Jakarta’s top 15 tourist attractions for photography

15. Monas/Freedom Square

Monas, JakartaIndonesia’s national monument, better known as Monas, is a huge phallic structure located in Freedom Square – one of the few large open spaces left in Jakarta. The monument itself is covered with pricey Italian marble and stands a lofty 137 meters high. The “head” on the monument’s shaft is covered with 50 kilograms of highly inedible gold leaf. Take a lift to the top for decent views of Jakarta.

Photography tip: Outside photography in Jakarta can be difficult either because of the ferocious glare of the tropical sun or because of the overcast sky due to the city’s terrible pollution. Only on windy days, do you have any chance of some nice fluffy clouds or a blue sky. A night shot with a tripod is an alternative. Situated not far from Monas, there are also some interesting statues within Freedom Square.

14. Sunda Kelapa

Difficult to reach, but well worth the effort, this ancient port dates from the 12th century but is still used by traditional sailing vessels including the famous Bugis Pinisi from South Sulawesi.

Photography tip: try to get here for sunrise. During the day, the sun can be ferocious leaving photos looking washed out, and at sunset it’s difficult to take good shots of the boats as you’ll be shooting into the sun.

13. Taman Mini Indonesia

This theme park features full-sized replica traditional houses from all across Indonesia.

Photography tip: take the cable car to get some great shots.

12. Mangga Besar

Home to some of the city’s most insalubrious and hedonistic offerings, Mangga Besar (or the Big Mangga) will leave you with many happy memories!

Photography tip: Photography is frowned on in these places but you may be able to get some shots with your smartphone camera.

11. Gelora Bung Karno football stadium

This huge stadium was built back in the 60s with funding provided by the commie Soviets. Despite its age, though, the stadium is still grand enough to be impressive.

Photography tip: be careful if you take an expensive camera to a football match here as crowd trouble is common!

10. Mesjid Istiqual

As South East Asia’s largest mosque, more souls (up to a staggering 120,000 people) can fit into this house of worship than they can into the new Wembley football stadium in London.

Photography tip: If you want enter the mosque dress modestly. Also remember to bring a tripod as shutter speeds will be slow given the lack of available light.

9. Immanuel church

This amazing old church is built in the Palladian style that was very popular in Old Blighty during the 17th century and easily recognizable from its use of symmetry and – of course - the huge columns.

Photography tip: don’t be surprised if your camera starts playing up – this place seems to be haunted. Or it was when I was there!

8. Blok M

Famous shopping district in south Jakarta. Also has a grubby bus station and a street full of even grubbier girly bars!

Photography tip: just because she’s sexy, doesn’t mean she likes having her picture taken!

7. Taman Prasasti

This old Dutch cemetery is uncannily calm, mysteriously spooky and – as I was surprised to find out – home to a remarkable collection of slowly crumbling artwork.

Photography tip: avoid flash photograph or the statues will look unnatural.

6. Ancol

At this huge recreational resort you can find attractions such as an 18-hole golf course; an amusement park with fearsome rides and a huge swimming pool complex called Atlanta. Oh yeah and some Jakarta people come here to have sex in their cars too.

Photography tip: On Sundays you can often find beautiful models to photograph at Ancol’s Carnival beach

5. TIM

The place for Jakarta’s performing arts, TIM is unfortunately a bit run down and neglected as most Jakartans now prefer visiting a boring shopping mall than taking in a fantastic cultural performance.

Photography tip: flash photography is not allowed, so bring a camera and lens which are suitable for low light non flash photography, as well as a tripod.

4. Fatahillah Square/Kota

Jakarta has the largest number of colonial buildings in South East Asia. But you’d better get there soon – parts of North Jakarta are sinking fast and the shamefully neglected buildings are crumbling faster than a stale brownie.

Photography tip: sexy models can sometimes be found here at the weekends doing photoshoots.

3. Plaza Indonesia &the Welcome Statue

Considered by many to be the central point of Jakarta, the Hotel Indonesia roundabout is home to Indonesia’s Hansel and Gretel, a pair of idealistic youth who welcome visitors to the city.

Photography tip: a nightshot here is best, so bring a tripod. If you want to take a shot from up high, you’ll have to check into the Mandarin Hotel or perhaps have a drink at the very pricy Skye Bar on the 56th floor (yes that’s not a typo!) of the BCA building.

2. The Jakarta War Cemetery

This cemetery is managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and it is to their immense credit - and to that of the Indonesian caretaker as well - that the cemetery is in absolutely immaculate condition. All in all, a very humbling place.

Photography tip:
Come early morning or late afternoon when it’s not too hot.

1. Monumen Pancasila Sakti

This remarkable monument pays tribute to seven army generals who were (apparently) slaughtered by communists back in 1965.

Photography tip:
Make sure to visit the "Museum of PKI Treason"!


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