Jakarta, the sprawling, smoggy capital of Indonesia, will frustrate, entice, aggravate and beguile - few places in this part of Asia are as challenging or rewarding. But Jakarta is the beating heart of Indonesia, the archipelago in a nutshell. For those visitors prepared to peel away the city’s urban layers of irritation, rich rewards lay waiting.
The historic old town of Batavia (Kota) is like a time warp and brings to life the city’s colonial roots, while a clutch of excellent museums help with interpretation of this rich history.
Jakarta is the ultimate city of contrasts. An intoxicating Asian destination where on one side of the city old sailing schooners trade spices in a scene that has not changed for centuries. Just streets away gleaming new glass and steel skyscrapers reach for the heavens in a skyline that has been transformed beyond recognition.
Jakarta is where the greater Indonesian identity has been created, forged by the ceaseless interaction of peoples and cultures from all over the archipelago. Freed from the yolk of colonialism, this bold, brash and bustling city buzzes along and after a few days it is hard not to get caught up in its palpable energy.