Jakarta has been called a study in contrasts: traditional and modern; rich and poor; stand side by side in this bustling metropolis. But the spirit and charm of Jacarta is this very contrast, uniting peoples, traditions and times. As the economic and political capital of Indonesia, Jakarta attracts many foreign as well as domestic immigrants, mostly from neighbouring islands like java and Sumatra). As a result, Jakarta has a decidedly cosmopolitan flavor and a diverse culture.
The first recorded settlement at what is now Jakarta was the port of Kalapa, near the mouth of the Ciliwung River. Its origin can be traced to a Hindu settlement as early as the 5th century.
In the 1900's Jakarta underwent a huge transformation as new skyscrapers, flyovers, hotels and the showpiece, central business district -'the Golden Triangle' is the concentration of government and business. The center of Jakarta, offers some of the more convenient places for tourists to stay whilst visiting Jakarta. With an abundance of hotels in the area to suit all budgets, it also has a wide selection of restaurants, bars and some quality shopping options.
The ancient part is rather more attractive for tourists, as containing lots of ancient architectural monuments and other attractions. For example, Borobudur temple ('a monastery on the mountain' or ' temple of one thousand Buddha") is a unique and biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, having an image of a benched pyramid of 34 meters height. 1460 reliefs, illustrating Buddha`s life, ancient Indian epics ornament the walls of Jacarta most sacred place. Borobudur offers a magnificent view of the whole Jacarta from its terrace, to reach which you are to climb a five- kilometer stairway.
If you don`t want risking it, check out Jacarta Central Museum, established in 1778 and offering historical, pre-historical, archaeological and ethnographic aspects of Indonesia through its extensive collection of artefacts and relics which date as far back as to the Stone Age, including cloth and money which was still used on several islands until recently. It will certainly provides a few hours of discovery and useful pastime.
A must do is Jacarta Miniature Park which is extensive and represents Indonesia's 27 provinces and their unique characteristics having its own orchid and a bird park with a walk-through alleys, a fauna museum and recreational grounds with a swimming pool and restaurants. In fact, Jakarta boasts of far more shopping facilities than no other city in Indonesia. So dandies can save a considerable sum of money. Just be aware of the fact that the heat and humidity are really oppressive, though air-conditioning in the major hotels, restaurants and shopping centers provides an escape. Early morning and late afternoon seems the best times for sightseeing
Neighbouring Sumatra island offers you a unique opportunity if not to climb but admire mountains which are acting volcanoes and the picturesque and scenic landscape where they are situated. And those who like extremes, may try to explore ancient caves. However, since many caves have only been discovered in the last twenty years, the sport is still not highly developed on a commercial level and is almost entirely restricted to expedition-style exploration.