Seven thrilling adventures around Jakarta, Indonesia

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The Palau Ayer Resort and Cottages, located on Jakarta’s ’Pearl of a thousand islands’. Photo: Pan Simala

From the people to its culture, Cambodia and Indonesia share lots of similarities that make tourists from both countries feel at home in each others’ land.

The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Phnom Penh and the DKI provincial government, on November 13-18, invited Cambodian journalists and vloggers to embark on a tour that explores the massive capital of Jakarta, Indonesia, and discover the rich culture that it has to offer.

Here are the capital’s seven adventure spots that are worth adding to your bucket list:

Pulau Ayer Resort

Only a 30-minute boat ride from Marina Bay Ancol ferry port, Pulau Ayer Resort and Cottages offers a relaxing weekend getaway on one of the capital’s renowned Thousand Islands.

Aside from its diverse collection of flora, the tropical paradise, also known as the “Pearl of the Thousand Island,” boasts the island’s significant history before it was officially opened for tourism in the 1950s.

In one of its sea view bungalows, a picture of Indonesia’s first president Sukarno, when he invited former Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito and former UN secretary-general U Thant to stay at Pulau Ayer during the times of liberation of West Papua, still hangs on the wall.

This explains why most of the island’s architecture is inspired by Papuan culture.

Besides food and accommodation, the island offers a variety of leisure activities and water sports such as sailing and boat cycling.

A big playground is also available for family tourists, as well as a children’s pool to allow the kids to swim at their hearts’ content.

A package for a standard two persons starts at 968,000 rupiah ($67 or 279 riel) to 1,815,000 rupiah, excluding the individual boat transportation at 170,000 rupiah.

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Visitors to Jakarta’s Sea World Ancol can expect to be delighted by the sight of various sealife including 138 species of fish, invertebrates and reptiles. Photo: Pan Simala

Sea World Ancol and Dunia Fantasi

Returning to Marina Bay Ancol, tourists can experience the joys of spending time with sea creatures at the Sea World Ancol and thrill at riding Dunia Fantasi’s roller coaster and interactive rides.

As an edutainment aquarium, Sea World Ancol showcases a variety of sea creatures from giant jellyfish, to whales and sharks. With just a ticket worth 135,000 rupiah to 180,000 rupiah, visitors can enjoy the sight of 138 species of fish, invertebrates, and reptiles in the contemporary aquarium.

The aquarium also offers a piranha feeding show, which is a sure-fire way to bring in the crowd.

To encourage sustainable tourism, the aquarium also asks visitors to leave their plastic bottles outside before entering.

After an hour or two of touring the aquarium, visitors can explore one of the oldest amusement parks in the capital, Dunia Fantasi (also known as Dufan).

The amusement park has both indoor and outdoor rides offering the thrilling Halilintar, Tornado, and Kora-Kora rides.

Tickets at Dufan are sold at 145,000-195,000 rupiah.

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Jakarta’s old town Kota Tua

Famed for its historic architecture, the area of old town Jakarta can take you back in time, with its colonial Dutch Square resembling the Amsterdam Square, and the 1830s-styled Cafe Batavia that offers a relaxing place for foodies craving for Asian and Western cuisine exploration.

After a good meal, tourists can choose to explore several museums starting from the Wayang Museum which was opened in 1975. The museum stands on a Dutch Church built in 1640 and displays a huge collection of traditional and modern puppets from Indonesia and neighbouring countries.

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National Monument

At the heart of Merdeka Square, in Central Jakarta, stands the 132m-tall National Monument, a symbolic structure of Indonesian independence. After more than a decade of construction, the National Monument or Monas opened to the public in 1975.

Despite the passing of years, people still queue to see the tower and visit its observation deck where a 36-degree-view of Jakarta can be seen.

On November 16 and 17, people gathered at the Monas to enjoy world-class performances by Jakarta International Performing Arts to express appreciation to artists.

In front of hundreds of visitors, the art performance that took mainstream elements such as theatre, dance, music, film, opera, magic, spoken word, circus, and recitation through collaborative performances with various participating countries including, Berlin, Budapest and Russian capital Moscow.

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Museum Tekstil Jakarta

Founded in 1976, Jakarta Textile Museum was established to honour the many kinds of Indonesian traditional weaving.

Ten years since Unesco recognised the Indonesian batik textile as an Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity, the museum offers visitors the opportunity to experience batik-weaving where they can observe and learn the process of weaving and bring home the finished work as a souvenir for only 75,000 rupiah.

Car Free Day

As a city that suffers traffic congestion, the Car Free Day offers a refreshing experience for cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians who wish to travel along the roads with ease and in a more environmentally-friendly manner.

Car Free Day happens every Sunday from 6am to 11am in the areas of Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin.

Although the idea was initially meant to reduce air pollution and promote a healthy lifestyle, Jakarta’s Car Free Day has since been transformed into a tourist attraction.

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Thamrin City

Every trip is not complete without shopping. One of the most popular shopping malls, Thamrin City allows shoppers to immerse with the locals and offers affordable batik clothes and local products.

Just don’t forget to haggle.

Trips from Phnom Penh to Jakarta are made even more convenient after Citilink launched first direct flights from Phnom Penh to Jakarta on June 21. So make Jakarta your next tourist stop.

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An exhibit at the Wayang Museum in Kota Tua where visitors can learn about puppets masterfully used to depict classical Indonesian folklore. Photo: Pan Simala

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