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Jakarta Travel Guide

flights to Jakarta

Located on the northern coast of West Java, Jakarta is the stunning and colourful capital city of the Republic of Indonesia. Not satisfied with being the centre of government, commerce and industry, it is also a wonderful melange of both modern and traditional culture with a population so ethnically diverse, the city is like an enormous cultural patchwork - hence the national motto: "Unity in Diversity". Jakarta is the central hub of the entire country - anything worth happening, happens here, and in the last few years the city has considerably expanded its facilities for visitors with an increase in multi-star luxury hotels, fine restaurants, exciting nightlife, modern shopping centres and large tourist attractions. One of the most popular of these new attractions is the weird and wonderful Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautifu lIndonesia in Miniature), set in over 100 hectares on the outskirts of Jakarta. All of the Indonesian islands are realistically reproduced in miniature in a central lake allowing the tourist to see the world's largest archipelago state in one day. Surrounding the lake are twenty-seven pavilions to represent each of the Indonesian provinces displaying their traditional architectural style, cultural items and exhibits plus traditional dances and ceremonies. There is also a beautiful Orchid Garden, a Bird Park and a Zoological Museum to boot.

The city has a number of great museums, the most popular being the Central Museum, popularly known as Gedung Gajah, or "Elephant Building", due to the stone elephant on the front lawn. Offering a detailed picture of Indonesia in prehistoric, archaeological and ethnographic terms, the museum boasts an extensive collection of artefacts and relics which date right back to the Stone Age. The Jakarta Art Centre, 'Taman Ismail Marzuki', is also incredibly popular, introducing a range of traditional Indonesian music, dance and cultural arts to the public, including performances by the Jakarta Symphony, regional art shows, folk dances, song recitals and concerts. There is also the chance to catch a hearing of the traditional Javanese 'orchestra' - the Gamelan. The music is dynamic but minimalist and plays an essential part in the cultural activities of both Java and Bali. This welcome assault on the senses is highly theatrical and revels in richly embellished costume and ornate decoration. Jakarta does have a sophisticated western nightlife to balance this, but you can't beat the incredible traditions of this country. Jakarta is basically the throbbing heart of Indonesia, it is crammed with vibrant culture and tradition but offset by an exciting modernity that makes this a truly stimulating city to visit.

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