreign backpackers. It is one of the preferred areas to stay in Jakarta because of the cheap accommodation and vibrant nightlife. Even though this street is touristy, it is still peaceful and has a small village vibe.
Backpackers like this area and they choose to spend their time here for several reasons. Jalan Jaksa lets them come in contact with the local culture while still feeling the downtown scene of the city.
It is comfortable and convenient to stay here because of the affordable facilities, such as secondhand bookstores, Laundromat, pubs, money changers, and travel agencies among others.
Jalan Jaksa is a part of Menteng in which it is a subdistrict. Therefore, it is also situated in the city center. You can travel to different places in Jakarta and discover several tourist attractions. Another great thing about Jl. Jaksa is that it is also where expats mostly gather, especially those who live nearby.
This neighborhood offers plenty of things to do, including the following:
- Awan Lounge: You will find this attraction at the top of Kosenda Hotel. It is a garden bar that is comfortable and thrilling at the same time.
- Waha Kitchen: For a fashionable bistro, head to Waha Kitchen, which is in the Kosenda Hotel as well. It is a bar that operates 24 hours a day and delivers a modern Asian menu.
- Warung Ngalam: This food stall showcases an open-sided café that has single seating. It is one of the best places to try local Indonesian dishes.
At night, the street comes alive, particularly at Cocktail and Friends, Melly’s Garden, and Equal Park. These places are popular among tourists and expats. Equal Park has live music with rock and reggae bands each night but all three will give you an open-air space and some affordable beer.
As mentioned, Jalan Jaksa is budget-friendly, which is why accommodation here will not hurt your pocket. Most of the hotels and inns are inexpensive. You can also find amazing deals if you know where to look. Hostels for backpackers are available, along with other types. Surely, you will find a space here because it is known as the backpacker street in the city.
This area is wonderful for most travelers but you should not expect lavish hotels if you are looking for accommodation that matches your budget. Most are two-star hotels and rooms that are around $10 per night.
3. Tanah Abang
This neighborhood is quite known for its namesake market but Tanah Abang has other offers for backpackers and visitors. The district covers other areas, such as Sudirman, Thamrin, and Senayan. It is located strategically from the center of Jakarta, which is why you can easily reach this place through different kinds of transportation.
Shopping malls, museums, and hotels are accessible from Tanah Abang. If your goal is to purchase clothes that are known worldwide, head to Grand Indonesia, Senayan City, and Plaza Senayan, which are all shopping malls. Meanwhile, if you want to buy fabrics and local souvenirs, go to the Tanah Abang Market.
It is impossible to visit Tanah Abang without going to the oldest and biggest textile shopping center in the whole city. The market, which is locally called Pasar Tanah Abang has more than 13,000 kiosks and shoppers that amount to 80,000 per day. It is indeed the largest wholesale center for textile and garment all over Southeast Asia.
If you will shop here make sure you plan what you buy before heading to the market. There are numerous kiosks and floors in Pasar Tanah Abang, which is why you do not want to waste your time trying to find what you wish to purchase.
The best time to visit is during weekdays to avoid crowds. It becomes very during the weekends, holidays, and before Lebaran. Wear comfy clothes even though the market is air-conditioned.
When you are done shopping, you will find numerous accommodation choices in the area.Many hotels here are close to the market and they offer good prices. In fact, you could spot cheap hotels that charge $10 to $11 per night. A common remark of the people who have stayed in this area is that the inns and hostels may be affordable but they are clean.
Budget hotels here are everywhere, including Ibis Budget Jakarta Tanah Abang, which offers $21 a night. Of course, you will not miss the expensive hotels here but you will surely find accommodation that suits your budget.
4. CBD Business District
The Sudirman Central Business District (SCBD) is located in South Jakarta. It is a business district yet has a mixed-use concept. Plenty of condos are in the area, along with shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, and centers for entertainment. This neighborhood has the second tallest building in the whole country, which is the Treasury Tower.
The proposed Jakarta Signature Tower is still under construction. However, once it is completed, it will become the fifth tallest building in the world. There are several important buildings in the area aside from the mentioned two. CBD Business District also has The Energy, Equity Tower, Pacific Place Jakarta, and District 8.
If you are searching for expats, CBD may not be where you will find them, even though you will still see some. Nevertheless, it is one of the neighborhoods in Jakarta with a lively nightlife.
If you have a business meeting in Senayan or Jalan Sudirman, CBD is a great place for you to hunt for accommodation. Unfortunately, most of the hotels here are quite expensive.
While the accommodation in the Central Business District is not for those on a budget, it is still a favorite of many travelers. The nightclubs here are the biggest reason why backpackers love to visit and stay in the neighborhood.
You also have a few options for eating out and shopping but most of the malls and hotspots branch out to the other areas in the city.
There are some cheap backpacking hostels in CBD, including the Dempo Guest House but if you want a budget hotel, the MK House SCBD and the Favehotel Gatot Subroto are among the preferred choices. You will also find midrange hotels in this part of Jakarta, including Chandra Residence and The Gunawarman.
If you decide to bring your children with you, there are a few family-friendly options as well and most of them meet any budgets. However, be prepared with some cash because many selections charge more than the other areas in Jakarta.
5. Old Town/Kota Tua
Kota Tua, which is Indonesian for Old Town, is an area that surrounds the Taman Fatahillah Square, which is situated in North Jakarta. It is an infamous area because it is known all over the city as the red-light district.
Head here for nightclubs, strip clubs, and massage parlors. Hotels are not packed because they are typically utilized for a short period. However, you can expect that the streets are quite busy until the end of the day.
Staying in this area may not be what most people want but it still has several advantages. If you are searching for a place where you can stay in Jakarta that will not eat away your budget, you should look for accommodation here.
Hotels in this place are guaranteed to be much cheaper than anywhere else in the city. Plus, you will find several tourist attractions nearby, such as museums, Chinese temples, and Sunda Kelapa.
This neighborhood also offers real street life where you can discover the best street foods in and around Jakarta. If you plan to visit the city center or Plaza Indonesia to be specific, it can take you an hour in the typical traffic condition.
At night, it is much faster to reach the city center, which may take 30 minutes. The airport is also easy and convenient to reach with several public transportation options. You can get there from 45 minutes to over an hour on normal traffic conditions.
Old Town is a favorite place for many backpackers because of the tourist attractions nearby, along with the massage parlors and nightclubs. It is also cheaper to eat here with several food stalls that stay open until the early morning. Unfortunately, many people complain about safety in the area and most of the streets are dirty.
However, if you plan to stay here, several budget-friendly hotels are in this neighborhood. Most of them are situated near Fatahillah Museum and other hotspots. Hostels, including the Wonderloft Hostel, are a favorite of those who travel alone as well as people looking for a space for socializing.
Setiabudi is full of different attractions, which is why many tourists and even the locals adore this area. The subdistrict is located in South Jakarta and one of the places that make up the Jakarta Capital Region. Setiabudi is quite popular because of its location, which is within the Segitiga Emas Jakarta or the Golden Triangle of Jakarta. It is comprised of businesses and commercial organizations in the city.
This famed subdistrict is named after the Indo and Sudanese national heroes of the country. Setiabudi has an important part in the history of the city. It was one of the primary housing neighborhoods in Jakarta and this area was developed before the others. The buildings in the Setiabudi administrative village are among the oldest in the entire subdistrict.
Along with Bendungan Hilir, Setiabudi was one of the first neighborhoods that gained direct access to Sudirman Road. If you plan to visit this place, you should list down the sites to go to and you should not forget the following:
Mega Kunigan: This area is where you can find numerous high-rise buildings, which are popular in the Golden Triangle of Jakarta. It is the same site where bombings of the JW Marriott hotel in 2003, the Australian embassy in 2004, and the JW Marriott Ritz-Carlton bombing in 2009 took place.
Pasar Rumput Market: In English, its name means Grass Market. Pasar Rumput Market is known all over the city because it is dubbed as the place where the locals shop. Pasar Rumput gained its name because it was where the Indonesian grass merchants established their shops. During that period, the Menteng elites would rely on the market so they can feed their horses. Today, tourists and locals go to the market to buy veggies, fish, meat, and fruits among others.
Rasuna Epicentrum: This mega superblock has an area of more than 53 hectares. You will find offices, hotels, sports centers, residential developments, and shopping malls in this area.
When it comes to accommodation in this neighborhood, there are various choices available from affordable hostels to mid-priced condo hotels to luxury ones. You will also see a few apartments that are within your budget, along with hotel suites that offer comfort without being too pricey.
Of course, if you do not mind the expenses, some of the options are Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Fraser Place, and The Mayflower Marriott Executive Apartments.
In the southeastern portion of Padang in Mampang Prapatan district, Kemang exists and it is considered one of the most charming neighborhoods in Jakarta. It may not be as popular as the other areas in the city but is still a good travel destination. Kemang offers brunch locations, family-friendly spots, and a boisterous nightlife.
Park Regis Arion is just one of the best sites here, especially for travelers. If you want to explore the area, particularly its attractions and popular activities, the park is an excellent choice. Additionally, you should visit the following hotspots while in the neighborhood:
- Ragunan Zoo
- Ancol Waterpark
- Dunai Fantasi Theme Park
- Central Park Jakarta
- Blok M Shopping Mall
The Mall of Indonesia is also in this area, further cementing Kemang as one of the top places for shopping. It is ideal for families and those who want to try the coffee and some snacks.
The streets are quite narrow and you may find yourself in heavy traffic most of the time. However, if those situations are fine with you, Kemang has different accommodation types to choose from, including hostels, expensive hotels, and lodges.
Kemayoran is a district located in the upper part of Central Jakarta. It lies right at the boundary of North Jakarta district. It is an energetic area with lots to offer for tourists, including music festivals.
At the heart of this neighborhood lies the Kemayoran complex, which was once the old airport of the city. It was converted into an exhibition area, which is now known as the Jakarta International Expo.
Kemayoran has business offices surrounding it and Mangga Dua and Pasar Baroe, which are among the city’s oldest shopping centers can be found here. This area also consists of the Sophilia Art Center and the Art 1 New Museum. These two are some of the newest buildings in the neighborhood where you can witness modern art, classical music, and paintings.
While there are a few restaurants in this part of the city, backpackers love Lenggang Jakarta Kemayoran because of the culinary treats here. The area alone has over a hundred kiosks presenting you with street food and favorite beverages.
You should certainly try deep-fried catfish with sambal, fried tempeh, tofu, and Pecel Ikan among others. Soto Betawi is a must-try as well, which is a local beef soup drenched in coconut milk.
Kemayoran has several hotels to choose from but there are also other types of accommodation available, such as apartments, condo units, and townhouses. Some luxury hotels are also in the subdistrict but you may want to check other nearby neighborhoods for more options.
From budget rooms to favorite hotels to inns, the top neighborhoods in Jakarta have numerous selections. Use the list above to help you determine where to stay in Jakarta when you visit.