48 hours in Jakarta

Home to more than 10 million people, Jakarta is a vibrant melting-pot of culture and religion, and boasts a wealth of attractions to squeeze into 48 hours. The best way to round out two days in the Indonesian capital? Soaking up bird’s eye views from a helicopter.

Jakarta is a sprawling city home to a wonderful blend of people with roots from across the world, ranging from local Javanese to European and Chinese. As capital of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, Jakarta also sees a wealth of other religions harmoniously live side-by-side, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians.

The tolerant city houses a range of restaurants, lively bars and night spots, as well as an ever-growing collection of attractions that showcase Jakarta old and new. Traffic is the city’s main bugbear, with huge swathes of the road network gridlocked. This makes hiring a helicopter to enjoy aerial views of the bustling city from the sky a must.

Day 1: Morning

No trip to Jakarta is complete without a visit to Istiqlal Mosque, Southeast Asia’s largest mosque and the third largest Sunni mosque in term of capacity – its six floors can accommodate up to 200,000 worshipers at one time. The vast national mosque was built to commemorate Indonesian independence and named "Istiqlal", Arabic for "independence". It opened in February 1978 and sits close to the National Monument, making that the ideal next stop after a tasty local lunch at one of the many eateries that dot the area.

Day 1: Afternoon

The National Monument is a must. Standing proud as the country’s symbol of independence, the 132-m tall landmark sits in the center of Merdeka Square and is popular with visitors who flock there to take a lift to the top to soak up the spectacular 360-degree panoramas. The base of the monument houses a museum detailing Indonesia’s fight for independence, with a well-manicured park surrounding the monument.

Day 1: Evening

Spend the evening on a high and head to 56-story BCA Tower. Sitting on its top floor is stylish SKYE, dubbed a lifestyle resort in the sky. The exclusive rooftop restaurant and bar boasts a sumptuous menu comprising a blend of Southeast Asian, Japanese, Italian and Mexican dishes accompanied by breath-taking city views.

Day 2: Morning

Start the day delving into Jakarta’s rich heritage at Kota Tua, which sits as the capital’s Old Town. Kota Tua is home to a collection of Dutch buildings that give a glimpse into Indonesia’s colonial days. The area is home to Jakarta History Museum aptly on the site of the original town hall, which was the capital of the Dutch East Indies in the 17th century and served as the epicenter of the Asian spice trade during the time.

Day 2: Afternoon

After visiting Jakarta’s main attractions by foot, skip the traffic and take to the skies to enjoy unparalleled views of the city sprawling below. There are several sight-seeing helicopter tours that take in outlying neighborhoods of the vast city and beyond. Alternatively, private helicopters can be booked through Yugo for hand-curated itineraries. Either way, forge unforgettable memories and spend the final afternoon exploring Jakarta from the sky.