Photo by Rian Afriadi (@afriadi.rian)


Indonesia’s capital city was officiated on June 22, 1527. It is internationally nicknamed the Big Durian and J-Town. Jakarta has a land area of 661 square kilometers, slightly smaller than Singapore, plus 6,997 square kilometers of seawater dotted with 342 small islands. It is the largest and busiest city in Indonesia. In 2018, more than 18 million vehicles roamed its streets every day, exceeding its 10 million population.

Administratively, Jakarta consists of five administrative cities: North, South, West, East and Central Jakarta. Combined with four neighboring satellite cities, it forms The Greater Jakarta Metropolitan which is known as Jabodetabek (an acronym of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi).

Photo by Irene Barlian (
Photo by Irene Barlian (


A window to the city’s past, Kota Tua (Old Town) is a neighborhood that keeps the story of Jakarta’s origin as the main port of Java in the 16th century. Under the Sultanate of Demak, it was named Jayakarta. After being conquered by the VOC in the 17th century, the name was changed to Batavia, a typical Dutch-style city guarded by fort, fenced by city walls, and divided by canals.

A legacy of its heyday, Kota Tua has dozens of colonial buildings, thus making it a main tourist attraction. Some of the old structures are now occupied by trendy restaurants and cafes, creating an attractive contrast between the past and the present. Kota Tua also houses some of the largest, oldest and most important museums in Jakarta, including the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum (former Court of Justice), Jakarta History Museum (former City Hall of Oud Batavia), Bank Indonesia Museum (former De Javasche Bank) and Bank Mandiri Museum (former Netherlands Trading Society).


Kota Tua is located in the northern part of Jakarta. It’s approximately 5 kilometers from the National Monument and the Gambir train station; 7 kilometers from the Hotel Indonesia Roundabout; and 21 kilometers from the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

From Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Kota Tua can be reached by taxi or Railink Airport Train to Duri Station, followed by a taxi ride for 4 kilometers. Optionally, take the Damri Bus from the airport terminal to Mangga Dua Square, followed by a taxi ride for 3.5 kilometers.

Jakarta Kota Station, located at Kota Tua, is served by the KRL Commuterline from Cikarang, Bogor and Tanjung Priok, as well as by the intercity train from Semarang dan Surabaya.

Kota Terminal, located at Kota Tua, is served by the Transjakarta Bus from Blok M, Pulo Gadung, Kampung Melayu, Pluit and Sunter.

Two of the most popular taxi operators in Jakarta are Blue Bird and Express. Uber had ceased its business in Indonesia, but Jakarta still has two major online transportation companies which provide car and motorcycle rides: Gojek and Grab.