Touring Jakarta, one train station at a time
Despite its dreadful and seemingly endless traffic jams, Jakarta is actually a treasure trove of great tourist spots.
In the city, you can find lots of wonderful museums, art centers, historic sites, cultural performances, international music shows and even a decent theme park on the shores of North Jakarta.
What’s more, the city also has a wealth of mouthwatering culinary dishes and great coffee houses. It’s unfortunate, then, that getting around the city can be so stressful at times.
Jakarta’s long-awaited monorail and mass rapid transit (MRT) system may still be a long way from coming to fruition, but the Commuter Line train service is a pretty good choice to get around the city without facing the traffic backups.
With tickets starting from Rp 2,000 (20 US cents) for the first five stations and an additional Rp 500 for every three stations thereafter, the Commuter Line is way cheaper than taxis.
Furthermore, because it is a train service, it is much more speedy and reliable than the Transjakarta buses, which often become trapped in traffic snarls.
There are five Commuter Line routes in Greater Jakarta: Bogor-Tanahabang-Jatinegara; Bogor-Jakarta Kota; Bekasi – Jakarta Kota; Parungpanjang – Tanah Abang, and Tangerang – Duri.
The following are five stations in the Greater Jakarta area that are located close to tourist attractions in and around the capital city.
It is advisable to make your train journeys outside rush hours, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m, during which times the stations are especially hectic and the trains jam-packed with commuters.
1. Jakarta Kota station
Located in the Kota Tua (Old Town) area, Jakarta Kota station is the oldest train station in Indonesia.
It was constructed in 1870 by the then-Dutch rulers and is still one of the busiest train stations in the city.
The station is served by the Bogor-Jakarta Kota and the Bekasi-Jakarta Kota commuter lines.
It is just a stone’s throw away from the historic Fatahillah Square, which was Jakarta’s old town square during the Dutch colonial era.
The square is surrounded by several historic buildings, such as the Jakarta History Museum, the Wayang Museum, and the Fine Art and Ceramics Museum.
Also visit the Bank Mandiri Museum and the Bank Indonesia Museum across the road from Fatahillah Square.
Feeling tired and hungry? Go to the Cafe Batavia and savor its delicious meals while enjoying the vintage atmosphere.
Several other destinations can be reached from Jakarta Kota station by taking the blue-colored M15 public minivans, plying the Tanjung Priok-Ancol route.
The public minivans can take you to the famed Mangga Dua shopping area, which offers clothes and electronics at affordable prices.
The same public minivans can also take you to Ancol Dreamland, where you can lie down on Ancol Beach, get close to sea creatures at the Seaworld aquarium, or just enjoy yourself at the Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy World) theme park.
You can also find a great seafood restaurant called Bandar Djakarta inside the Ancol Dreamland premises.
2. Juanda station
Located on Jl. Ir. H. Juanda in Central Jakarta, the station is also served by the Bogor-Jakarta Kota and Bekasi Jakarta Kota commuter lines.
Alight at Juanda station and lose yourself in a world of art, culture and religion in its surrounding areas.
From the station, take a 500-meter walk to Jl. Pos and you will see the main gates of Pasar Baru market, one of the city’s biggest traditional shopping centers, which was established in 1820.
The market is especially known for its collection of beautiful fabrics, shoes and electronics.
At Pasar Baru’s main gate, turn left and go to Jl. Antara along the Ciliwung River. There, you will find the Antara Journalism Photography Museum and Gallery, owned by Antara news agency.
Learn about Indonesia’s photojournalism history and bask in the breathtaking photographs in the museum’s exhibition area.
Across from Pasar Baru, you can find the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (GKJ), a great place to see various cultural events, from traditional Javanese wayang orang shows to jazz concerts and dance performances featuring international artists.
The huge Istiqlal Mosque and the beautiful neo-Gothic Jakarta Cathedral are also located within walking distance from Juanda station.
3. Cikini station
For a perfect leisurely afternoon filled with coffee and snacks, go to Jl. Cikini, on which the Cikini train station is located.
Similarly to Jakarta Kota and Juanda stations, this station is also served by the Bogor-Jakarta Kota and Bekasi-Jakarta Kota commuter lines.
Two popular coffee shops in the area are Bakoel Koffie and Vietopia, where you can taste Vietnamese coffee.
Also try some Indonesian snacks while in the coffee shops, such as the pisang goreng (banana fritters) and tape goreng (fried fermented cassava).
There is also the Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) arts center in the area, where you can see numerous art performances and exhibitions.
The blue domed building near TIM’s entrance gate is the Jakarta Planetarium, where you can learn about all things astronomical.
4. Sudirman station
Located in the Dukuh Atas area in Central Jakarta’s Menteng district, Sudirman station is served by the Bogor-Tanahabang-Jatinegara commuter line.
It is situated in the heart of Jakarta’s central business district along Jl. Jend. Sudirman and Jl. M. H. Thamrin.
Take a short walk from the station to either one of the two Dukuh Atas Transjakarta shelters and you can take a Transjakarta bus to continue your trip around the business district.
The Dukuh Atas 2 shelter is served by the Transjakarta Corridor 6, which can transport you to commercial districts in Kuningan, Warung Buncit, Pejaten, and even to Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta.
There are several hotels near Sudirman station: Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and the Pullman Hotel, all of which surround the famous Hotel Indonesia traffic circle.
5. Bogor station
For a nice weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta, go to Bogor, south of Jakarta.
The Bogor train station is served by the Bogor-Jakarta Kota and Bogor-Tanahabang-Jatinegara routes, and is located just 1 kilometer from the Bogor Botanical Gardens and the Bogor Presidential Palace.
You can either walk or take public minivan No. 2, plying the Sukasari-Bubulak route, from the station to the two tourist sites.
Enjoy the natural views of the botanical gardens and take pictures of the deer in the palace’s yard.