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Jakarta must be one of the cheapest places on earth for luxury spa treatments. Massages that would cost hundreds of dollars in Europe cost less than 50$ here, including the tax and service charge. If you ask some expat wives, this is one of the reasons they can cope with living in the city.
Unfortunately, most hotels do not have proper spas with branded products and inviting facilities, especially compared to those in Bali. In general, they will use the Decléor brand from France, meaning all therapists receive a similar training.
To help you figure out where to get a luxury massage in Jakarta, I reviewed below all the spas located in the city's best 5-star hotels. In particular, I indicated the prices of the most popular treatments. If the price changes, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.
Willow Stream Spa in Fairmont Hotel Jakarta
Willow Stream Spa is currently among the best in Jakarta. It is brand-new and features modern equipments such as steam room, sauna, multi-temperature showers, vitality pools and a 25-meter outdoor swimming pool. Products used: Decléor (imported) and Banyu Spa (local products).
Balinese Massage 60 minutes: Rp575,000++
Jakarta Signature Massage 90 minutes: Rp900,000++
Romantic Couple Massage in VIP Spa Room for 90 minutes: Rp1,750,000++ per couple
Everyday from 8am to 11pm. Only for guests above 18 years old.
Fairmont Jakarta, Jalan Asia Afrika No. 8, Gelora Bung Karno, South Jakarta
Bimasena is one of the most popular spas for couples in Jakarta. It is famous for having Private Suites where people can go kinky after their treatments. You will also find a hydrotherapy room and a full range of salon services including haircare, manicure and pedicure.
Prices (20% discount for hotel guests):
Hydrotherapy session for 20 minutes: Rp250,000++
Indonesian massage for 60 minutes: Rp340,000++
Romantic massage package for 210 minutes: Rp2,650,000++ per couple inclusive of a massage, hydrotherapy, private spa suite (half day), facilities, facial, light meal
They also have a Wedding spa package at Rp2,500,000++.
Every day from 9am to 11pm
Bimasena Spa at Dharmawangsa Hotel
Jalan Dharmawangsa Raya No. 23, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta
Surprisingly for the biggest hotel in Jakarta, the spa in Mulia is very small (4 rooms only) and it has very limited options. It serves almost exclusively hotel guests who need to relax after a business trip. The only originality is that they offer mud bath treatments.
Traditional massage for 60 minutes: Rp500,000++. Rumors has that you can get a plus plus massage in the spa depending on the therapist.
9am to midnight, everyday.
Hotel Mulia Senayan, Jalan Asia Afrika, South Jakarta
Alameda Spa is rather old and unappealing, yet it is among the priciest in Jakarta. It is mostly aimed at hotel guests who have the option of ordering the treatment in-house with a 10% surcharge. You must always book in advance. Facilities are limited to the swimming pool and a steam room. The spa in Mayflower Apartments is run by the same company and it is half the price.
Indonesian massage: Rp600,000++
Four hands massage with two therapists: Rp998,000++
JW Marriott Hotel
Jalan Doctor Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung, Mega Kuningan
Pricey and average, the Spa in Ritz-Carlton is a disappointment. I don't recommend unless you are staying in the hotel. Facilities are nice and include a jacuzzi, a hot and cold pool, a sauna and a hammam. The 50-meter long swimming pool is adjacent to the spa. They have great couple massages that will give you all the privacy you need. Male therapists are available.
Spice Island massage: Rp950,000++ for 90 minutes with a body scrub and aromatherapy massage
Romantic couple massage: Rp4,300,000++ per couple for 210 minutes with body scrub, body masker, massage, facial, private time in jacuzzi with a glass of wine
Special promotion every morning before 12am: Bath ritual + Massage + Facial for Rp660,000++ (90 minutes)
Daily from 7am to 12am, last order at 10;30pm.
5th floor Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jalan Ide Anak Agung Gede Agung, Mega Kuningan
The spa in the Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place is more recent just as expensive as the one listed above. You will find the same facilities: Steam room, jacuzzi, hot and cold pools, sauna and fitness. One of the few differences is that it specializes in stone treatments (massages with hot stones). Only guests older than 16 years old are allowed.
Luxury massage (the cheapest on the menu): Rp888,000 for 75 minutes
Romantic couple massage (massage, scrubs, facials): Rp3,618,800 for 120 minutes
Every day from 9am to 11pm. Last order 10.30pm.
8th floor, Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place, SCBD, Jalan Sudirman Kav 52-53
The spa in Intercontinental hotel has a good reputation. It has a wide range of services available, from shiatsu to 4-hand massages. It is also a good place for waxing for both men and women. Facilities include a swimming pool, a fully equipped gym with a yoga studio, a hammam, a sauna and a jacuzzi. Therapists use Decléor products for most treatments. Male therapists available.
25% discount available from 12am to 6pm daily.
Daily from 7am to midnight. Massage in-room available.
InterContinental Jakarta MidPlaza, Jalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 10-11
Le Spa is well-equipped with an hydrotherapy room, effusion showers, a relaxation lounge, a sauna, a jacuzzi, a cold plunge pool and a swimming pool. It also offers salon services. For their most expensive spa treatments, the products used are from Thémaé Paris.
Indonesian full body massage: Rp500,000++ for 55 minutes
The Spa in the Keraton at the Plaza Hotel is one of the best in Jakarta. Therapists are tall, pretty and friendly. The facilities are modern with hot and cold pools, steam rooms, infrared saunas and a couple's massage room. Products used are from Decléor, except for local treatments.
Anti Fatigue 90 minutes massage: Rp600,000++ for 90 minutes
Sido Asih Couple Massage: Rp1,900,000++ for 105 minutes
Half-day and full-day packages are also available for respectively Rp1,450,000++ and Rp1,880,000++ per person inclusive of a free meal in Bengawan Restaurant.
Everyday from 10am to 11pm. Last order at 9.30pm.
Spa Keraton at the Plaza, Jalan MH Thamrin, entry from Plaza Indonesia
Club Olympus Fitness and Welness Center at Hyatt Hotel
Club Olympus has great gym and spa facilities, but the atmosphere is not particularly charming. You will find a hammam, a sauna, hot and cold plunge pools with TV, a tennis court and a lagoon-shaped swimming pool.
Services available are reflexology, facials, scrubs, and body massages.
Rp330,000 for a 60 minutes Traditional Javanese Massage or Swedish Massage. In-room massage possible.
Daily from 6am to 11pm
Address: Olympus Fitness and Wellness Centre, Hotel Hyatt, Jalan M. H. Thamrin Kav. 28-30, South Jakarta Phone number: +62-21 2992 1234 Email: email@example.com
Fit and Spa - The Spa by Pullman
Fit and Spa is the official name of the spas in both Pullman hotels in Jakarta (Central Park and Thamrin). They are a bit cheaper than other spas but they are recommended because their facilities are still quite new. In particular, they have Vichy showers and a traditional hammam.
Prices: Indonesian traditonal massage + Javanese scrub: Rp580,000++ for 120 minutes Couple Package (signature aromatic massage, body scrub, facial, mask): Rp1,790,000++ for 3 hours per couple
Operating hours: Every day from 10am to midnight for Thamrin, from 9am to midnight for Central Park.
Addresses: Pullman Thamrin Jl. M.H. Thamrin 59, South Jakarta Phone number: +62-21 31 92 1111 Email : H8491@accor.com Website: Spa Pullman Thamrin Jakarta
Pullman Central Park Jl. Let. Jend. S. Parman Kav. 28, West Jakarta Phone number: +62-21 29 20 00 88 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: Spa Pullman Central Park Jakarta
Spa at Raffles Hotel Jakarta
The newest hotel in this list, Raffles, opened in March 2015. The spa is still close but it will feature modern facilities including steam room, cold pool, experience showers and a beauty salon.
Address: Raffles Jakarta Ciputra World 1, Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio Kav. 3-5, South Jakarta Phone number: +62-21 2988 0888 Website: Raffles Spa
Within the next few years, two new properties will open brand new spas in Jakarta: Four Season Hotel (2018 after refurbishment) and the St Regis Jakarta in Gatot Subroto.
2 hotel spas have the reputation of being popular with the gay crowd: Sari Pan Pacific Hotel and Millennium Sirih Hotel, both in Central Jakarta.
The Istiqlal Mosque is probably the most impressive monument to visit in Jakarta, before the Monas. The largest mosque in Indonesia, the largest in Southeast Asia and the sixth largest in the world, it can welcome up to 120,000 people during special celebrations. If you want to see it fully packed, you should go during Idul-Fitri or Idul Adha.
It was Sukarno who first had the idea of erecting a national mosque in the 1950s, following the independence of the country. It took 25 years for the building to be completed and it was finally inaugurated by Suharto in 1978. Interestingly enough, the architect of the Istiqlal Mosque, Frederich Silabanis, was a Christian. Also, the Mosque is located next to the Jakarta Cathedral to symbolize religious tolerance.
Contrary to other less famous mosques in Jakarta (for instance, Al-Anshor), it is frequently visited by tourists so you won't feel uncomfortable or intimidated if you are a non-muslim.
You should just be careful to remove your shoes upon entering (you can carry them in small plastic bags sold outside the mosque) and to stay away from the main central area at prayer time. Don't miss the huge bedug (drum) on the right side of the mosque.
Istiqlal Mosque (Independence Mosque) Jl. Taman Wijaya Kusuma, Jakarta 10710, Indonesia Phone number: +62 21 3811708
This guide will give you insider's tips and recommendations to help you prepare a memorable bachelor party (or bachelorette) in Jakarta with your friends.
I will answer all the questions you may have about the best clubs to visit, how to get around in the city, which hotels to choose, how to meet Indonesian girls and how to stay safe.
If there is anything else you would like to know, please write a comment or send me an email email@example.com.
Why choosing Jakarta for a bachelor party:
Really, why Jakarta?
Jakarta is not as popular as Bangkok or Manila for bachelor parties, probably because the city has a poor reputation: Endless traffic jams, pollution, chaos, underdevelopment and very few tourist attractions.
All of the above are true. Jakarta is a mad city, yet it has a few advantages compared to other Asian capitals:
- It is not difficult to mix with Indonesians, guys and girls. Indonesians usually speak good English and are friendly. In particular, if you come for party, you can expect meeting girls easily in clubs or through online dating apps.
- Endless nightlife options, all relatively safe to visit. You have a mix of posh clubs and more local venues where you won't feel uncomfortable even if you are the only foreigners there.
- Nightlife curfews are usually ignored, meaning you can keep on partying until early morning.
- No difficulties to enter clubs with large groups of male.
- There are few foreigners staying in Jakarta compared to Bangkok. For this reason, being a "bule" (white person) can be an advantage, especially with girls.
Is it smart to organize a bachelor party in a Muslim country?
You may also wonder if it is a good idea to organize a weekend of debauchery in the capital of a Muslim country.
As of 2015, many middle-class Jakartans follow a moderate version of Islam and they don't mind drinking a bit of alcohol, having sex before marriage and even eating pork once in a while.
That's not the majority of the population, but that's enough to have all nightclubs packed on Fridays and Saturdays. Most Indonesian-Chinese are protestants or catholics so they amount for a large percentage of clubbers in the city too.
Indonesia is becoming more and more religious though. I think that a ban on nightlife activities and alcohol in Jakarta is very likely to happen in the coming years (I'll write about that in the near future). One more reason to enjoy it while it lasts!
How much will I spend on a 2-night weekend bachelor party in Jakarta?
Jakarta is more expensive than Bangkok. For a decent night out, you must spend at least 150$ per day (excluding the hotel). If you plan to go to the top luxury karaokes and massage parlours in the city, then it will cost even more (up to 500$ per day).
The big problem is that alcohol is heavily taxed and it's hard to get a cocktail for less than 10$.
If you cannot spend that kind of money, I advise you to go somewhere else. Try Vietnam: Saigon Nightlife.
Recommendations to make sure your stag party goes well:
Keep the party in the clubs. Don't show that you are drunk in public space. The country is Muslim and even though Indonesians are easy going, you don't want to offend anybody. Local media love running stories about disrespectful foreigners. If you don't want to make national news, you should understand that and be smart, even when you are drunk.
Do not visit during a religious holidays (Ramadan, Idul Adha). On National Day (August 17th) and at Christmas/New Year, Jakarta is more quiet than usual. It is better to enjoy Bali nightlife during that time. It is also best to avoid Jakarta during the peak of the rainy season (January-February). Jakarta can be flooded during this time, making transport more difficult from one point to the other.
Drugs are not legal, but they are widely available, especially in North Jakarta. Foreigners are more likely to get into troubles because they lack the connections and information that some Indonesians have to avoid going to jail (see for instance the story of Christopher Daniel Sjarif who got away with killing 4 people under LSD). I would recommend not taking drugs in Jakarta. If you do, never ever carry anything with you, buy it from someone you are sure you can trust, and prepare some cash in case you get arrested.
Prostitution is not legal but it is tolerated as well. There are rarely crackdown on brothels and massage parlors in Jakarta (unlike in Medan or Surabaya). To avoid any problems, make sure that your hotel is girl-friendly: Jakarta Hotel Guide.
Since Jakarta can be intimidating, it is best if a local expat help you organize or if you can come to scout the city beforehand.
You need to make sure that your hotel is located in the center of the city and close from Sudirman street. Jalan Sudirman is the backbone of Jakarta, it is connected to almost all the important streets and buildings you'll need to go to.
For this reason, I would recommend one of the following (please book through Agoda, I get a small commission out of it):
Grand Hyatt Hotel: It is connected to Plaza Indonesia mall, in which you have the Immigrant nightclub, the Dreams lounge and Cloud rooftop bar.
Kempinski: It is connected to Grand Indonesia with several popular bars like Paulaner Brauhaus, Social House or Skye.
The Mulia Hotel and the Shangri La are not as centrally-located but they have very busy bars with lots of working girls. It can also be an option.
There are several Accor properties in Jakarta which are relatively new. Mercure Sabang is located in the center. Novotel Gajah Mada is quite up north but it is interesting if you just want to party in that area.
Considering you might spend a lot of time in traffic jams, your transportation choices are crucial. I strongly recommend renting a minibus or minivan to get around in the city. The price is reasonable and it will assure you continuous fun throughout the weekend.
You can rent a isuzu for instance and pack it with beer and music. The price is about 90$ per day including the driver, cheaper than paying several taxis each time you want to go somewhere.
I used the services of 911 Rental several times and it was always a great experience. You can also try Jakarta Rent Bus. Make sure to explain to the driver that you are planning on partying in the bus to avoid any troubles.
You can also rent a party bus from Royale VIP Party Bus. It is a bus specially made for bachelor parties. You can contact Dhandy 0856 64226056 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inside the Royale VIP Bus - Special for Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties
Finally, if you choose to go with taxis, just remember to negotiate the meter in advance. I use Blue Bird and Express but other brands are fine too. The dangers of taxi is overrated in my opinion. If you go inside a "bad" taxi, your only risk is to lose a 5$ or to do a few extra kilometers.
Are there strip clubs in Jakarta?
This is not an advertisement for Marlboro...
I wrote a review about the best striptease and sexy dancer clubs in Jakarta. That's a good start for you to read. All the places mentioned are great for a bachelor party, but the best ones are naturally the most expensive.
The priciest is Alexis. Renting a karaoke room with a jacuzzi filled with 10 super hot girls is possible but it would cost you around 2,000$ for 1 hour.
Playing volleyball with girls in bikini in the 1001 Sexy Pool is also another option for those who can afford it.
If you are not very familiar with Jakarta, I would just stay with the classics: X2, Immigrant, Dragonfly. Those are the nightclubs with the most foreigners and with the most girls looking to meet foreigners as well.
What are the things to do in Jakarta during the day?
Spa and Massage Parlours
The best thing to do in Jakarta during day time is certainly to go to a spa. They are cheap, well-equipped and you can find them everywhere (see my review: Finding a Spa in Jakarta).
Visiting a museum, a monument, a historical building, a mosque or a traditional market:
If you are interested to do cultural sightseeing, you may want to check my reviews in the category: Things to do in Jakarta.
If you just want to kill time, the best you can do is hangout in a mall such as Plaza Indonesia, Plaza Senayan or Grand Indonesia. I love spending afternoons in De Luca in Plaza Senayan and just look at the people passing by.
Dating an Indonesian girl
You can get a date on Badoo or Tinder quite easily with my guide: Dating Websites in Indonesia. A great place to bring your date is the Blitz Cinema in Pacific Place. Choose the Velvet auditorium which is specially designed for couples. You can also bring her to one of Jakarta's rooftop restaurants.
Bachelor party schedule for a 2-night and 3-day stag weekend:
If you come to Jakarta for a full weekend from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, I would recommend the following schedule:
- Dinner in B.A.T.S (steaks + live music + girls): From 8.30pm to 11.30pm
- Drinks in Cloud: From midnight to 1am
- Party in Immigrant (just below Cloud) or X2 or Dragonfly starting after 1am: Book a table + sofa in advance.
- After 3am: Karaoke in Golden Crown or Level 5.
- Spa and Karaoke session in Alexis, 1001 Hotel, Illigals, Sun City, Malioboro or King Cross: From 3pm to 6pm.
- Dinner in Loewy or Cork&Screw Pacific Place or Bluegrass: From 8.30pm to 11.30pm
- Drinks in Empirica or Potato Garage or Lucy in the Sky: From midnight to 1am.
- Party in Immigrant or X2 or Dragonfly starting after 1am: Book a table + sofa in advance.
- After closing, go to Mille's Club in North Jakarta.
Sunday morning / afternoon:
- Brunch in Potato Head or Loewy from the moment you wake up until 3pm.
- Spa session: Delta or My Place.
To make your decision, you should also check the DJs coming to Jakarta or if there are any cool festivals like Djakarta Warehouse Project, Java Jazz Festival or Color Run while you are here.
Confused? Please send me a message email@example.com and I'll do my best to help you organize your trip.
Photo credit: Kuclukoye and Indra Kurniawan. I also took the party pics on the facebook page of Immigrant. If your face is in there and you want it removed, just ask.
If you are a tourist considering going to Bali to enjoy a quiet beach holiday, just forget it. Bali is ridiculously overcrowded and it is starting to look no different than Jakarta: Clogged with traffic, disorganized and polluted, it is far from the paradise it pretends to be.
The good news is there are 17,000 more islands to explore in Indonesia, with far better beaches and scenery. Sure, they require a bit more effort to visit and you may not find 5-star honeymoon resorts so easily. But once tourism will develop and change the authenticity of these islands, you will probably regret not making the trip earlier.
I selected 11 beautiful secret Indonesian islands that few people know of. They are located off Papua, Maluku, Sulawesi, Sumatra, Sumba or Borneo. Note that some of them are in fact small archipelagoes.
In case you are curious, the cover photo is from the Banyak Islands which are mentioned below (Photo Source: Vagabundinnen).
Taka Bonerate Islands
Photo Source: Ramadian Bachtiar
The Taka Bonerate Marine Park has 21 small islands and possesses the third largest atoll in the world. It is a paradise for divers from all over the world who can explore its 500km2 of corals. Sea turtles, cuttlefish, crocodile fish, eels and manta ray can be seen at almost every dive.
Its main island, Tinabo, is less than 2km long. It can be reach on a long day trip from Makassar via Selasar by boat.
Part of the Aceh province, the Banyak Islands consists of several small islands, including Tuangku (the largest), Bangkaru and Palambak (depicted on the photo above). It is an alternative for surfers to the more "crowded" Nias or Mentawai Islands. With endless yellow-sand beaches, they are also great for adventure couples looking for privacy.
Widi Island (or Weda) recently made national headlines after foreign investors from PT Leadership Island Indonesia agreed to disburse IDR 600,000,000,000 for the right to manage it for 35 years.
Located south of Halmahera in Maluku, the island is expected to become a center for ecotourism and diving activities. With crystal clear water and preserved coral, it could become one Indonesia's best diving destinations.
Menui Island is part of Morowali district in Central Sulawesi. Its name comes from "manu" which means "chicken" in Bugis language. One of its attractions is the Kumapa cave, a sacred place for residents who use it as a place for meditation. The island is still under-developed and most of it is covered with tropical jungle.
A few hundred kilometers away from Malaysia, the U-shaped Pulau Maratua is one of 92 outlying Indonesian islands. Most people visiting it go for diving or snorkeling and sleep in the Maratua Paradise Resort made of cottages and bungalows built on stilts.
An airport is set to be inaugurated within the next few months. It will also serve nearby Islands like Derawan, Kakaban and Sangalaki.
Photo Source: Kristanto Adibuyung
The Wakatobi Islands are part of a Marine National Park which is made of four islands: Wangi Wangi (translated as the Fragrant Island), Kaledupa, Tomea and Binongko. They are part of the larger Tukangbesi Islands group in South Sulawesi.
Most high-end visitors go to the Wakatobi Diving Eco Resort and Spa on the small island of Onemobaa, off Tomea.
Photo from Beingindonesian.com
Pulau Karimata is the main island of a small archipelago located 60km off the coast of Borneo. It is known for having exceptional biodiversity due to to its mountainous relief. Stretching 18 kilometers from east to west and 13 from south to north, it has a large population of cave swiftlets, an endemic species of bird famous for its nests made out of saliva. The nests are hunted and exported, causing a drop in the bird's population.
Banda Besar is the largest of the Banda Islands, an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in South Maluku. They have interested foreign nations for their spices (nutmeg and cloves) since 1512, when the Portuguese first visited them.
For this reason, Banda Besar has interesting historical and religious monuments. It is also possible to visit nutmeg plantations. Finally, following a short boat trip, you may enjoy a hike to the 666-meter high Gunung Api (volcano).
Noemfoor Island (or Numfor) is part of the Biak Islands, off the coast of Papua. It is actually famous among historians because it was the theater of a military battle between American and Japanese troops in 1944.
Today, Noemfoor has the potential of becoming a tourist hotspot with beautiful reef corals and some great white sand beaches (for instance Pakreki).
Halura Island (also called Salura or Laharula) is a stunning island located off the Southern coast of Sumba. I spotted it several years ago and I believe it could become the next Gili Trawongan (Lombok).
The island is not inhabited, yet it is still absolutely virgin from tourism. It took me quite a long time to find an image and based on my research, it seems only two tourists have been there so far.
One of them is the travel blogger/adventurer Jalan Blog that I recommend you to follow if you speak Indonesian.
Salura Island has two smaller sister islands: Pulau Kotak and Pulau Mangkudu.
There are many more famous islands in Indonesia, particularly Nias, Belitung, Lombok, Flores, Komodo, Melawai, Bintan, Batam, Java or even the Raja Ampat, but I tried to focus on the lesser-known and the secret ones.
Please share with me by commenting below if you think I should add a 12th island to this list.
I am asked daily by readers for tips about choosing a hotel in Jakarta. This little guide should answer all the questions I've ever received such as:
- What is the best area to stay in Jakarta? - Where can I find a cheap guesthouse for under 10$ per night? Is there a backpacker area in Jakarta? - What are the best budget hotels in Jakarta? Which hotel chain offers the best value for money? - What is the best accommodation for less than 50$? - Which 5-star hotel should I choose? Which 5-star hotel is the closest from action? Which 5-star hotel has the best bars and restaurants? - Can I bring girls to my hotel in Jakarta? What are the names of girl-friendly or guest-friendly hotels? - Can I actually sleep in Alexis Hotel, Malioboro Hotel, Travel Hotel or Classic Hotel? - Is there a spa or massage parlour near my hotel? - Which hotel do you recommend near the airport? - Which hotels are connected to popular malls?
If you have other questions, please write them in the comment section below and I'll do my best to answer it.
To get the best prices, I usually book directly on the website of the hotel and check for promotions. If the prices are not different from other websites, then I encourage you to book through Agoda.
Why? Because I can get a (small) commission on every booking coming from this page. Jakarta100bars is free so it's a way for you to contribute to this site and to keep it independent. I am not receiving any money from any of the hotels listed below, only a commission on the bookings so my advice is still independent and honest.
If you need a plane ticket, I usually get the best deals on CheapFlights.com, a flight comparator.
What is the best area to stay in Jakarta?
Since Jakarta is so big, deciding on where to stay in Jakarta really depends on what you will do there.
Traffic should be your main consideration and you should choose the location that will minimize as much as possible the time spent going from one place to the other.
1) If you are in Jakarta for work and you need to go to a lot of meetings, choose a hotel close to your meeting points or close from your office, even if they are not in central locations. The traffic usually gets better starting 9pm so you can still go out quite easily after that.
Anyway, there are now malls almost everywhere in Jakarta so wherever you'll stay, you will be close from a fair number of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, gyms, cinemas and hang out spots.
If you are having meetings all over the city, then choose a location near the major roads such as Gatot Subroto, Sudirman, Thamrin, Gajah Mada or the Jakarta Inner Ring Road.
2) If you are in Jakarta for fun or for party, then you must decide what is your style:
- You want to party in the expensive nightclubs in Central and South Jakarta? It is best to stay anywhere near from Jalan Sudirman, Plaza Indonesia, Mega Kuningan, Jalan Rasuna Said, Plaza Senayan. Kemang is too far in my opinion but it could be an option if you want to be close from the best Western food options.
- You want to party with locals in North and West Jakarta? Choose a hotel in one of these neighborhood: Chinatown (Glodok), Gajah Mada, Mangga Besar, Hayam Wuruk, Tamansari, Lokasari, Pecenongan. Hotels in these areas usually offer a much better value for money than in the South but the surroundings are more dirty and less safe. You also won't have nice malls, only Gajah Mada Plaza and Lokasari Square. Mangga Besar hotels are all girl-friendly and they are close from hundreds of great street food options.
Another good point with this location is that you can still reach Central Jakarta quite easily within 30 minutes. There is a very convenient busway line running from Kota Station to Blok M that you can use.
Alternatively, if you are mostly interested with karaokes and massage parlours instead of clubs, you can go to Kelapa Gading, Mangga Dua, Grogol and Taman Anggrek. These areas also have huge malls nearby and they are not too far from the airport with the toll road.
3) If you are in Jakarta as a tourist, then I would recommend staying near Thamrin or Wahid Hasyim. Alternatively, you could also stay near Mangga Besar or Kota, but if you are not familiar with Jakarta you may feel uncomfortable as those areas are 100% local.
- Where can I find a cheap guesthouse under 10$ per night? Is there a backpacker area in Jakarta?
As you will read in any guidebooks about Jakarta, the backpacker district is located in Jalan Jaksa. It is nothing compared to other popular traveler hubs in Southeast Asia like Khao San Road in Bangkok or Bui Vien in Saigon. You will only find a handful of guesthouses, usually not well-maintained and not very clean. Nearby, Jalan Wahid Hasyim has more choice but the prices are higher (at least 30$).
To find a decent room in Jalan Jaksa, you need to go inside the gangs (small streets) and look for guesthouse signs. The prices are currently set at around Rp70,000 per night for a room with a fan. AC will cost you at least double.
In the past few years, there has been an increasing number of backpacker hotels that have opened elsewhere in the city, sometimes with higher standards. Teduh Hostel in Kota Tua or Six Degrees in Cikini are good examples. Their prices are quite high though, even for a bed in a dormitory.
I would still recommend Jalan Jaksa because of its very central location. It is next to Gambir train station (from where you can go to Yogyakarta or Bandung). It is also near from several key things to do in Jakarta like the Monas or the Istiqlal Mosque. 500 meters from Jaksa, the Sabang street is famous for its street food options.
- What are the best budget hotels in Jakarta?
There are several budget hotel chains in Jakarta: Ibis Budget, Neo, Fave Hotels, Amaris, Pop Hotel, Whiz, Hotel 88, D'Prima. The price vary between 25$ and 45$ per night.
Overall, I found that Fave Hotels usually have the best value for money, especially if you book directly from their website. If you enter the code "BOOKDIRECT", you get 15% off. There are also Fave Hotels almost everywhere in the city so it is convenient.
Based on my experience though, the standards can be quite different within the same chain depending on who is the owner. For instance, the Fave Hotel in LTC Glodok is fantastic, probably because it is owned by Agung Podomoro Land (one of Indonesia's largest developer). Another great one is Fave Hotel Gatot Subroto. On the contrary, I stayed in Fave Hotel Kemang and Pasar Baru, both disappointing.
Also, the price may vary a lot depending on the location: The Fave Hotel Thamrin costs double compared to the one in Kelapa Gading.
- What are the best 3-star hotels in Jakarta?
3-star hotel chains in Jakarta are Ibis, Harris, All Seasons, Santika and Holiday Inn. The price depends on the location and the day of the week (cheaper on weekends). In general, they will cost between 45$ and 60$ per night.
- What are the best 4-star hotel chains in Jakarta?
The prices of 4-star hotels in Jakarta vary greatly depending on the location. The cheapest ones, located outside the city center in Mangga Dua, Gajah Mada or Ancol can cost less than 60$ while those located near Sudirman or Thamrin cost up to 100$ per night.
The best chains are Novotel, Mercure, Santika Premiere, Aston, Swiss-Belhotel and Best Western. Again, don't trust a chain blindly, make sure that the hotel was built recently.
A JW Marriott was suppose to open in Lippo Mall Kemang Village in 2014 but the project seems to be late.
The Shangri La and the Mulia are also popular with male because of their live music bars, BATS and CJs.
Can I bring girls to my hotel in Jakarta? Which hotel is guest-friendly or girl-friendly?
People are always wondering if they are allowed to bring a girl to their room in Jakarta. The answer is: 90% of Jakarta hotels are girl-friendly.
The only places where you may have problems are family guest-houses or small family hotels located in conservative areas. Outside Jakarta, there have been a few cases of over-zealous mayors raiding hotels to hunt unmarried couples sleeping together. These raids are actually against the law since it is not unlawful to sleep with someone you are not married to. The rule of law does not always apply in Indonesia, but hypocrisy does.
If you stay in any hotel with 3 stars or more, you will be most certainly allowed to bring guests overnight.
An ID is generally required so make sure your girl has her papers.
At last, you also have some famous transit hotels such as Hotel BI Executive in Ancol. In this hotel, rooms have mirrors and porn movies are available at reception. You can also park you car just under your room if you want to be discreet.
Can I actually sleep in Alexis Hotel, Malioboro Hotel, Classic Hotel, etc?
Brothels in Jakarta often have a hotel license because it gives them more flexibility with the law. In particular, it allows them to open during ramadan.
Even though they are not listed on the traditional online booking engines like Agoda or Booking.com, they do accept guests.