As vibrant as Jakarta is in the daylight hours, it’s at night that the city truly comes alive. When the sun goes down, you’ll have your pick of late night eateries, street food stalls, night markets and a burgeoning bar and nightlife scene. If you’re a night owl, here are 12 things you can do in Jakarta at night.
1. Sample some street food
The city’s street food scene comes alive at night as people flock to places with delicious Chinese cuisine and exotic delicacies. Jalan Mangga Besar, Jalan Wahid Hasyim, Jalan Sabang, and Pecenongan are popular locations to check out the thriving scene, which is conveniently surrounded by late-night restaurants if you decide to opt out of this style of dining.
2. Visit a 24-hour restaurant
Everyone in the city is familiar with the always-open Warteg Warmo restaurant. It’s a simple eatery but they are known for their authentic Indonesian food that’s sure to impress. The in-demand eatery is such a constant operation that there aren’t even doors because they have no reason to close.
3. Check out the bar scene
Located inside the second oldest building in Central Jakarta (it’s 200 years old), Café Batavia is situated in the north-western corner of Fatahillah Square and still has a 19th-century colonial-era vibe. Staying open until midnight or 1am, depending on what day it is, it’s a great place to catch live music and if you get bored of people-watching, there are plenty of iconic pictures and posters on the wall to keep you entertained.
4. Dance the night away
Located on the seventh floor of the Artotel, the Bart bar offers a range of incentives to get people in each evening. It’s a nice place to have a drink as the sun sets and watch the lights turn on in the city. Every week, they do special nights accompanied by cool R’n’B and EDM sounds.
5. Take in a live gig
There are many places to enjoy live music in Jakarta, including the internationally iconic Hard Rock Café. Located in Pacific Place Mall, rock music fans can enjoy the action in front of the spacious stage and roomy bar area. Beware if you hate public restrooms; the venue is accessed via the mall’s bathrooms. Now that’s what you call quirky.
6. Hit the shops
Angke Muara’s fish market and flower markets, Cikini and Rawa Belong, plus Pasar Mampang Prapatan and Pasar Senen, are open all day and night. So score yourself a deal in the wee hours of the morning if you want the authentic Indonesian experience. Alternatively, high-end shopping centres generally stay open until 10pm and there’s plenty to do apart from shopping. Plaza Indonesia (below) has hotels, a nightclub and even a rooftop lounge within its space.
7. Snap a stunning rooftop photograph
Situated on the 49th floor of the Plaza Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the city, Cloud Lounge & Living Room is popular with expats and draws a sophisticated crowd of customers. At around Rp130,000 (US$10) each, the drinks are on the pricier side for Jakarta but it’s worth it if you consider the effort they put into making the venue what it is. It offers 360-degree views of the city skyline so you can get the perfect Instagram shot, and they even have a cold room so you can enjoy your vodka at optimum temperature.
8. Hop in a car to see the sights
If rooftops aren’t your thing, get in and amongst the city action by taking a ride through the streets. Jakarta lights up at night with places such as the Selamat Datang (Bahasa Indonesia for ‘Welcome’) Monument (below) in Central Jakarta. The statue of a man and a woman waving to welcome people to Jakarta was sculpted by prolific artist Edhie Sunarso in 1962, in commemoration of the city hosting the Asian Games that year.
9. See the Monas fountain and light show
Gather round to see these pulsating water columns dance in multi-coloured lights. The 80m-long multimedia fountain was completed in 2005 and surrounds the Monumen Nasional (‘National Monument’, better known by its abbreviation Monas), which features a flame tip and marks the centre of the city. It’s located inside Merdeka Square, which at 100ha, is five times the size of Tiananmen Square, and said to be one of the biggest city squares in the world.
10. Have a spiritual experience at Istiqlal Mosque
Also known as Masjid Istiqlal (‘Independence Mosque’ in Arabic), this is South-east Asia’s biggest mosque and was opened by the country’s first president, Sukarno, in 1978. It has been visited by the likes of Barack Obama and Prince Charles, and is situated near the Jakarta Cathedral and Merdeka Square. The main prayer hall is covered by a huge dome and contains 12 columns to represent Prophet Muhammad’s birthday – he was born on the 12th day of the third month of the Muslim calendar. It stays open all night during the Ramadan fasting month.
11. Catch the breeze at Ancol
For a cool sea breeze, head to the white sand beach in the Taman Impian Jaya Ancol park. It spans 3.5km from the Ancol Beach City Mall Kota Intan Bridge and is a two-hour drive from South Jakarta. There are hotels, shops and restaurants in the area as well as adventure parks (below) and plenty of sports to try out.
12. Let off some steam with a run
With soaring temperatures during the day, the evening is the perfect time for an outdoor workout. Ragunan Zoo and the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium draw fitness fanatics looking for a clear route by night. Jakarta’s Nike Run Club is also worth signing up with if you’re looking for running partners. Just visit the website to reserve a spot and download the app. Who says your fitness routine must be interrupted while travelling?
PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM, CAFE BATAVIA JAKARTA FACEBOOK, ARTOTEL INDONESIA FACEBOOK, HARD ROCK CAFE JAKARTA FACEBOOK, CLOUD LOUNGE JAKARTA
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.