Living in the Indonesian capital as an expatriate for almost 7 years, I have to deal with the quotidian stress, traffic and pollution of the city. The best way to relax of course is to get out of Jakarta for the week-end. But where ? Actually, there are quiet a lot of nice places to see around the City.
Beaches & Islands
Jakarta is situated in west java (Indonesia) and is open to the China Sea. Fortunately you will find plenty of Tropical Island and white sand beaches around. Water sports and activities are available everywhere. But don’t even think about swimming less than 10 km away from Jakarta port. The sea is very highly polluted.
Thousand Islands is a long archipelago constituted of 110 Islands. You can get there by speed boat very fast. From 10 minutes to the closest places until 2 hours for the most retired virgin islands. Some islands are very well conserved and perfectly clean. Depend on the season, the water visibility is up to 30 meters. Indeed, it’s a nice place for scuba diving. However, the price for accommodation and activities are much higher than usual Indonesian level. You will have to make the hotel and transportation reservation from Jakarta.
If you are not too much exigent, you can even find "acceptable" beaches only 2-3 hours drive from Jakarta (Anyer or Carita beaches). A lot of cheap Hotels and Bungalows are available there. You don’t need to make any reservation, unless you are planning to go there during public holiday.
If you need cleaner beaches and water without having to travel in a speed boat for 2 hours (sea sick). You can go to Sumur. From there two possibilities: The luxury Umang private Islands or the Ciputi Beach Resort (cheaper). But you will probably need more like 5 hours by car from Jakarta to getting there.
Mountains & Volcanoes
Most of Jakarta people prefer to spend their free times in the mountain. Many of them like to go to Puncak for the week-end, because of the fresher temperature. You get a nice view from the top, but the week-end the traffic can be horrible.
Just after the top, you can continue follow the road straight to Cipanas. I know a very nice hotel in there. It’s the only four stars around. The hotel get three splendid suite rooms with private swimming pool. The best way to relax......
You will need to make the reservation at least a week before if you plan to stay during the week-end.
Or, you can also go farer to Ciater. Natural hot spring water close to Bandung. You have big bungalow with two, three or four rooms available for very reasonable price. The natural Hot spring pools are inside the hotel park facilities. The park also offer to play paintball in a wonderful natural environment. This is very fun and sportive.
And if you want more adventure, you also have many wonderful trekking available around Jakarta. Whenever you choose to climb a volcano or prefer travel in the virgin jungle. I heard that Rafting is also available. For this type of trip you will have to book from travel agency in Jakarta.
As you probably already heard, Indonesia has and extremely diversified wild life. And there are no exceptions around Jakarta. Just few hours from the city, you can find exciting jungle with a lot of diverse bird species or small wild animals.
Around 5 hours from Jakarta (just after Ciputi Beach), you can visit the wonderful Ujung Kulon National Park. Where, if you are very very lucky, may be able to see one of this famous Sumatran Rhino. Today, they are around 50 to 60. This is quiet remarkable since 40 years ago, only 25 of them was remaining.
If you prefer to go the easy way, you will definitely choose the Taman Safari Bogor. Just around 2-3 hours from Jakarta. This is one of my favorite spot. I’ve always been impressed by the way they manage and maintain the park. The place is clean, well organized and the animals seem to be well treated.
For the night, you can sleep in the safari hotel or rent a caravan home. Or if you would like a little bit more of adventure you can try their camping package (only for group).
DRAGON KOMODO. This animals could really deserved is own website. There are so much story and interest around this ancient reptile. According to many sources, the komodo only lives in this natural habitat in Komodo Island (Nusa Tengara, East of Bali). That’s what I thought for a long time until I found myself in the front of a 2 meters species in Sepa Island (see Thousand Islands). We had met also few smaller dragons in the Krakatau Volcano (1 hour speed boat from Carita Beach). To be honest, I have no idea if this Komodos have been rehabilitated later on or if they are here since dinosaur’s time.
Map & Climate
The temperature around Jakarta as the rest of Indonesia is always hot and the humidity level is very high (tropical climate). In theory, the rain season supposed to be from October to March. But since few years, it seems to shift from December to May. However, if you travel around beaches and Islands, you have more chance for sunny morning. In the mountains, it rains almost every afternoon.
So far, I’m still looking for a good map of the area. If you get anything, please contact me at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fun & Activities
Here are the main activities you can find around Jakarta :
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving : Best spot in thousands islands.
Jet Ski, Canoe & Banana Boat : Almost everywhere close the sea. Even in Ancol port if you are not scary to drop in the water.
Paint Ball : Ciater (Bandung) and in Kemang (Jakarta).
Trekking, Rafting & Adventure : You better check with travel agency in Jakarta. They have a lot of packet available. You will get the cheapest price in Jalan Jaksa (close from Jakarta main train station).
For any nightlife activity, you will definitely prefer to stay in Jakarta. You will find everything you want in the City. International selection food, luxury hotel, modern bar & discotheque open until morning. And much more……. Jakarta is definitely a city for the night. Plus you will be out of the traffic.